Eight former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, plus a trade of note involving two future Hall of Famers.
On this date in 1921 the Pittsburgh Pirates traded infielder Walter Barbare, outfielders Billy Southworth and Fred Nicholson, along with $15,000 cash, to the Boston Braves in exchange for shortstop Rabbit Maranville. It was a lot to give up for one player, but the Pirates were picking up a star player. Southworth was an everyday outfielder who hit .284 in 1920. Nicholson batted .360 that year in 99 games, with a .934 OPS. It was his first full season in the majors. He was held back a little by poor fielding, but he got a chance to play when Max Carey was out due to illness. Barbare was a solid backup infielder with six years of experience in the majors, the last two years (1919-20) with the Pirates. All three were in their 20’s and younger than Maranville, who was 29 years old at the time. Maranville was a top-notch defensive shortstop (all-time, not just his era) and he was a decent hitter with some speed. The trade ended up helping both teams, giving the Pirates a much needed defensive upgrade in the infield, plus Maranville had his best offensive seasons while in Pittsburgh.
For the Braves they replaced one regular player with two everyday players, and Nicholson also saw plenty of time off the bench (plus the team really needed the cash). Boston saw their team in one season go from 92 losses in 1920 to a winning record (79-74) in 1921. The Pirates won 90 games in 1921 and finished in second place, making an 11-game improvement in the win column. Maranville would play four seasons with the Pirates before he was traded to the Chicago Cubs. He put up 11.5 WAR during his time in Pittsburgh and still had decent trade value at the end. The Braves received 9.3 WAR from their three players, who spent a combined seven seasons in Boston. Both Barbare and Nicholson would be sold to a minor league team in Toledo, while Southworth was traded in 1923 to the New York Giants in a deal that included three future Hall of Famers. Maranville had a 23-year career in the majors, and in 1954 the Baseball Writers of America would induct him into the Hall of Fame. Although he wasn’t inducted as a player, Billy Southworth also made the Hall of Fame in 2008, getting elected by the Veteran’s Committee as a manager.
Victor Cole, pitcher for the 1992 Pirates. He was a 14th round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals in 1988 out of Santa Clara University. While he went to school in the U.S., he was born in Russia, which has produced nine big league players, though he’s the only one since 1932. He had an outstanding debut after the draft, going 6-0, 1.84 in 58.2 innings, split over two levels. The 20-year-old right-hander pitched 15 games in relief for Eugene of the short-season Northwest League, before jumping to Baseball City of the Class-A Florida State League, where he went 5-0, 2.06 in five starts and five relief appearances. Cole moved to a full-time starting role in 1989 and had decent stats with Baseball City, going 3-1, 3.86 in 42 innings. He then did poorly in Double-A that season with Memphis of the Southern League, posting a 1-9, 6.36 record in 63.2 innings over13 starts. He spent the entire 1990 season in Memphis, seeing occasional starts mixed with long relief outings. He had a 3-8, 4.35 record that year in 107.2 innings over six starts and 40 relief appearances. He moved up to Omaha of the American Association (Triple-A) in 1991, but he wasn’t there long. Cole came to the Pirates on May 3, 1991 in an even up exchange for big league veteran OF/1B Carmelo Martinez.
With the Pirates, Cole split the 1991 season between Double-A (Carolina of the Southern League) and Triple-A (Buffalo of the American Association). Including his brief time in Triple-A for Kansas City that year, he went 2-5, 3.03 in 65.1 innings over 45 appearances, with 12 saves. In 1992, the Pirates returned him to the starting role for the first time since 1989 and he went 11-6, 3.11 in 19 starts at Buffalo. In the middle of those minor league starts, the Pirates called him up in June. Over a five-week span he pitched eight games for the Pirates (four starts), finishing with an 0-2, 5.48 record in 23 innings. That ended up being his entire big league career. He struggled badly back in the minors in 1993, posting a 7.21 ERA in 32.1 innings before getting released mid-season. Most of his time in Pittsburgh that year was spent back in Double-A. Cole finished the year in the Milwaukee Brewers system, posting a 10.50 ERA in Triple-A. After a very rough April in Double-A for the Brewers in 1994, he signed back with the Royals for the remainder of the season, finishing with a 7.21 ERA in 43.2 innings. Cole would spend the 1995-96 seasons in the minors for the San Diego Padres, while also playing independent ball each year. He pitched in Taiwan in 1997, then played in the minors for the Chicago Cubs in 1998-99, before splitting the 2000-01 seasons between Korea and Triple-A for the St Louis Cardinals. He then finished his 15-year pro career in Korea in 2002, ten years after his lone chance in the majors.
