On a very busy day for Pittsburgh Pirates birthdays, we have eight players and a manager to cover. Before we get into the former players, current pitcher Wil Crowe turns 28 years old today.
Dots Miller, infielder for the 1909-13 Pirates. He played just one season of minor league ball before becoming the starting second baseman for the 1909 Pirates. Prior to that he played for a strong amateur team in his hometown of Kearny, NJ. He began the 1908 season with Easton of the Atlantic League at 21 years old, but he made such a great impression early that the Pirates acquired him within three months of his pro debut. He was signed sight unseen, with owner Barney Dreyfuss receiving a strong recommendation that led to his signing. The Pirates signed him when he reported to the team on July 7, 1908, and he spent about three weeks with the club without playing any games before being sent to McKeesport of the Class-C Ohio-Pennsylvania League, where he hit .306 with 23 runs and six steals in 43 games. On the day his signing was announced, it was noted that he would likely be farmed out after the Pirates got a look at him. Miller was brought into Spring Training in 1909 to compete for a bench job, and he ended up impressing so much that he won the starting second base job over veteran Ed Abbaticchio. Miller had a chance to play regularly during that Spring Training due to Honus Wagner deciding to get ready for the season while at home in Pittsburgh playing/coaching basketball. Wagner didn’t join the team until right before Opening Day, and by that time, Miller had the nickname “Honus the Second” by some of the local scribes. Miller had a 4.6 WAR season in 1909 at 22 years old, hitting .279 in 151 games, with 71 runs, 47 extra-base hits and 87 RBIs. He ranked third in the league in RBIs, third in doubles (31) and fourth with 13 triples. He was also third in extra-base hits and he ranked seventh in slugging percentage. In the World Series, he hit .250 with four RBIs, two runs scored and three stolen bases.
Miller dealt with injuries in 1910, leading to a down season in which he hit .227/.284/.309 and was limited to 120 games. He had 45 runs, 24 extra-base hits and 48 RBIs. He injured his ankle in early July and returned home to recuperate. In late July, it was announced that he would not play again that season, but he was back in the lineup just two weeks later, although his stats were much better before the injury than the .557 OPS he had in his final 55 games. He was briefly replaced in the lineup by Hall of Famer Bill McKechnie during that poor stretch late in the season. In 1911, Miller bounced back with a .268 average, 82 runs, 31 extra-base hits,76 RBIs, 17 steals and a .725 OPS in 137 games. By 1912, he was back among the league leaders in multiple categories. He was also moved over to first base, despite strong defensive metrics at his original spot. Miller hit .275 with 74 runs, 33 doubles and 12 triples, 86 RBIs, 18 steals and a .721 OPS. He ranked top ten in the league in RBIs, doubles and triples for the second season in each category. During the 1913 season, Miller finished fourth in the league with 90 RBIs and fourth with 243 total bases. He was also second in the league with 20 triples. All three marks would end up as career bests. He hit .272 in 154 games, with 75 runs, 24 doubles, 20 steals and career highs of seven homers and a .736 OPS. He finished eighth in the National League MVP voting.
Despite the big season at first base in 1913, the Pirates made a trade to acquire first baseman Ed Konetchy from the St Louis Cardinals. He was a favorite of owner Barney Dreyfuss, who tried to acquire him multiple times in the past. The trade turned out to be a disaster. Not only did Miller outplay Konetchy in 1914, Konetchy bailed on the Pirates after one season to play in the newly-formed Federal League. The trade was even more one-sided, as the Pirates gave up another four players, included starting right fielder Chief Wilson and pitcher Hank Robinson, while receiving two other marginal talents in return, one of which being Mike Mowrey, who was cut by the Pirates before the 1914 season ended. Miller won (or lost if you’re the Pirates) the trade on his own, finishing fifth in the MVP voting in 1914. He batted .290 with 67 runs, 41 extra-base hits, 88 RBIs and a .732 OPS in 155 games. His 4.1 WAR that season was the second best of his career, trailing only his rookie season. He was sixth in the league in hits, eighth in total bases, fifth in doubles, eighth in triples and fourth in RBIs. The Pirates went from a 1913 record of 78-71, to 69-85 after the deal. The Cardinals went from a 51-win team to an 81-win team in one season, bolstered by the infusion of talent from the Pirates.
