This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: September 27th, Pirates Clinch Their Third Straight Division Title

Eight former Pittsburgh Pirates players have been born on this date, including a member of the 1909 World Series champs.

Alan Storke,  infield for the Pirates from 1906 until 1909. The Pirates acquired him in the 1906 Rule 5 draft after he batted .290 in 57 games for Providence of the Eastern League. The draft results were announced on September 2, 1906 and Storke (whose first name was listed as Allen), was said to have been a prime target of Connie Mack and the Philadelphia A’s, so the Pirates felt lucky to get his services. He was a college star in baseball at Amherst College, who signed to play pro ball with Auburn of the Class-D Empire State League when he graduated. That league quickly folded and he joined Providence, which was a jump of three levels in the minor league system. That 1906 season was his first year in pro ball and he finished the year playing five games for the Pirates. On August 5th, the Pirates played an exhibition game against Providence, so the Pirates were able to scout him first-hand against big league competition. He got a hit off of Deacon Phillippe that game. They also got to see him on the day he joined the club, as Providence and Pittsburgh played another exhibition game on September 23rd. Storke played shortstop and he went 0-for-4 against Howie Camnitz in the Pirates 12-0 win. The next day Storke was playing third base and batting sixth for the Pirates. The timing of him joining the team coincided with the Pirates making a trip to play the Boston Beaneaters (Braves), so they played Providence on the off-day before the series started against Boston.

Storke was a utility infielder for the 1907 Pirates, playing 112 games when seeing time at all four infield spots, though more than half of his time was spent at third base. He batted .258 with a .612 OPS during his first full season in the majors. He had similar results at the plate in 1908, though his playing time was cut in half. He hit .252 with a .606 OPS, with a large majority of his playing time that season coming as a first baseman. He was playing sparingly in 1909 when the Pirates won their first World Series title. He hit .254 with 12 RBIs and 12 runs scored, while seeing all of his playing time at the two corner infield spots. He wasn’t around during the World Series celebration, as Pittsburgh traded him (and Jap Barbeau) to the St Louis Cardinals in August for third baseman Bobby Byrne. He batted .282 in 48 games with the Cardinals after the trade. Storke was dealt to the Cincinnati Reds the following February, right before tragedy struck. During a lung operation in March, he passed away at the age of 25. He hit .255 in 218 games for the Pirates, with two homers, 64 RBIs and 57 runs scored.

Vin Mazzaro, pitcher for the 2013-14 Pirates. He was a third round pick of the Oakland A’s out of high school in 2005. He didn’t debut until 2006, playing his first season in Low-A ball at 19 years old, going 9-9, 5.05 in 119.1 innings for Kane County of the Midwest League. In 2007, Mazzaro spent the year in the high-offense California League (High-A), where he went 9-12, 5.33 in 153.2 innings. That was followed by a breakout in Double-A, in 2008, going 12-3, 1.90 in 137.1 innings in the Texas League. He was promoted to the Pacific Coast League (Triple-A) to end the season and he had a 6.15 ERA in 33.2 innings. In 2009, he had a 2.38 ERA in 56.2 innings at Triple-A, followed by 17 starts with the A’s after being promoted in early June. He went 4-9, 5.32 in 91.1 innings for the A’s that season. Mazzaro spent part of 2010 back in the minors, but most of the year was spent in Oakland, where he had a 6-8, 4.27 record in 122.1 innings. Mazzaro was traded to the Kansas City Royals before the 2011 season and spent two years there, splitting his time between starting and relief, while seeing more time in the minors each season. He had a 6.72 ERA in 72.1 innings over his two seasons in Kansas City, with slightly better results and more time during his second season.

