Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates players have been born on this date, including the man that helped name the Pirates.
Louis Bierbauer, second baseman for the Pirates from 1891 until 1896. The abbreviated version of old story goes that after the Player’s League folded in 1890, Pittsburgh “pirated” players from other teams that didn’t put those players on the reserve list. The Player’s League was around for one season and most players returned to their 1889 teams because they were reserved. Pittsburgh signed Bierbauer (and others), and then a few of the other opposing teams referred to them as the Pirates. An odd twist on the story is that they never went by that team name in 1891 or even within the next few years. The local papers still often referred to them as the Alleghenys, which was the accepted name before then. Others called them “Allies”, the “Hanlons” for manager Ned Hanlon, or just the “Pittsburghs”. Back then the town didn’t have an H at the end, though most papers still used it. The “Pirates” name, when seen in print in the early years, was almost always from a game recap sent from the road by a writer from a different city, and many of those references didn’t have the Pirates name capitalized.
When manager Bill McGunnigle took over the team in late July of 1891, he ran practice with a whistle and the local newspapers took to calling the team the “Pets”, which stuck through the end of the season. During the 1893 season, the team started going by the name “Braves”, which stuck into early 1895. The nickname Pirates wasn’t used by the team until the 1895 season. Even then it wasn’t fully embraced, as manager Bill Watkins changed the team name (and team colors) for the 1898 season to the Patriots because he didn’t like the Pirates name. The actual name of the team didn’t include the word Pirates for the longest time. The official name starting in 1891 was the Pittsburgh Athletic Company, and technically, the 1891 team was actually a brand new club, different from the 1882-90 version (I’ll cover that more one day). Having said all that, it’s easier to just say they started using the name Pirates in 1891 because that’s the earliest reference to it. The owner J. Palmer O’Neil referred to himself a few times as the “Pirate King” after a character in the play at the time, helping the name stay alive long enough that the club eventually embraced it.
Back to Bierbauer the player, who was a star second baseman at the time that he was signed by Pittsburgh. He debuted in pro ball in 1885, playing for three different minor league teams at 19 years old. His stats are incomplete that season, but he’s credited with playing 26 games between Erie of the Interstate League and Guelph and Hamilton Primrose of the Canadian League. Whatever he did during that short time got him notice. By 1886, he was the everyday second baseman of the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association. As a rookie that season, he hit .226 with 56 runs, 24 extra-base hits, 47 RBIs, 19 stolen bases and a .545 OPS in 137 games. In 1887, he improved to .272, with 74 runs scored, 27 extra-base hits, 82 RBIs, a .629 OPS and a career high 40 steals in 126 games. The next year saw him bat .267 with 83 runs, 20 doubles, nine triples, 80 RBIs, 34 steals and a .640 OPS in 134 games. In his final season with the Athletics, Bierbauer hit .304 with 80 runs, 27 doubles, seven triples, seven homers, 105 RBIs, 17 steals and a .761 OPS, showing an improvement in that category each season during his time in Philadelphia.
When the Player’s League formed for 1890, Bierbauer jumped to the Brooklyn Ward’s Wonders, named after player/manager John Ward, which shows you that the previously mentioned “Hanlons” name for the Pirates in 1891 wasn’t that odd for the time. Bierbauer excelled in the new league, hitting a career best .306 in 133 games, with 11 triples, seven homers and 99 RBIs, while setting career highs with 128 runs scored, 31 doubles and 40 walks. His .781 OPS was also his career high. He also led all second baseman in double plays and assists. Bierbauer had an awful first year back in the National League in 1891 (-0.4 WAR), then rebounded to have a decent career with the Pirates, though it fell short of expectations when they signed him. He hit just .206 that first season, a drop of 100 points from the previous year. He had 60 runs, 20 extra-base hits and 47 RBIs. His .514 OPS was easily the lowest full-season OPS during his career, but his defense was above average that season. In 1892, he hit .236 in 152 games, with 81 runs, 37 extra-base hits, 65 RBIs and a .595 OPS that was a major improvement, but still 49 points below league average. He finished second in the league in fielding percentage for second basemen. In 1893, Bierbauer batted .284 with 84 runs, 34 extra-base hits, 94 RBIs and a .719 OPS in 128 games. That season is valued at 2.8 WAR, which is the second best mark of his career. Offense was up around baseball that year due to the new rules for pitchers and increased distance from the pitching rubber to home plate, but the major increase happened in 1894, which was one of the best years for offense in baseball history.