Miller played four seasons in St Louis before serving during WWI. In 1915, he .264 with 73 runs, 29 extra-base hits, 72 RBIs and a career best 27 steals in 150 games. During the 1916 season, he batted .238 in 143 games, with 47 runs, 30 extra-base hits, 46 RBIs and 18 steals, while seeing playing time at first base, second base and shortstop, plus brief time at third base in center field. He was considered to be one of the best utility players at this time. In 1917, Miller hit .248 in 148 games, with 61 runs, 26 extra-base hits, 45 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. His .615 OPS matched his mark from the previous season. Those were the deadball era years, so his OPS was nearly league average, falling 17 points short in 1916 and 18 points short in 1917. He enlisted in the Marines prior to the 1918 season and missed the entire year. He returned in 1919 for one more season with the Cardinals, hitting .231 in 101 games, with 38 runs, 15 extra-base hits and 24 RBIs, while seeing a majority of his playing time at first base.
Miller then played his last two years in the majors with the Philadelphia Phillies after they purchased his contract on September 28, 1919. He hit .254 in 98 games in 1920, while seeing time at all four infield spots. He had 41 runs, 14 extra-base hits and 27 RBIs. He batted .297 in 84 games during his final season in the majors, winding up with 37 runs, 14 extra-base hits, 23 RBIs and a .680 OPS. He would pass away due to tuberculosis in 1923 just days before his 37th birthday, after managing two seasons in the minors with San Francisco of the Double-A Pacific Coast League. He also played briefly with San Francisco during the 1922 season. Miller finished his big league career with a .263 average in 1,589 games, with 711 runs, 232 doubles, 108 triples, 32 homers, 714 RBIs and 177 stolen bases. While with the Pirates, he batted .266 in 710 games, with 347 runs and 389 RBIs.
Miller got the nickname “Dots” as a small child due to his thick German accent. He would say “That’s mine” when he grabbed things, but the “That’s” came out as “Dots”. His teammates in Pittsburgh learned of the nickname during his first trip to Philadelphia as a player, when all of his friends and family showed up. There’s an old story of unknown origin that claims he got the nickname from Honus Wagner’s German accent, when he supposedly said to a reporter who asked about the whereabouts of Miller “Dots (that’s) Miller”. There in no truth to that story, but it has been passed around for years as being true. Wagner wasn’t even with the team during Spring Training in 1909 when it supposedly happened. Miller’s first name was John, though he was often called “Jack” during his playing days. His nephew Jack Tighe managed the Detroit Tigers during the 1957-58 seasons, and he also played 11 years of minor league ball.
Waite Hoyt, Hall of Fame pitcher for the Pirates from 1933 until 1937. Hoyt made the Hall of Fame on the strength of one of the teams he played with for most of his career, that being the New York Yankees from 1921-30, when he had a 157-98 record. Over the rest of his career, posting a ERA just slightly higher than his New York days, he had a career record of 80-84, including the 35-31 mark he compiled with the Pirates. His ERA during his five years in Pittsburgh stood at 3.08, forty points below his number with the Yankees.
Hoyt debuted in pro ball at 16 years old in 1916, putting together a 4-5 record, while pitching 71 innings total for two different teams (Hartford and Lynn) from the Class-B Eastern League. He actually signed with the New York Giants at 15 years old, but didn’t debut until the next season. In 1917, he spent most of the year one step from the majors with Montreal of the Double-A International League, where he had a 7-17 record, despite a 2.51 ERA in 215 innings. Hoyt also spent time that season with Memphis of the Class-A Southern Association, going 3-9, 3.23 in 103 innings. That gave him a 10-26 record and 318 innings pitched at 17 years old. He split the 1918 season between Newark of the International League (2-3 record in five appearances) and Nashville of the Southern Association, where he had a 5-10 record and pitched 137 innings. In between stops, he made one relief appearance for the Giants in July, throwing a shutout inning in his big league debut. He was part of a large trade to a minor league team in Rochester after the 1918 season, in which the Giants gave up cash and five players in exchange for catching prospect Earl Smith, who later played for the Pirates. Hoyt didn’t go to the minors after the trade. He spent the 1919 season with the Boston Red Sox, where he went 4-6, 3.25 in 105.1 innings over 11 starts and two relief appearances. He went 6-6, 4.38 in 121.1 innings in 1920, making 11 starts and 11 relief appearances. After the 1920 season, he was part of an eight-player trade between the Red Sox and Yankees.
