Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates players have been born on this date, plus we have a game of note.
Travis Ishikawa, first baseman for the 2014-15 Pirates. He hit .217 in 53 games with the Pirates, split over two different stints. Ishikawa also had two stints with the San Francisco Giants during his eight-year career, plus a third stint in the minors with the Giants later in his career. He was drafted by the Giants in the 21st round of the 2002 draft out of high school. At 18 years old, he played for two separate short-season teams, hitting .295 with 24 runs, 11 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs and eight steal in 42 games, seeing time with the Rookie level Arizona League and Salem-Keizer of the Northwest League. In 2003, he spent the first half of the season in Low-A with Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League, then returned to Salem-Keizer during the second half. He combined to hit .233 with 73 runs, 32 extra-base hits, 53 RBIs, 77 walks and a .698 OPS in 123 games. The 2004 season saw Ishikawa spend most of the year in Hagerstown, with 16 games for San Jose of the High-A California League as well. He batted .254 with 69 runs, 26 doubles, 16 homers, 64 RBIs, 55 walks and a .798 OPS in 113 games. He played all of 2005 with San Jose, where he hit .282 with 87 runs scored, 28 doubles, 22 homers, 79 RBIs, 70 walks and a .920 OPS in 127 games. In 2006, he had three separate brief stints with the Giants in which he hit .292/.320/.500 in 12 games. However, Ishikawa spent the rest of the season in Double-A with Connecticut of the Eastern League and struggled a bit, hitting .232 with 13 doubles, ten homers and a .718 OPS in 86 games. He went to the Arizona Fall League after the season and batted .186.234/.271 in 17 games.
In 2007, Ishikawa split the year between San Jose (56 games) and Connecticut (48 games). He combined to hit .243 that season, with 52 runs, 18 doubles, 16 homers, 51 RBIs and a .750 OPS, putting up significantly better stats at the lower level. In 2008, he played 64 games for Connecticut, 48 games for Fresno of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League and 33 games with the Giants. He hit .299 in the minors, with 69 runs, 35 doubles, 24 homers, 94 RBIs and a .955 OPS. After being promoted to the Giants in mid-August of 2008, he hit .274/.337/.432 with three homers and 15 RBIs. Ishikawa spent the entire 2009 season in the majors and saw significant playing time at first base, hitting .261 with 49 runs, ten doubles, nine homers, 39 RBIs and a .715 OPS in 120 games. He played 116 games in 2010, but he was mostly being used as a bench player. He hit .266 with 18 runs, 11 doubles, three homers, 22 RBIs and a .712 OPS in 158 at-bats. He spent the 2011 season in Fresno, though a shoulder injury ended his season after 56 games. He was hitting .251/.368/.383 at the time of the injury.
Ishikawa moved on to Milwaukee in 2012 as a free agent, where he hit .257 with 19 runs, 12 doubles, four homers, 30 RBIs and a .757 OPS in 94 games (27 starts). He then played very briefly for both the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees in 2013, getting into a total of seven big league games that season. The rest of the year was split between Norfolk of the Triple-A International League (Orioles affiliate) and Charlotte of the International League, which was the Chicago White Sox affiliate. Ishikawa combined to hit .290 in 83 games, with an .854 OPS in the minors that year. He went 2-for-19 with an RBI and a walk in his brief big league time. He signed a free agent deal with the Pirates after the 2013 season and ended up playing 15 early season games in 2014 before being released. Ishikawa batted .206/.263/.382 with a homer and three RBIs during his first stint in Pittsburgh. He then re-signed with the Giants and stayed there until the Pirates picked him up off waivers in July of 2015. He played 47 games with the 2014 Giants, hitting .274/.333/.397 in 81 plate appearances. Before rejoining the Pirates in 2015, he had just five at-bats with the Giants, spending the rest of the time with Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League. He was released by the Pirates after hitting .224/.318/.328 with one homer and eight RBIs in 38 games. He spent 2016 in the minors with the Giants (Sacramento) and the Chicago White Sox (Charlotte) before retiring. He combined to hit .237 in 116 games that last season, with 17 doubles, 18 homers, 73 RBIs and a .725 OPS. Ishikawa hit .255 in 488 big league games, with 114 runs, 49 doubles, 23 homers and 137 RBIs.