Bierbauer hit .303 in 1894, with 87 runs, 36 extra-base hits and a career best 109 RBIs in 131 games. On its own, that looks like a big season at the plate, but his .744 OPS was sixth on the Pirates, who were not one of the top three hitting teams in the league. That was his high mark with the Pirates. Offense dropped around baseball in 1895 and Bierbauer declined with it, batting .260 with 54 runs, 25 extra-base hits, 71 RBIs and a .632 OPS in 118 games. In 1896, he was doing well early until a leg injury on July 3rd ended his season. On a slide into second base on a stolen base attempt, “his foot became mixed up with the bag” and he suffered what was first thought to be a sprain, but ended up being worse. He had to have two teammates carry him off of the field and he never played for the Pirates again. He finished with a .287/.300/.372 slash line that season in 59 games, with 33 runs, 16 extra-base hits and 39 RBIs. On February 27, 1897, he was sold to the St Louis Browns for $1,500. Bierbauer didn’t want to play for St Louis and his stay there lasted just 16 games total over the 1897-98 seasons. On May 9, 1897, after 12 games, he left the team in the middle of the night and played the rest of the season for an outlaw team. He returned in 1898 for four games before St Louis released him, ending his big league career. He went to the minors for the rest of 1898 and played pro ball until 1902 before retiring.
Bierbauer’s minor league time has a lot of missing stats, though most of his whereabouts are accounted for online. In 1898, he played for Erie of the Iron and Oil League. The 1899 season was spent with Columbus/Grand Rapids of the Western League, which was one team that transferred mid-season. In the year before the American League was designated as a Major League, it was considered to be a Class-A league, which is the highest level of the minors. Bierbauer split the season almost evenly between three teams, playing 40, 42 and 44 games for Buffalo, Cleveland and Milwaukee. He’s credited with hitting .229 in those 126 games, with 41 runs, 21 doubles and one triple. He played for Buffalo and Hartford of the Class-A Eastern League in 1901, where he combined to hit .241 in 109 games, with ten extra-base hits, all doubles. In 1902, he finished up with a .116 average in 18 games with Newark of the Eastern League, as well as brief time with Troy of the Class-B New York State League.
Bierbauer was an above average defender for most of his career, who led the league three times in assists while with the Pirates, and five times total in his career. He had one main issue on defense, and that was completing close plays, especially with runners attempting to steal. He shied away from contact after a severe spiking injury. His range and sure hands still made him an above average second baseman. He was a career .267 hitter in 1,385 games, with 821 runs scored, 209 doubles, 95 triples, 34 homers, 839 RBIs and 206 stolen bases. He hit .260 in 709 games, with 399 runs scored, 95 doubles, 56 triples, 17 homers, 425 RBIs and 78 steals with the Pirates.
Grant Jackson, pitcher for the 1977-82 Pirates, and the winner of the last World Series game in franchise history. Jackson was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1961 as an amateur free agent. It took him four years to make the majors, debuting in September of 1965. He debuted in pro ball in 1962 at 19 years old, going 4-5, 5.79 in 96 innings for Class-C Bakersfield of the California League. He had some big control issues his first year, with a 71:86 BB/SO ratio. He repeated Bakersfield in 1963, improving to 12-8, 3.89 in 176 innings, with 87 walks and 159 strikeouts. That was a nice decline in his walk rate over one year, though the control issues returned in 1964, just not as bad, and it came with a big strikeout rate. He spent most of that season in the Class-A Northwest League with Eugene, with a brief promotion to Double-A Chattanooga of the Southern League. Between both stops, Jackson went 8-12, 4.26 in 148 innings, with 93 walks and 179 strikeouts. Before making his big league debut, he was 9-11, 3.95 in 155 innings for Triple-A Arkansas of the Pacific Coast League in 1965. He had a 60:158 BB/SO ratio that season. With the 1965 Phillies, he was 1-1, 7.24 in 13.2 innings over two starts and four relief appearances. He pitched just twice in relief for the 1966 Phillies, while spending the rest of the year with San Diego of the Pacific Coast League, where he went 10-8, 3.96, with 132 strikeouts in 134 innings. His big league time that year consisted on one run in 1.2 innings.
