Nine former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including one Hall of Famer.
Vic Willis, pitcher for the 1906-09 Pirates. He made the Hall of Fame due to his four seasons in Pittsburgh. He was a great pitcher during his other nine seasons in the majors, but he pitched for some awful teams, which led to a 160-159 record. With the Pirates he was a workhorse ace on a team filled with strong pitching. He won 21+ games in each of his four seasons with the Pirates and he posted a 2.08 ERA, while averaging just over 300 innings per seasons. During the 1909 World Series winning season, Willis had a 22-11 record. During the 1899 and 1906 seasons, he led all MLB pitchers in WAR. Willis lived to be 71 years old, but he wasn’t elected to the Hall of Fame until 48 years after his passing.
Willis began his big league career at 22 years old in 1898. He debuted in pro ball three years earlier, posting a 10-15, 2.94 record in 235.1 innings, while splitting the season between two Class-B teams, Lynchburg of the Virginia League and Harrisburg of the Pennsylvania State League. He may have made it to the majors sooner, but illness caused him to miss a chunk of the 1896 season. He pitched for Syracuse of the Eastern League that year, then remained there in 1897 and established himself as a top prospect. Willis went 21-17, 1.16, with 171 strikeouts in 355.2 innings. He was sold to the Boston Beaneaters (current day Atlanta Braves) prior to the 1898 season and he was an instant success in the majors, helping lead his team to a first place finish. Willis went 25-13, 2.84 in 311 innings as a rookie. He completed 29 of his 38 starts, and he picked up 160 strikeouts, which ranked him third in the National League. He had his best big league season in 1899, putting up a year valued at 10.4 WAR. He went 27-8, while leading the league with a 2.50 ERA and five shutouts. He pitched 342.2 innings, completing 35 of his 38 starts, helping Boston finish in second place. In 1900, Boston dropped below .500 and down to fourth place. Willis was part of the problem, going 10-17, 4.19 in 236 innings. He had 120 strikeouts in 1899 (fourth most in the league), but dropped down to 53 strikeouts in 1900, exactly half of his walk total (106) for the year.
Willis bounced back in 1901 with a strong season, despite pitching for a fifth place team. He went 20-17, 2.36 in 305.1 innings, while leading the league with six shutouts. He had 133 strikeouts, which placed him ninth in the league, and his 78 walks were a nice drop from the previous season, while putting in 69.1 more innings in 1901. In 1902, Willis led the National League with 410 innings. He managed that high total by also leading the league with 46 starts and 45 complete games. He also won his only strikeout crown, with a career high 225 punch outs. He finished with a 27-20, 2.20 record, tying his career high for wins. As an interesting side note for offense around baseball. His 2.50 ERA in 1899 was the best in the league, but his 2.36 ERA in 1901 was only good enough for fourth place, then his 2.20 mark in 1902 ranked him tenth in the league, as the deadball era really took hold of the sport.
The 1903 season was the real start of Willis suffering through playing for a bad team, which almost cost him his place in Cooperstown. He posted a 2.98 ERA in 1903, but his 12-18 record was indicative of his team’s play. The club finished with a 58-80 record. His ERA was 28 points below league average that year. Things were about to get worse in 1904. Willis made 43 starts and completed 39 games, pitching a total of 350 innings for a team that finished 55-98. That led to his 18-25, 2.85 record, which gave him the most losses in the National League. He struck out 196 batters that year, finishing second in the league. Boston was even worse in 1905, finishing with a 51-103 record. Willis was once again a workhorse, posting a 3.21 record in 342 innings. He was rewarded with a 12-29 record, his second straight season leading the league in losses. His ERA was 22 points above league average that year, but his record would have been better with an average or better team. Four of his wins were shutout performances.
The Pirates saw through the record and on December 15, 1905, they traded three players (Del Howard, Vive Lindaman and Dave Brain) to acquire Willis, completing a deal that worked out tremendously. He saw an instant turnaround in his record while playing for a good team. For the 1906 Pirates, he went 23-13, 1.73 in 322 innings. Amazingly, he finished fourth in ERA that year and all three better pitchers were with the Chicago Cubs, who took the NL pennant for the first of three straight seasons. He completed 32 of his 36 starts, six of them by shutouts. Willis went 21-11, 2.34 in 292.2 innings in 1907, with 37 starts, 27 complete games and six shutouts. He then went 23-11, 2.07 in 304.1 innings in 1908. He completed 25 of 38 starts and threw seven shutouts. His consistency continued into 1909, leading to the Pirates second World Series appearance and fourth NL pennant. He went 22-11, 2.24 in 289.2 innings. He led the league with 35 starts and finished with 24 complete games and four shutouts.