In 1921, Hoyt went 19-13, 3.09 in 282.1 innings for the Yankees, helping them to the World Series, where he won two of his three starts. He made 32 starts and 11 relief appearances that year, finishing with 21 complete games, one shutout and three saves (not an official stat at the time). He had 102 strikeouts that season, good for sixth best in the league. In 1922, he had a 19-12, 3.43 record in 265 innings, once again leading the team to the World Series, where he lost his only start, despite allowed one earned run in eight innings. He completed 17 of his 31 starts that season, throwing three shutouts. In 1923, the Yankees won the American League pennant for a third straight season and he had a 17-9, 3.02 record in 238.2 innings over 28 starts and nine relief appearances, finishing with 19 complete games. They won their first World Series title that year, though Hoyt got hit hard in his only start. All three of those World Series match-ups were against the Giants. The Yankees missed the playoffs in 1924, but Hoyt still had an 18-13, 3.79 record in 247 innings. He made 32 starts and 14 relief appearances, throwing 14 complete games, with two shutouts and four saves. In 1925, he had an 11-14, 4.00 record in 243 innings, as the Yankees slipped that year with Babe Ruth missing time. Hoyt had 17 complete games and six saves. They were back in the postseason in 1926, helped along by Hoyt, who had a 16-12, 3.85 record in 217.2 innings over 28 starts and 12 relief appearances.
Most baseball fans know the 1927 Yankees, the World Series winning team famously called Murderer’s Row for their strong offense. Hoyt was a big part of that team on the pitching side, going 22-7, 2.63 in 256.1 innings. He set a career high with 23 complete games that year, and he tossed three shutouts. He won his only start in the postseason against the Pirates. In 1928, he went 23-7, 3.36 in 273 innings, which led to a tenth place finish in the MVP voting. He made 31 starts and 11 relief appearances, finishing with 19 complete games, three shutouts and eight saves. He also won both of his World Series starts. That season was a real turning point in his career. He set a personal best with those 23 wins at 28 years old, then never approached that number again. He had just 82 wins left in his career, despite hanging around another ten seasons. In 1929, he went 10-9, 4.24 in 201.2 innings over 25 starts and five relief outings. The Yankees sent him to the Detroit Tigers in a five-player trade early in 1930 after starting the year 2-2, 4.53 in 47.2 innings. He finished that season 11-10, 4.71 in 183.1 innings. The Tigers put him on waivers in the middle of 1931, when he joined the Philadelphia A’s and helped them to the postseason. He finished the year 13-13, 4.97 in 203 innings, with better results after the trade. He lost his only World Series start, which was the final one of his career. Hoyt had a 1.83 ERA in 83.2 innings in the World Series.
Hoyt was released by A’s in February of 1932, then signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was there until early June, where he was released again after posting a 7.76 ERA in 26.2 innings. The Giants came calling soon after and he went 5-7, 3.42 in 97.1 innings over 12 starts and six relief outings to finish out the season. Despite decent results, he was released again. Hoyt was signed by the Pirates in January of 1933 and was used mostly in relief during his first season in Pittsburgh. He went 5-7, 2.92 in 117 innings, making eight starts and 28 relief appearances. He was used in the same role in 1934, he just pitched more often. That would be his best season since he won 23 games six years earlier. Hoyt was 15-6, 2.93 in 190.2 innings, making 17 starts and 23 relief appearances. He set a career high with 105 strikeouts, which was good for tenth best in the league. In 1935, he had a 7-11, 3.40 record in 11 starts and 28 relief outings, throwing a total of 164 innings. He began to slow down the next year, but still pitched well with a 2.70 ERA in 116.2 innings over nine starts and 13 relief appearances. His ERA that season was the lowest among all Pirates pitchers, on a staff that included some strong pitchers like Cy Blanton, Mace Brown, Bill Swift and Red Lucas.
Hoyt started off slowly in 1937, going 1-2, 4.50 in 28 innings over 11 relief appearances. He was then was sold to the Brooklyn Dodgers in June. He pitched well there over the rest of the 1937 season, finishing with a 8-9, 3.42 record in 195 innings over 19 starts and eight relief appearances. He ended up lasting six games in 1938, posting a 4.96 ERA in 16.1 innings, before being released, which ended his big league career. He finished with a 237-182, 3.59 record in 3,762.1 innings over 674 games, 425 as a starter. He had 226 complete games, 26 shutouts and 53 saves. He was a career .198 hitter in 1,287 at-bats, with 26 doubles, 11 triples and 100 RBIs, though he never connected on a home run.
Frankie Frisch, Hall of Fame second baseman, who managed the Pirates from 1940 until 1946. Frisch played 19 seasons in the majors, retiring in 1937. He spent his first eight season with the New York Giants, where he played exactly 1,000 games. The next 11 years were spent with the St Louis Cardinals, where he played another 1,311 games. He hit .316 with 2,880 hits, 1,532 runs scored, 466 doubles, 138 triples, 105 homers, 1,244 RBIs and 419 stolen bases. He was the National League MVP in 1931 and received MVP votes in nine different seasons, which included one second and one third place finish as well. When the All-Star game came along in 1933, he was the starting second baseman in the first two years, then he was the manager in the 1935 game. He was a part of four World Series winning teams as a player and one of those as a player/manager. He played on a total of eight pennant winning teams. He had seven seasons with 100+ runs, three seasons with 100+ RBIs, three stolen base crowns, and 13 seasons of a .300+ average. He had 728 walks and 272 strikeouts. According to dWAR, he ranks 41st all-time on defense, and he had three fielding percentage titles to his credit. From 1927-29, he held the record for highest fielding percentage career for second basemen. His 71.8 WAR ranks him just ahead of Derek Jeter for 93rd place all-time, with Frisch getting there in 2,501 fewer plate appearances.