Jackson’s first full season in the majors was 1967, when he posted a 2-3, 3.84 record and 83 strikeouts in 84.1 innings over four starts and 39 relief appearances. He was even better the next season despite a 1-6 record. He finished the year with a 2.95 ERA in six starts and 27 relief appearances, throwing a total of 61 innings. Jackson spent his only full season as a starter in 1969, when he went 14-18, 3.34 in 253 innings and made his lone All-Star appearance. He had 180 strikeouts, 13 complete games and he threw four shutouts. He had just one other shutout in his big league career. His ERA rose to 5.29 in 149.2 innings in 1970 and he split his time between 23 starts and nine relief appearances. He had a 5-15 record that year, while playing for a team that was 15 games under the .500 mark. After the season, he was one of three players traded to the Baltimore Orioles for outfielder Roger Freed, who ended up putting up -0.1 WAR for his new team. Jackson spent the next 5 1/2 seasons in Baltimore as a strong reliever, who occasionally closed out games, so the Orioles got the much better end of the deal just from him alone.
Jackson went 4-3, 3.13 in 77.2 innings over nine starts and 20 relief appearances in his first season with Baltimore. In the 1971 World Series, he had one scoreless appearance against the Pirates. In 1972, he had a 2.63 ERA in 41 innings over 32 relief outings, with eight saves. Jackson was strong in 1973, going 8-0, 1.90 with nine saves and an 0.97 WHIP in 80.1 innings over 45 games. He pitched 66.2 innings in 49 appearances in 1974, going 6-4, 2.57 with 12 saves. In his final full season with the Orioles, he went 4-3, 3.35 with seven saves in 48.1 innings over 41 games. During the 1976 season, MLB had a June 15th trade deadline and the Orioles and New York Yankees combined for ten-player trade. Jackson had a 5.12 ERA prior to the deal, then went 6-0, 1.69 in 58.2 innings after the trade. The Yankees went to the World Series, though he had a rough postseason with five runs allowed in seven innings. The Seattle Mariners selected him in the Expansion Draft after the season and then traded him to the Pirates a month later.
Jackson had a 5-3, 3.86 record and four saves in 49 appearances and 91 innings in his first season in Pittsburgh. He improved to a 7-5, 3.26 record and five saves over 60 appearances and 77.1 innings in 1978, then dropped down even more to a 2.96 ERA in 82 innings over 72 outings in 1979. Jackson picked up 14 saves and won eight games that season, helping the Pirates to the postseason. After five shutout performances in the playoffs, Jackson came in on relief in game seven of the 1979 World Series and threw 2.2 scoreless innings to pick up the win. He also won game one of the NLCS over the Cincinnati Reds. The 1980 season was another solid performance, with a 2.92 ERA in 71 innings over 61 games, while picking up eight wins and nine saves. During the middle of the strike-shortened 1981 season, he was sold to the Montreal Expos. He had a 2.51 ERA in 32.1 innings before the deal, then posted a 7.59 ERA in ten outings with the Expos, who traded him to the Kansas City Royals in January of 1982. Jackson pitched for the Royals during the first half of the 1982 season before being released with a 5.17 ERA in 38.1 innings over 20 games. He re-signed with the Pirates and pitched his final big league game on September 8th, his only appearance with Pittsburgh that season. Jackson pitched 278 games for the Pirates and had a 29-19, 3.23 record with 36 saves in 278 games and 354.1 innings. He spent 18 years in the majors and had an 86-75, 3.46 record in 692 appearances and 1,358.2 innings pitched. He had 83 starts, 16 complete games, five shutouts and 79 saves. Despite the shaky 1976 playoffs with the Yankees, he finished with a 3-0, 2.55 record in 17.2 innings over 13 postseason games.
Leon Chagnon, pitcher for the 1929-30 and 32-34 Pirates. He didn’t debut in pro ball until he was 25 years old in 1928, spending that first season with Lynn of the Class-B New England League, where he had an 8-12, 2.95 record in 177 innings. The Pirates purchased his contract on August 30, 1928, and at the time it was announced that he was 21 years old. He went to Spring Training with the Pirates in 1929 and was one of the final cuts on April 7th. He was with Columbia of the Class-B South Atlantic League in 1929, where he had a 20-13, 3.38 record in 274 innings. He debuted in the majors during that 1929 season, making one start that occurred just after his 27th birthday. He rejoined the Pirates on September 4th, but didn’t make that start until October 5th. He allowed seven runs on 11 hits in seven innings. Chagnon was with the Pirates for most of 1930, struggling with the high offense in the league that year like almost every other pitcher. He had an 0-3, 6.82 record in 62 innings, spread over four starts and 14 relief appearances. On August 11th, the Pirates acquired pitcher Spades Wood from Wichita of the Class-A Western League in exchange for Chagnon. On December 4th, Wichita sold him to Fort Worth of the Class-A Texas League. He spent all of 1931 with Fort Worth, where he won 20 games (with ten losses) and had a 2.53 ERA in 267 innings. The Pirates repurchased him on September 12, 1931 from Fort Worth.