The Pirates had a great pitching staff with depth at that time, and Willis struggled through the World Series with a loss and eight walks in 11.2 innings. Manager Fred Clarke decided that the Pirates had enough young pitchers to rely on in 1910, so he was willing to sell/trade Willis to a second division club (aka a team that wouldn’t challenge them for the pennant). That happened on February 15, 1910 when he was sold to the St Louis Cardinals, a team that finished 54-98 in 1909. Willis lasted just one season in St Louis, going 9-12, 3.35 in 212 innings. At the end of the season, he announced his retirement. He had an 89-46, 2.08 record in 1,209 innings with the Pirates. His ERA is the best in Pirates history, as is his 1.08 WHIP. Despite his short time with the club, his 23 shutouts ranks ninth in team history. Willis had a career 249-205 record, with a 2.63 ERA and 388 complete games in 471 starts. His 3,996 innings pitched ranks 42nd all-time. He ranks 19th all-time in both complete games and shutouts (50). He ranks 49th in wins and 63rd all-time in ERA (He’s 32nd among starters with 10+ seasons pitched). He was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee in 1995.
D.J. Carrasco, pitcher for the Pirates in 2010. He was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 1997, released in 1998, and then signed with the Cleveland Indians. After one season in their system he was released again, then signed with the Pirates. Carrasco was originally drafted out of high school in the 39th round in 1995 by the Texas Rangers. He went to Pima Community College in Arizona, where the Orioles selected him in the 26th round two years later. He actually never pitched for the Orioles, and the Indians gave up on him after just 13 appearances in short-season ball. He had a 5.40 ERA in Watertown of the New York-Penn League in 1998, picking up 38 strikeouts in 31.2 innings. In his first year with the Pirates, he had a 3.30 ERA in 57.1 innings, spending most of the year back in the New York-Penn League (Williamsport) for a second season. He finished the year with a promotion to High-A Lynchburg of the Carolina League that did not go well in a brief stint, allowing eight runs (four earned) in 5.2 innings. Carrasco pitched great with Low-A Hickory of the South Atlantic League in 2000, posting a 1.34 ERA in 40.1 innings, with six saves and 40 strikeouts. He also saw brief time in Lynchburg again (3.48 ERA in 10.1 innings), and with Double-A Altoona of the Eastern League, which did not go well, posting an 8.36 ERA in 14 innings. Combined he went 7-5, 3.20 in 64.1 innings, with eight saves and 60 strikeouts.
Carrasco split the 2001 season between Lynchburg and Altoona, putting up better results at the lower level. He went 4-0, 1.50 with seven saves in 36 innings in High-A, then had a 4.14 ERA in 37 innings with Altoona. He struck out 75 batters in 73 innings that year. Despite the success at Lynchburg in 2001, he spent the entire 2002 season back at the level and did just as well, finishing with a 1.61 ERA in 72.2 innings over 55 appearances, with 29 saves to his credit. Carrasco spent four seasons in the Pirates system before they lost him in the 2002 Rule 5 draft to the Kansas City Royals. He was used often in 2003 despite his Rule 5 status. He pitched 50 times, including two spot starts. He had a 4.82 ERA in 80.1 innings. He was remarkably consistent with the Royals, putting up a 4.84 ERA in 35.1 innings over 30 appearances 2004, and then had a 4.79 ERA in 2005. He switched to starting during that final season with the Royals and threw a career high 114.2 innings, while making 20 starts and one relief appearance. He also spent about half of the 2004-05 stretch with Triple-A Omaha of the Pacific Coast League, seeing more minor league time during the 2004 season..
