This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History, September 24th, Pirates Extend Longest Winning Streak

Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates players have been born on this date, plus we have a game of note.

Travis Ishikawa, first baseman for the 2014-15 Pirates. He hit .217 in 53 games with the Pirates, split over two different stints. Ishikawa also had two stints with the San Francisco Giants during his eight-year career. He debuted in the majors with the Giants in 2008. After spending 2009 in the minors, he played three more seasons in San Francisco. Ishikawa moved on to Milwaukee in 2012, then played very briefly for both the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees in 2013. He signed a free agent deal with the Pirates after the season and ended up playing 15 early season games before being released. He re-signed with the Giants and stayed there until the Pirates picked him up off waivers in July of 2015. He was released after the season and spent 2016 in the minors before retiring. Ishikawa hit .255 in 488 big league games, with 23 homers and 137 RBIs.

Jeff Karstens, pitcher for the 2008-12 Pirates. He was a 19th round pick by the New York Yankees, who debuted in the majors three years later. Karstens pitched part of 2006-07 seasons with the Yankees, totaling nine starts and six relief appearances. While in the minors in the middle of the 2008 season, he was part of a six-player deal, coming to the Pirates for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte. Karstens went right into the rotation and made nine starts to close out 2008. In 2009, he split the year between the bullpen and starting, going 4-6, 5.42 in 108 innings.

The 2010 season saw a similar role for Karstens, though the split favored the rotation more this time. He went 3-10, 4.92 in 122.2 innings. Karstens had a breakout year of sorts in 2011, going 9-9, 3.38 in 162.1 innings. He set a career best with 26 starts. He missed two full months in the middle of 2012 and finished 5-4, 3.97 in 90.2 innings. He was signed by the Pirates for 2013, but missed the entire year due to injury. He went unsigned in 2014 and eventually retired. Karstens went 23-35, 4.31 in 82 starts and 41 relief appearances while in Pittsburgh. He had a 5.65 ERA in 57.1 innings with the Yankees.

John McDonald, middle infielder for the 2013 Pirates. He hit .065 in 16 games with the Pirates, joining the club late in Spring Training in a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He made eight starts at shortstop and saw some time at second base. In June, the Pirates traded him to the Cleveland Indians. McDonald would also play for the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox during that season. He played a total of 16 years in the majors, seeing time with eight different teams. Despite the long career, he played 100+ games just twice (2006-07 Toronto Blue Jays). McDonald hit .233 with 28 homers and 210 RBIs in 1,100 games.

Jim Mangan, catcher for the Pirates in 1952 and 1954. He hit .179 over 25 games, seeing a little more time during the 1952 season. In between his two stints with the Pirates, he spent time serving in the Navy, which caused him to miss the entire 1953 season. Mangan played a total of 45 big league games over three seasons (also the 1956 New York Giants), but he batted just 67 times and played a total of six complete games. The Pirates lost him via waivers to the Giants in March of 1956 for the $10,000 waiver fee at the time. He was originally signed by Pittsburgh in 1949.

Dixie Walker, outfielder for the 1948-49 Pirates. He was a star player who finished out his big league time in Pittsburgh. In his career, he hit .306 over 18 seasons, with 1,037 runs scored, 1,023 RBIs, 2,064 hits and an .820 OPS. Walker led the NL in triples in 1937, average in 1944 and RBIs in 1945. He played in four All-Star games and got MVP votes in eight different seasons. Walker was acquired by the Pirates from the Brooklyn Dodgers as part of a six-player deal on December 8, 1947. He had a strong 1948 season at 37 years old, hitting .316 with 52 walks and 54 RBIs in 129 games, spending most of his time in right field. He batted .282 in 1949, though he saw more time off of the bench than as an actual starter. As soon as the season ended, Walker was released. He begin a 10-year stretch as a minor league manager in 1950, the first year as a player-manager. Walker came from a great baseball family. His brother Harry Walker played 11 seasons in the majors, while also missing time during WWII. His father, who also went by Dixie, pitched for four seasons in the majors. His uncle Ernie Walker had a three-year stretch in the majors with the St Louis Browns.

Paddy Siglin, second baseman for the Pirates from 1914 until 1916. He played just 23 games over his three seasons in Pittsburgh, hitting .180 with nine singles. Signlin played over 2,000 games in the minors over 14 seasons. The Pirates acquired him from his minor league team in Waterloo, Iowa during the 1914 season. He debuted as a pro in 1913 and hit .227 in 126 games for Waterloo. Siglin broke out the next season, batting .322 with 43 steals and 83 runs scored in 130 games. He joined the Pirates after the minor league season ended and made 11 starts at second base, batting .154 in 44 plate appearances. Siglin moved up in minor league competition in 1915, going to Youngstown, where he hit .241 in 125 games. He again joined the Pirates in September and he went 2-for-7 at the plate in six games. He jumped up another level in 1916, playing for Rochester of the International League, where he hit .285 in 142 games. As a September addition for a third time, his big league action was limited to four at-bats over three games. Siglin played another ten years of minor league ball before retiring.

Bob Vail, pitcher for the 1908 Pirates. In his only big league season, he joined the Pirates late in the year and made one start and three relief appearances, allowing ten runs over 15 innings. His first outing was eight shutout innings in relief of Vic Willis, who gave up three runs in the first inning. The Pirates won the game 4-3. Vail started nine days later and allowed four runs in four innings. After a scoreless inning on September 10th, his final appearance was six runs over two innings eight days later. Before joining the Pirates in 1908, Vail had a 15-12 record for the Portsmouth Truckers of the Virginia League. It was his fifth season of pro ball. He would spend his final four seasons (1909-12) of pro ball in the Virginia League before retiring as a player.

The Streak

On this date in 1913, the Pirates won 3-2 over the Cubs to move to 76-68 on the season, all but securing them their 15th straight winning season. Due to multiple rain outs, they ended up playing just five more games that season, finishing with a 78-71 record. They would fall below .500 in 1914, breaking the still-standing longest winning stretch in team history. Here’s the boxscore from September 24, 1913.