Morning Report: A History of Family Connections with the Pittsburgh Pirates

We mentioned in our Book on Jordan Luplow article yesterday, that he is related to Al Luplow from the 1967 Pirates. They had an amazing family connection, both playing right field for the Pirates exactly 50 years apart. For Jordan, it was his Major League debut on July 28th, while Al was replacing the great Roberto Clemente, who was injured during the previous game.

With that connection and coincidence, I figured it would be a good day to look at a little family history with the Pirates.

The obvious place to start would be Paul and Lloyd Waner. You don’t get much better than having a pair of brothers both make the Hall of Fame. During their combined 32 seasons in Pittsburgh, they amassed over 5,000 hits and rank among the top ten in numerous season and career categories. Everyone should know about them if you’re a fan of the team.

The first siblings for the Pirates played before they were nicknamed the Pirates. The 1890 Alleghenys used brothers John and Harry Gilbert as a double play combo on June 23, 1890. They played both games of a doubleheader and then never played for the team again. They literally spent about five hours with the team. You can read more on them in this article I wrote (link takes you to a history site for the Pirates).

In 1909, the Pirates won their first World Series. Howie Camnitz won 25 games for the team that season. His young brother Harry pitched four innings in relief on September 29th that season, his only appearance for the team.

A few years later, Joe Schultz was a utility player for the 1916 Pirates. His son Joe Jr. would play for the 1939-41 Pirates. The family connection went further than that though. Joe Sr was the cousin of Hans Lobert, who was a member of the 1903 Pirates, the team that played in the first World Series.

Another World Series connection was with the Bigbee family. Carson spent his entire 11-year career with the Pirates, helping them to the 1925 title. His brother Lyle spent part of the 1921 season with the team, pitching five times in relief.

How about another World Series connection? Clyde Barnhart spent his entire nine-year career with the Pirates, seven of those seasons as a teammate of Carson Bigbee. Barnhart helped win the 1925 series and was also there for the 1927 World Series. His son Vic played infield for the 1944-46 Pirates.

The 20’s were a busy time for sibling teammates and World Series players. Johnny Morrison pitched eight seasons for the Pirates (1920-27) winning as many as 25 games in a season. His older brother Phil retired two of the three batters he faced on September 30, 1921, his only game in the majors.

The Pirates had a set of twins in the 50’s, with Eddie O’Brien playing for the 1953, 1955-58 teams along with his brother Johnny. Both of them played infield and occasionally pitched.

Gene and George Freese (no relation to David) were teammates with the O’Brien twins in 1955 and the Freese brothers both played third base that season. That’s quite a rivalry, growing up together just to fight for playing time at the same position with the same team. George played just that one season with the Pirates, while Gene spent six years in Pittsburgh.

Do you like riddles? The 1948 Pirates had pitcher Elmer Riddle and catcher Johnny Riddle. Elmer also played for the 1949 club. They were also teammates for a few other seasons during their big league career.

Pitchers Josias and Ravelo Manzanillo both pitched multiple seasons for the Pirates. Ravelo was there during the 1994-95 seasons, while Josias came along a little later, playing for the 2000-02 club.

The most recent brother combo would be Adam and Andy LaRoche, who each played three seasons with the team during the 2007-10 time period. Two of those years were as teammates.

Anyone remember Tony Armas playing for the Pirates? If you remember the father, you have a great memory. He played four games in 1976 before being traded away and eventually going on to lead the AL twice in homers. His son Tony pitched for the 2007 Pirates.

How about a little more famous for the father-son combo with Vern and Vance Law. The Deacon won 162 games and the 1960 Cy Young award with the Pirates. His son lasted just two partial seasons (1980-81) before he was traded away.

How about a little less famous for father-son. Jim Bagby Sr and Jr each pitched for awhile in the majors. Jim Sr played nine years, ending with the 1923 Pirates. Jim Jr pitched ten years, ending with the 1947 Pirates. Both also spent the majority of their career with the Indians.

The 1990 Pirates had Moises Alou (briefly), while his uncle Matty Alou played for the 1966-70 Pirates. The 1968-69 Pirates had Gary Kolb, and his cousin Danny Kolb played for the 2007 Pirates.

Finally, we have another great-uncle/great-nephew relation in team history, and this one is one better than the Luplows. Harry Gumbert was a pitcher for 1949-50 Pirates. Two of his great-uncles were pitchers for the Pirates. Billy Gumbert was with the team in 1890 and 1892, while Ad Gumbert pitched for the 1893-94 teams.

The minor leagues could add to these names, as their are some family connections. Ke’Bryan Hayes could join his father, who was a member of the 1996 Pirates. Victor Ngoepe could join his brother Gift, who debuted this year. Gavin and Mike Wallace both start in the lower levels and Pablo and Samuel Reyes each have some prospectiveness (not a real word).