The Pirates acquired Mazzaro in a four-player trade on November 28, 2012. He was the main player involved in the deal that included the Pirates sending two lower level players to the Royals. Mazzaro was outstanding in his first year with the Pirates, but barely pitched during his second year, spending most of the season in Triple-A. He had an 8-2, 2.81 record in 73.2 innings over 57 appearances with the Pirates in 2013, then he pitched just 10.1 innings over five appearances during the 2014 season, with all of that time coming in May. He pitched well in Triple-A that season, posting a 2.52 ERA in 50 innings. Despite the success, he was let go after the 2014 season. Mazzaro signed a free agent deal with the Miami Marlins and had a 3.75 ERA in ten appearances. He was released in June, and signed with the Atlanta Braves to finish out the season. Once again he put up strong results in Triple-A and solid big league results, but he didn’t make it back up to the majors that season. Mazzaro’s last two big league outings were with the San Francisco Giants in 2016, but only the first one went well. He pitched one inning total and allowed nine runs, though all nine of those runs came in his final big league appearance. He finished the 2016 season in Triple-A for the Giants, then pitched twice in Triple-A with the Cincinnati Reds in 2017, allowing 13 runs in 4.1 innings. Since that point, he’s played five seasons of independent ball and one year of winter ball. In his big league career, he went 24-23, 4.79 in 383 innings over 45 starts and 95 relief appearances.

Pedro Ciriaco, shortstop for the 2010-11 Pirates. He signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks as an international free agent out of the Dominican at 17 years old in early 2003. He first two seasons were spent in the Dominican Summer League before debuting in the United States in 2005. Ciriaco hit .240 that season in 69 games, with a .595 OPS. In 2006, he spent the year in the Low-A Midwest League, hitting .264 with 19 steals and 77 runs scored in 128 games. The next year saw him move up to Visalia of the California League for the first of two full seasons. He hit .251 in 119 games in 2007, with 20 steals and a .608 OPS. He improved to a .741 OPS in 124 games in 2008, with a .310 average, 36 extra-base hits, 85 runs scored and 40 steals. In 2009, Ciriaco spent the season in Double-A, where he hit .296 with 38 steals in 121 games. He played in the Arizona Fall League after the season and hit .258 in 15 games, then batted .320 in 14 games of winter ball in the Dominican. Ciriaco started the 2010 season in Triple-A, playing in the high-offense baseball environment in Reno of the Pacific Coast League. In 87 games, he hit .259 with 51 RBIs and a .670 OPS.

Ciriaco was acquired by the Pirates from the Diamondbacks at the 2010 trade deadline in a five-player deal. He made his Major League debut five week after the trade and played eight September games for the Pirates. He spent most of 2011 in the minors, getting into 23 games in Pittsburgh. He went back-and-forth between Indianapolis during the season, seeing at least one big league game in every month from May until September. He hit .333 in 31 games during his two seasons in Pittsburgh. Ciriaco was released after the 2011 season and he signed quickly with the Boston Red Sox, where he had his best season in 2012. He hit .293 in 76 games, with 16 stolen bases and saw time at six different positions. The 2013 season ended up being split between Boston, the San Diego Padres and the Kansas City Royals. He combined to play 56 games that season, hitting .224 with two homers and nine steals in ten attempts. He batted .213 in 25 games with the 2014 Royals, seeing most of his playing time at second base. Ciriaco saw his most big league time in 2015 with the Atlanta Braves (84 games) which also ended up being his final big league season. He hit .261 with one homer, 15 RBIs and 14 runs scored. Most of his time came off of the bench, with just 24 starts all season, splitting those starts between all four infield spots. He played with five teams over six seasons in the majors, hitting .268 in 272 games, with five homers, 51 RBIs, 70 runs scored and 35 steals in 42 attempts. He remained in pro ball through the winter of 2017-18. During the 2016 season, he played in the minors with the Miami Marlins, Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers.

Dave Wickersham, reliever for the 1968 Pirates. He was originally signed by the Pirates as an amateur in 1955. They lost him in the 1959 minor league draft to the Kansas City Athletics. Wickersham debuted at 19 years old in 1955 with Burlington-Graham of the Class-B Carolina League, where he had a 4.50 ERA in 36 innings. He moved down a level to Grand Forks of the Northern League in 1956, where he went 13-9, 4.53 in 177 innings. He spent most of 1957 with Class-B Beaumont of the Big State League, going 15-8, 1.95 in 217 innings. He also saw limited time a level higher with Lincoln of the Western League. In 1958, Wickersham spent most of the year with Lincoln, where he had a 16-9, 3.87 record in 193 innings. He split 1959 evenly between Gastonia of the South Atlantic League (Class-A) and Salt Lake City of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He had much better results at the lower level, with a 2.69 ERA in 97 innings as a starter, compared to a 4.79 ERA in 47 innings of relief work. After the A’s selected him in the minor league draft, he spent most of the year with Shreveport of the Double-A Southern Association, going 10-7, 2.65 in 187 innings. He made five appearances in the majors, allowing one run in 8.1 innings. Wickersham had a 5.73 ERA in ten appearances early in 1961 with the A’s, before being sent back to the minors. After posting a 2.45 ERA in 57 relief appearances for Shreveport in 1961, he returned in September and remained in the majors full-time until 1968. He had a 5.14 ERA in 17 games for the A’s in 1961.

