Wednesday, March 22, 2017

3/22: Dann Signed; HBD Moose, Ramon, Beast & Ike

  • 1906 - OF Julius “Moose” Solters was born in Pittsburgh. He never played for the Pirates but was one of the better local ballplayers with one of baseball’s sadder stories. Moose (he was 6’1”, 190 lbs), the son of a Hungarian immigrant who worked at J&L Steel, went to Fifth Avenue HS. Solters played nine years in the AL for four clubs, slashing .289/89/559 and put up five double-digit homer seasons along with four 100+ RBI campaigns. In 1941, he was hit by a ball during pre-game fielding drills after he had turned to wave to his in-laws in the stands. Solters suffered headaches and double vision afterward, effectively ending his baseball career, and slowly began losing his vision. He returned to his native Beltzhoover and ran a bar. Solters was also a key figure, along with Frankie Gustine, in planning and fundraising for Frank Vittor’s 1955 Honus Wagner statue. He passed away in 1975 and is buried in Calvary Cemetery.
  • 1968 - RHP Ramon Martinez was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He ended his 14-year career, primarily with the Dodgers, as a Pirate in 2001 with four largely forgettable outings before retiring. He won 135 games over that span but was bested for family honors by his little brother, Pedro.
Michael Morse 2015 Topps Update
  • 1982 - 1B Michael Morse was born in Fort Lauderdale. “The Beast” (he’s 6’5”, 245 lbs) was a third round selection of the White Sox out of high school in 2000 and the Pirates picked him up in 2015 in a trade with the Dodgers. The Pirates were the 11-year vet’s seventh team, counting LA, who flipped him before he ever played a game for them. He hit .275 in 2015 and after one outing in 2016 was released in April. He’s now in the Giants system, having signed a minor league deal with the G-Men.
  • 1987 - The Bucs purchased C Dann Bilardello from the Montreal Expos, and after a minor league stint at AAA Buffalo, he was sold back to Montreal in July. The Bucs then brought him back him back as a free agent signing in 1989 and he hit .225 as a bench guy. He was released after the year, signed again, and then released for good after the 1990 campaign when he hit just .054, spending both years mainly in AAA. In all, Dann played two seasons for Pittsburgh, appearing in 52 games and batting just .171.
  • 1987 - 1B Ike Davis was born in Edina, Minnesota. The Bucs were hoping that Ike, who they got from the Mets in mid-April for a couple of prospects, could plug the hole at first in 2014, but 10 homers/.235 BA in 94 starts with 397 plate appearances didn’t cut it. The Pirates sold his contract to Oakland after the season and announced that Pedro Alvarez would be their first baseman in 2015.

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