Benny Distefano, 1B/OF for the Pirates in 1984, 1986 and 1988-89. He was drafted three times out of Alvin Community College before he finally signed with the Pirates after they made him their second round pick in 1982. The Los Angeles Dodgers took him in the 16th round of the January 1981 draft, then the Toronto Blue Jays took him in the second round of the June 1981 draft. Distefano debuted in A-Ball with Greenwood of the South Atlantic League in 1982 and he hit .289 with 74 runs, 23 doubles, 15 homers, 89 RBIs and 85 walks in 136 games. He was a full-time first baseman during his first season, then moved to outfield as his main position in his second season. He skipped to Double-A Lynn of the Eastern League in 1983, where he hit .271, with 71 runs, 19 doubles, seven triples 25 homers, 92 RBIs and 63 walks, while striking out just 40 times in 556 plate appearances over 137 games. His success in 1983 helped lead to him getting called up to Pittsburgh a month into the 1984 season. The Pirates gave him 86 plate appearances over a three-month span, before sending him back to the minors in early August after he hit .167 with three homers. Distefano played for Hawaii of the Pacific Coast League (Triple-A) that season, where he batted .304 with 27 extra-base hits in 66 games.
Distefano spent all of 1985 in Hawaii, hitting .238, with 49 extra-base hits and 69 walks in 136 games. He would spend the majority of the 1986-88 seasons in Triple-A for the Pirates (their affiliate moved to Vancouver of the PCL in 1987, and then Buffalo of the American Association in 1988) , getting just 82 plate appearances in the majors over that three-year span. After batting .179 in 42 plate appearances over 31 games in 1986, he hit .345/.394/.621 in very limited time with the Pirates in 1988. His best season in the majors was in 1989 when he played 96 games, though 50 of those games were as a pinch-hitter. He hit .257 with eight doubles, two homers and 15 RBIs in 154 at-bats. That season he caught in three Major League games. To this day he is still the last left-handed throwing catcher in Major League history. All three appearances behind the plate came as defensive replacements late, and he caught a total of six innings.
Distefano was released by the Pirates after that 1989 season, and his only other MLB experience was 52 games for the 1992 Houston Astros. He spent the 1990 season in Japan, then spent the 1991 season at Triple-A with the Baltimore Orioles. He played briefly in Triple-A in 1992 for the Astros and Seattle Mariners, but a majority of the season was spent as a bench player in the majors with the Astros, where he had a .603 OPS in 66 plate appearances. Distefano’s career ended in 1993 after playing for the Texas Rangers Triple-A affiliate (Oklahoma City of the American Association). In the minors, he caught one game while with the Mariners and two while with the Rangers, which were his only minor league catching appearances. While in Pittsburgh, Distefano hit .227 with seven homers and 35 RBIs in 188 games. Most of his playing time in Pittsburgh was at first base, though he saw starts in right field occasionally and he played some left field.
