Originally posted on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 11/8/11

On this date in 1920, Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Wally Westlake was born. He played for the Pirates from 1947-51. He was signed as an amateur free agent by the Dodgers in 1940 and spent his first three seasons in the minors. He missed the 1943-45 seasons due to military service, returning in 1946 when he played AAA ball in Oakland and hit .315 in 136 games. The Pirates traded for him in late 1946 and put him in right field to start the 1947 season. He would hit 17 homers and drove in 69 runs that rookie season. Those numbers both placed him 3rd on the Pirates behind two future Hall of Famers, Hank Greenberg and Ralph Kiner. 

Wally's 97 homers rank him 22nd in team history

In 1948 Westlake hit .285 with 65 RBI’s and his 17 homers ranked him 2nd on the team behind Kiner. He played in a career high 147 games in 1949 and drove in 104 runs, 2nd to Kiner on the team and the only time he reached the century mark in RBI’s during his career. He ranked 8th in the National League in both homers with 23 and with those 104 runs driven home. In 1950 he set a career high with 24 homers while also hitting .285 and driving in 95 runs. Wally moved to 3B for the 1951 season and got off to a hot start. In his first 50 games he was hitting .282 with 16 homers and 45 RBI’s, putting him on pace to set new career highs in both categories.  He was the second best, and only other power hitter on the Pirates behind Kiner so what happened next was a bit of a surprise.

On June 15, 1951 the Pirates traded Westlake and pitcher Cliff Chambers to the Cardinals for five players, the best among them being infielder Dick Cole and catcher Joe Garagiola. Chambers had just thrown a no-hitter weeks earlier, the first one in Pirates history since 1907. Westlake would make the all-star team that year but his star faded quickly outside of Pittsburgh. He had a nice half season in 1953 with the Indians but by 1956 he was out of baseball and he spent most of his last two seasons in the minors. He hit .281 for the Pirates over his 580 games, driving in 378 runs, hitting 97 homers and scoring 311 runs. He turns 91 today and is the 4th oldest living Pirates player.

Also born on this date in 1937 was Rex Johnston who played for the 1964 Pirates and the 1960 Pittsburgh Steelers. The Pirates signed him as an amateur free agent in 1959, sending him to the minors where he spent five entire seasons before getting a chance in the majors at age 26. The outfielder had a strong all around season in A ball in 1961 when he hit .283 with 61 walks, 18 homers and 13 stolen bases. He spent the next three season for the Pirates in AAA Columbus. His major league career was very brief, lasting just under one month. He made his major league debut on April 15, 1964 during a 12 inning game and he was intentionally walked his first time up in the majors. He batted just once more during the month of April, while also making five appearances as a late inning defensive replacement in left field.

On May 2nd he started his only career game, going 0-4 with a walk during a 5-4 win over the St Louis Cardinals. He never recorded a major league hit but on May 10,1964 during a doubleheader he pinch hit for Elroy Face, drew a walk and then scored his only major league run on a single by Roberto Clemente. All told, he appeared in 14 games, went to bat ten times going 0-7 with three walks. He returned to the minors to finish the year then spent two more seasons at AAA in the San Francisco Giants system. During the 1960 season the Steelers invited Johnston to a tryout, he had played football at USC. The Pirates granted him permission and following the minor league season he joined the Steelers for that one season, doing mostly punt and kick returns. He is the only man to play for both the Steelers and Pirates and he celebrates his 74th birthday today.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Adrien Broner uses Bruce Jenner zinger after win

ESPN explains reason for Dabo Swinney interview error

Brian Kelly: Kizer made right call on 2-point play

Jim Mora calls UCLA's upcoming schedule 'a complete injustice'

Tommy Tuberville returned to Auburn, lined up at Tiger Walk

WATCH: Arizona State pushes pile 20 yards on TD run


Jim McElwain still won't name Will Grier Florida's starter

Steve Smith has microfractures in back, out for Week 5

Cowboys want Brandon Weeden to attempt longer passes

Nebraska captain tells crowd 'I'm sorry we suck'

Report: Dolphins could fire some coaches if team loses to Jets

Georgia fans get #FireRicht trending on Twitter

Cormier tops Gustafsson at UFC 192

Robert Smith wants Braxton Miller back at QB

WATCH: Clemson, Swinney have locker room dance party

10 takeaways from Week 5 of the college football season

WATCH: Dabo Swinney interview awkwardly cut off

Ohio St. LB Darron Lee has message for fans after close win

WATCH: Swedish league player unties opponent's skates

Max Scherzer throws second no-hitter of the season

Ezekiel Elliott jokes he owes his OL a steak dinner

Mike Riley explains questionable pass play on third down

Torey Lovullo would be 'honored' by managerial offers

WATCH: Ohio State stops Indiana on 4th down to win game

McIlroy: Spieth, Day have made me hungry again

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

10 takeaways from Week 5 of the college football season

Rick Pitino and the shadows that never leave

Chad Johnson ... Steelers kicker?

Flacco deserves more from the Ravens

Time for Neymar's Barcelona

Seth Rollins, WWE depth, Divas and winning

Madison Keys and the future of women’s tennis

Most underrated games in NFL Week 4

What to watch in CFB Week 5

Starter strategies for final, tie-breaker and wild card games

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker