This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History, September 25th, Tony Womack

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

Vance Worley, pitcher for the 2014-15 Pirates. The Philadelphia Phillies drafted him twice, taking him out of high school in 2005, and then again out of Cal State Long Beach three years later, nabbing him in the third round in 2008. He made two starts in short-season ball in 2008, followed by 11 starts in Low-A. Worley combined to go 3-2, 2.48 in 69 innings during his first pro season. The next year was spent entirely in Double-A, where he went 7-12, 5.34 in 153.1 innings over 27 starts. He split the 2010 season between Double-A (19 starts) and Triple-A (eight starts), going 10-7, 3.36 in 158 innings. The Phillies first called him up in late July that year and he finished the season with a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings. Most of 2011 was spent in the majors, with Worley posting an 11-3, 3.01 record in 21 starts and four relief appearances, totaling 131.2 innings pitched. He finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting. His 2012 season did not go well, with a 6-9, 4.20 record in 133 innings over 23 starts. The Phillies traded him to the Minnesota Twins in December of 2012. He had a 7.21 ERA in ten starts in 2013, his only season in Minnesota.

The Pirates purchased Worley from the Twins shortly before the 2014 season started. After making seven starts in Triple-A, he was strong as a starter for the 2014 Pirates, posting a, 8-4, 2.85 record in 110.1 innings over 17 starts and one relief appearance. That helped them to their second straight playoff appearance. He split 2015 between starting and relief, seeing his ERA drop to 4.02 in 71.2 innings over eight starts and 15 relief outings. Worley was released at the end of the 2015 season and he pitched for the Baltimore Orioles in 2016, where he went 2-2, 3.53 in 86.2 innings split between four starts and 31 relief appearances. He spent his final season in the majors with the 2017 Miami Marlins, going 2-6, 6.91 in 71.2 innings, before apparently finishing his career in the minors in 2018 with four starts for the New York Mets. However, he made a comeback in 2021, pitching in independent ball and returning to the Mets in Triple-A. In his big league career, he has a 35-36, 4.09 record in 667 innings, with 97 starts and 66 relief appearances.

Tony Womack, second baseman for the 1993-94 and 1996-98 Pirates. He was drafted by the Pirates in the seventh round in 1991 out of Guilford College, where he’s the only draft pick to ever make it to the majors. He debuted in the New York-Penn League and hit .277 in 45 games, with 30 runs scored and 26 stolen bases. He spent all of 1992 in Low-A, where he hit .245 in 102 games, with 62 runs scored and 50 steals, though he was caught stealing 25 times. In 1993, Womack started in High-A and he finished in the majors. He hit .299 with 28 steals in 72 games in High-A, then moved to Double-A for 60 games, in which he hit .304 and stole 21 more bases. He scored 41 runs at each level. He joined the Pirates in September and hit .083 in 15 games. He went to Triple-A in 1994 and posted a lowly .505 OPS in 106 games, but he played five games that year for the Pirates. The 1995 season was spent in the minors, with most of his time coming in Double-A. He combined for a .632 OPS in 112 games, with 64 runs scored and 34 steals. Womack improved in Triple-A in 1996, posting a .729 OPS in 131 games, with 37 steals and 75 runs scored. He got another shot with the Pirates and this time he hit .333 in 17 games.

Womack played three partial seasons with the Pirates, totaling 37 games, before finally getting a chance to play full-time in 1997. That year he finished ninth in the Rookie of the Year voting and made the All-Star team. He hit .278 with 41 extra-base hits, 85 runs scored and 50 RBIs in 155 games. Womack stole 60 bases (in 67 attempts) to lead the National League. The following season, he led the NL again with 58 steals, getting caught just eight times. In 159 games, he hit .282 with 35 extra-base hits and 85 runs scored. Prior to the 1999 season, he was dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks for pitchers Jason Boyd and Paul Weichard. Womack led the NL for a third straight season in steals during his first season in Arizona, swiping a career-high 72 bags. He also set a career-best with 111 runs scored, while batting .277 with39 extra-base hits and 52 walks. In 2000, he hit .271 with 95 runs scored, 45 steals and 42 extra-base hits, which included a league leading total of 14 triples. In 2001, he helped the Diamondbacks to a World Series title by providing strong defense at second base (1.5 dWAR), to go along with 66 runs scored and 28 steals in 125 games. He scored a total of eight runs in the postseason, despite going 1-for-4 in steal attempts.