Alfonso Pulido, pitcher for the 1983-84 Pirates. He was pitching in the Mexican League when the Pirates called him up to the majors for the first time at 26 years old. His career began there in his home country in 1977, and he was there until his sale to the Pirates. His stats are incomplete from this time, but what we have available shows success in limited use in 1978, followed by a solid campaign for a team from Reynosa in 1980, in which he pitched 179 innings. He pitched in relief for Mexico City in 1982, posting an 8-8, 2.41 record in 93.1 innings over 43 appearances. Pulido switched to starting in 1983, where he had a 17-3, 1.89 record in 187.1 innings for Mexico City. His contract was purchased by the Pirates on July 22nd, though they allowed him to remain with his team in Mexico for five more weeks. Despite pitching in relief during the previous season, he already had 18 complete games at the time of his purchase by the Pirates. He ended up pitching one game that year for Pittsburgh on September 5th, allowing three runs in two innings as a starter. Milt May was his catcher in that game and they were having trouble with the signs because May didn’t know Spanish and Pulido didn’t know any English. It led to Tony Pena translating from the dugout, though at one point Pena came a little too far on to the field and the Pirates were charged with a visit to the mound.
In 1984, Pulido went 18-6, 2.54 in 216 innings at Triple-A Hawaii of the Pacific Coast League. He made 28 starts, had 16 complete games and four shutouts. He got a September call-up and once again pitched just one game and two innings. He allowed two runs in relief during an 8-3 loss to the St Louis Cardinals on September 15th. Following the season, the Pirates traded him to the New York Yankees along with Dale Berra and Jay Buhner for Steve Kemp and Tim Foli. Pulido spent the 1985 season with Columbus of the International League (Triple-A), where he had an 11-8, 3.39 record in 146 innings over 20 starts and 11 relief appearances. He began the 1986 season back in Columbus, posting a 5-8, 2.92 record in 95.2 innings. Pulido came up in mid-June and pitched ten games (three starts) for the Yankees in 1986, which ended up being his only other big league time outside of Pittsburgh. Nine of those games came between June 12th and July 8th, while he appeared in one September game one the day he was recalled (September 1st), then didn’t pitch again. Pulido had a 4.70 ERA in 30.2 innings with the Yankees. He spent the entire 1987 season in Triple-A for the Yankees, going 9-5, 3.56 in 126.1 innings over 13 starts and 21 relief appearances. He then returned to his home country of Mexico and was active there in pro ball until 1994. Pulido threw a pitch that you don’t often see now, relying on a screwball. However, he had three different types of screwballs that he used.
Kurt Bevacqua, utility fielder for the 1974 and 1980-81 Pirates. He spent 15 seasons in the majors for six different teams, was drafted three times and traded six times, yet he played just 970 total games, many of those off of the bench. Bevacqua was first drafted by the New York Mets in 1966 in the 32nd round out of Miami-Dade College. The following January, the Atlanta Braves selected him in the sixth round. He finally signed after the Cincinnati Reds picked him in the 12th round of the June 1967 draft. Before he made the majors, he was traded to the Cleveland Indians in May of 1971. He played his first two seasons with Tampa of the Class-A Florida State League. Bevacqua hit .221 in 65 games in 1967, with a .503 OPS. He improved in 1968 to a .251 average and a .653 OPS in 91 games. In 1969, he moved up to Asheville of the Double-A Southern League, where he hit .316 in 133 games, with 26 doubles, 16 homers and 91 RBIs. He attended the Fall Instructional League after the season, back when it was run like an actual league, and he hit just .209 in 41 games, with a .593 OPS. In 1970, Bevacqua moved up to Triple-A Indianapolis of the American Association and hit .261 in 135 games, with 26 doubles, 15 homers and 67 RBIs. He played briefly at Indianapolis before the trade to Cleveland, then saw time with their Triple-A affiliate (Wichita of the American Association) before getting his first shot in the big leagues.