Wickersham had an 11-4, 4.17 record in 110 innings over nine starts and 21 relief appearances in 1962. He was a full-time starter in 1963, going 12-15, 4.09 in 237.2 innings. He was part of a five-player/cash trade with the Detroit Tigers in November of 1963. During the 1964 season, Wickersham went 19-12, 3.44 in 254 innings, with a career high of 164 strikeouts. The 1965 season saw him post a slightly higher ERA on a better Detroit team, but his record was well off the 19 wins from the previous year. He went 9-14, 3.78 in 195.1 innings. He split 1966 between starting and relief, going 8-3, 3.20 in 140.2 innings, with 14 starts and 24 relief outings. Wickersham became a full-time reliever in 1967 before joining the Pirates, and he succeeded in that role. He was reacquired by the Pirates after the 1967 season in a trade for pitcher Dennis Ribant. He went 4-5, 2.74 in 85.1 innings. He had a 3.48 ERA in 20.2 innings over 11 appearances during his only season in Pittsburgh. Shortly after the 1968 season ended, the Pirates sold him to the expansion Kansas City Royals. After leaving the Pirates, he went 2-3, 3.96 in 50 innings over 34 appearances for the 1969 Royals, in what ended up being his final big league season. He finished up with a 68-57, 3.66 record in 1,123 innings over 124 starts and 159 relief appearances.

Dick Hall, outfielder for the 1952-55 Pirates and pitcher for the 1955-57 and 1959 Pirates. Hall was signed as a position player in late 1951 and debuted in the majors at 21 years old in 1952. Hall spent parts of three seasons trying to make it as a position player before he was shifted to the mound in 1955. He debuted in the majors before playing his first minor league game. He hit just .138, with a .309 OPS in 26 games with the 1952 Pirates, then spent most of the year with Burlington-Graham of the Class-B Carolina League, where he hit .242 in 101 games. Hall’s 1953 season was also spent in Class-B ball, seeing time with two different teams. The results were similar to the previous year, with a .237 average in 102 games, and limited power numbers. He played seven games for the Pirates that year and he went 4-for-24 at the plate. He was with the Pirates for all of 1954 and batted .239 with two homers in 112 games. He made the switch to pitching with Lincoln of the Western League in 1955 and took right to the new position. He went 12-5, 2.24 in 153 innings, with 137 strikeouts. He was back in the majors by late July. Hall went 6-6, 3.91 in 13 starts and two relief appearances for the 1955 Pirates. The Pirates may have had second thoughts about the switch in 1956 when he went 0-7, 4.76 in 62.1 innings and he hit .345 in his limited time at the plate, but they stayed with the change.

Hall saw limited mound time in the majors in 1957, allowing 12 runs in ten innings over eight appearances. He spent half of the year back in Triple-A in a starting role, posting a 4.15 ERA in 91 innings. He then missed the entire 1958 season due to illness. Hall returned to the majors briefly in 1959, pitching two late September games for the Pirates after going 18-5, 1.87 in 217 innings with Salt Lake City of the Pacific Coast League. After the season, the Pirates sent him to the Kansas City A’s in a four-player trade. Hall never played in the minors again after leaving the Pirates, pitching until 1971, while going to the World Series four times with the Baltimore Orioles. In 1960 with the A’s, he went 8-13, 4.05 in a career high 182.1 innings. He was traded to the Baltimore Orioles right before the 1961 season started. That year he had a 7-5, 3.09 record in 122.1 innings, with 13 starts and 16 relief appearances. He adapted well to the long relief role, going 6-6, 2.28 in 118.1 innings over 43 appearances in 1962. In 1963, he had a 5-5, 2.98 record in 111.2 innings, with 12 saves (not an official stat at the time) in 47 appearances. Hall never cracked the century mark again in innings, but he pitched just as often. In 1964, he went 9-1, 1.85 with nine saves in 87.2 innings over 45 appearances.