Carrasco spent the 2006 season playing in Japan, though he lasted just three starts that did not go well. He then played at Triple-A for the Arizona Diamondbacks during the 2007 season, going 5-14, 6.68 in 137.1 innings over 22 starts and 16 relief appearances for Tucson of the Pacific Coast League. After pitching well in winter ball in Venezuela during the 2007-08 off-season, he began 2008 at Triple-A Charlotte of the International League for the Chicago White Sox, before he was called to the majors in July. Carrasco ended up going 1-0, 3.96 in 38.2 innings over 31 relief appearances for the 2008 White Sox. In 2009, he spent the entire season in the majors, going 5-1, 3.76 in 49 outings and 93.1 innings. The White Sox let him go following the season and he signed with the Pirates on January 20, 2010. In Pittsburgh, he went 2-2, 3.88 in 55.2 innings over 45 games prior to being dealt to the Diamondbacks in a five-player/cash deal at the trade deadline. Carrasco had a 3.18 ERA in 22.2 innings for Arizona after the trade. He became a free agent after the 2010 season and signed with the New York Mets for two years to finish out his big league career. He went 1-3, 6.02 in 49.1 innings over 42 games in 2011, then pitched just four games during the 2012 season before being released in May. Carrasco signed with the Atlanta Braves three weeks later, but he was released 15 days later after putting up a 12.60 ERA in five Triple-A outings, which ended his pro career. In eight big league seasons, he went 24-21, 4.50 in 290 games (24 starts) and 493.2 innings. He had two saves, which came during his rookie season.
Jeff Wallace, pitcher for the 1997 and 1999-2000 Pirates. The Pirates acquired Wallace in the six-player deal with the Kansas City Royals completed on December 13, 1996 that saw Jay Bell and Jeff King go to Kansas City. Wallace was drafted out of high school by the Royals 18 months earlier in the 25th round, and he was just 20 years old at the time of the deal. He had a great debut in pro ball in 1995, putting up a 1.23 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 44 innings for the Royals Gulf Coast League team. In 1996, he moved up to Low-A Lansing of the Midwest League, where he went 4-9, 5.30 in 122.1 innings over 21 starts and nine relief appearances. After making 28 starts over his first two seasons in pro ball, he made just two more starts over the next six years. He pitched great in his brief time at High-A Lynchburg of the Carolina League during his first season in the Pirates system, posting a 1.65 ERA in 16.1 innings. That earned him a quick promotion to Carolina of the Double-A Southern League, where he had a 5.40 ERA in 43.1 innings of relief work. The Pirates called him up to the majors in late-August of 1997, despite the mediocre ERA and lack of upper level experience. The move paid off initially with strong results. In 12 innings over 11 outings with the 1997 Pirates, he struck out 14 batters, while allowing just one earned run. Going into 1998, Baseball America rated him as 90th best prospect in baseball, but things didn’t go as planned that year.
Wallace had to have elbow surgery during Spring Training of 1998, causing him to miss the entire season. He returned healthy in 1999 to go 1-0, 3.69 in 41 games, pitching a total of 39 innings. He was actually sent to Triple-A Nashville of the Pacific Coast League mid-season and had an 8.79 ERA in 15 appearances, but still returned to the majors after six weeks. The 2000 season was a tough one for Wallace. He pitched great in Nashville that year, allowing just one run in 14 innings, but his big league time did not go well. He had a 7.07 ERA in 35.2 innings over 38 appearances. The Pirates put him on waivers following the season, where he was picked up by the Cincinnati Reds. Twenty days later, he was released, eventually signing with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for 2001, which turned out to be his last season in the majors. Wallace went 0-3, 3.40 in 50.1 innings over 29 games for the Devil Rays. After the season, he was selected off waivers by the Boston Red Sox. He pitched mostly in Triple-A (Pawtucket of the International League) in 2002 before being released, which ended his pro career. He had a 6.75 ERA in 26.2 innings in 2002 and even saw some in High-A ball. His season ended on the 60-day disabled list due to a sore elbow. Wallace pitched 90 games with the Pirates without picking up a loss, the highest total of games pitched without a loss in team history. He had a 4.67 ERA in 86.2 innings for the Pirates. In his big league career, he went 3-3, 4.20 in 137 innings over 119 appearances, with 120 strikeouts. His entire pro career lasted 428.1 innings.