Frisch took over the Pirates in 1940 after they went 68-85 in Pie Traynor’s final season at the helm, so they were passing the helm from one Hall of Famer to another. Frisch already had six seasons of managerial experience, going 458-354 with the St Louis Cardinals, who he led to the World Series title in 1934. He had 95 wins that season, then improved to 96 wins in 1935, though it only good enough for second place. The Pirates improved to 78-76 during Frisch’s first season. In 1941, they improved again, going 81-73. Like every big league team, the Pirates were hit hard with players being lost due to WWII service. Frisch managed the Pirates through that entire period. He saw the record drop to 66-81 in 1942, before rebounding to 84-70 in 1943. The Pirates had a strong season in 1944, finishing second for the National League pennant. Their 90-63 record that season was the best mark that they had between World Series appearances in 1927 and 1960. They dropped down to 82-72 in 1945, then they had a 62-89 record in 1946 when Frisch stepped aside before the final three games. He had a winning record in five of his seven seasons in Pittsburgh, finishing second once and fourth four times. His managerial career wrapped up with a stint with the Chicago Cubs from the middle of 1949 through the middle of 1951. He went 1,138-1,078 overall in 16 years of managing in the big leagues. He was elected to the Hall of Fame as a player in 1947, his seventh year getting votes. He got votes on the first Hall of Fame ballot in 1936, despite the fact that he was still playing.
Dan Miceli, reliever for the 1993-96 Pirates. He was originally signed by the Kansas City Royals as an amateur free agent in 1990, before coming over to the Pirates at the 1993 trading deadline, along with Jon Lieber, in exchange for Stan Belinda. Miceli debuted in pro ball at 19 years old in 1990, with a 3.91 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 53 innings in the Gulf Coast League. He spent the 1991 season in short-season ball as well, putting up a 2.14 ERA, ten saves and 43 strikeouts in 33.2 innings over 25 relief appearances for Eugene of the Northwest League. In 1992, he moved up to the Class-A Midwest League, where he had a 1.93 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 23.1 innings for Appleton, which led to a promotion to Double-A Memphis of the Southern League. He was just as good as the higher level, putting up a 1.91 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 37.2 innings. Before joining the Pirates, he had a 6-4, 4.60 record at 68 strikeouts in 58.2 innings over 40 relief appearances in Memphis. He remained at the same level with the Pirates, putting up a 5.11 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 12.1 innings for Carolina of the Southern League. Miceli came to the majors that September and stuck around for another three seasons, despite never pitching with any success.
Miceli had a 5.06 ERA (three runs in 5.1 innings) in nine appearances during his first cup of coffee in the majors. In 1994, he had a 5.93 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 27.1 innings over 28 outings with the Pirates. He pitched well in Triple-A that year with Buffalo of the American Association, posting a 1.88 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 24 innings. In 1995, he was used often by the Pirates in the closer role, picking up 21 saves, but he also had a 4.66 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP in 58 innings over 58 appearances. The next year the Pirates tried him as a starter briefly and he wound up with a 2-10, 5.78 record in nine starts and 35 relief outings, throwing a total of 85.2 innings. After the season ended, he was dealt to the Detroit Tigers for pitcher Clint Sodowsky. Miceli went on to pitch a total of 14 seasons in the majors, seeing time with ten different teams. In his only season in Detroit, he had a 5.01 ERA in 82.2 innings over 71 appearances. He was traded to the San Diego Padres before the 1998 season and had his best year with them during that first season. He went 10-5, 3.22 in 72.2 innings over 67 appearances, with 70 strikeouts and two saves. In 1999, Miceli had a 4-5, 4.66 record in 68.2 innings over 66 games. He was traded to the Florida Marlins prior to the 2000 season. He had a decent first year in Florida, going 6-4, 4.25 in 48.2 innings over 45 games, but a slow start in 2001 led to him being released in June. He finished the year with the Colorado Rockies, combining to go 2-5, 4.80 in 45 innings, with much better results with the Rockies. He struck out 48 batters in 45 innings that year.