In 2002, Womack batted .271 with 90 runs scored, 29 steals and 57 RBIs in 153 games. During the 2003 season, he was traded to the Colorado Rockies, who sent him to the Chicago Cubs a short time later. Between the three stops, he hit .226 with 13 steals and 43 runs scored in 103 games. He signed with the Boston Red Sox as a free agent for 2004, but they ended up trading him to the St Louis Cardinals before the season started. Womack ended up having his best overall season, hitting .307 with 26 steals and 91 runs scored in 145 games. He signed a free agent deal with the New York Yankees for 2005 and hit .249 in 108 games, with 27 steals. Due to low walk/power numbers, he finished with a .556 OPS. The Yankees traded him to the Cincinnati Reds, who would release him just three weeks into the 2006 season. He signed with the Cubs, but his stay there lasted just six weeks before being released, which ended his big league career. He batted .265 in 28 games during his final season. Womack played 1,303 big league games, with a .273 average, 363 steals, 368 RBIs and 739 runs scored. Despite some seasons with big overall numbers in speed and runs scored over a 13-year career, Womack finished with a 2.5 WAR for his career, which includes 3.3 WAR for the St Louis Cardinals in 2004.

Michael Crotta, reliever for the 2011 Pirates. He was originally drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2003 out of high school, but he decided to attend Florida Atlantic instead. The Pirates selected him in 2006 in the 17th round, 30 rounds higher than his spot three years earlier. He started his pro career in short-season ball, posting a 2.68 ERA in 47.2 innings with Williamsport of the New York-Penn League. He got promoted to Low-A, where he had a 10.38 ERA in four starts. Crotta was in Low-A in 2007, going 10-5, 4.39 in 137.1 innings. He got one Double-A start that did not go well, with seven runs in 2.2 innings. In 2008, he was in High-A all year, going 9-10, 4.67 in 146.1 innings. He went to the Arizona Fall League after the season and had a 4.76 ERA in 17 innings. In 2009, Crotta spent the year as a starter for Double-A Altoona, going 7-8, 4.76 in 143.2 innings over 27 starts. He did well in four starts in Double-A in 2010, while spending the rest of the year in Triple-A, where he had a 5-10, 4.93 record in 131.1 innings over 24 starts. Crotta was with the Pirates at the start of the 2011 season, staying with the big league club until mid-May. He had a strong Spring Training and was helped out by the Pirates having three injured pitchers who were all supposed to be locks for the Opening Day pitching staff. He had a 9.28 ERA in 10.2 innings over 15 relief appearances during his only big league experience. He returned to the minors, where he remained with the Pirates through the 2012 season, though he was injured for part of 2011 and all of 2012. He pitched a total of 11.2 innings in the minors for the Pirates after being sent down in May of 2011. He later pitched in the Washington Nationals (2013) and Detroit Tigers (2016) system, with two seasons in Japan in between. Crotta last played in 2016.

Dick Davis, outfielder for the 1982 Pirates. He was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Milwaukee Brewers out of Snow College in 1972, and he debuted in the majors with the Brewers five years later. At 18 years old, Davis debuted in the New York-Penn League after hitting .347 in 28 games in college. He hit .288 over 37 games in his first season in pro ball. In his first full season in the pros, he spent his first of two seasons with Danville of the Midwest League (A-Ball). Davis hit .274 with 27 extra-base hits in 101 games in 1973. He followed that up with a .262 average, 35 extra-base hits and 28 steals in 114 games. He moved up to Thetford Mines of the Double-A Eastern League in 1975, where he batted .253 with 23 doubles, 16 homers and 14 steals in 132 games. The next year was spent in the same league, just with the Milwaukee affiliate changing to the Berkshire Brewers. Davis batted .289 with 24 doubles, 16 homers, 69 RBIs and 70 runs scored in 126 games in 1976. The next year he moved up to Spokane of the Pacific Coast League (Triple-A) and had an outstanding year, batting .355, with 94 runs, 25 doubles, 13 homers, 74 RBIs and 18 stolen bases. That led to his first big league shot and he batted .275 in 22 games with the Brewers.