Jeff Karstens, pitcher for the 2008-12 Pirates. He was a 19th round pick by the New York Yankees in 2003 out of Texas Tech. Three years earlier, the Montreal Expos selected him in the 45th round out of high school, but he decided to go the college route. He debuted with Staten Island of the short-season New York-Penn League in 2003, going 4-2, 2.54 in 14 games (ten starts), with 53 strikeouts in 67.1 innings. Karstens skipped to High-A in 2004, playing in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, where he had a 6-9, 4.02 record in 24 starts for Tampa, with 116 strikeouts in 138.2 innings. The next year was spent with Double-A Trenton of the Eastern League, where he was 12-11, 4.15, with 147 strikeouts in 169 innings over 28 games (27 starts). The 2006 season was split between Trenton and Triple-A Columbus of the International League. He had a combined 11-5, 3.29 record and 115 strikeouts in 147.2 innings over 25 starts, putting up much better results in his 11 starts at the lower level. Karstens debuted in the majors in late August and posted a 3.80 ERA in 42.2 innings over six starts and two relief appearances. He had three separate brief stints with the Yankees in 2007, making appearances in April, August and September. He had an 11.05 ERA in 14.2 innings over three starts and four relief appearances. He had a 1.49 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 48.1 innings in the minors that season, seeing time at five levels. He suffered a broken right leg when he got hit by a line drive in his start on April 28th, then didn’t return to the majors until August.
While in the minors in the middle of the 2008 season, Karstens was part of a six-player deal, coming to the Pirates as part of the package for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte. Karstens was 6-4, 3.80 in 68.2 innings over 12 starts with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre of the International League at the time of the trade. He went right into the rotation for the Pirates and made nine starts to close out 2008. He had a 2-6, 4.03 in 51.1 innings. In 2009, he split the year between the bullpen and starting, going 4-6, 5.42 in 108 innings, with 13 starts and 26 relief appearances. The 2010 season saw a similar role for Karstens, though the split favored the rotation more this time. He went 3-10, 4.92 in 122.2 innings over 19 starts and seven relief appearances. He had a breakout year of sorts in 2011, going 9-9, 3.38 in 162.1 innings. He set a career best with 26 starts and he had a career high of 96 strikeouts. He missed two full months in the middle of 2012 with a shoulder injury and finished 5-4, 3.97 in 90.2 innings over 15 starts and four relief appearances. He was signed by the Pirates for 2013, but missed the entire year due to a right shoulder injury. He attempted to rehab the injury, but he was shut down after two starts in May. In June he had minor surgery that wasn’t expected to end his season, but he never returned. He went unsigned in 2014 and eventually retired. Karstens went 23-35, 4.31 in 82 starts and 41 relief appearances while in Pittsburgh. He had a 5.65 ERA in 57.1 innings with the Yankees.
John McDonald, middle infielder for the 2013 Pirates. He was a 12th round pick of the Cleveland Indians in 1996 out of Providence College. He debuted in the short-season New York-Penn League with Watertown in 1996 and hit .270 with 48 runs, 11 steals and a .685 OPS in 75 games. He jumped to High-A in his first full season in pro ball, where he hit .259 with 77 runs, 35 extra-base hits and 51 walks in 130 games for Kinston of the Carolina League. The next year was spent in Double-A with Akron of the Eastern League, where he batted just .230, putting up a .578 OPS, though he did have 68 runs, 18 doubles, 17 steals and 43 walks. McDonald hit much better while repeating Double-A in 1999, which led to a mid-season promotion to Triple-A Buffalo of the International League, where his stats improved slightly. Combined he hit .307 with 61 runs, 24 doubles, 51 RBIs and a .719 OPS in 121 games. He saw some brief time with the Indians in July and then returned in September, playing a total of 18 games. He batted just 21 times, finishing with a .333/.333/.333 slash line. Most of 2000 was spent in Buffalo, where he hit .269/.315/.353 in 75 games, but he made it back to Cleveland for a short time. In his second big league cup of coffee, he batted nine times in nine games, collecting four singles. The 2001 season was similar, with slightly more time in Cleveland, hitting .091/.167/.136 in 17 games with the Indians, and .244/.306/.305 in 116 games for Buffalo.