Hall had an 11-8, 3.07 record and 12 saves in 93.2 innings over a career high 48 games in 1965. The ERA slipped a little and his workload decreased in 1966, when he went 6-2, 3.95 in 66 innings over 32 games. He was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in December of 1966 for a player to be named later.  Hall went 10-8, 2.20 in 86 innings in 1967, with nine saves and 48 appearances. He was released after going 4-1, 4.89 in 46 innings and 32 appearances in 1968. He re-signed with the Orioles and had an outstanding 1969 season, going 5-2, 1.92 in 65.2 innings over 39 games, with six saves. In 1970, he 10-5, 3.08 in 32 games, with 61.1 innings pitched. The Orioles went to their third straight World Series appearance in 1971, while Hall went 6-6, 4.98 in 43.1 innings that year. His last big league appearance was in the 1971 World Series and came almost 20 years to the day he signed with the Pirates. He had a 4.57 ERA in 23 starts and 21 relief appearances while with the Pirates. Hall pitched 175.1 innings for Pittsburgh and 1,259.2 innings over his 19-year career, finishing 93-75, 3.32 with 71 saves in 495 games. He was a career .210 hitter in 821 plate appearances. He pitched five postseason games without an earned run, totaling 8.2 innings worth of work. Hall turns 91 years old today.

Dick Lanahan, lefty pitcher for the 1940-41 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball during the 1935 season and played until 1948, but he saw action in the majors during just four of those seasons and he only spent one full season in the majors. He was already 23 years old when he debuted with Chattanooga of the Class-A Southern Association, where he went 7-11, 3.27 in 146 innings. Lanahan debuted in the majors with the Washington Senators that September, making three starts in which he went 0-3, 5.66 in 20.2 innings. He was back in Chattanooga for 1936, going 13-11, 4.21 in 218 innings. He was with the Senators to start and end the 1937 season, but the majority of the year was spent in the minors. He  went 9-10, 4.40 in 139 innings in the minors and he had a 12.71 ERA in 11.1 innings with the Senators. All of 1938-39 was spent back in Chattanooga. He went 14-19, 4.36 in 225 innings in 1938. Lanahan had his best minor league season in 1939, going 19-11, 2.95 in 232 innings.After the season ended, the Pirates acquired him in the 1939 winter Rule 5 draft. In eight starts and 39 relief outings with the Pirates over the 1940-41 seasons, he had a 4.35 ERA. Most of that time came during the 1940 season, when he had a 6-8, 4.25 record and set a career high with 108 innings. The Pirates sold him outright to St Paul of the American Association on May 13, 1941, and he never played in the majors again. At the time he had a 5.25 ERA in 12 innings over seven appearances. He spent the rest of 1941 and all of 1942 with St Paul, then spent two years helping with the war effort before returning to baseball during the 1945-46 seasons with St Paul. He also played back in Chattanooga for a short time in 1946, and he saw brief time with San Antonio of the Texas League in 1948. He went 6-13, 5.15 in 152 big league innings.

Marty Lang, lefty pitcher for the 1930 Pirates. In two games with the 1930 Pirates, he had a 54.00 ERA, giving up 10 runs in 1.2 innings. He debuted during a July 4th doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs and allowed six runs in the ninth inning. It was a 4-1 deficit when he came in to start the inning, and reliever Leon Chagnon had to come on to get the final out.  Ten days later, Lang got his second chance in the sixth inning against the Brooklyn Dodgers. He came in with the Pirates down 8-3 and allowed four runs in his lone inning of work. The Pirates actually rallied later, but still lost 12-8. Lang spent nine seasons in the minors, debuting in 1926 and 20 years old with Omaha of the Western League. He saw limited playing time in each of his first three seasons with Omaha, playing a total of 35 games. No pitching records are available from 1926, but he allowed 18 runs (not all earned) over 24 innings in 1927, followed by 60 runs over 53 innings in 1928. He had a 14-9 record and 210 innings pitched in 1929 for Wichita of the Western League, though he was on loan from Omaha. Despite the success, he had 113 walks and 93 strikeouts. On November 6, 1929, the Pirates purchased his contract from Omaha.