Bevacqua debuted in the majors with the 1971 Indians, hitting .204 with three homers and 13 RBIs in 55 games, while playing five different positions. He saw limited time in Cleveland in 1972, spending most of the year with their new Triple-A affiliate (Portland of the Pacific Coast League), hitting .313 with a .790 OPS in 145 games. In 15 games with the Indians that year, he batted .114 with a solo homer being his only extra-base hit. Bevacqua got traded to the Kansas City Royals shortly after the season ended. He played 99 games for the Royals during the 1973 season, hitting .257 with 39 runs, two homers and 40 RBIs, while playing five positions. He was acquired by the Pirates in a December 1973 trade that involved five players, with Nelson Briles going to the Royals as the main piece in the deal. Bevacqua was then traded back to the Royals on July 8, 1974 after batting .114 with no RBIs in 18 games with the Pirates. In the second deal, the Pirates got a minor league player who never made it, and cash. He batted .211 in 39 games with the Royals after the deal, finishing the year with one extra-base hit (a double) in 137 plate appearances.
Bevacqua was sold to the Milwaukee Brewers in March of 1975. He hit .226 over 116 games in Milwaukee, with a large majority of that time coming during the 1975 season, where he hit .229 with 30 runs and a career high 14 doubles, while seeing time at all four infield spots. His big league time in 1976 was limited to seven at-bats over 12 early-season games, mostly being used as a pinch-runner. He was sold to the expansion Seattle Mariners right after the 1976 season ended, but they released him during Spring Training. Bevacqua then signed with the Texas Rangers and put up a .970 OPS in 39 games during the 1977 season. Before getting called up in late July, he had a .968 OPS in 94 games for their Triple-A affiliate (Tuscon) in the Pacific Coast League. His stats slipped back to earth in 1978 with the Rangers, batting .222 in 90 games, though he managed to hit a career high six homers, to go along with 12 doubles, 21 runs and 30 RBIs. He got traded to the San Diego Padres in October of 1978 in a five-player deal that also included a large cash sum ($300,000) for the time. In 1979, Bevacqua played a career high 114 games, mostly playing third base. He hit .253 that year, with 12 doubles, a homer, 34 RBIs and a career high 38 walks, while striking out just 25 times in 346 plate appearances. He also hit four triples that year, which is impressive for the fact that he hit just seven more triples in the rest of his 15-year career.
Bevacqua was being used mostly off of the bench in 1980, where he hit .268 in 71 at-bats over 62 games. The Pirates got him mid-season (August 5th) from the Padres in 1980 in a four-player deal, and he hit .163 over 22 games after the trade. That was followed by limited playing time in the strike-shortened 1981 season, when he received just 34 plate appearances in 29 games. When Pittsburgh released him after the 1981 season, he signed back with the Padres, where he remained for his final four seasons. Bevacqua spent most of his late career as a pinch-hitter, starting a total of 90 games during the 1982-85 seasons. He hit .254 in 64 games in 1982, with nine doubles and 24 RBIs. He saw his most playing time during that stretch in the 1983 season, and he responded by hitting .244 with two homers and 24 RBIs in 74 games. His playing time and results really dropped in 1984, with a .200 average in 95 plate appearances over 59 games, but in the 1984 World Series against the Detroit Tigers, Bevacqua got 18 plate appearances and hit .412 with two homers. He finished up his career with a .239 average in 71 games in 1985, with three homers, 25 RBIs and 25 walks in limited plate appearances, which led to a .349 OPS.
Bevacqua was a career .236 hitter, though as a pinch-hitter he hit .258 in 376 games. In his three seasons with the Pirates he played a total of 69 games and hit .171 in 121 plate appearances. He started 253 games during his career at third base, while also seeing 76 starts at second base, 63 at first base, 30 in left field, 14 in right field and two at shortstop. From the low offensive numbers and long career, you would assume that he was a strong defensive player, but his career dWAR is -4.2, giving him an overall career -3.9 WAR. As you would expect from the low triple numbers, he wasn’t much of a runner. He was successful on just 12 of his 32 attempted stolen bases during his career.