Miceli signed a free agent deal with the Texas Rangers in 2002, but he was released after struggling through nine early season games, allowing eight runs in 8.1 innings. He didn’t play again until 2003 when he split the season between the Rockies, New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians. He had a 3.20 ERA in 70.1 innings over 57 games that year, making 7+ appearances with each team. He remained with the Astros for all of 2004, going 6-6, 3.59 in 77.2 innings over 74 outings, with two saves and 83 strikeouts. He joined the Rockies for a third time in May of 2005 as a free agent signing. He had a 5.89 ERA in 18.1 innings between late June and early August, then spent part of the season pitching in Japan. Miceli’s big league career wrapped up with a 3.94 ERA in 32 innings for the 2006 Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He attempted a comeback in 2009, pitching in independent ball with Long Island of the Atlantic League. He finished with a 43-52, 4.48 record in 700.2 innings over 631 games (nine starts), with 39 saves and 632 strikeouts. For the Pirates, Miceli was 8-15, 5.41 in 176.1 innings over 139 games. He played more games for the Pirates than he did with any of his other nine teams.
Tom Foley, infielder for the 1993-94 Pirates. He spent his entire 13-year career in the National League, eight of those seasons with the Montreal Expos. His two years in Pittsburgh were book-ended by his first and second stop in Montreal. Foley split most of his big league time at either shortstop or second base, but he also saw plenty of work between the two corner infield spots. He was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the seventh round in 1977 out of high school. Just 17 years old at the time, he hit .254 with 37 runs, 37 walks and a .696 OPS in 59 games for Billings of the short-seasons Pioneer League. In 1978, Foley played for Shelby of the Class-A Western Carolinas League, where he hit .231, with 55 runs, 19 doubles, 50 walks and a .610 OPS in 124 games. He moved to Tampa of the Class-A Florida State League in 1979 and hit .229 in 125 games, with 38 runs, 18 extra-base hits, 37 RBIs and a .580 OPS. Despite the poor hitting stats, he was in Double-A in 1980 and showed some improvements, hitting .249 with 49 runs, 24 extra-base hits, 41 RBIs and 47 walks in 131 games for Waterbury of the Eastern League. By 1981 he was in Triple-A Indianapolis of the American Association for the first of two seasons. Foley hit .233 with 47 runs, 12 doubles, six homers, 27 RBIs and a .623 OPS in 103 games in 1981. That was followed by a .269 average in 129 games in 1982, setting minor league highs with 20 doubles, nine triples, eight homers and a .747 OPS.
Foley debuted in the majors in 1983, making the Opening Day of the Reds roster as a backup infielder. He hit .204 with a .563 OPS in 113 plate appearances over 68 games that rookie year, seeing most of his time at shortstop. He played much more often in 1984, batting .253 with 26 runs, eight doubles, five homers and 27 RBIs in 106 games, getting 304 plate appearances that year. That was followed by a .196/.245/.272 slash line in 98 plate appearances over 43 games in 1985 before he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in a five-player deal in early August. He hit .266 with 17 runs, eight doubles, three homers and 17 RBIs in 46 games for the 1985 Phillies. Foley then batted .295/.389/.361 in 72 plate appearances over 39 games for the 1986 Phillies before they traded him in late July to the Expos. He batted .257/.320/.356 in 64 games for Montreal, with 18 runs, 16 extra-base hits and 18 RBIs, while playing all around the infield. In 1987, he hit .293 with 35 runs (career high), 18 doubles, five homers and 28 RBIs in 106 games, while posting a career best .754 OPS. He never reached the .700 mark in any other season.
Foley played a career high 127 games in 1988 and reached 100 base hits (exactly 100 that year) for the only time in his career. He hit .265 with 33 runs, five homers and career highs of 21 doubles and 43 RBIs. In 1989, he played 122 games, hitting .229 with 34 runs, 19 doubles, 39 RBIs, while setting career highs with seven homers and 45 walks. He was back down to a bench role in 1990, when he hit .213/.266/.238 in 73 games, with 178 plate appearances. That was followed by a .208 average and a .555 OPS in 187 plate appearances over 86 games in 1991. In 1992 for the Expos, he hit just .174/.230/.217 in 129 plate appearances over 72 games, leading to his release as soon as the season ended. He didn’t hit a single homer during the 1990-92 seasons.
