This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: February 15th, Russell Martin

Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date.

Rob Scahill, pitcher for the 2015-16 Pirates. He made a huge jump in the draft after just one year, going from a 48th round pick in 2008 by the New York Yankees, to an eighth round pick of the Colorado Rockies in 2009.  He is one of eight players from Bradley University to make the majors, including former Pirates pitchers Mike Dunne and Brian Shouse. Scahill was a starting pitcher all the way up until his big league debut, then never made a start in the majors. He debuted in pro ball with Tri-City of the short-season Northwest League, where he went 1-4, 3.14 in 15 starts, with 58 strikeouts in 63 innings. In 2010, he jumped to Modesto of the High-A California League, where he had a 10-7, 4.73 record in 156 innings, with 140 strikeouts. In 2011, Scahill went 12-11, 3.92 in 160.2 innings for Tulsa of the Double-A Texas League. Despite pitching slightly more innings, he finished with 104 strikeouts. He attended the Arizona Fall League after the season and had a 7.36 ERA in 11 innings of relief work, with 14 strikeouts. He moved up to Triple-A Colorado Springs of the Pacific Coast League in 2012 and had a 9-11, 5.68 record in 29 starts, with 159 strikeouts in 152 innings. Scahill joined the Rockies in September of 2012 and did well in six relief appearances, allowing one run in 8.2 innings.

Scahill split the 2013 season between Colorado Springs and the majors, making 23 appearances at each level. He had a 5.13 ERA in 33.1 innings with the Rockies that year. In 2014, he spent the majority of the year back in Colorado Springs. He was with the Rockies three times, making appearances in June, July and September, posting a 4.80 ERA in 15 innings. On November 11, 2014, the Pirates traded minor league pitcher Shane Carle to acquire Scahill. He missed two full months of the 2015 season with forearm tightness, but he pitched well when he was healthy. He had a 2.64 ERA in 30.2 innings over 28 appearances for the Pirates. In 2016, Scahill bounced between the majors and Triple-A Indianapolis of the International League before being designated for assignment on July 3rd. He was picked up by the Milwaukee Brewers on waivers nine days later. He had a 4.41 ERA in 15 games with the Pirates and a 2.45 ERA in 16 games with the Brewers. He also saw some Triple-A time with the Brewers that year, which just happened to be with their new affiliate in Colorado Springs. Scahill made 18 appearances for the Brewers in 2017, where he had a 4.43 ERA in 22.1 innings. He pitched well at Colorado Springs that season, posting a 1.40 ERA and ten saves in 27 appearances. After playing winter ball in the Dominican during the 2017-18 off-season, he finished his big league career with six appearances for the 2018 Chicago White Sox, while spending the rest of the year in Triple-A. He signed a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs in 2019, but he was released early in Spring Training, ending his pro career. He spent seven seasons in the majors, but never put in a full season. He had a 5-7, 3.85 record in 124 appearances and 149.2 innings. Scahill had a 3.26 ERA during his time with the Pirates.

Russell Martin, catcher for the 2013-14 Pirates. Martin was born and raised in Canada. In 2000 at 17 years old, he was drafted in the 35th round by the Montreal Expos, but did not sign. He attended college in the U.S. (Chipola College)and was drafted in the 17th round in 2002 by the Los Angeles Dodgers. It took him four years to make the majors, and once he did, he had an impressive rookie season. Martin debuted at 19 years old in the Gulf Coast League in 2002 and he hit .286 in 41 games, with low power numbers, but he went 7-for-8 in steals and he had more walks (23) than strikeouts (18). In 2003, he batted .271 with 13 doubles, six homers, 36 RBIs and 26 walks in 52 games for Ogden of the short-season Pioneer League. He also played 25 games that season with South Georgia of the Low-A South Atlantic League, where he hit .286 and posted a .781 OPS. In 2004, Martin played for Vero Beach of the High-A Florida State League. He batted .250 in 122 games, with 24 doubles, 15 homers, 64 RBIs and 72 walks. He moved up to Double-A Jacksonville of the Southern League in 2005 and hit .311 in 129 games, with 17 doubles, nine homers, 61 RBIs and 78 walks. He stole 15 bases in 22 attempts. Martin played just 23 games with Las Vegas of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League before making his big league debut. He batted .297 and put up an .808 OPS during that short time.