Sam Jethroe, outfielder for the 1954 Pirates. He began his career in the Negro Leagues, debuting in pro ball in 1938. He signed his first minor league contract when he was 31 years old in 1948 with the Brooklyn Dodgers after spending seven seasons with the Cleveland Buckeyes of the Negro American League. With the new rules put into place that declared the Negro Leagues to be Major League Baseball, Jethroe’s big league debut recently changed from 1950 to 1938. Stats are incomplete from those years, but they show him hitting .314 in 143 games, with 117 runs scored, eight homers, 83 RBIs and 36 stolen bases over his eight seasons in the Negro Leagues. He played only briefly in 1938, then returned to the league in 1942 after playing semi-pro ball. After signing with the Dodgers, Jethroe reported to the Montreal Royals of the International League and he hit .322 in 76 games, with 31 extra-base hits and 18 steals. In 1949 he hit .326 with 154 runs scored, 207 hits, 34 doubles, 19 triples, 17 homers, 79 walks and 89 stolen bases in 153 games for Montreal. Brooklyn traded him to the Boston Braves in the off-season, and at age 33 in 1950 he would win the National League Rookie of the Year award. He scored 100 runs that first season and led the National League in stolen bases in each of his first two seasons.
Jethroe batted .273 in 141 games in 1950, with 28 doubles, 18 homers, 35 steals and 52 walks. He then followed that up in 1951 with 101 runs scored, 29 doubles, ten triples, 18 homers, 35 steals, 57 walks and a .280 average in 148 games. He got in those two good seasons before his age started to catch up to him in the majors. He slumped down to a .232 average in 1952, and he had 112 strikeouts, which was a huge number for that time. He still had 79 runs scored, 23 doubles, 13 homers, 68 walks and 28 stolen bases that year, but he finished with a .675 OPS, which was well off of his OPS over his first two seasons. Jethroe spent the 1953 season in the minors, hitting .309 with 70 extra-base hits, 27 steals, 109 walks and 137 runs scored for Toledo of the Triple-A American Association. The Braves traded him and five other players, as well as $100,000 cash, to the Pirates in exchange for young infielder Danny O’Connell on December 26, 1953. Pirates GM Branch Rickey wanted to add speed to his team and he believed that Jethroe would be able to add that specialty to the team. He ended up playing just two games for the Pirates, getting into two early season contests in 1954. He went 0-for-1 at the plate and played two innings in the outfield. He was sent to the minors on April 18th and finished his playing career there five seasons later, never making the majors again. On January 4, 1955, he was sold outright to Toronto of the International League, officially ending his time with the Pirates. He spent each of his final five seasons playing in Toronto, wrapping up his pro career at 41 years old in 1958. In his big league career (with incomplete stats for the Negro Leagues), Jethroe hit .275 in 586 games, with 397 runs, 219 extra-base hits, 264 RBIs and 134 steals. He’s credited with 176 homers and 366 steals in his entire pro career.
Jack Saltzgaver, second baseman for the 1945 Pirates. He began his pro career back in 1925, and when he finally made the majors in 1932 at age 29, he was lucky to get another shot. At 22 years old, he debuted in the Class-D Mississippi Valley League with Ottumwa, where he hit .288 with 39 extra-base hits in 101 games. He stayed with the same team in 1926 and hit .299 with 35 extra-base hits in 118 games. In 1927, Saltzgaver moved up three levels to Oklahoma City of the Class-A Western League and hit .302 with 47 extra-base hits in 156 games. He stayed in Oklahoma City during the 1928-29 seasons, hitting .334 in 163 games in 1928, with 43 doubles, 22 triples and seven homers. In 1929, he hit .332 in 155 games, with 38 doubles, 14 triples and ten homers. In 1930, Saltzgaver moved up to Double-A (highest level at the time) St Paul of the American Association, where he hit .309 in 154 games, with 43 doubles, 11 triples and 19 homers. The next year he batted .340 in 167 games, with 37 doubles, 13 triples and 19 homers. He had 231 hits that year, the fourth straight season with 200+ hits. That led to his first big league try, which did not go well.
