This Date in Pirates History: March 9

Aside from Arky Vaughan today, there are seven other former Pittsburgh Pirates players that were born on this date and just like Arky, one of these other players went on to get inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Billy Southworth (1893) outfielder for the Pirates from 1918-1920 and Hall of Fame manager. He started his minor league career in 1912 at the age of 19 and just one year later he made his debut for the Cleveland Naps. After one game, he returned to the minors until getting 20 games in for the Naps in 1915. He next trip to the majors came three years later for the Pirates. After hitting .314 in 67 games for Birmingham of the Southern Association, the Pirates called him up and watched him hit .341 with 43 RBI’s in 64 games. The next season the 26 year old outfielder hit .280 with 61 RBI’s, 23 steals and a league leading 14 triples. After hitting .284 in 146 games in 1920 the Pirates traded him, along with two other players and cash, to the Boston Braves for another future Hall of Famer, Rabbit Maranville. That trade was detailed here.

Southworth went on to play eight more seasons in the majors and was once part of a deal between the Braves and Giants that included two other future Hall of Famers, Casey Stengel and Dave Bancroft. He was a .297 career hitter in 1192 games. As a manager he won two World Series titles, 1942 and 1944 Cardinals. He also had two other WS appearances and he finished with a 1044-704 record over his 13 seasons as a manager. Billy was elected to the Hall of Fame as a manager by the Veteran’s Committee in 2008. Despite that honor, he likely isn’t even the most famous baseball player born on March 9, 1893. Also born that day was Lefty Williams, one of the main players in the 1919 Black Sox scandal made famous by the movie Eight Men Out. Southworth had a cousin also named Billy Southworth that played in the majors for the 1964 Braves.

Other former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date include:

Starting with two recent players who had very brief stays in Pittsburgh, we have catcher Benito Santiago (1965) and pitcher Terry Mulholland (1963). The Pirates acquired the 40 year old Santiago from the Royals in December 2004 for the pitcher formerly known as Leo Nunez. He played just six games before he was placed on the DL and he was released before he ever made it back to the majors, ending his 20 year major league career. Mulholland was signed as a free agent by the Pirates prior to the 2001 season. He pitched 22 games before he was traded to the Dodgers in exchange for Mike Fetters. Just like Santiago, he also played 20 seasons in the majors.

Ed Acosta (1944) pitcher for the 1970 Pirates. He pitched two years of A ball in the Astros system before the Pirates acquired him prior to the 1970 season. He began that year by making five starts in AA, then after getting promoted to AAA he pitched mainly out of the pen, posting a 5-2 2.96 record in 82 innings. Acosta was called up in September to make his major league debut. He pitched three games, just 2.2 total innings and allowed four runs. Ed spent most of the 1971 season in AAA, where he went 12-11 2.72 in 172 innings. On August 10th, the Pirates sent him and Johnny Jeter to the San Diego Padres in exchange for pitcher Bob Miller. Acosta spent the rest of 1971 and all of 1972 with the Padres in the majors before returning to AAA for the 1973 season. He pitched two more years before finishing his career in the Mexican League.

Ron Kline (1934) pitcher for the Pirates in 1952,1955-59 and 1968-69. Pittsburgh signed him as an amateur free agent prior to the 1950 season. He made his major league debut with the Pirates in 1952 and went 0-7 5.49 in 27 games, 11 as a starter. After spending the next two years serving in the military, he rejoined the Pirates in 1955 and posted a 6-13 4.15 record in 19 starts and 17 relief appearances. In 1956 Ron had a 3.38 ERA in 264 innings but the Pirates lost 88 games that year and his record showed, going 14-18, but he finished second on the team in wins to Bob Friend who had 17 victories. Kline’s 18 losses that year led the NL, a stat he would lead in again just two years later when he went 13-16 for the 1958 Bucs. At the end of December 1959, the Pirates traded him to the Cardinals in exchange for pitcher Tom Cheney and outfielder Gino Cimoli.

Kline had ten straight seasons in the majors without a winning record before he went 10-7 for the 1964 Washington Senators. He would then reel off five straight seasons with a winning record, including the 1968 season for the Pirates when he went 12-5 with a 1.68 ERA in 56 relief appearances. Early in 1969 the Pirates traded Kline to the Giants for pitcher Joe Gibbon. Just like Kline before he rejoined the Pirates, Gibbon had also previously pitched six seasons for Pittsburgh. He started in 1960 and was traded to the Giants for Matty Alou in 1965. Kline pitched with the 1970 Braves before ending his 17 year major league career. He had a record of 114-144 with 108 saves in his 736 games pitched.

Joe Dawson (1897) pitcher for the 1927-29 Pirates. He served in the military before starting his baseball career, finally making his pro debut at the age of 25 in the minors. Two years later he made four July starts for the 1924 Indians, his first experience in the majors. He next appeared in the majors as a member of the Pirates on June 17, 1927. The Pirates made the World Series that year so they were obviously a strong team but Joe managed just a 3-7 record in his 20 appearances, seven of them as a starter. He pitched one scoreless inning against the Yankees in the WS. Dawson spent the entire 1928 season with the Pirates, his only full season in the majors. He made seven starts and 24 relief appearances, going 7-7 3.29 in 128.2 innings. The next year he had two very poor relief outings to begin the year, then after getting a start on May 31st that he lost, he did not pitch again in organized baseball until reappearing in the minors in 1932. He went 11-10 that year in 27 games for Kansas City of the American Association but never played pro ball again.

Tom Delahanty (1872) shortstop for the 1896 Pirates. He played for four different teams in the majors over three seasons, yet played just 19 total games, 16 of them with one team. He played one game for the Phillies in 1894, one for the Pirates in 1896 and one for the Louisville Colonels in 1897. Delahanty left the Colonels right before Honus Wagner joined the team for his major league debut. In his only game for the Pirates, Tom went 1-3 with a run scored and an error in the field. He began that 1896 season with the Cleveland Spiders but joined the Pirates in mid-May. Tom played 13 seasons in the minors and during the 1902 season he hit .350 in 137 games for Denver of the Western League. He is from a family that produced five brothers that all made the majors, including his brother Ed, who is a Hall of Famer.

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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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