The Pirates signed Foley two months after he was released by Montreal. He was used mainly at second base in 1993, getting exactly four starts at each of the other three infield spots. In 86 games that season, he hit .253 with 18 runs, 11 doubles, three homers, 22 RBIs and a .653 OPS in 211 plate appearances. He again played all four infield spots in 1994, although he didn’t make any starts at first base. He hit .236 in 59 games during that strike-shortened season, driving in 15 runs and scoring 13 times. His OPS went up to .673 that year, thanks to seven doubles, three homers and a bump in his walk rate. He was released in October and finished his career the next year with the Expos, batting .208/.269/.292 in 11 early season games. He also saw a short stint in Triple-A that year with Ottawa of the International League, putting up a .773 OPS in 23 games. In 1,108 Major League games over 13 seasons, Foley hit .244 with 134 doubles, 20 triples, 32 homers, 32 steals, 248 runs scored and 263 RBIs.
Pete Naton, catcher for the 1953 Pirates. He was signed by the Pirates right out of the College of Holy Cross in June of 1953. He is one of 75 Major League players to attend that school, although only six have began their Major League career after Naton debuted. He went right from college to the Pirates and played two games (one as a starter) before being sent to the minors. The Pirates signed him on June 12th after outbidding 13 other big league teams for his services by signing him to a $4,000 bonus. He went 0-for-3 as a starter in his big league debut on June 16th, then pinch-hit three days later. On June 25th he was optioned to Toronto of the Triple-A International League. He played just one game in Toronto, and then 39 more for Charleston of the South Atlantic League before returning to the Pirates. While in Charleston, he hit .205 with eight doubles, three homers and 15 RBIs. He was recalled by the Pirates in September for four more games, three of them as a starter. He hit .167/.286/.167 with one RBI and two walks. He went to Spring Training with the Pirates in 1954 trying to compete for a backup catching job, but he was cut on April 5th.
Naton then went to the lower minors in 1954, where he hit .288 with 75 runs, 31 doubles, 16 homers, 89 RBIs and an .831 OPS for Class-B Burlington-Graham of the Carolina League. He split the next two seasons between the Pirates affiliates in Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League and New Orleans of the Double-A Southern Association, where he never approached his 1954 hitting numbers. He was actually released outright to Hollywood on November 19, 1954, so he wasn’t technically with the Pirates anymore, though playing with their affiliates would have given them first chance to bring him back. He batted .246 with 31 runs, ten doubles, seven homers and 30 RBIs in 81 games in 1955, with a large majority of his time coming with New Orleans. That was followed by a .227 average, 26 runs, eight doubles, eight homers and 29 RBIs in 75 games in 1956, when he had a more even split between the two levels. Most of 1957 was spent with Hollywood, where he hit .232 with 11 runs, 11 doubles, five homers and 28 RBIs in 52 games. He also batted .143 in ten games with Dallas of the Double-A Texas League. Naton stayed in the Pirates system until 1958 before retiring, never making it back to the majors. His final season was spent with Salt Lake City of the Pacific Coast League, where he hit .202 with 20 runs, eight doubles, four homers and 18 RBIs in 69 games. He was released right before the start of Spring Training in 1959 because the Pirates believed that they had talented coming up through the system who would be blocked. They said the timing was to allow him to find work for 1959, but he never played again.
Dan Costello, outfielder for the 1914-16 Pirates. He signed with the New York Yankees right out of Mount St Mary’s University in 1913, a school that hasn’t produced a Major League player since 1932. Costello spent three of his four seasons in the majors with the Pirates. He played just two games for New York as a pinch-hitter in 1913, going 1-for-2 with a run scored. They farmed him out to Jersey City of the Double-A International League, where he had a short stay before ending up with the Poughkeepsie Honey Bugs of the Class-D New York-New Jersey League. He went back to college over the 1913-14 off-season, and was supposed to report to the Yankees in early July of 1914, but instead he was back in Poughkeepsie, where the team moved to the Class-D Atlantic League. He hit .431 in 56 games during the 1914 season, though he was batting .501 through 32 games. For an unknown reason, he was playing under the name “Kelly” while in Poughkeepsie. On August 1, 1914, the Pirates purchased his contract, but he didn’t debut with them that season until September 9th. Barney Dreyfuss went to see him play in Poughkeepsie and completed the deal after watching him hit two triples, a single and steal two bases.