Saltzgaver made the Opening Day roster of the 1932 New York Yankees and lasted two months. In 20 games he hit just .128 in 47 at-bats, then finished the year with Newark of the Double-A International League, where he hit .318 with 47 extra-base hits in 109 games. He spent all of 1933 in Newark, batting .305 with 31 doubles and 11 homers in 165 games. He spent 27 games with Newark in 1934 before getting his second chance in the majors. Saltzgaver had his most productive Major League season in 1934, hitting .271 with 64 runs scored, 38 RBIs and 48 walks in 94 games for the Yankees. He played another three seasons in New York, but saw less playing time each year, going from 94 games down to just 17 games by the 1937 season. In 1935, he batted .262 in 61 games, with 17 runs, 18 RBIs and 23 walks. In 1936, Saltzgaver hit .211 in 34 games, with 14 runs, 13 RBIs and 13 walks. He was buried deep on the Yankees bench in 1937, sporadically getting pinch-running or pinch-hitting appearances throughout the year. He batted just 14 times all season and 11 of those plate appearances came in the final week. The Yankees won the 1936-37 World Series, but he didn’t play either year in the postseason.
Saltzgaver was still playing with a Yankees affiliate from 1938-1945, but spent the entire time in the minors until the Pirates acquired him at age 42 to play second base. Those seven full seasons and the start of 1945 were spent with Kansas City of the American Association, where he put up decent numbers during the 1938-40 seasons, struggled in limited time in both 1941 and 1942, then started to hit well as the talent in the league dropped, with players leaving to serve in the military during WWII. Despite the talent drop, he was still 41 years old in 1944 when he hit .348 in 85 games. He walked 53 times, which led to a .481 OBP. Pittsburgh gave up cash and outfielder Bill Rodgers to pick up Saltzgaver from Kansas City on May 8, 1945. At the time, the Pirates were worried about losing more players to the war effort and they wanted experienced insurance in the infield. He remained with the team for the rest of the year, though he rarely played after May 31, starting just nine games the rest of the way. Despite the lack of playing time, he hit .325 in his 117 at-bats. The Pirates released him outright on January 3, 1946 and he returned to the minors to play one more season with Wilmington of the Class-B Interstate League. He then managed in the minors until 1950.
Saltzgaver finished with a .304 average in 2,036 minor league games, with 384 doubles, 138 triples and 116 homers. He batted .260 with 131 runs scored, ten homers and 82 RBIs in 278 big league games over six seasons. He had 105 walks and 80 strikeouts in the majors.
Bill Regan, second baseman for the 1931 Pirates. He didn’t make the majors until age 27, when the Boston Red Sox acquired him in late May of 1926 for two players after he hit .318 in 38 games for Columbus of the Double-A American Association. Regan debuted in pro ball in 1921 at 22 years old. He served in the military during WWI and played semi-pro ball in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. before signing his first contract to play minor league ball. After his playing career, he also served in the military during WWII. His first season in the minors saw him hit .203 in 20 games for Bridgeport of the Class-A Eastern League, followed by a .276 average and 36 extra-base hits for Kitchener of the Class-B Michigan-Ontario League. He remained in Kitchener in 1922 and hit .294 with 31 extra-base hits in 81 games. In 1923-24, he played for Flint of the same league. Regan hit .325 in 94 games in 1923, with 16 doubles, seven triples and six homers. In 1924, he batted .323 in 102 games, with 16 doubles, 18 triples and 16 homers. He moved up two levels in 1925 and batted .297 with 55 extra-base hits in 149 games for Columbus.
After his strong start to the 1926 season in Columbus, Regan hit .263 with 40 runs and 21 doubles in 108 games during his rookie season in Boston, while playing full-time at second base. He would receive mild MVP support during each of the next two seasons, finishing 22nd and 25th in the voting. He batted .274 with 43 runs, 37 doubles, ten triples and 66 RBIs in 129 games in 1927. He followed up that performance with a .264 average, 43 extra-base hits and a career best 75 RBIs in 139 games in 1928. Current metrics rate Regan’s defense slightly below average in 1927, but he was above average every other year during his brief big league career. He had his best hitting season in 1929, batting .288 with 38 runs, 27 doubles, seven triples, 54 RBIs and a .735 OPS in 104 games. The 1930 season was a very high offense year in the majors and Regan’s stats dropped off from the previous season, so an otherwise decent .266 average and 48 extra-base hits probably hid the fact his skills were in decline.