Debuting with the Dodgers in early May of 2006, Martin hit .282 with 26 doubles, ten homers, ten steals, 45 walks and 65 RBIs in 121 games, earning him some Rookie of the Year consideration, with a ninth place finish. He blossomed into a star the very next season, hitting .293 with 32 doubles, 19 homers, 87 RBIs, 67 walks and 21 steals. His .843 OPS that year was his career high. That earned him an All-Star appearance and a Silver Slugger award, while his defense earned him a Gold Glove award. He led all National League catchers in putouts, assists and caught stealing. Martin was an All-Star the next year as well, hitting .280 with 90 walks, 87 runs scored, 25 doubles, 13 homers, 69 RBIs and 18 stolen bases. He also led all NL catchers in putouts again. He saw a major slip in his stats in 2009, hitting .250 with 19 doubles, seven homers in 143 games, though his 69 walks led to a solid .352 OBP. His defense was still fine, leading the NL with putouts, assists and caught stealing. A hip injury in August of 2010 ended his season early, but his hitting was almost identical to the previous season, with a one point different in his OPS (.680 vs .679). He batted .248 with 13 doubles and five homers in 97 games that year. Martin became a free agent after the 2010 season and signed with the New York Yankees.

Despite a .237 average in 2011, Martin was an All-Star during his first year in New York. The power returned to his game, with 17 doubles and 18 homers in 125 games, leading to an improved OPS (.732) over the previous two seasons. That 2011 season was followed by more power in 2012 (18 doubles and 21 homers), but a lower average (.211) in 133 games. Martin posted above average defensive numbers every season during his career, but his 0.2 dWAR in 2012 was the lowest of his career. He became a free agent after the season and signed a two-year deal with the Pirates. In 2013, he hit .226 with 51 runs, 21 doubles, 15 homers, 55 RBIs and 58 walks in 127 games, helping the Pirates to their first playoff appearance/winning record in 21 years. In the NL Wild Card game against the Cincinnati Reds that year, he hit a memorable home run off of Johnny Cueto to help the Pirates to victory.

Martin was limited to 111 games in 2014, twice dealing with a hamstring issue, but he had a strong season, helping the Pirates back to the playoffs. He batted .290 with 20 doubles, 11 homers, 67 RBIs and 59 walks, which earned him a 13th place finish in the MVP voting.  He signed a large five-year free agent deal after the season with the Toronto Blue Jays, one that did not work out well (for the Blue Jays, but Martin got $82M). D Martin compiled 9.8 WAR during his two seasons in Pittsburgh, and then put up just 8.8 WAR over the course of his five-year deal. He hit .240 with 76 runs, 23 doubles, 23 homers and 77 RBIs in 129 games during his first season with the Blue Jays, then saw both his average and his homers drop each year afterwards until he was traded to the Dodgers for the 2019 season. In 2016, he hit .231 in 137 games, with 62 runs, 16 doubles, 20 homers, 74 RBIs and 64 walks. Martin failed to reach 100 games played in any of his last three seasons, dealing with assorted injuries each year. His WAR went from a solid 3.2 mark during his first year of the deal down to an 0.7 mark in his final year, dropping a little each season.

Martin batted .221 in 91 games in 2017, with 12 doubles, 13 homers and 50 walks. He really took a turn for the worse in 2018, hitting .194 with eight doubles and ten homers in 90 games, though he had an impressive 56 walks. After being traded to the Dodgers prior to the 2019 season, he hit .220 in 83 games, with a .667 OPS. Martin had interest in playing in 2020 and 2021, but didn’t play either year. In 1,693 big league games, he has a .248 average, with 803 runs, 255 doubles, 191 homers, 771 RBIs, 792 walks and 101 stolen bases. His career mark of 16.5 dWAR ranks him among the top 100 players all-time and 13th among all catchers. Martin collected a total of seven doubles during his first two seasons in the majors, then hit just two more in his final 12 seasons, and those two came less than four weeks apart during the 2015 season.

