> Al "Scoops" Oliver, longtime Pirate outfielder and first baseman throughout the seventies, is a finalist for the Veteran's Committee Hall of Fame vote this year. Scoops played for seven teams from 1968-85, and had a lifetime .303 average in eighteen MLB seasons. The HoF has his bio online.
> The signings of the two Indian pitchers, Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh, along with South African SS Gift Ngoepe, show that the Pirates are Exploring New Talent Pools internationally, beefing up their nearly invisible presence in Latin America and the Pacific Rim and putting eyes in non-traditional baseball areas.
> Here's the wrap-up on the seven Pirate minor leaguers that were on the Scottsdale roster of the just concluded 2008 Arizona Fall League.
> A quick look at the Detroit Tiger shortstop situation gives the options Motown has in front of them - and there are several scenarios other than snagging Jack Splat that could carry them through the next season or two.
> Here are some other Potential Suitors for the services of Jack Wilson. SS is a hot position this year.
> A final Jack Splat note: Tim Brown of Yahoo!Sports wrote that the Dodgers won't take on Wilson's contract unless the Pirates pick up a big piece of the change due to him next year. It's hard to believe there's a team cheaper than the Bucs, hey?
> Baseball Analysts takes a look at the top pitching prospects available in December's Rule 5 draft - and unprotected Pirate LHP Kyle Bloom isn't one of them. We don't know whether that's good or bad news; probably a little of both.
> Hal Morris has joined the Bucco scouting staff as an area supervisor in the upper Midwest. The 43-year-old played 13 seasons, mostly with the Reds, and finished with a .304 career batting average.
> The Pirates former Indy skipper Trent Jewett has been hired to manage Washington's High Class A Carolina League affiliate, the Potomac Nationals, based in Woodbridge, Virginia. Jewett spent 15 years managing in Pittsburgh's system before getting the axe after this season.
> The Colorado Rockies' Clint Hurdle just added ex-Pirate manager Jim Tracy to the staff as his bench coach.
> A factoid from Bill James 2009 Handbook: Long-ago Pirate and current Boston knuckleballer Tim Wakefield had the slowest fastball in MLB last year, averaging just under 73 MPH. Marlin closer Matt Lindstrom had the zippiest heater, averaging a tick under 97 MPH.
GW wishes all its fans and their families a Happy Thanksgiving. Don't OD while lovin' the football, in-laws, and turkey! And if you're the prayerful sort, please include the innocents in Bombay in them today. We do have a lot to be thankful for in America.