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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

David Bird pitched great game in college, saw 4 pro seasons

David Bird 1990 Augusta Pirates card
David Bird picked up the win for Chapman College in that January 1988 game. He did so, according to The Los Angeles Times, by striking out five, giving up a single run and pitching a complete game.

"We didn't expect to get nine innings out of David," Chapman coach Mike Weathers told The Times. "But the last seven, he only threw 82 pitches. He pitched a great game."

Bird ended up pitching well enough for Chapman to get the notice of scouts for the Pirates, signing with them the next year. Bird, though, never pitched well enough for a long pro career, his career lasting just four seasons and never getting higher than AA.

Bird's pro career began in June 1989, taken by the Pirates in the 10th round out of Chapman.

At Chapman in February 1989, the junior hurler threw a shutout, winning a 2-0 decision, while striking out six. The previous month, he took a loss, running out of steam in the seventh, according to The Times.

"It's time to stretch him out," Weathers told The Times of Bird. "He pitched a good game for the first 6 innings but he got tired and went to the fastball too much in the seventh."

With the Pirates, Bird started at short-season Welland, going 6-7 in 17 outings, nine starts. He also posted an ERA of 2.20.

For 1990, Bird moved to single-A Augusta and high-A Salem. He got 44 outings at Augusta and eight at Salem. Between the two, he had an ERA of 2.22. At Augusta, he saved 15 games.

Bird returned to Salem for all of 1991, getting 15 starts and 20 relief outings. In all, he went 10-9, with a 4.17 ERA.

Bird then made AA Carolina for 1992, turning starter. He started 23 games, but went just 5-11. He picked up his 11th loss in a late-August 4-1 defeat.

In May, though, Bird was Carolina's starter in its exhibition against the big league Pirates. He went five innings, giving up two earned runs. For Bird, that game ended up being the closest he would get to seeing major league hitters. His fourth pro season was his last.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:1,055
Made the Majors: 655 - 62.1%
Never Made Majors: 400-37.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 286
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 169

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