Don Kelly, utility player for the 2007 Pirates. He began his career in the Detroit Tigers organization after being selected in the eighth round of the 2001 amateur draft out of Point Park University in Pittsburgh. Kelly attended Mount Lebanon HS, so he was a local kid as well, which gained him some extra interest when he joined the Pirates. He reported to Oneonta of the short-season New York-Penn League in 2001, where he hit .286 in 67 games, with 41 runs, 25 RBIs and 25 walks. In 2002, Kelly played for West Michigan of the Low-A Midwest League, where he batted .286 in 128 games, with 72 runs, 21 doubles, 59 RBIs and 59 walks. He had a breakout of sorts in 2003, hitting for a high average/OBP in the High-A Florida State League with Lakeland. He finished with a .317 average in 87 games, with 48 runs, 45 walks and an .810 OPS, which was 82 points higher than his previous best. That performance led to a mid-season promotion to Double-A Erie of the Eastern League, and then a spot in the Arizona Fall League after the season. He put up a .763 OPS in his 22 games with Erie. Kelly’s career got a bit sidetracked the next season when he was limited to 31 games due to a shoulder injury.

Kelly put up a .909 OPS while back in Erie in 2005, hitting .340 with 22 doubles, nine homers, 54 RBIs and ten steals in 82 games. He had just three homers total prior to that season. That year he received a mid-season promotion to Triple-A Toledo of the International League, as well as another trip to the Arizona Fall League. He batted .250 in 43 games during his first stint in Triple-A, posting a .625 OPS. The 2006 season was a rough one though, and he even ended up back at Double-A for a time. After homering ten times in 2005, he failed to hit a single home run in 507 plate appearances in 2006. Kelly had a .616 OPS in 66 games with Toledo, and a .692 OPS in 58 games with Erie. He became a free agent after the 2006 season and signed with the Pirates two months later. Kelly hit well during the early part of Spring Training and made the Pirates Opening Day roster. He played 25 games that year, going 4-for- 27 at the plate (.148), with all four hits being singles. Kelly played four different positions and he made three starts, two at shortstop and one at second base. His inclusion on the team seemed a bit rushed and based off of early spring results, which was basically a handful of games mostly against minor league pitching. The big league time resulted in a -0.5 WAR and he was released following the season, after spending a majority of the year with Triple-A Indianapolis of the International League.

Kelly spent all of 2008 with the Arizona Diamondbacks in Triple-A, then signed with the Tigers as a free agent in 2009, which turned his career around after a brief stint in Toledo to start the season. He was called up in June of 2009 and he ended up playing parts of six years with the Tigers, followed by his two final seasons in the majors with the Miami Marlins. Kelly never had more than 257 at-bats in a season in Detroit, but he was a valuable utility player, averaging over 100 games per season during the 2010-14 seasons. In that time, he played every position except shortstop, which was his main position in the minors with the Tigers. In 2009, he had just 62 plate appearances over 31 games, but he managed to play five positions during that short time. In 2010, Kelly hit .244 in 251 plate appearances over 119 games, with 30 runs, nine homers and 27 RBIs. In 2011, he saw his most plate time, with 281 plate appearances over 112 games. He batted .245, while setting career highs with 35 runs, eight doubles, three triples and 28 RBIs. He production slid in 2012, which led to less playing time. He hit just .186 in 113 at-bats over 75 games. He rebounded slightly in 2013, batting .222 in 112 games, with 33 runs, six homers, 23 RBIs and a career high 27 walks. During his final year in Detroit, Kelly hit .245 in 95 games, with 24 runs and 20 walks.

