There have been five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including a very recent one and four players that were born in the 19th century. In his Jolly Roger Rewind, John Fredland recaps an extra-innings victory for the Pirates from the 1974 season.
Gorkys Hernandez (1987) Outfielder for the 2012 Pirates. He was originally signed as an amateur free agent in 2005 by the Tigers. Shortly after the 2007 season ended, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves, along with Jair Jurrjens in exchange for Edgar Renteria. Gorkys was a top-100 rated prospect prior to both the 2008 and 2009 seasons. In June of 2009, he was dealt to the Pirates, along with Jeff Locke and Charlie Morton, in the Nate McLouth deal. Hernandez was hitting .316 in 52 games at AA, at the time of the trade. His production fell off after the deal at Altoona, and he repeated the level the next season. Gorkys moved up to AAA in 2011, putting together a solid season when factoring in his above average defense. He did not get the call to the majors until 2012 though, making his debut on May 21st. In 25 games for the Pirates, he made two starts, getting a total of 26 plate appearances. He hit .083 with two runs, two RBI’s and two stolen bases. On July 31st, he was sent to the Marlins in the Gaby Sanchez deal. Since joining Florida, Hernandez has a .194 average in 26 games, with 13 runs scored.
Fred Blackwell (1891) Catcher for the 1917-19 Pirates. He played four seasons in the minors before getting his first big league shot as a September call-up for the 1917 Pirates. He didn’t earn that spot with his bat, hitting just .162 with four extra base hits(all doubles) in 76 games for Newark of the International League. Blackwell caught three of the last seven games of the season for the Pirates. In 1918, the regular season was shortened due to the ongoing war. Starting catcher Walter Schmidt ended up catching 105 of the team’s 126 games that year. Blackwell played just eight games as the third string receiver behind Schmidt and veteran Jimmy Archer. Fred would see his most time in 1919, when he was the backup catcher along with Cliff Lee. Early in the year, Blackwell wasn’t with the team, replaced by veteran Jeff Sweeney, who was gone after hitting .095 in 17 games. An early season injury to Schmidt, caused the Pirates to bring Blackwell back to the team and when Schmidt returned, Sweeney was the player who was released. Fred hit .215 in 24 games, getting twenty starts behind the plate. His major league career was over at that point, and he played just one more season in the minors.
John Flynn (1883) First baseman for the 1910-11 Pirates. After winning the 1909 World Series, the Pirates got rid of their starting first baseman Bill Abstein, who played 137 regular season games and all seven WS games. Abstein made too many mental errors for the Pirates liking, so after the 1909 season ended, Pittsburgh purchased the contracts of Flynn for $4,000 from St Paul of the American Association, and Bud Sharpe was taken in the Rule V draft. Both men battled it out for the starting first base job, with Flynn eventually winning it after the season started. Prior to joining the Pirates, John played four seasons of minor league ball, with 1909 being his best year. He was strong with the bat, and serviceable in the field. For the 1910 Pirates, Flynn hit .274 in 96 games, with six homers, 52 RBI’s and 32 runs scored. His 22 errors ranked as the third highest total among NL first baseman. In 1911, Pittsburgh picked up minor league veteran Newt Hunter to play first base and Flynn lost his starting spot. He hit .203 in 33 games with no homers, before being sold back to his St Paul minor league team in August. John would play one more season in the majors, 1912 for the Senators, getting cut after he batted just .169 in twenty games. He played another nine seasons in the minors after his last major league game, retiring after the 1921 season with nearly 1500 games played. Flynn also managed near the end of his playing career and afterwards as well.