The Red Sox, who had lost 102 games in 1930, put Regan on waivers where he was picked up by the Pirates on February 19, 1931. Owner Barney Dreyfuss said that the Pirates picked him up to be a backup to second baseman George Grantham, who eventually moved over to first base for the rest of the season. For the 1931 Pirates, Regan hit .202.239/.308 in 28 games at second base, where he had nine errors. The lack of hitting earned him a trip back to the minors, where he would finish his playing days in 1935. He played his last big league game on June 14th, and then on the 15th he was sold outright to Baltimore of the Double-A International League. He hit .321 with 41 extra-base hits in 109 games over the rest of the 1931 season. Regan stayed in Baltimore for the 1932 season, then played for three different International League teams during the 1933-34 seasons. He finished his career up with Birmingham of the Class-A Southern League, which had a working agreement with the Pirates at the time. In six seasons in the majors, Regan hit .267 in 641 games, with 236 runs scored, 158 doubles, 36 triples, 18 homers and 294 RBIs.
Ed Barney, outfielder for the 1915-16 Pirates. He began his pro career in the minors in 1913 at 23 years old, playing for two different teams in the Class-B Eastern Association, where he hit .273 in 127 games, with stats that show 19 extra-base hits (all doubles, though they might be incomplete stats). In 1914, he hit .326, with 66 runs, 15 extra-base hits (12 doubles) and 46 stolen bases in 118 games for Hartford of the Eastern Association. In 1915 he made a jump of two levels in competition, moving up to Jersey City of the of the Double-A International League, where he hit .335 in 62 games, with 29 runs, 12 doubles, one triple and 25 walks. That early season performance at a high level of the minors earned Barney a Major League job with the New York Yankees. He joined them in late July, but after hitting .194 in 11 games, they put him on waivers. The Pirates picked him up for the waiver price on August 20th and he debuted three days later. He got off to a rough start with the Pirates, going 1-for-18 in his first six games, which landed him on the bench. Two weeks later, he went 3-for-3 with two walks in his first start in 15 days. He would end up playing the final 21 games of the season in center field, hitting .307 during that stretch. That performance helped earn him a spot on the 1916 Pirates.
Barney played 45 games during that second season in Pittsburgh, drawing 23 walks and stealing eight bases, but he hit just .197 with only four extra-base hits (all doubles). He started 20 of the team’s first 24 games in center field, then moved to left field for another 18 starts. He was sent to the minors after playing his last Major League game on July 2nd. The Pirates traded Barney to Louisville of the Double-A American Association in an even up deal for infielder Jack Farmer on July 3rd. Barney hit .245 with ten extra-base hits in 60 games with Louisville to finish out the season. He played for Little Rock of the Class-A Southern Association in 1917, where he hit .239 in 59 games, with six extra-base hits. He played for an independent team in 1918 called the Grayber baseball club, where he also played briefly in 1917. He was back in pro ball in 1919, playing the first of three straight seasons with Buffalo of the Double-A International League. At that time period, Double-A was the highest level of minor league play. He hit .274 with 35 steals and 91 runs scored in 148 games in 1919. Barney followed that up with a .311 average in 1920, with 76 runs, 27 extra-base hits and 35 steals in 125 games. He then batted .329 with 60 extra-base hits for Buffalo in 1921, but that strong performance at 31 years old didn’t get him another chance at the majors. The next two seasons were spent with Seattle of the Double-A Pacific Coast League, then he finished out his career by seeing time with three clubs during the 1924-25 seasons, with most of that time spent back in Class-B. His final year was spent with Elmira of the New York-Penn League as a player-manager.