McDonald was in the majors for the full season in 2002. He played 93 games and had a .250 average, with 35 runs, 15 extra-base hits, 12 RBIs and a .614 OPS, while seeing time at three infield spots (not first base). He had the same exact role in 2003, this time batting .215/.258/.280 in 82 games, with 21 runs scored, 11 extra-base hits and 14 RBIs. His playing time dropped in 2004 when he played 66 games and batted 100 times, batting .204/.237/.344 with 17 runs, five doubles, two homers and seven RBIs. McDonald was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in December of 2004 and spent the first four months of the season there before being traded to the Detroit Tigers. He combined to hit .277 with 18 runs, seven extra-base hits, 16 RBIs and a .651 OPS in 68 games. He was sold back to the Blue Jays after the season and saw his most playing time during the 2006-07 seasons. He played 104 games in 2006, hitting .223 with 35 runs scored, 13 extra-base hits, 23 RBIs and a .579 OPS. McDonald played 123 games in 2007, hitting .251 with 32 runs, 20 doubles, 31 RBIs and a .612 OPS. That doubles total was not only his career high, he never had more than 17 extra-base hits in any other big league season. He made 93 starts at shortstop that season.
McDonald saw his hitting and playing time drop in 2008, though he did miss one month due to a sprained ankle. He hit .210/.255/.269 in 84 games, with 21 runs, nine extra-base hits and 18 RBIs. He had a similar role in 2009, with a .258 average, 18 runs, seven doubles, four homers and 13 RBIs in 73 games. He somehow managed to draw just one walk all season, leading to a .271 OBP. In 2010, McDonald hit .250 with 27 runs scored, 23 RBIs and a career high six homers, while playing just 63 games. During the 2011 season, he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was hitting .250/.285/.345 through 65 games prior to the deal, then batted .169/.222/.203 in 19 games after the deal. Despite the poor hitting, he signed a free agent deal with Arizona for 2012 and hit .249 with 16 runs, nine doubles, six homers, 22 RBIs and a .681 OPS in 70 games. After joining the Pirates late in Spring Training 2013 in a deal with the Diamondbacks, McDonald hit .065/.171/.097 in 16 games with Pittsburgh. He made eight starts at shortstop and saw some time at second base. In June, the Pirates traded him to the Indians, where he went hitless in seven at-bats over eight games. McDonald would also play for the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox during that same season. In total he batted 77 times in 51 games, finishing with a .351 OPS. His career ended after the 2014 season, which he spent as a utility player with the Los Angeles Angels, where he played 95 games, but he batted just 91 times all season, batting .171/.256/.197 that year. He played a total of 16 years in the majors, seeing time with eight different teams. Despite the long career, he played 100+ games just twice (2006-07 Blue Jays). McDonald hit .233 with 276 runs, 105 doubles, 28 homers and 210 RBIs in 1,100 games. While he rated below average offensively during his career, he posted a 10.9 career dWAR.
Jim Mangan, catcher for the Pirates in 1952 and 1954. He was originally signed by Pittsburgh in 1949 and debuted in pro ball that season at 19 years old. That first year he hit .297 with 32 extra-base hits in 83 games with Class-C Uniontown of the Middle Atlantic League, but he struggled that same season with Class-B York of the Interstate League, where he hit .217 with one homer in 31 games. Between both stops he had 55 runs, 19 doubles, 13 homers and 75 RBIs. The 1950 season was spent with Albany of the Class-A Eastern League, where he batted .313 with 23 doubles and six homers in 118 games. In 1951, he moved up to Indianapolis of the Triple-A American Association and hit .291 with 39 runs, 14 doubles, nine homers and 51 RBIs in 100 games. Mangan went to Spring Training with the Pirates in 1952, but missed two weeks in the middle to fulfill service requirements with the Navy. Early in the season back in 1952 (and other years) teams were allowed to carry extra players, before getting down to a 25-man roster on May 15th. Mangan was one of the cuts in 1952, but he got to play 11 games before being sent to Toronto of the International League. He batted .154/.214/.154 in 14 plate appearances that season for the Pirates. He split the minor league season between Toronto and Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League, combining to hit .275 in 63 games, with 17 runs, 14 extra-base hits and 29 RBIs. He wouldn’t get a chance to play for the Pirates in 1953, as he was called into service again. His Navy service that time was announced on October 1, 1952, and he wasn’t discharged until May 21, 1954.
Mangan left to join the Pirates immediately after being discharged in 1954. At the time, they had five catchers on the roster, though they sold veteran Walker Cooper to the Chicago Cubs to remain at five catchers once Mangan arrived. Mangan hit .192/.300/.192 in 14 games with the Pirates before being optioned to Hollywood on July 16th. He had a .701 OPS in 43 games over the rest of the season. He went to Spring Training with the Pirates in 1955, but he was optioned to Hollywood on April 10th, three days before Opening Day. That season he batted .245 in 18 games for Hollywood, while playing/managing the majority of the season with El Paso of the West Texas-New Mexico League, a Class-B team, four levels from the majors. As you would expect, he dominated the easier competition, putting up a 1.036 OPS in 72 games. On March 5, 1956, his time with the Pirates ended when he was picked up on waivers by the Giants for the $10,000 waver fee. He went 2-for-20 with four walks in his final season in the majors, batting a total of 25 times in 20 games that season.
