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Perrotto: How Previous Pirates’ 1-1s Fared in Their Debuts



Henry Davis will make his much-anticipated major-league debut Monday night for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park.

When he does, Davis will become the franchise’s fifth first overall pick in Major League’s Amateur Draft – commonly referred to as the 1-1 player – to reach the big leagues. The Pirates selected him for the University of Louisville two years ago.

Here is a look at how the other four 1-1s did in their first MLB games:


King made a clutch debut on June 2, 1989 against the Mets at Shea Stadium in New York, three years after being selected from the University of Arkansas.

King pinch hit in the top of the 11th inning for Benny Distefano, singled off Rich Aguilera and scored the go-ahead run. King stayed in the game at first base for the bottom of the inning, but Randy Kramer couldn’t hold the 2-1 lead as the Mets rallied for a 3-2 victory.

That ruined a 3-for-3 night by irrepressible Pirates backup catcher Junior Ortiz.


The Pirates chose the right-hander from Clemson University in 1996 and he made the major-league club out of spring training in 1999.

Benson’s first start came on April 9 against the Chicago Cubs at Three Rivers Stadium, and he got the win with a strong effort. Benson allowed only one run on two hits in six innings in the Pirates’ 2-1 victory, striking out three and walking three.

Chris Peters and Mike Williams finished the four-hitter and Warren Morris hit a home run.


The big right-hander’s initial taste of the major leagues came almost unnoticed on Sept. 18, 2005 when he pitched 1.1 relief innings against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park. He had been picked three years prior in 2002 from Ball State University.

Bullington was charged with two runs in a game the Pirates rallied to win 9-7. He allowed one hit, struck out one and walked one.

Freddy Sanchez led the Pirates with three hits, perhaps a precursor to him winning the National League batting title the following season.


Cole made his debut on June 11, 2013 with a start against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park, barely two years after being selected from UCLA.

Cole got the win and turned in a quality start as the Pirates notched an 8-2 victory. In 6.1 innings, he gave up two runs and seven hits with two strikeouts and no walks. Cole also hit a two-run single off two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum in his first plate appearance.

Pedro Alvarez helped give Cole plenty of run support by going 3 for 3 with a home run. Starling Marte also connected.


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