Costello played 21 games for the 1914 Pirates, twenty of those in right field, and he hit .297/.375/.313 with seven runs, a double, five RBIs and eight walks. He was the backup outfielder in 1915, seeing time at all three positions, though most of his time came off of the bench. Costello hit .216/.258/.264 with 16 runs, four doubles, a triple, 11 RBIs and seven stolen bases in 133 plate appearances over 71 games. During Spring Training in 1916, he was impressing the Pirates with his play and they planned to reward his hard work with more playing time. He got more at-bats in 1916, but played fewer games. Costello started often in left field early in the year, but he ended up hitting just .239/.267/.283 with 11 runs and eight RBIs in 60 games. The Pirates released him to Toronto of the International League in September. While he initially said he would retire rather than report there, he ended up playing 16 games in Toronto during the 1917 season, after joining the club in late June. From there he was sold to Kansas City of the American Association in mid-July and lasted two weeks before being released. He went to Harvard Law School over the 1916-17 off-season and planned to quit baseball, but ended up returning to it a few times. During the 1918 season, he was drafted into the Army and played baseball for a team at Camp Upton. In 1919, he played for Binghamton of the International League, hitting .263 in 18 games. Costello played for Syracuse of the International League in 1920 before being released in mid-May, then he went to play semi-pro ball in Pennsylvania. In March of 1921, it was reported that he signed to play in Vancouver for that season, though no records are available. He finished his time in Pittsburgh with a .241 average, 34 runs, six doubles, four triples, no homers and 24 RBIs in 152 games.
Doc Johnston, first baseman for the 1915-16 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball at 21 years old in 1909 with the Cincinnati Reds, going hitless over ten at-bats in three October games. He then went to the minors for three seasons, splitting 1910 between Chattanooga of the Southern Association and Buffalo of the Eastern League, both Class-A clubs, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. After batting .219 in 112 games that year, he moved on to New Orleans of the Southern Association for the 1911-12 seasons. Johnston hit .258 in 130 games in 1911 and .308 in 107 games in 1912 (available stats are limited for his minor league time). He joined the Cleveland Naps (renamed Indians in 1913) in mid-August of 1912 and hit .280 with 22 runs, 12 extra-base hits, 11 RBIs and a .716 OPS in 43 games. In 1913, Johnston had a .255 average in 133 games, with a career high 74 runs, to go along with 19 doubles, 12 triples, 39 RBIs, 19 steals and a .657 OPS. After he hit .244/.311/.294 with 43 runs, 15 doubles, no homers and 23 RBIs in 104 games for the Indians during the 1914 season, the Pirates purchased Johnston from the Cleveland Indians in February of 1915.
Johnston was replacing Ed Konetchy at first base for the Pirates, after the latter jumped to the Pittsburgh team in the Federal League. Doc (first name was Wheeler) hit .265 with a .700 OPS in 147 games for the 1915 Pirates, driving in 64 runs and scoring 71 times. He finished ninth in the National League in both stolen bases (26) and homers (five), and he was sixth in triples (12). His second season with the team didn’t go so well, hitting .213 with 33 runs, ten doubles, ten triples, 39 RBIs and a .549 OPS in 114 games. In 1917, the Pirates went with Honus Wagner at first base and Doc spent the entire year in the minors with Birmingham of the Southern Association, where he hit .277 with 33 doubles, nine triples and four homers in 152 games. After hitting .374 with 30 runs and 15 extra-base hits in 31 games for Milwaukee of the Double-A American Association in 1918, Johnston was back with the Indians by mid-June. He had three good seasons with Cleveland, hitting at least .292 each year from 1919-21. He batted .227/.301/.286 in 74 games after joining the Indians in 1918, during a year shortened due to the war. He then hit .305 with 42 runs, 21 extra-base hits, 33 RBIs and 21 steals in 102 games in 1919. His .743 OPS that year was an increase of 156 points over the previous season.
Johnston batted .292 with 68 runs, 36 extra-base hits, 71 RBIs and a .718 OPS in 147 games during the 1920 season. He set career highs that year in RBIs and doubles (24). In his final season with the Indians, Johnston hit .297 in 118 games, with 53 runs, 29 extra-base hits, 46 RBIs and a career best .754 OPS. While he put up decent stolen base numbers in previous years, he went 2-for-11 that season in steals. He was sold to the Philadelphia A’s after the 1921 season and finished his Major League career there in 1922, batting .250/.316/.358 with 41 runs, 11 doubles, seven triples, one homer and 29 RBIs in 71 games. He went on to play five more seasons in the minors, then managed for two years before retiring. He batted .308 with 40 extra-base hits in 156 games for Seattle of the Double-A Pacific Coast League in 1923. He spent part of 1924 managing Vicksburg of the Class-D Cotton States League, and he played 38 games for Little Rock of the Southern Association. He has no 1925 records, but he saw time with Little Rock and Atlanta of the Southern League in 1926, then finished off his career with Pensacola of the Class-B Southeastern League, with a year as a player (1927), one as a player-manager (1928) and one as a manager (1929). In 11 big league seasons, he hit .263 with 154 doubles, 68 triples, 14 homers, 381 RBIs, 139 steals and 478 runs scored in 1,056 games. His brother Jimmy Johnston spent 13 years in the majors, mostly playing with Brooklyn.