Jerry Goff, catcher for the 1993-94 Pirates. He played a total of six seasons in the majors, two each with the Montreal Expos, Pirates and Houston Astros. He was never a regular, playing a career high 52 games with the Expos in 1990, and he never played a full season in the majors, but he stuck around for 12 seasons in pro ball. Goff was drafted three times before finally signing. The Oakland A’s selected him in the seventh round in January of 1983 out of the College of Marin. He returned to school, and the New York Yankees selected him in the 12th round in January of 1984. He transferred to the University of California Berkeley and moved up to a third round pick of the Seattle Mariners in 1986. Goff had a rough debut as far as average, hitting just .190 in short-season ball with Bellingham of the Northwest League, but some power (16 extra-base hits) mixed with a high walk rate (42 walks), led to a .740 OPS in 54 games. He moved up to Low-A Wausau of the Midwest League in 1987 and had a very similar season, with a low average (.232) and a solid OPS (.778). In 109 games, he had 51 runs, 17 doubles, 13 homers and 65 walks.
Goff split 1988 evenly between High-A San Bernardino of the California League and Double-A Vermont of the Eastern League, putting up a .251 average with 65 runs, 18 doubles, 20 homers, 66 RBIs and 76 walks. His results were much better in High-A (.953 OPS), though the California League was much more hitter-friendly. The 1989 season was mostly spent in Triple-A with Calgary of the Pacific Coast League, where the average, walks and power all dropped, leading to a .681 OPS in 109 games for the season. Goff did poorly in Double-A that season, hitting .185 in 33 games with Williamsport of the Eastern League. His stats improved in Triple-A, but once again he was playing in a high offense environment. That season was just a minor setback, as he was in the majors by mid-May in 1990 and remained there for almost the entire rest of the season. It took a trade to the Montreal Expos during that Spring Training to help get him to the majors. He had an .879 OPS in 39 games with Indianapolis of the Triple-A American Association to start the 1990 season. In 52 games (36 starts) for the 1990 Expos, Goff hit .227 with three homers and 21 walks.
Goff missed time during the 1991 season and he was limited to 57 games in Indianapolis. He suffered a broken left forearm in mid-July from a pitch by Dennis Moeller, who would be his teammate (and batterymate) in Triple-A for the 1993 Pirates. Goff nearly spent all of 1992 in Indianapolis as well, playing just three games in May for the Expos. He was left go after the season and signed with the Pirates as a free agent in January of 1993. He hit .297 with two homers in 14 September games with the 1993 Pirates, then batted .080 in eight April games in 1994. On April 30, 1994, the Pirates acquired veteran Lance Parrish as their backup. Goff was designated for assignment to make room for Parrish, then cleared waivers and reported to the minors for the rest of the season. He played a total of 183 games in Triple-A Buffalo of the American Association during his time with Pittsburgh. The Pirates let him go via free agency following the 1994 season. He signed free agent deals for 1995 and 1996 with the Astros, but he was limited to 13 games in the majors during those seasons, including just one game in 1996. Goff went out with a bang on May 12, 1996, going 2-for-4 with a home run in his final big league game. He finished his pro career playing for Armadillo in the independent Texas-Louisiana League in 1997. In the majors, he hit .215 with 22 runs, seven homers, 19 RBIs and 33 walks in 90 games. His son is an NFL quarterback.
Tommie Sisk, pitcher for the 1962-68 Pirates. Pittsburgh signed Sisk as an amateur free agent before the start of the 1960 season. He debuted as a starter for Burlington of the Class-B Three-I League, where he went 6-7, 4.50 in 96 innings over 14 starts and a relief appearance. He walked 87 batters that year, while picking up 78 strikeouts. He pitched well for Asheville of the Class-A South Atlantic League in 1961, going 12-3, 3.81 in 143.2 innings, earning a late promotion to Triple-A Columbus of the International League, where he went 2-3, 5.03 in 34 innings. Combined between both stops, he had a 94:116 BB/SO ratio in 177.2 innings. Sisk started 1962 in Columbus, before getting his first shot at the majors in July of that season as a spot starter during a doubleheader on July 19th. After two relief appearances over the next five days, he returned to Columbus to finish the minor league season, before rejoining the Pirates in September. He went 10-12, 4.50 in 160 innings in Columbus, and he ended up with a 4.08 ERA in 17.2 innings in Pittsburgh that year.