The Giants suspended Mangan in August of 1956 after he had a public outburst against his manager, Bill Rigney. It wasn’t his first outburst at a higher up. His time with the Pirates was marred by him getting made at General Manager Branch Rickey, who was said to have called him “boy” and Mangan told him not so kindly to use his real name. He also had an issue while in El Paso, when he went to the mound in a blowout and lobbed the ball over the plate, which led to a barrage of runs from the opposition. It was said that the league fined him for making a mockery of the game and instead of paying the fine, he just left for his home. Mangan spent the 1957-58 seasons in the minors before retiring, playing 43 games for Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League in 1957, one game for Fort Worth of the Texas League in 1957, and 43 games for San Antonio of the Texas League in 1958. His final big league stats show a .153 average in 45 games, with five runs, no extra-base hits and five RBIs in 69 plate appearances.
Dixie Walker, outfielder for the 1948-49 Pirates. He was a star player who finished out his big league time in Pittsburgh. In his career, he hit .306 over 18 seasons, with 1,037 runs scored, 1,023 RBIs, 2,064 hits and an .820 OPS. Walker led the National League in triples in 1937, average in 1944 and RBIs in 1945. He played in four All-Star games and got MVP votes in eight different seasons. Dixie (his first name was Fred) debuted in pro ball in 1928 at 17 years old and played for three lower level teams, combining to hit .284 with 32 extra-base hits in 104 games. Most of the year (82 games) was spent with Gulfport of the Class-D Cotton States League, while he also saw time with Albany of the Class-B Southeastern League and Greensboro of the Class-C Piedmont League. He spent the 1929 season with Vicksburg of the Cotton States League, where he hit .318 with 16 extra-base hits in 61 games. In 1930, he moved up to the Class-B South Atlantic League with Greenville for half of the season, then played the other half with Jersey City of the Double-A International League, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. He combined to bat .367 in 156 games, with 35 doubles, 19 triples and 18 homers.
Walker played well enough in 1930 to get the attention of the New York Yankees, who threw him into two early season games in 1931, in which he went 3-for-10 with two doubles. It was a brief trial and he wouldn’t get his second shot until the start of the 1933 season. He played for three upper level minor league teams in 1931, seeing time in the International League with Jersey City and Toronto, as well as a stint with Toledo of the Double-A American Association. While most of his stats are incomplete from that season, he’s credited with hit .331 in 138 games, with 27 doubles, six triples and ten homers. In 1932, he hit .350 in 144 games with Newark of the International League, connecting on 30 doubles, seven triples and 15 homers. Walker played 98 games for the 1933 Yankees, hitting .274 with 68 runs, 15 doubles, seven triples, 15 homers, 51 RBIs and an .830 OPS. Despite solid stats at a young age, he got almost no chances with the 1934-35 Yankees, playing a total of 25 games, though his .133 average during that time didn’t help. He was buried on the bench in 1934, playing 17 games spread throughout the year, while getting just one start. In 1935, he went 2-for-13 with a double in eight games with the Yankees, then spent the rest of the year with Newark, where he hit .293 with 40 extra-base hits in 83 games.
Walker was put on waivers in 1936, despite going 7-for-20 in six early season games for the Yankees. He was picked up by the Chicago White Sox, and didn’t see much action over the final five months of the season, hitting .271/.400/.300 in 26 games. That lack of big league playing time changed in 1937. That year he hit .302 with 105 runs, 28 doubles, a league leading 16 triples, nine homers, 95 RBIs, 78 walks and an .832 OPS in 154 games. He was traded to the Detroit Tigers in December of 1937 and he hit .308 with 84 runs, 39 extra-base hits, 43 RBIs, 65 walks and an .830 OPS in 127 games. He was put on waivers by Detroit early in 1939, despite hitting .305/.367/.474 at the time in 43 games. He was picked up by the Brooklyn Dodgers and hit .280 over the final 61 games of the season. In 104 games that season, he finished with 58 runs, 25 extra-base hits, 57 RBIs and a .762 OPS. In 1940, Walker batted .308 with 75 runs, 37 doubles, 66 RBIs and a .793 OPS in 143 games. He finished sixth in the MVP voting. The next year saw him hit .311 with 88 runs scored, 49 extra-base hits, 71 RBIs, 70 walks and an .843 OPS in 148 games. That earned him a tenth place finish in the MVP voting.
