After the Pirate's early success with the Rule V draft, they ran into rather lean times with it. In fact, it would take until 1950 for them to get one, well, sorta right. In 1950 they would draft:
In 1950, the Pirate's picked Long from the Yankee's in the Rule V draft. Interestingly enough, this was the third year in a row that he had been selected by a team. In 1948, he was selected by the Detroit Tigers from the Boston Red Sox. Then, in 1949, the Yankee's drafted him from the Tigers. These two picks however were not Rule V picks, but minor league picks.
But the Pirate's didn't hold on to Long as he was put on waivers at the start of June in 1951, and the St. Louis Brown's claimed him off waivers. Then, in December 1951, the Pirates purchased him back from St. Louis! So this is why I say, they sorta got it right. Long made only a brief appearance in 1951 with the Pirates, and it wasn't until 1955 that he would again hit the major leagues. And when he did, he made it count. In his four years with the Pirate's, he generated a 4.3 WAR for the Pirate's and had a BA of .272, OBP of .339, a .491 SLG, and an OPS of .830. He led the league in triples in 1955 with 13, and was a member of the 1956 All Star team representing the Pirates. In May of 1957, Long was traded along with Lee Walls to the Chicago Cubs for Gene Baker and Dee Fondy, a trade I'm sure that the Pirate's would have liked to do over.
The 50's actually would be kind to the Pirate's concerning the Rule V Draft, as it only too them another 2 years to find the Rule 5 hidden gem.
Elroy Face (Roy)
I doubt that even the Pirate's would have envisioned the career that Face would have for them. Picked from the Fort Worth Cat's, a Brooklyn Dodgers farm team in December of 1952, Face would go on to a spectacular 15 year career with the Pirates. His career would include leading the league in games finished 4 different years (58/60/61/62), best winning percentage in 1959 at .947, saves in 58, 61, and 62, and a six time All Star selection. He would provide a 20.5 WAR value to the Pirate's during his 15 year run with them.
Additional reading : https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/a959749b
As stated above, the 50's were kind to the Pirate's. And Mr, Peabody will take us to the best of the best in his Wayback Machine to 1954...
What can I say about Roberto that hasn't already been said? The best player to ever be acquired by the Rule V draft was picked by the Pirate's in the November 1954 draft from the Brooklyn Dodger's who had signed Clemente in February of 1954 as an amateur free agent, and tried to hide him by stashing him in Canada where he played for the AAA team, the Montreal Royal's. Alas for the Dodger's, that didn't work, and the rest as they say, was history. His list of accolades and accomplishments, would take a whole article in itself.
Additional reading: https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/8b153bc4
As we have seen, its hard to find that special player using the Rule V draft, but it can happen. And not all Rule V players have to have greatness attached, sometimes they just do enough to help at that place and time. While looking at every draft choice the Pirate's took when they did select a player, a trio of players stood out to me that I thought deserved Honorable Mention as players who at least, beat the odds and went on to a valid major league career. That trio is:
Jerry Lynch 1953
Rocky Nelson 1958
Luke Walker 1963
I hope you enjoyed reading this and look forward to your comments. And if I missed someone, please jump in and correct me!