Sisk made four starts and 53 relief appearances in 1963, pitching a total of 108 innings. He had a 1-3, 2.92 record and one save. He had troubles in 1964, earning a brief demotion back to Columbus, but was back to form during the following season when he began to see more time on the mound. After posting a 6.16 ERA in 61.1 innings over 42 appearances (one start) in 1964, Sisk had a 7-3, 3.40 record in 1965. He pitched 111.1 innings that year over 12 starts and 26 relief appearances. He pitched one complete game, which was his first career shutout. In 1966, he made 23 starts and 11 relief appearances, going 10-5, 4.14 in 150 innings. He had four complete games, one shutout and one save. The 1967 season was the best of his career. Sisk threw a career high 207.2 innings, posting a 13-13, 3.34 record. He threw 11 complete games that season, three more than he had in his other eight big league seasons combined. He also had two shutouts.
Sisk saw his playing time start to diminish in 1968, despite pitching decent through mid-June with a 4-2, 3.75 record. In his last 24 appearances of the season, 21 of them came during Pirates losses. One of the wins during that stretch was a start in which he gave up just one run through 8.1 innings. He actually pitched better while seeing less time, posting a 3.15 ERA in 60 innings after June 20th. He finished 5-5, 3.28 in 96 innings over 11 starts and 22 relief appearances. The Pirates traded Sisk to the San Diego Padres in a four-player deal on March 28, 1969. He went 2-13, 4.78 in 143 innings over 13 starts and 40 relief appearances for the Padres in their first season of existence. He picked up six of his ten career saves that year. He pitched just one season in San Diego, then was traded to the Chicago White Sox for 1970, and they in turn traded him to the Cleveland Indians in June of that season. He had a 5.40 ERA in 33.1 innings before the trade to Cleveland. The Indians sent him right to the minors, and he never returned to the majors. To finish out the 1970 season, he had a 5.07 ERA in 55 innings, with more walks than strikeouts, while playing for Wichita of the Triple-A American Association. Sisk played his final year of pro ball in 1971, pitching in Triple-A for the Montreal Expos, where he had a 5.54 ERA in 26 innings. With the Pirates, he had a 37-35, 3.69 record in 752 innings over 246 games, 85 as a starter.
Woodie Fryman, pitcher for the 1966-67 Pirates. The Pirates signed him as an amateur free agent in July of 1965, five years after he first attended a tryout for the team and couldn’t agree on a bonus price. He pitched semi-pro ball before signing his first pro contract at 25 years old. It took just 64 innings in the minors to convince Pittsburgh he was ready for the majors at the start of the 1966 season. During that half season in 1965, Fryman posted a 1.50 ERA in 30 innings while playing with Batavia in the low-level New York-Penn League. He then skipped three levels and put up a 3.71 ERA in six starts at Triple-A Columbus of the International League to finish off the season. That led to him making the Opening Day roster of the Pirates in 1966. Fryman would pitch 36 games that rookie season, 28 as a starter, getting in a total of 181.2 innings. He had a 12-9 record and a 3.81 ERA for the third place Pirates. He struggled at the start of the 1967 season, while also missing a month. He turned things around with a complete game win over the Houston Astros in late July, which was his first victory of the season. He finished that season with a 3-8, 4.05 record in 118.1 innings over 18 starts and ten relief appearances. The Pirates traded him to the Philadelphia Phillies on December 15, 1967 along with three other players in exchange for Jim Bunning. Fryman ended up pitching another 16 years in the majors after the disastrous deal, which also included All-Star third baseman Don Money. It wouldn’t be the last time Fryman was traded for a future Hall of Famer.
