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What date do you want 1880 to convert to? 1/1/1880?
Tableau doesn't know what you need there.
Consider making a calc field that looks something like this:
MAKEDATE([year], 1, 1)
So read your field in as a number, and build your date from that.
Thanks Joe, your post helped me realize that Tableau wants the data in the date column to be formatted dd/mm/yyyy. I thought that I would be able to tell it that the data in that column is year information only. Now, after concatenating a bogus date and month to each record, my question is solved.