Source: FanGraphs


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 3-2 to the San Diego Padres on Friday night. The Pirates will send Ivan Nova to the mound tonight for his 21st start. He has a 4.24 ERA in 11 road starts this season. Nova has a 6.04 ERA in four starts this month. The Padres will counter with 25-year-old righty Dinelson Lamet, who has a 5.92 ERA in 51.2 innings, with 68 strikeouts and a 1.32 WHIP. This is his rookie season.

In the minors, there are three doubleheaders today, so the probables are just best guesses because teams usually don’t like using two starters on the same night. Altoona starter JT Brubaker has allowed one run in each of his last two starts. Cody Dickson is slated to start the second game. West Virginia has James Marvel going for one game, and Luis Escobar is scheduled for the other. That’s one I could see changing. Domingo Robles will go for Bristol during one of their doubleheader games after a rain out last night. If they went with Saturday’s regularly scheduled starter, then Travis MacGregor will pitch the other game.

Bradenton starter Pedro Vasquez is second in the FSL with a 2.43 ERA and third with a 1.08 WHIP. Austin Shields is scheduled for the GCL Pirates and we could see Cody Bolton as well, since this is also his day to start.

MLB: Pittsburgh (50-53) @ Padres (46-57) 8:40 PM
Probable starter: Ivan Nova (3.62 ERA, 17:78 BB/SO, 131.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (57-49) vs Pawtucket (54-51) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Nick Kingham (4.75 ERA, 22:64 BB/SO, 66.1 IP)

AA: Altoona (53-49) vs Trenton (70-33) 4:30 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: JT Brubaker (4.72 ERA, 29:77 BB/SO, 87.2 IP) and Cody Dickson (7.40 ERA, 15:18 BB/SO, 20.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (59-42) vs Palm Beach (56-45) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Pedro Vasquez (2.43 ERA, 21:84 BB/SO, 107.1 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (46-52) @ Hagerstown (56-44) 4:35 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: James Marvel (4.04 ERA, 26:63 BB/SO, 84.2 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (23-13) @ Auburn (14-23) 6:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Sergio Cubilete (2.22 ERA, 10:19 BB/SO, 28.1 IP)

Rookie: Bristol (8-27) vs Greeneville (19-14) 6:00 PM DH

GCL: Pirates (11-17) vs Tigers East (8-19) 10:00 AM

DSL: Pirates (25-22) vs Indians (17-27) 10:30 AM (season preview)


Here is something from earlier this week because we don’t get too many Bradenton highlights. This is Kevin Krause hitting his seventh home run.


7/28: Jordan Luplow promoted to Pittsburgh Pirates. Edwin Espinal promoted to Indianapolis. Jordan George promoted to Altoona.

7/28: Austin Meadows assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.

7/27: Logan Hill placed on disabled list. Justin Maffei assigned to Altoona.

7/27: Steven Brault optioned to Indianapolis.

7/25: Connor Joe activated from Altoona disabled list. Justin Maffei assigned to Indianapolis.

7/25: Jonathan Schwind assigned to Morgantown.

7/23: Adrian Valerio placed on disabled list. Andrew Walker assigned to West Virginia.

7/22: Gregory Polanco placed on the disabled list. Steven Brault recalled from Indianapolis.

7/22: Hector Garcia assigned to Morgantown on rehab.

7/21: Adonis Pichardo assigned to GCL Pirates from Bristol. Ryan Valdes, Hector Quinones and Will Reed promoted to Bristol.

7/20: Kevin Newman promoted to Indianapolis. Anderson Feliz and Jackson Williams assigned to Altoona.

7/20: Tomas Morales placed on disabled list.

7/20: Cole Tucker promoted to Altoona. Logan Ratledge assigned to Bradenton.

7/20: Stephen Alemais promoted to Bradenton.

7/20: Pirates release Zane Chavez


Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus four trades of note and a special hit from the franchise’s all-time greatest player. The players born on this date are Mike Williams, closer for the Pirates from 1998 until 2003 and a two-time All-Star. Tommy Gregg, outfielder in 1987-88 and seventh round pick of the Pirates in 1985. Dave LaPoint, a lefty starter acquired by the Pirates late in the 1988 season. He made eight starts and won four games, with a 2.77 ERA. Erv Dusak, utility player for the 1951-52 Pirates, who saw time at six different positions and even started a game on the mound. George Cutshaw, second baseman from 1918 until 1921. He was part of the big trade in 1918 that involved Hall of Famers Casey Stengel and Burleigh Grimes.