In his first year in Philadelphia, Fryman went 12-14, 2.78 in 213.2 innings, throwing five shutouts and ten complete games in 32 starts. He struck out 151 batters that year, which was his career high. He also earned his first All-Star appearance. The Phillies were a below .500 team and it showed in his record, though teammate Chris Short managed a 19-13, 2.94 record that same season. Fryman struggled a bit in 1969, going 12-15, 4.41 in 228.1 innings, with ten complete games in 35 starts. He finished with 150 strikeouts, one behind his career high. A strained elbow in 1970 caused him to miss a month and limited him to 127.2 innings. He went 8-6, 4.09 in 20 starts and seven relief appearances. He bounced back in 1971, but still saw somewhat limited work while switching between starting and relief. Fryman went 10-7, 3.38 in 17 starts and 20 relief appearances, throwing a total of 149.1 innings. He started off 1972 by going 4-10, 4.36 in 119.2 innings, before the Phillies lost him on waivers to the Detroit Tigers, where he turned things around quickly. He finished the year by going 10-3, 2.06 in 113.2 innings. His success in Detroit was fleeting. He had a rough 1973 season, putting up a 6-13, 5.36 record in 169.2 innings. He had 29 starts that year and he completed just one game. Fryman was a little bit better the next year, lowering his ERA to 4.32 in 141.2 innings. He had a 6-9 record in his 22 starts and five relief appearances.
Over the 1974-75 off-season, Fryman was sent to the Montreal Expos in a deal for two players, including Tom Walker, the father of long-time Pirates second baseman Neil Walker. For the third time, a change of scenery led to strong results for Fryman. He put up a 3.32 ERA in 157 innings in 1975, though playing for a fifth place team led to a 9-12 record. He made 20 starts and 18 relief appearances, finishing with three shutouts and three saves. He went 13-13, 3.47 in 216.1 innings in 1976, compiling that .500 record despite the team going 55-107. His standout performance on a poor team earned him his second All-Star appearance, but it didn’t keep him in Montreal. After the season, Fryman was shipped to the Cincinnati Reds in a four-player deal that included Hall of Fame first baseman Tony Perez. Fryman lasted just one year in Cincinnati, going 5-5, 5.38 in 75.1 innings over 12 starts and five relief appearances. In early July, he decided to retire and return to his home to do farming (he owned 400 acres). He was traded to the Chicago Cubs, who held on to him for just two months of the 1978 season before shipping him back to Montreal. He went 2-4, 5.17 in 55.2 innings with the Cubs, then had a 5-7, 3.61 record in 94.2 innings over 17 starts and two relief appearances with the 1978 Expos. He ended up throwing three shutouts with Montreal that year.
Fryman remained in Montreal for the final 5 1/2 seasons of his career. He moved to full-time relief in 1979 and didn’t make a single start during his last five years. He had a 2.79 record in 58 innings over 44 appearances in 1979, while picking up ten saves. He was even better in 1980, setting a career best with 17 saves, while featuring a 7-4, 2.25 record in 80 innings over 61 outings. Fryman continued to improve during the strike-shortened 1981 season, posting a 5-3, 1.88 record, with seven saves in 35 appearances and 43 innings pitched. At 42 years old in 1982, he went 9-4 with 12 saves in 60 appearances, but his ERA doubled to 3.75 in 69.2 innings and it was a sign of him slowing down. He returned for 1983, but a left elbow injury led to him playing just six games during his final season, making one appearance in April and five in July, before the pain was too much to pitch again. The Expos released him just after the season ended. Fryman finished his career with a 141-155, 3.77 record in 2,411.1 innings over 625 games, 322 as a starter. He threw 68 complete games, 27 shutouts, and he also added 58 saves, with 46 of them coming during his second stint in Montreal.
Walt Moryn, outfielder for the 1961 Pirates. He played pro ball for a total of 14 seasons, starting his career in 1948 at 22 years old in the Brooklyn Dodgers system. He was playing at the lowest level that year (Class-D) with Sheboygan of the Wisconsin League, where he hit .339 in 124 games, with 46 extra-base hits. He moved up two levels in 1949, hitting .305/398/.530 in 94 games with Danville of the Three-I League, but when he played in Double-A that year with Mobile of the Southern Association, Moryn hit just .224 in 40 games. Combined, he batted .283 with 86 runs, 18 doubles, 16 triples, 15 homers, 75 RBIs and 70 walks. He played for Mobile for all of 1950-51, putting up solid numbers his first year, then doing better in his second full year in the league. Moryn hit .281 with 24 doubles and 15 homers in 132 games in 1950, then followed that up with a .299 average, 32 doubles, seven triples and 24 homers in 155 games in 1951. That performance got him promoted to Montreal of the Triple-A International League for 1952, where he hit .276 with 16 homers, 70 RBIs, 71 runs scored and 54 walks in 114 games. He split the 1953 season between Montreal and St Paul of the Triple-A American Association, doing much better with his new team. Moryn had a .686 OPS in 45 games with Montreal and an .878 mark in 87 games with St Paul. He was back with St Paul to start 1954, before making his big league debut at 28 years old in June. He hit .301 with 18 homers, 50 RBIs and a .930 OPS before the promotion.