He played just 15 big league games over his two seasons in Miami, then retired following the 2016 season. His 2015 was sidetracked by a finger injury in his second game of the season, followed by an elbow injury suffered during his rehab stint in July. He spent most of the 2016 season in Triple-A Kelly hit .230 with 148 runs, 23 homers, 98 RBIs and 16 steals (in 18 attempts) over 584 big league games. He is the bench coach for the Pirates since 2020, after two years as a Detroit scout and one year with the Houston Astros as a first base coach. Kelly is the brother-in-law of Pirates long-time second baseman Neil Walker, and the son-in-law of big league pitcher Tom Walker.

Barry Jones, pitcher for the 1986-88 Pirates. Jones was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the sixth round in 1981 out of high school. He chose to attend Indiana University and was a third round draft pick of the Pirates in 1984. Jones rose through the minor league ranks quickly with the Pirates, making it to the majors 25 months after he signed. He pitched that first season with the Pirates in the short-season New York-Penn League with Watertown, making 14 starts, while going 6-3, 3.43 in 86.2 innings. His first full season in pro ball saw him start the year at Class-A Prince Williams of the Carolina League and work his way up to Triple-A Hawaii of the Pacific Coast League for one game. He was moved to the bullpen that year, which fast-tracked his rise. In 52 games (split between three levels, including Nashua of the Double-A Eastern League) he went 6-4, 1.69 with 22 saves and 68 strikeouts in 69.1 innings. He began the next year in Hawaii, then got called up to the Pirates in mid-July after posting a 3.56 ERA in 48 innings. He went 3-4, 2.89 with three saves in 37.1 innings over 26 games for the Pirates that rookie season. Jones pitched poorly at the start of 1987, posting an 11.81 ERA in April, which led to him being sent to Triple-A (then Vancouver of the PCL) for nearly two full months. He posted a 5.61 ERA in 32 games with the Pirates that season, though he had a 1.93 ERA from July 4th through September 16th, before allowing five runs in his final 3.1 innings.

Jones had a better 1988 season through late August, posting a 3.04 ERA in 42 games, when the Pirates decided to ship him to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for veteran starter Dave LaPoint. Jones did some great relief work in Chicago, posting a 2.42 ERA in 26 innings to finish off the 1988 season. That was followed by a 2.37 ERA in 22 games in 1989, though he missed part of the year due to an elbow injury. He had his peak performance in 1990, when he went 11-4, 2.31 ERA in 74 innings over 65 appearances. He was traded to the Montreal Expos after the season and stayed there one year. He led the National League with 77 games pitched in 1991, while putting up a 3.35 ERA and 13 saves in 88.2 innings, which was a career high for workload and saves. Jones was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies prior to 1992 and he career dropped off quickly. The Phillies released him mid-season and he finished the year with the New York Mets. He had a 5.68 ERA in 69.2 innings that year between both stops. He signed as a free agent with the White Sox for 1993, but he was released after just 7.1 innings, ending his big league career. Jones finished up his pro career in Triple-A for the 1994 Milwaukee Brewers. In 433 innings over 348 big league games (all in relief), he went 33-33, 3.66 with 23 saves.

Jones has an interesting side note to his career. If you look at his player page on Baseball-Reference.com, it says he made his big league debut on April 20, 1986, when he was still in Triple-A. How could that be, you ask? On April 20th the Pirates played the Cubs at Wrigley before the lights were in place. The game went extra innings and was called due to darkness with the score tied. On August 11th the two teams hooked up to play the conclusion of the game prior to their regularly scheduled game. Jones came in and pitched four scoreless innings, striking out eight and picking up the win. Since the game was started on April 20th, that is when the records for that game count for, so while he didn’t actually throw a pitch for the Pirates until July, he picked up his first Major League win in a game played on April 20, 1986.