In 1942, Walker batted .290 with 57 runs, 28 doubles, 54 RBIs and a .780 OPS in 118 games. With competition starting to get watered down due to the war effort, he batted .302 with 83 runs, 32 doubles, 71 RBIs, 49 walks and a .774 OPS in 138 games in 1943. He made his first All-Star appearance that season and he finished 24th in the MVP voting. The next year was his best, winning a batting title with a .357 average. He had 77 runs scored, 37 doubles, eight triples, 13 homers, 91 RBIs, 72 walks and a .963 OPS in 147 games. He was an All-Star and finished third in the MVP voting. In 1945, Walker hit .300 with 102 runs scored, 75 walks, and an .820 OPS, while setting career highs with 42 doubles and 124 RBIs, which led the league. He finished ninth in the MVP voting that season and made his third All-Star appearance, though the game wasn’t played that year due to wartime travel restrictions. The next year saw him hit .319 with 80 runs, 48 extra-base hits, 116 RBIs, 67 walks and an .839 OPS. He finished second in the MVP voting and made his third All-Star appearance/fourth selection. In his final season with the Dodgers, Walker hit .306 with 77 runs, 43 extra-base hits, 94 RBIs and an .842 OPS in 148 games. He set a career high with 97 walks. He made his fourth All-Star appearance/fifth selection and received mild MVP support, finishing 19th in the voting.
Walker was acquired by the Pirates from the Dodgers as part of a six-player deal on December 8, 1947. He had a solid 1948 season at 37 years old, hitting .316 with 39 runs, 19 doubles, 54 RBIs, 52 walks and a .786 OPS in 129 games, spending most of his time in right field. He batted .282/.372/.331 in 1949, though he saw more time off of the bench than as an actual starter, batting 211 times in 88 games. As soon as the season ended, Walker was released. He begin a ten-year stretch as a minor league manager in 1950, the first year as a player-manager for Atlanta of the Southern Association. Walker came from a great baseball family. His brother Harry Walker played 11 seasons in the majors, while also missing time during WWII. His father, who also went by Dixie, pitched for four seasons in the majors. His uncle Ernie Walker had a three-year stretch in the majors with the St Louis Browns.
Paddy Siglin, second baseman for the Pirates from 1914 until 1916. He played over 2,000 games in the minors over 14 seasons, but his big league career lasted just 23 games over three seasons in Pittsburgh. The Pirates got him early in his pro career, acquiring him from his minor league team in Waterloo, Iowa during the 1914 season. He debuted as a pro in 1913 at 21 years old and hit .227 with 15 doubles and four triples in 126 games for Waterloo of the Class-D Central Association. Siglin broke out the next season with Waterloo, batting .322 with 43 steals and 83 runs scored in 130 games. His contract was purchased on July 9, 1914, as one of three players picked up by the Pirates from Waterloo that season, along with infielder Ike McAuley and catcher Bill Wagner. According to the deal of the purchase, he was allowed to remain in Waterloo until August 15th before reporting to the Pirates, but he ended up staying longer. Once he got to Pittsburgh on September 9th, he debuted just three days later and made 11 starts at second base before the season ended, batting .154/.233/.154 in 44 plate appearances. The difference in competition from Class-D to the majors was a jump over four levels of the minors. Siglin went to Spring Training with the Pirates in 1915, and he was one of the last four cuts on the eve of Opening Day. He moved up in minor league competition in 1915, going to Youngstown of the Class-B Central League, where he hit .241 in 125 games, with 45 runs, 31 extra-base hits and 25 steals. He again joined the Pirates in September (August 31st to be exact) and he went 2-for-7 at the plate in six games.
Siglin jumped up two more levels in 1916, playing for Rochester of the Double-A International League (highest level of the minors at the time), where he hit .285 in 142 games, with 20 doubles, 11 triples and one homer. He didn’t go to Spring Training with the Pirates that season. He was released under optional agreement to Rochester on March 9th, where he managed by former Pirates star Tommy Leach. As a September addition for a third time for the Pirates that season, his big league action was limited to four at-bats over three games. That was surprising because it was said right before he joined the club that he was expected to see regular action at second base. On January 19, 1917, Siglin and infielder Jack Farmer were traded to Portland of the Double-A Pacific Coast League for infielder Chuck Ward. Siglin played another ten years of minor league ball before retiring, spending all but 58 games during that time in the Pacific Coast League. He batted .180 in 23 games with the Pirates, finishing with five runs, no extra-base hits and two RBIs.