Moryn hit .275 in 48 games for the 1954 Dodgers, mostly seeing time off of the bench. He had a .759 OPS in 102 plate appearances. He spent nearly all of 1955 back in St Paul, playing just 11 September games for the Dodgers in which he hit .263 with a double, homer and five walks. He was traded that December in a five-player deal with the Chicago Cubs that also included Don Hoak, his future teammate with the Pirates. Moryn became the everyday right fielder for the Cubs immediately, hitting .285 with 69 runs, 27 doubles, 23 homers, 67 RBIs and 50 walks in 147 games during the 1956 season. He had a solid season in 1957 as well, batting .289 with 76 runs, 33 doubles, 19 homers, 88 RBIs and 50 walks in 149 games. He was an All-Star during the 1958 season with the Cubs when he hit .264 with 77 runs, 26 doubles, seven triples, 26 homers, 77 RBIs and 62 runs in 143 games. His .845 OPS was the best of his career for a full season. He was remarkably consistent at getting on base during those first three seasons in Chicago, finishing with .348, .348 and .350 on base percentages during that time. He saw a significant drop in his production in 1959, batting just .234 in 117 games, with 14 doubles and 14 homers. He was the everyday left fielder until early June when he took up more of a platoon role for the rest of the season.
Moryn’s playing time dropped in 1960 when he split the season between the Cubs and St Louis Cardinals, who acquired him on June 15th. He played 113 games that year, though he saw more time off of the bench. Moryn hit .262 with 13 homers and 46 RBIs. He had a solid .756 OPS that year, with almost identical numbers with both teams (.751 vs .759 with Cardinals), but he got to that number with a higher average in Chicago and more power in St Louis. Before joining the Pirates in 1961, he was hitting just .125 in 17 games for the Cardinals. Moryn finished his eight-year career in Pittsburgh, coming over from the Cardinals on June 15th in a cash deal. Back then, the trade deadline was June 15th, so it was more than just a coincidence that he was getting dealt exactly one year after joining St Louis. He hit .200 with three homers in 40 games with the Pirates, though he was mostly coming off the bench, making just ten starts. He started in right field five times and left field five times. The Pirates released him shortly after the 1961 season ended and he retired from baseball. He finished with a .507 OPS in his final season, the only year he ended up under the .700 mark. In eight big league seasons, he hit .266 in 785 games, with 324 runs, 116 doubles, 16 triples, 101 homers and 354 RBIs. He wasn’t much of a defensive player, but he led all National League outfielders in assists in 1956, and all NL right fielders in assists in 1957. He also led the league in putouts as a right fielder in 1957 and as a left fielder in 1958.
Joe Vitelli, pitcher for the Pirates in 1944-45. He was a local kid, born in McKees Rock, PA., and he lived in Pittsburgh for a time. That helped him get to the majors with the Pirates. He pitched eight seasons in the minors from 1932 until 1940, then didn’t play pro ball at all for nearly four full years before getting into his first big league game. He had tryouts with both the New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds that went nowhere early in his career. He debuted in pro ball with Cumberland in the Class-C Middle Atlantic League, where he had a 4.45 ERA in 91 innings during the 1932 season. He remained in the league in 1933 and won 16 games and pitched 209 innings, while splitting the year between Wheeling and Johnstown. Vitelli stayed with Johnstown in 1934 and posted a 7-3, 4.33 record in 108 innings that year. In 1935, he moved up one level of the minor league ladder to the Class-B Piedmont League, where he went 5-4, 3.94 in 64 innings for Norfolk. He had to sit out the entire 1936 season due to a year-long suspension for a fight. Vitelli returned to pro ball in 1937 with Albany of the Class-A New York-Penn League, where he had a 17-10, 2.66 record in 244 innings. He remained in Albany for the next three years, though the team was playing in the Class-A Eastern League during the 1938-40 seasons. He couldn’t match those strong 1937 numbers after the league change, putting up a 4.00 ERA in 144 innings 1938, and an 11-8, 3.85 record in 152 innings in 1939. He was with Albany briefly in 1940, but he spent most of that year and all of 1941 playing semi-pro ball. He later said arm injuries slowed him down during those seasons. He served in the Army in 1942-43 during WWII, then returning to pro ball with the Pirates in 1944 as a coach, serving as the batting practice pitcher.