Charlie Reilly, third baseman for the 1891 Pirates. When MLB players thought they were being treated unfairly in 1889, they decided to form the Player’s League. A league run by the players and full of star power. That left the 1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenys as a very weak team with the majority of their roster leaving for the new league. The league folded after one season and most players returned to their 1889 team. However, the newly dubbed “Pirates” added plenty of star power from other teams, including Pete Browning and Louis Bierbauer. They also picked up “Princeton” Charlie Reilly from the Columbus Solons of the American Association, a third Major League running at the time. He got his “Princeton” nickname from his hometown of Princeton, NJ, though he also later attended Princeton University. Reilly was originally signed with Columbus for 1891, but his contract called for him to receive advanced money by a certain date. When he didn’t receive that money, he signed with Pittsburgh on February 26th, only to (according to a letter written by Reilly) receive the advanced money in checks later that same day, which he returned to the team.  An interesting side note to his signing with Pittsburgh is that manager Ned Hanlon advised the team against signing Reilly just two days earlier via telegram.

Reilly debuted in pro ball in 1885, where he’s credited now with collecting six hits in two games, playing one game for two different teams in the Eastern League. He played for Princeton University in 1886 and has no pro ball records that year, so his minor league career really got going in 1887 when he batted .344 in 128 games, splitting the season between Savannah of the Southern League and Eau Claire of the Northwestern League.  In 1888, he moved up to St Paul of the Class-A Western Association, where he hit .238 in 106 games, with 20 doubles, 14 homers and 31 steals. Prior to joining Columbus in 1889, Reilly batted .341 with 27 homers and 46 steals in 120 games for St Paul. For reference, the Major League record for homers in a season was 27 until topped by Babe Ruth in 1919. He played six October games in 1889 for Columbus in which he had 11 hits and nine stolen bases, resulting in a .478 average and a 1.452 OPS. At 23 years old in 1890, Reilly hit .266 with 75 runs scored, 77 RBIs and 43 stolen bases, though it should be noted that the American Association was a clear third among player strength at that time.

Even though Pittsburgh was a stacked team in 1891 between new stars and their old lineup from 1889, the team struggled to a 55-80 record. Reilly was very little help as he hit just .219 in 114 games, with 43 runs, 16 extra-base hits, 44 RBIs and 20 steals. He was released just prior to the end of the season. Princeton Charlie went on to play the next four seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies, where his offensive stats improved, though they were still well below league average during an era of high offense. He hit just .196 in 91 games in 1892, while posting a .487 OPS. MLB changed the pitching distance and some pitching rules in 1893 and it took pitchers some time to get used to the changes. Many couldn’t adjust at all and offense peaked during the 1894 season. Reilly batted .245 in 104 games in 1893, with 64 runs, 16 doubles, seven triples and four homers. His .661 OPS that year was 75 points below league average. He hit .294 in 40 games during the 1894 season, but his team batted .350 as a group (their outfield was the best in baseball history with no doubt Hall of Famers Sam Thompson, Billy Hamilton and Ed Delahanty, so that helped a lot). There was a rumor during the 1894 season that the Pirates could bring back Reilly, but one local Pittsburgh paper said that they hope that the rumors are unfounded, “Pittsburgh ball patrons know Charlie Reilly and do not want him here again”, showing that he obviously made quite an impression during his one season in Pittsburgh. After he signed with the Phillies on December 9, 1891, the Philadelphia Inquirer said that after he played in Pittsburgh “his services were not in great demand, as his behavior and habits were not of the best”.

With offense starting to drop (it was still very high) in 1895, Reilly batted .268 in 49 games, with a .648 OPS that was 113 points below league average. After Philadelphia, he spent a year in the minors, before returning to the majors for one last season in 1897 with the Washington Senators. He actually did very well during that last season, hitting .276 with 64 runs, 18 doubles, 60 RBIs and 18 steals. His .720 OPS that year was just below league average. He then played eight more seasons in the minors, finally ending his 20-year pro baseball career when he retired in 1905. Almost all of that time after his final big league game was spent on the west coast. At age 37, Reilly hit .349 in 112 games for Spokane of the Class-B Pacific National League. He was a .250 hitter in 642 big league games, with 342 runs, 17 homers, 311 RBIs, 342 runs scored and 132 stolen bases.

MORE FROM THIS SECTION

Menu