The Pirates made two trades on this date in 2009, sending Jack Wilson and Ian Snell to the Mariners, and Freddy Sanchez to the Giants for six players total in return. Nine years earlier, they acquired Wilson from the Cardinals in exchange for Jason Christiansen. Wilson played 1,159 games for the Pirates, while the Cardinals got 29.1 innings out of Christiansen.

On this date in 1916, the Pirates and Cubs made a four-player deal that involved a catcher going each way and two well-known veterans changing teams. The Pirates sent second baseman Otto Knabe to Chicago and got outfielder Frank Schulte. Knabe was an All-Star caliber player, who was nearing the end of his career. At the time of the deal, the Pirates had actually sent him home because they said he was too out of shape. Schulte too was near the end, but during his prime, he became the first player to hit 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 homers and steal 20 bases in the same season. Only three players have accomplished that feat since, so it is extremely rare. Despite the big names in this deal and a veteran catcher name Art Wilson going to Chicago, the best player after the deal was young catcher William Fischer, who was hitting below .200 at the time of the trade. He played well for the Pirates through the end of the 1917 season.

Exactly one year before that 1916 trade, Honus Wagner hit an inside-the-park grand slam in an 8-2 win over Brooklyn. It was the 97th home run of his career and he hit just four more after this one. Wagner hit five grand slams in his career and all were inside-the-park homers. You can read more about the game in the link above.

  • Love the family history, John. Please alert the McCutchen family to aid the next generation.

  • Pirates showing their true colors on the west coast, losing and not being able to hit Guess NH will have to give up some prospects in a ill conceived trade to show the fans they are still in the chase and to keep them coming out to the ball park. Very sad season with Kang, Marte screwing up causing the team to scramble and put replacements in their place that were not nearly as good as they are.
    Clint surprised me by putting Luplow in the lineup but since he struck out twice I guess that will be the last time we see him play.

    • He put him in because he is actually an outfielder. My guess is Hurdle finally demanded they give him someone who can actually play outfield better then a 10 year old (Osuna and Jaso). This has been another bad year for the front office. They took a team with 100 wins and have turn them into this hot mess. They also dropped payroll by 25 million and will probably drop it even more next year when we trade Cutch drop Jaso and Stewy and replace them all with rookies or rentals. then we will be told that if the fans show up we will add payroll.

  • Willy Garcia having himself a nice season. He has played out of position in CF 11 games and that has hurt his war a little but he has played solid at the corners and has a 109OPS+. Alen Hanson is hanging at an 89OPS+. Jared Hughes at a 116 ERA+. It hasn’t been a good year for NH. Factor in the Kang absence and Marte suspension and that he just sat with what he had while 4-6 WAR was out of the lineup for half the season and it looks pretty ugly. I just can’t give the same support to this FO that I have in the past. I’m not a guy that says I told you so but I hated the Niese deal last year when it happened, I hated the Willy Garcia being left out there, and I hated the Jared Hughes thing. Why did you sign him just to eat the money soon after? I saw him throw a bullpen this spring and he looked like the same guy he ever was. I know people don’t like Hughes but he gets results, is fearless, and will take the ball in any situation.

    • I was fine with Garcia going because he was showing declining skills. It’s pretty easy to fill a corner outfielder who is a replacement level player. When he was faster, he had more value. He was covering a lot of ground, he had value on the bases, but as he got older, he definitely lost a couple steps. With his lack of plate patience, I’m not sure we would have seen him this year, except maybe when Danny Ortiz got those two small chances, although the Pirates were looking for defense and Ortiz is now the better of the two players in that regard.

      Garcia was so bad during winter ball, they stopped playing him, not even keeping him as a bench player. After his lackluster 2016 season, I think that’s all the Pirates needed to see. He was well below average facing AAA competition in the Dominican.

  • I’m wondering what the Bucs are going to do with Nick Kingham after this season.

    • keep him….?

      • I should’ve been more clear….I thought that I read that he has to be kept on the 25 man roster next year?

        I don’t know why he would be out of options, so maybe he is a 6 year free agent?

        • John Dreker
          July 29, 2017 9:24 am

          He’s out of options because he was added to the 40-man roster after the 2014 season. Used his three options in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

          • I don’t know what I was thinking….just because someone wasn’t called up, doesn’t mean that they don’t burn an option.

            More caffeine please.

        • He has to and I’m sure will be on the 25 man roster next year. My theory is long relief until someone goes down. At that point he will seize a rotation spot and never let go. Like Trevor Williams but just a little better.

          • I hope he is a little bit better. Nick may be one of those 10-15% pitchers that never quite bounce back to full or better strength after TJ surgery?

            I hope that his last outing is a sign of things to come. I’ve always liked him.