With the majors decimated by the losses of players serving in the military during the war at that time, the Pirates used Vitelli in four games during the 1944 season, despite the fact he hadn’t pitched at all since 1941, and he was 36 years old. He was signed on April 24, 1944 to a player’s contract after pitching for two days in front of manager Frankie Frisch, who was looking for a batting practice pitcher with good control. It was said that his chief job would be to throw batting practice, but he could pitch in a real game if needed. All four of his appearances came during blowout losses in relief, getting in a total of seven innings. He allowed two earned runs, though he walked seven batters. Vitelli started an exhibition game on June 17, 1944 against Columbus of the American Association and he allowed three runs over eight innings in a 4-3 victory. Ten days later he pitched during a game against the Youngstown All-Stars to entertain soldiers. He was with the Pirates in the same role in 1945, but they used him just once as a pinch-runner on May 30th. He was released two weeks later so they could get down to a 25-man roster by the June 15th deadline. He returned immediately as a batting practice pitcher, but gave up that role after just two weeks due to the cut in pay and his desire to pitch, which he never did at any level after the 1945 season.
Bill Clancy, first baseman for the 1905 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball at age 23 in 1902, playing for Worcester of the Class-A Eastern League, where he hit .292 in 126 games, with 21 doubles, seven triples and nine homers. He remained in Worcester, though the team moved to Montreal during the 1903 season. He batted .317 in 105 games that year, finishing with 69 runs scored, 15 doubles, five triples, five homers and 16 steals. The next year in Montreal, he batted .310 with 21 doubles and 12 triples (no homers) in 123 games. He also spent a short time that year with Oakland of the Pacific Coast League, hitting .216 in ten games. The Pirates took Clancy in the September 1904 Rule 5 draft from Montreal. It was said he played baseball just for the money and he would go wherever he was paid best, even if that meant staying in the minor leagues. He got a reputation from some who said he couldn’t handle the pressure of Major League baseball and that he would rather play in the minors, where he was a star player. For the Pirates in 1905, Clancy hit .229 with 23 runs, 16 extra-base hits and 34 RBIs in 56 games. He drew just four walks, leaving him with a .246 on base percentage, to go along with a .576 OPS. On July 22, 1905, the Pirates sold his contract to Rochester of the Eastern League, ending his big league career after only three months.
Clancy lost his starting first base job to another rookie named Del Howard (who would soon be traded for Vic Willis) on June 25th. Clancy moved to right field for four days, then didn’t play during his final 24 days with the team. The Pirates tried to sell him to Columbus of the American Association on July 6th, but he refused to report, even after they agreed to match his big league salary, so he later ended up with Rochester. Clancy would spend the next seven seasons in the minors despite having numerous offers to play in the majors, all of which he turned down. After his stint with the Pirates, he hit .289 in 69 games for Rochester to finish out the 1905 season. He remained there until the middle of the 1908 season. Clancy hit .275 with 32 extra-base hits in 141 games in 1906, and then batted .288 with 23 extra-base hits and 24 steals in 115 games in 1907. He split the 1908 season between Rochester and Buffalo (also of the Eastern League). Stats are incomplete from that season, but he’s credited with a .253 average, 17 extra-base hits and 18 steals in 87 games. He saw his average drop down to .242 in 128 games with Buffalo in 1909, then moved over to Baltimore of the Eastern League in 1910 and repeated that .242 average in 107 games. He had similar power numbers, putting up a .324 slugging percentage in 1909, then dropping just slightly to a .317 mark in 1910. Clancy played his entire minor league career at Class-A ball until 1911 when he joined Fort Wayne of the Class-B Central League for his final two seasons. The move down helped his hitting, finishing the year with a .299 average in 97 games, with 31 extra-base hits in 1911. In his final year of pro ball, he batted .272 in 129 games, with 50 extra-base hits.