This Date in Pirates History: April 28

Six former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date and one trade of note. Before I get to the former players, who were all pitchers,I’ll mention that current minor league pitcher and former first round draft pick(2007,4th overall), Daniel Moskos, turns 26 today. He pitched 31 games for the Pirates in 2011. Daniel had a 2.96 ERA in 24.1 innings last year and he picked up his first career win on June 3rd against the Phillies. He is currently pitching out of the bullpen with AAA Indianapolis.

Romulo Sanchez(1984) Pitcher for the 2007-08 Pirates. He originally signed with the Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 2002, signing with the Pirates as a free agent two years later after the Dodgers released him in March of 2004. Sanchez went from the Gulf Coast League, all the way to AA as a starter in his first year stateside with the Pirates. He switched to relief in 2006, starting back at low-A Hickory and again pitched at three levels, including AA. That 2006 season he had a combined record of 0-3 5.86 in 58.1 innings. Romulo spent the 2007 season pitching for AA Altoona, making 40 relief appearances with a 2.81 ERA. In late August, he was called up to the majors and pitched 16 times, totaling 18 innings, with a 5.00 ERA and 11 strikeouts. Sanchez spent most of 2008 in the minors, getting five appearances with the Pirates prior to September and five more once the minor league season ended.  The Pirates traded him in May of 2009 to the Yankees for Eric Hacker. Sanchez played two games in the majors for the Yankees in 2010, spent 2011 in Japan and currently pitches in AAA for the Tampa Bay Rays

Yoslan Herrera(1981) Pitcher for the 2008 Pirates. Herrera, like Pedro Ramos(mentioned below) was from Cuba. The Pirates signed him as an amateur free agent on March 6,2007, giving him a three year deal worth $1.92mil. He spent his first season pitching for Altoona, where he made 25 starts and went 6-9 4.69 in 128.2 innings. He began the next season at Altoona as well and had a 6-9 record again. Yoslan made one start for Indianapolis in late June, then two weeks later he made his major league debut with the Pirates. In five starts over the next month, he went 1-1 9.82, giving up 20 runs and 48 base runners in 18.1 innings. Herrera returned to Altoona for 2009, going 11-1 3.23 in 23 outings(15 starts) while also making another brief stop in Indianapolis. The Pirates released him on October 30,2009 and he finished his career the following season in AAA for the Minnesota Twins.

Pedro Ramos(1935) Pitcher for the 1969 Pirates. He signed with the Pirates as a free agent prior to the 1968 season, spending the entire year at AAA Columbus, where he had a 5.09 ERA in 76 innings.  Ramos had originally signed with the Senators in 1953 and had spent 13 of his 15 seasons, prior to signing with the Pirates, in the majors. From 1958 until 1961, the Senators franchise(switched to Minnesota in 1961) lost an average of 89 games a year and Ramos was a workhorse for those teams. His record suffered due to the team’s poor play, going 49-75 over those four seasons, losing at least 18 games each year. In fact, he led the American League in losses in each of those four seasons. In his fifteen seasons in the majors, he had just two winning seasons, 1956 when he went 12-10 and 1963, when he went 9-8 for the Indians. Pedro began the 1969 season back in AAA for the Pirates, earning a promotion one month into the season. He pitched five games in relief for the Pirates, allowing four runs in six innings. Pittsburgh released him on June 5th and he signed with the Reds less than a week later. Ramos played briefly with the Senators in 1970, then finished his career in the minors two years later. He had a career record of 117-160 4.08 in 582 major league games.

Tom Sturdivant(1930) Pitcher for the 1961-63 Pirates. He spent ten seasons in the majors(1955-64), playing for seven different teams along the way. Between the 1956-57 seasons, Tom went a combined 32-14 for the Yankees, winning 16 games each year. Despite those strong seasons, he won just 26 more games and never reached double figures again. The Pirates acquired him from the Washington Senators in exchange for pitcher Tom Cheney on June 29,1961. Sturdivant had a 2-6 4.61 record in 80 innings prior to the trade. For the Pirates that season, he went 5-2 2.84 in 85.2 innings, making 11 starts and two relief appearances. In 1962, Tom made 12 starts and 37 relief appearances for the Pirates, finishing with an overall record of 9-5 3.73 in 125.1 innings. Less than a month into the 1963 season, after just three relief outings, the Pirates sold him to the Detroit Tigers. Tom finished the 1963 season with the Kansas City Athletics, then split his final year in the big leagues between the A’s and New York Mets. He finished with a 59-51 record in 335 games, 101 as a starter.

Red Lucas(1902) Pitcher for the Pirates from 1934 until 1938. Before joining the Pirates, Lucas had ten seasons of major league experience in already, the last eight with the Reds. For Cincinnati, he went 109-99 in 257 games, 202 as a starter. Three times from 1929 until 1932, he led the NL in complete games and four times from 1927-33, he received MVP votes. In 1933, he went 10-16 3.40 with 219.2 innings pitched. The Reds traded Lucas, along with outfielder Wally Roettger to the Pirates on November 17,1933 in exchange for second baseman Tony Piet and outfielder Adam Comorosky. That trade was covered in detail here.