Abner Dalrymple, left fielder for the 1887-88 Pittsburgh Alleghenys and the first batter in Pittsburgh National League history. He was a star outfielder in the 1880’s for the Chicago White Stockings (Cubs), but by the time the Alleghenys got him in 1887, he was clearly on the downside of his career. Dalrymple led the NL in at-bats four times between 1880-85, led the league in runs and hits in 1880, home runs in 1885 and he batted over .300 for times. Those .300 averages included a high of .354 in 1878 as a rookie for the Milwaukee Grays, where he scored 52 runs in 61 games (60-game schedule that year, with one tie makeup game). Dalrymple got his pro career started in 1877 at 19 years old with Milwaukee of the League Alliance, which then joined the National League for one year and a 15-45 record. Dalrymple was awarded the National League batting title that rookie season, but later research showed that he actually fell four points behind Paul Hines, who ended up winning the Triple Crown, long before that was actually a thing. In 1879, Dalrymple joined Chicago and hit .291 with 47 runs, 25 doubles and 23 RBIs in 71 games. The next year he batted .330 with 25 doubles, 12 triples, 36 RBIs and a .793 OPS, while leading the league with 91 runs scored and 126 hits in 86 games.
Dalrymple played 82 games in 1881, hitting .323 with 72 runs, 27 extra-base hits, 37 RBIs and a .765 OPS. In 1882, he hit .295 with 25 doubles, 11 triples, 36 RBIs and 96 runs scored in 84 games. He continued his run-per-game average over the next three seasons in Chicago, including 1884 when they went to an expanded schedule, playing over 100 games for the first time. Dalrymple hit .298 with 30 extra-base hits, 37 RBIs and 78 runs scored in 80 games in 1883. In 1884, Chicago’s field changed the ground rules, where a ball hit over the right field fence was now a homer instead of a double. Even during deadball times, the field was short (it had a high screen that helped pitchers a bit) and doubles were plentiful, but homers became plentiful instead during the 1884 season. Dalrymple batted .309 with 18 doubles, nine triples, 22 homers, 69 RBIs and 111 runs scored in 111 games. He had a career best .832 OPS that year. They moved to a new park in 1885 and he hit .274 with 22 doubles, 12 triples, 11 homers, 61 RBIs, a .782 OPS and 109 runs scored in 113 games.
Dalrymple saw a slide in his production during his final season in Chicago and Pittsburgh purchased him in November of 1886 after he hit .233/.302/.354 in 82 games, though he still managed to score 62 runs. The Alleghenys had moved from the American Association to the National League over the 1886-87 off-season, and on April 30, 1887, Dalrymple led off against his old team and helped Pittsburgh to a 6-2 win. He never regained his batting form from years earlier, finishing that first season hitting .212 in 92 games, with 45 runs scored, 25 extra-base hits, a .618 OPS and 29 stolen bases. Dalrymple was never strong defensively. Early in his career he led the NL in errors three times, but by the time he reached Pittsburgh, he was an average fielder. In 1888, he played 57 games for the Alleghenys, hitting .220/.247/.278 with 19 runs scored and 14 RBIs. He was released on September 13th with 26 games remaining on the schedule. He went to the minors in 1889 and played for another seven seasons before retiring. It was said that poor eyesight hurt him later in his career, though supposedly he was hurt by a rule change that said batters could no longer call for high or low pitches. Supposedly, he could only hit the low pitches, so pitchers knew once that rule was abolished (1885) that he couldn’t hit high strikes. In 1889, he hit .331 in 119 games for Denver of the Western Association, finishing with 141 runs scored, 35 doubles, 24 triples, 13 homers and 54 steals. No stats are available from his split season in 1890 between Denver and Milwaukee, also of the Western Association.
Dalrymple actually played Major League ball again in 1891 under odd circumstances by today’s standards. That year the American Association had a team from Cincinnati that folded near the end of the season and the league needed a team to take their spot to finish out the schedule. They chose Milwaukee, and Dalrymple just happened to be on that team, hitting .340 at the time. When the team moved to the American Association for the last month, he went with them and hit .311 with 22 RBIs in 32 games. The American Association played their last season at the Major League level in 1891 and Dalrymple moved on to Spokane of the Pacific Northwest League. Over his final three seasons in pro ball (1893-95), he played four four different teams, seeing time with Macon of the Class-B Southern Association (1893), Indianapolis and Minnesota of the Western League (1894), Evansville of the Southern Associations (1895). His career stats in the majors over 12 seasons shows a .288 average, 217 doubles,81 triples, 43 homers, 407 RBIs and 817 runs scored in 951 games. He collected 1,202 hits during that time. With the Alleghenys, he hit .215 in 149 games, with 64 runs scored.