In 1978, Davis hit .248 with five homers and 26 RBIs in 69 games. He saw a bit more time in 1979, hitting .266 with 12 homers, 41 RBIs and 51 runs scored in 91 games. He set a career high with 106 games played in 1980, when he hit .271 with 32 extra-base hits, 30 RBIs and 50 runs scored. He was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies during Spring Training in 1981, then hit .333 with two homers and 19 RBIs in 45 games during the strike-shortened season. The 1982 season saw him play with three different teams, starting with 28 games for the Phillies before he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays on June 15th for Wayne Nordhagen, who was subsequently traded to the Pirates for Bill Robinson. After just three games, Davis was acquired by the Pirates in a trade with the Blue Jays on June 22, 1982 for Nordhagen. It turned out that Nordhagen was injured at the time, so the Pirates returned him to his original team and got Davis instead. Davis hit .182 in 39 games for the Pirates, seeing most of his playing time in right field.  He remained with the Pirates until late in Spring Training of 1983 when he was released. He played with the Philadelphia Phillies in Triple-A in 1983, then spent his final five seasons of pro ball playing in Japan. Davis hit a total of 76 homers during the 1985-86 seasons. He was a .265 hitter with 27 homers, 141 RBIs and 160 runs scored in 403 big league games. His cousin Enos Cabell played 15 years in the majors.

Dave Robertson, outfielder for the 1921 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball at 21 years old in 1911 in the Class-D Tidewater League for a team from Elizabeth City. Just one year later he made the huge jump to the majors, though he was barely used during the 1912 season, playing one game in early June, one in late June and another game one month later. Robertson was in the minors for the 1913 season, where he hit .335 with 45 extra-base hits and 85 runs scored in 135 games for Mobile of the Southern Association. He returned to the Giants in 1914 and hit .266 with two homers and 32 RBIs in 82 games. He became the everyday right fielder in 1915 and hit .294 with 30 extra-base hits, 22 steals and 72 runs scored in 141 games. Robertson became a feared power hitter during the 1916 season, though this was still the deadball era, so that doesn’t hold the same weight that it does now. He batted .307 that season, with 18 doubles, eight triples and a league leading 12 homers, to go along with 88 runs scored and 69 RBIs in 150 games. While he led the league with 12 homers again in 1917, he didn’t quite pack the same punch, batting .259 with a .667 OPS.

Robertson served in the military during the 1918 season. He was back in New York in 1919, though he was traded to the Chicago Cubs mid-season after playing just one game off of the bench. He hit .208 with one homer in 28 games in 1919. He regained some of that power in 1920, hitting .300 with 29 doubles, 11 triples and ten homers in 134 games. He scored 68 runs and set a career high with 75 RBIs. He got off to a slow start in 1921, hitting .222 with no homers in 22 games, though he still managed to drive in 14 runs. The Pirates dealt pitcher Elmer Ponder to the Cubs to get Robertson in June, 1921. With Pittsburgh, he hit .322 with 48 RBIs in 60 games in 1921, seeing time at all three outfield spots. Robertson held out during Spring Training in 1922 and was released. He went back to the Giants for one final season, batting .277 with one homer in 42 games, before finishing his career in the minors with eight more seasons, including four as a player-manager. He was a career .287 hitter, who ended up with just 47 big league homers, despite the two home run titles. He had 364 RBIs and 366 runs scored in 804 games.

The Game

On this date in 1960, the Pirates clinched their first National League title in 33 years. They lost to the Milwaukee Braves, but a 5-0 loss to the Cubs eliminated the Cardinals from the playoffs. The Pirates went on to win their third World Series title that year, defeating the New York Yankees in seven games. Here’s the boxscore from the game on this date. Roberto Clemente had two hits and Bill Mazeroski homered off of Warren Spahn.