Friday, February 10, 2017

2/10 Birthdays: HBD Bill, Cotton, Jake, Digger, Larry, Duke & Jeanmar

  • 1893 - RHP Bill Evans was born in Reidsville, NC. He spent his entire three-year MLB stint with the Bucs (1916-17, 1919) as a fringe hurler, going 2-13 with a 3.85 ERA. Evans went into the military and missed all of the 1918 campaign. He worked seven games for Pittsburgh in 1919, then spent the next decade toiling in the minors.
  • 1894 - 2B James “Cotton” (because of his light blond hair) Tierney was born in Kansas City, KS. He started his pro career in Pittsburgh (1920-23), mainly as a second baseman but also seeing time in the outfield and at the hot corner. He hit .315 for Pittsburgh and was the main piece in the 1923 trade for P Lee Meadows. Cotton was remembered when in 2005, his great-great-nephew Jeff Euston created the popular website Cot's Baseball Contracts, named after his MLB ancestor.
Cotton Tierney 1922 E120 American Caramel
  • 1900 - SS Jake Stephens was born in Pleasantville, Pennsylvania. Jake played in the Negro leagues for 17 years, with stops as a Homestead Gray (1930-31) and Pittsburgh Crawford (1932). The SS wasn’t much of a batsman - the curve befuddled him - but he was a fast and acrobatic fielder with a rifle arm. As loaded with bats as the legendary local clubs were, carrying a glove at shortstop was a no-brainer. His leather earned him spots in Pittsburgh and York sports halls of fame.
  • 1932 - RHP Billy “Digger” O’Dell was born in Whitmire, South Carolina. He closed out his 13-year career (twice an All-Star) with the Pirates in 1966-67, going 8-8-4, 4.44. Digger retired and left baseball, coaching Legion ball and earning a spot in the South Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. He got his nickname from the radio/TV show “The Life of Riley” that featured a character named Digby “Digger” O’Dell - an undertaker.
  • 1954 - LHP Larry McWilliams was born in Wichita, Kansas. The sixth overall pick of the 1974 draft by the Braves, he worked for the Pirates from 1982-86. Larry had three strong years as a starter, then faded and was shipped back to his original club, the Braves. His line with the Bucs was 43-44-2 with a 3.86 ERA.
Duke Welker 2008 Bowman Top Prospects
  • 1986 - RHP Duke Welker was born in Kirkland, Washington. A second round pick in the 2007 draft, the 6’7” pitcher was a hot prospect who never panned out. He got into two games in 2013, then was involved in a bizzaro trade. He was sent to the Minnesota Twins as part of the deal that had brought 1B Justin Morneau to Pittsburgh. The two teams changed their minds a few weeks later, and in November, Welker was sent back to the Bucs in return for P Kris Johnson. But fate trumped his return as Duke had TJ surgery in 2014. The Bucs released him, and he was signed and cut by the Giants in 2016.
  • 1988 - RHP Jeanmar Gomez was born in Caracas, Venezuela. The long man went 5-2-1 with a 3.28 ERA in 78 outings for Pittsburgh from 2013-14 after coming over from the Indians. Gomez became a free agent in the 2014 off season and signed with the Phillies.

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