Charlie Case (1879) Pitcher for the 1904-06 Pirates. He made his major league debut with the 1901 Reds, making three starts after joining the team in July. He threw three complete games, but allowed 34 hits and 21 runs in his 27 innings. Case went to the minors until 1904, when the Pirates purchased his contract in July. He made 17 starts and a relief appearance for Pittsburgh that year, going 10-5 2.94 in 141 innings, with three shutouts. In 1905, he made 24 starts and seven relief appearances, throwing a total of 217 innings, while again throwing three shutouts. His record that year was only 11-11, yet the team won 96 games and he had the second best ERA among regulars. Teammate Sam Leever went 20-5 with an ERA .13 higher, while another pitcher named Mike Lynch had a 3.79 ERA, yet managed to finish with a 17-8 record. The Pirates had a deeper pitching staff in 1906 with the additions of Vic Willis and Lefty Leifield, so after two poor starts, Case was sent to the minors, where he finished his career. He still had plenty of strong pitching left in his arm, but never got another chance in the majors. From 1906 until 1914, he went 122-119, winning in double digits(with a high of 19 victories) in all but his last season.
Ed Poole (1874) Pitcher/outfielder for the 1900-02 Pirates. His major league debut on October 5,1900 for the Pirates was not a good first impression. Manager Fred Clarke started the game in left field and got hurt running out a hit. Poole came in for him and by the fourth inning, he was on the bench. That inning, he made a throwing error, followed by dropping an easy fly ball. Ed was known more for his pitching at that point, winner of twenty games for Wheeling of the Interstate League that season before joining the Pirates. He also hit .257 in 78 total games, 37 as a pitcher. His second game for the Pirates was a complete 180 over the first. A week after his debut, he came in to pitch after Deacon Phillippe got hit hard early. Poole allowed just one run over seven innings, while also hitting a home run and a triple, driving in three runs, for a 10-6 victory.
He was put on the reserve list for 1901 and he remained with the Pirates all season. He started ten games and pitched twice in relief, going 5-4 3.60 in 80 innings. He played a total of 26 games, seeing action at all three outfield positions, as well as one game at 2B and 3B. Ed hit .205 in 78 AB’s, with a home run and four RBI’s. He played just one game for the 1902 Pirates before he was sold to the Reds. On May 14,1902, he pitched eight innings in relief during a 10-5 loss, giving up four runs, though just one was earned. Hall of Fame pitcher Jack Chesbro made the start, allowing six runs in the first before he was pulled. Poole would go on to make 16 starts for the Reds that year, going 12-4 2.15 with 16 complete games. He pitched for the Reds again in 1903, and then Brooklyn in 1904, posting a losing record each year. Ed returned to the minors in 1905, playing another four years before he retired.
Jolly Roger Rewind: September 7, 1974
Dave Parker’s two-out, twelfth-inning single scored Richie Hebner with the winning run, giving the first-place Pirates their fifth win a row, 6-5 over the Expos at Three Rivers Stadium.
With one out in the bottom of the twelfth and the score tied 5-5, Hebner singled off Dale Murray, pitching in his fifth inning of relief. Murray retired Al Oliver, but rookie Miguel Dilone, in his first major-league plate appearance, drew a walk to advance Hebner to second. Parker followed with the game-winning single to center.
Victory had appeared a remote possibility with the Pirates trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the seventh, especially after Expos’ starter Mike Torrez, who had limited the Bucs to two hits, opened the inning by retiring Willie Stargell and Parker. But Manny Sanguillen’s single started a string of seven consecutive Bucco batters reaching base against three Montreal pitchers. Pinch-hitter Paul Popovich, Rennie Stennett, Hebner and Oliver concluded the rally with four consecutive RBI singles; Oliver’s hit drove in Stennett to give the Pirates a 5-4 advantage.
The Bucs’ bullpen, however, was not up to the challenge of holding the lead: Larry Biittner’s two-out single off Dave Giusti drove in Larry Lintz with the tying run in the bottom of the ninth. The game then became a battle of the bullpens, until Hebner, Dilone and Parker could thrill the Saturday-night crowd in the bottom of the twelfth.
Winners of thirty-seven of their past fifty-one games, the Pirates maintained a game and a half lead over second-place St. Louis.
Box score and play-by-play
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.