Paddy (his actual first name was Wesley) ended up playing with Oakland in the PCL in 1917, where he hit .231 in 201 games, with 21 doubles, seven triples and no homers. In 1918, he spent the war-shortened year with Salt Lake City of the PCL (no stats available). Things returned to normal around baseball in 1919 and Siglin played 166 games for Portland that year, hitting .279 with 37 extra-base hits (31 doubles). In 1920, he hit .230 in 171 games for Portland, with 35 extra-base hits, including 31 doubles. He returned to Salt Lake City for the 1921-22 seasons. Siglin exploded on offense that season out of nowhere, hitting .344 with 67 doubles and 22 homers in 180 games. He was strong in 1922 as well, that he slid a little from the previous season, starting a trend of five straight years of decline from that huge season. In 1922, he batted .316 with 60 doubles, seven triples and 16 homers in 194 games. He moved to Sacramento of the PCL for the next three seasons. In 1923, he hit .303 in 198 games, with 48 doubles, ten triples and ten homers. In 1924, Siglin batted .289 in 189 games, with 50 doubles, four triples and 11 homers. During the 1925 season, he hit .256 in 184 games, with 46 extra-base hits, including 35 doubles. He moved to Mission of the PCL for part of 1926, then spent the majority of the season with San Antonio of the Class-A Texas League. He hit .254 that year in 82 games total, with 13 extra-base hits. Without his missing 1918 stats, he had 2,182 hits in the minors.
Bob Vail, pitcher for the 1908 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball fresh out of college in 1903 at 21 years old, playing with Nashua of the Class-B New England League for his first two seasons, before playing two years for Lynn of the same league. Vail is known as a pitcher, but his only available stats for the 1903-04 seasons show a .267 average and two doubles in 16 games in 1903. His first available pitching stats show a 14-9 record for Lynn in 1905. He then had a 15-9 record in 30 games for Lynn in 1906. The next year was split between Lynn and two teams in the Class-C Virginia League (Richmond and Portsmouth), where the available stats show a 9-16 record and 136 innings pitched. Before joining the Pirates in 1908, Vail had a 15-12 record and 188 strikeouts in 34 games for Portsmouth. His contract was purchased by the Pirates on August 17th, and he reported to Pittsburgh a week later. In his only big league season, he made one start and three relief appearances for the Pirates, allowing ten runs over 15 innings. His first outing was eight shutout innings on August 27th in relief of Vic Willis, who gave up three runs in the first inning. The Pirates won the game 4-3. Vail started nine days later and allowed four runs in four innings. After a scoreless inning on September 10th, his final appearance was six runs over two innings eight days later. When the Pirates left for their final road trip on October 1st, they took 22 players with them, allowing Vail to go home early. That was despite pitcher Irv Young being unavailable due to an ankle injury.
Vail was signed to a 1909 contract with the Pirates, but on May 13th he was released to Roanoke of the Virginia League without pitching in any of the first 18 games of the season. His Spring Training work was limited that year due to a sore arm. He would spend his final four seasons (1909-12) of pro ball mostly in the Virginia League before retiring as a player. He had a 5-11 record in 1909, splitting his time between Roanoke and Portsmouth. The 1910 season was spent with Portsmouth, where he had an 11-13 record in 223 innings over 28 games. His ERA isn’t available for that year, but it’s known that he allowed 3.75 runs per nine innings. Vail pitched for Norfolk in 1911, going 6-3 in 78 innings over nine games, with 3.81 runs allowed per nine innings. He also saw time back in Portsmouth, except it was in the Class-D Tidewater League. His final season stats from 1912 consist of just two games for Richmond. He won both and gave up one run in 15 innings. He also pitched for Greenville of the Class-D Carolina Association.
On this date in 1913, the Pirates won 3-2 over the Cubs to move to 76-68 on the season, all but securing them their 15th straight winning season. Due to multiple rain outs, they ended up playing just five more games that season, finishing with a 78-71 record. They would fall below .500 in 1914, breaking the still-standing longest winning stretch in team history. Here’s the boxscore from September 24, 1913.