This Date in Pirates History: February 28

There have been four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date who were all born before 1900 and then one other who played just this past season. Starting with Aaron Thompson(1987) who was a first round draft pick of the Florida Marlins in 2005. The left-hander was traded to the Nationals at the 2009 trade deadline in exchange for Nick Johnson. He was put on waivers following the 2010 season that he spent in AA Harrisburg. The Pirates picked him up in December 2010 off waivers and sent him to AA Altoona to start the season. He posted a 4-7 5.16 record there in 28 games, 12 as a starter. He moved to AAA, then got a call to the majors for his debut as a spot starter on August 24th. He returned to AAA to end the minor league season then made three more September appearances for the Pirates. He was allowed to leave via free agency in November and he signed a contract for the Twins for the 2012 season.

Other former Pirates players born on this date include:

Lil Stoner (1899) pitcher for the 1930 Pirates. He played three seasons of minor league ball before making the 1922 Detroit Tigers team out of spring training. Stoner pitched poorly, posting a 7.04 ERA through 17 games and was sent to the minors to finish the season. In 1923, pitching for Fort Worth of the Texas League, he won 27 games and pitched 302 innings. Lil was with the Tigers again in 1924 and lasted through the 1929 season, switching between starting and relieving. He had double figure win totals in three seasons and compiled a 50-58 overall record while with Detroit. He signed with the Pirates for 1930 but after two weeks, having pitched just 5.2 innings in relief, he was sent back to the minors. Stoner pitched one more season in the majors with the 1931 Phillies before returning to the minors until 1932. He played semi-pro ball at the age of 40 in 1939 in his hometown of Enid Oklahoma. His real name was Ulysses Simpson Grant Stoner and the nickname “Lil” came from his younger brother who couldn’t pronounce Ulysses as a kid.

Terry Turner (1881) third baseman for the 1901 Pirates. He had a 17 year major league career that all started with two August games for the 1901 Pirates, the first team in franchise history to win the NL pennant. He began his minor league career in 1900 as a 19 year old and by the end of 1901 he was highly sought after. The Pirates picked him up in August and while he had three hits in seven at bats, he wasn’t used again that season and Pittsburgh released him before the end of the year. Turner returned to the majors in 1904 with the Cleveland Indians and before he would leave town, he would play a still standing team record of 1619 games. He played 15 seasons in Cleveland before finishing his career in 1919 with the Philadelphia Athletics. Terry was a career .253 hitter who finished with 699 runs scored and 1499 hits. He hit just eight homers his entire career and only one his final 13 seasons and that one was an inside-the-park home run.

Moose McCormick (1881) outfielder for the 1904 Pirates. He hit .363 with 116 RBI’s his first season of pro ball in 1903 playing for Jersey City of the Eastern League. Moose was signed by the Giants for the 1904 season and played there through early August when the Pirates acquired him in a three team deal that saw them give up young right fielder Jimmy Sebring. McCormick finished the year in Pittsburgh, playing the corner outfield spots where he hit .290 with 23 RBI’s in 66 games. In the off-season he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in a four player deal that was detailed here. Before ever reporting to the Phillies, he retired from baseball for three seasons. He returned to the Phillies for 1908 and was shipped to the Giants after just 11 games. He played the entire 1909 season, then retired for two more years before returning for two final seasons for New York. In his five seasons in the majors, which spanned a 10 year period, he was a .285 hitter over 429 games.

Jack Easton (1865) pitcher for the 1894 Pirates. He played three seasons in the minors prior to making his major league debut with the Columbus Solons of the American Association in September 1889. Easton went 15-14 3.52 in 255.2 innings in 1890 with the Solons. He then had an 8-14 4.59 record in 1891 pitching for two different teams. He won his only two decisions in 1892 but was cut early in the season. Jack returned to the minors after being released and then spent the entire 1893 season down on the farm before returning to the majors with the Pirates for the 1894 season. He pitched just three games with Pittsburgh, losing his only start. Easton pitched a total of 19.2 innings in what would be his last time in the majors. He returned to the minors for three more years before retiring from baseball. According to Baseball Reference’s similarity scores, the most similar pitcher all-time to Easton is Mike Dunne who came over from the Cardinals in the Tony Pena trade and went 13-6 3.03 as a rookie for the Pirates in 1987.

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About John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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