Lucas had pitched over 200 innings in a season, six times with the Reds but he never topped the 175 mark for the Pirates. He was still a valuable pitcher for the team, four times finishing with a record over .500 on the season and twice winning in double figures. His best season came in 1936 when he went 15-4 3.18 in 22 starts and five relief appearances. After losing the team’s fourth game of the season, Lucas didn’t pick up another loss until over three months later and that second loss was a 1-0 game. After going 6-3 3.54 in 13 starts during the 1938 season, the Pirates released him. He finished his major league career with a 157-135 record in 396 games, including a 47-32 mark while with Pittsburgh. He was a strong fielding pitcher, committing just 12 errors while on the mound. He occasionally played in the field on his off-days early in his career. At the plate, Lucas was a great hitter for a pitcher, batting .281 in his career and he was used nearly 500 times as a pinch hitter. During the 1931 season alone, he pinch hit 67 times. After his major league career ended, Red pitched another five seasons in the minors, and during two of those seasons, plus the 1948 season, he was also a manager.

Walt Woods(1875) Pitcher for the Pirates on April 27,1900. He spent 20 seasons in pro ball from 1895-1914, playing all nine positions over the years. Woods began his career as an outfielder/pitcher, played middle infield frequently early on, then spent a long stretch as a third baseman before finishing his career as a catcher. He played just three seasons in the majors, and during one of those seasons, he played just one game before going down to the minors. On April 27,1900 the Pirates were playing their eighth game of the season, facing the Cincinnati Reds that day. Jesse Tannehill was on the mound for Pittsburgh, he had won a combined 49 games the previous two seasons but on this day he gave up eight runs in the first two innings and was replaced on the mound by Woods. Walt had pitched for the Louisville Colonels in 1899, going 9-13 3.28 in 186.1 innings. The previous season, as a rookie, he also went 9-13. That 1898 season he was with the Chicago Orphans(Cubs), where he threw 215 innings. For Pittsburgh though, his stay would be a short one. He lasted three innings, giving up seven runs in the fifth inning before being pulled. Woods never played again in the majors. Three weeks later he was with the Springfield Ponies of the Eastern League and fourteen years later he finished his career with the Troy Trojans of the New York State League.

The Trade

On this date in 1910, the Pirates traded pitcher Sam Frock and first baseman Bud Sharpe to the Boston Doves for pitcher Kirby White. Sharpe had once played for Boston in 1905, but was in the minors up until that 1910 season. The Pirates had acquired the 28 year old Sharpe as a rule 5 draft pick in September of 1909. Frock was 27 years old and had also played previously with Boston, making his debut in the majors with the 1907 Doves. He pitched 36.1 innings for the 1909 Pirates, posting a 2.48 ERA. White was 26 years old, and had a 7-15 2.94 record in 174.1 innings with Boston between the 1909-10 seasons. He had already made three starts in 1910, and despite two losses, he had a 1.38 ERA.

After the trade, White pitched 153.1 innings for the 1910 Pirates, going 10-9 with a 3.46 ERA. Kirby threw three shutouts and had a streak of 32 consecutive scoreless innings during the second half of the season. He wasn’t healthy in 1911 when he reported to the team and after a poor outing in late May, White was sent to the minors, never returning to the big leagues. Frock suffered nearly the same fate as White. He was used very often by Boston, pitching 255.1 innings in 1910 after the trade. The next season, he didn’t even last a month in the majors before his contract was sold to a minor league team and he too never returned to the majors. Sharpe was Boston’s everyday first baseman after the trade, hitting .239 with no homers and 29 RBI’s in 115 games. His contract was sold to a minor league team before the 1911 started, putting all three players out of the majors by the end of May 1911.

  • Jolly Roger Rewind: April 28, 1985

    More than a quarter-century before phrases like “All in,” “#Hurdled,” and “#JerryMealsSaysItsSafe” entered Pittsburgh’s baseball lexicon, the dispositive moment in a Pirates-Mets game revolved around one Clinton Merrick Hurdle.  Unfortunately for the Pirates, their future manager’s moment in the spotlight decided the contest in the Mets’ favor: his eighteenth-inning smash off the glove of Jason Thompson for an error scored Mookie Wilson with the winning run in a 5-4 New York victory at Shea Stadium.

    Gary Carter had opened the eighteenth by drawing a walk off Lee Tunnell, the twenty-third Pirate to see action in the contest.  Wilson, the twentieth Met to take the field, pinch-ran for Carter and took third on Darryl Strawberry’s single.  That set the stage for Hurdle, whom Bob Hertzel’s Pittsburgh Press story described as “the one-time Sports Illustrated cover boy, a third-string catcher and utility player with the Mets.”

    The Mets’ free-baseball triumph spoiled an impressive Bucco pitching performance.  Facing a lineup powered by the career-prime likes of Carter, Strawberry and Keith Hernandez, the Pirate moundsmen settled down after Strawberry’s first inning grand slam off rookie Mike Bielecki and held the home team hitless for the next ten and two-thirds innings.  Rafael Santana’s single off Cecilio Guante to lead off the bottom of the twelfth broke up the “no hitter,” but Guante ultimately earned his stripes by pitching out of a bases-loaded, no outs jam that inning and proceeding to pitch four more scoreless innings.

    Less praiseworthy was the Bucs’ baserunning,short-circuiting an eighteen hit/seven walk/two home run offensive showing with three runners caught stealing, one runner picked off, one runner thrown out at home plate by an outfielder (leftfielder Hurdle gunning down George Hendrick), one runner thrown out at home plate by an infielder, and one runner thrown out trying to score on a wild pitch.  For good measure, the Pirates also hit into three double plays.

    “Pirates’ marathon lost on last Hurdle” proclaimed the next day’s Pittsburgh Press, as Pittsburgh’s headline writers savored the easy pun.

    Here’s the box score and play-by-play:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYN/NYN198504280.shtml

    Here’s the Pittsburgh Press’ account:

    http://tinyurl.com/d3q5sl6

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