Lang pitched an exhibition game on March 24th against the San Francisco Seals during Spring Training of 1930 and allowed two runs over six innings. The reports from the game said that his changeup and breaking balls baffled the opposing hitters. He pitched another game eight days later with the same results, allowing two runs over six frames. He was with the Pirates on Opening Day (April 15th), but plans were already in place to find him a suitable minor league team for more seasoning. Just three days later, he was optioned to Baltimore of the International League. After six weeks, he was transferred to New Haven of the Eastern League, then on July 1st he rejoined the Pirates. The day after his final appearance with the Pirates, he was sent back to Pittsburgh from Boston to report to Forbes Field, which the local papers assumed was bad news. Their guess turned out to be true, as Lang was sent to Wichita of the Western League on July 19th. He was sent there on option, but the Pirates decided to let that option lapse in September, which officially ended his time in Pittsburgh. He pitched in the minors regularly until 1933, but he returned for the 1938 season, before retiring for good.

Doug Baird, utility player for the 1915-17 Pirates. Baird began his career by spending the 1912-13 seasons playing for Springfield in the Three-I league. As a 20 year old in his first season of pro ball, he hit .287 in 73 games. The next year he batted .288 with 38 extra-base hits in 135 games. In July of 1913, there were talks about the Pirates purchasing Baird, although multiple newspapers at the time hinted at the Pirates already have a string attached to him and they could call him up at any time. The announcement of his contract being purchased came in early August of 1913 and he was with the Pirates at the end of the season, but he didn’t get into any games. He went to Spring Training with the 1914 Pirates, before getting cut eight days before Opening Day. He played for Souix City of the Western League in 1914, where his manager was the brother of Pirates manager Fred Clarke. The Pirates purchased his contract back in September of 1914, and he debuted with the club the next season. It was originally noted that he would join the Pirates at the end of the Sioux City season in mid-September, but Fred Clarke noted that he already saw Baird and knows what he has, so he wanted to give other new players a look.

Baird was the starting third baseman for the Pirates in 1915, hitting .219 with 49 runs, 26 doubles, 12 triples, 53 RBIs and 29 stolen bases. He led the National League with 88 strikeouts as a rookie. He played more of a utility role in 1916 and had similar results at the plate with a .216 average, 41 runs scored and one homer in 128 games. Baird had 20 steals, but he was also caught stealing 16 times. He made 71 starts at third base, 26 at second base, and another 12 split between the three outfield spots. His batting picked up early in 1917, hitting .259 in 43 games, with 18 RBIs and 17 runs scored. Baird was traded to the St Louis Cardinals in June of 1917 for pitcher Bob Steele. He would go on to play three more seasons in the majors, seeing time with four different clubs during those 3 1/2 years. While with the Pirates, he hit .223 in 316 games, spending time at five different positions. He finished out the 1917 season by hitting .253 with 19 doubles, 12 triples and 18 steals in 104 games for the Cardinals, as their everyday third baseman. In 1918, Baird hit .247 in 82 games with the Cardinals, collecting 41 runs scored, 22 extra-base hits and 25 steals. In 1919, he split the season between St Louis, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers). Combined between the three stops, he batted .236 with 42 RBIs and 43 runs scored in 102 games. He played his final 13 big league games in 1920, seeing six games with Brooklyn and seven games with the New York Giants. He was back in the minors at age 29 in 1921, playing two years with Indianapolis of the American Association, three years with Columbus of the American Association and two years with Birmingham of the Southern Association. He also played in the same league with Little Rock during his final season. Baird hit .300+ in four of those last seven seasons. He went by his middle name during his baseball days. His actual first name was Howard.

The Game

On this date in 1992, the Pittsburgh Pirates won their third straight National League East title. Danny Jackson helped the Pirates to a 4-2 win over the Mets, as they moved to 93-63 on the season. Jay Bell drove in two runs and Barry Bonds collected his 101st RBI of the season. Here’s the boxscore.

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