On February 3, 1932, Chagnon was released on option to Mission of the Double-A Pacific Coast League (highest level of the minors at the time), although that didn’t last long. The Pirates recalled him on April 27th after he made six appearances for Mission. The odd thing about his age is that he was now listed at 26 years old, so his age somehow gained one year, but it was still off by three years. Back in Pittsburgh for most of 1932, he went 9-6, 3.94 in 128 innings, making ten starts and 20 relief appearances. He had four complete games and his only career shutout. His 52 strikeouts that season set a career high. Chagnon spent his first full season in the majors in 1933, posting a 6-4, 3.69 record in 100 innings split over five starts and 34 relief appearances. He was limited to 58 relief innings over 33 appearances in 1934, and his ERA rose to 4.81 that year, though he had a 4-1 record. After the season, the Pirates traded him to the New York Giants for 21-year-old pitcher Jack Salverson. Chagnon lasted 38.1 innings with New York in 1935, and had a 3.52 ERA in 14 games (one start) before being sent to the minors, where he played until retirement after the 1937 season. He had a 4-2 record in eight games with Montreal of the Double-A International League in 1935. He remained in Montreal for 1936, going 10-10, 4.83 in 177 innings. Chagnon pitched for three teams in 1937, including a 1-5, 7.12 record in 43 innings for Baltimore of the International League, and 4-5, 4.35 record in 60 innings for Wilkes-Barre of the New York-Penn League. He also saw very brief time with Nashville of the Class-A Southern Association. He pitched 101 times in relief and 20 times as a starter during his five season with Pittsburgh, posting a 19-14 record and a 4.61 ERA in 355 innings.
Everett Booe, outfielder for the 1913 Pirates. He played two years for Petersburg of the Class-C Virginia League before the Pirates purchased his contract on August 20, 1911 under the recommendation of scout Howard Earle. Booe debuted in pro ball 1910 with Petersburg (the team started the year in Portsmouth) at 18 years old and hit .228 with 15 doubles and three triples in 100 games. He hit .303 with 23 doubles, eight triples and two homers in 122 games in 1911. He went to Spring Training with the Pirates in 1912, but he was sold to Indianapolis of the Double-A American Association, who then sent him to Wheeling of the Class-B Central League for more seasoning. He hit .325 in 127 games with Wheeling, picking up 27 doubles, seven triples and three homers (his online stats say that he played for Petersburg that season, but he didn’t). He was a Rule 5 draft pick by the Pirates in September of 1912, selected from Fort Wayne. Booe was extremely fast, with newspapers at the time claiming that he got down to first base on a bunt in three seconds flat. He helped that he was a lefty and probably got a running start, but the speed was legit. He was also a very smart player, graduating college early, while planning to attend medical school in Baltimore over the 1912-13 off-season.
During his brief time with the Pirates, Booe hit .200/.256/.250 with nine runs and two RBIs in 29 games. Most of his playing time came in May as a center fielder. He was sent to Springfield of the Class-B Three-I League as partial payment for outfielder Fred Kommers on June 24, 1913. For the Pirates to get Kommers right away, they needed to send an outfielder to replace him in Springfield, so Booe was sent there on option. He ended up finishing the year with St Paul of the American Association and was supposed to play there in 1914 as well, until he signed a deal to play in the upstart Federal League, which was considered to be a Major League during the 1914-15 seasons. Booe played for two teams in the Federal League in 1914 and then couldn’t get a big league job after the league folded, which happened to quite a few marginal MLB players during that time. He hit .224 in 96 games during that 1914 season, with 34 runs, ten doubles, two triples, 20 RBIs, 12 steals and .575 OPS. He played pro ball until 1930 and collected over 2,000 hits in the minors. His 1915 stats are missing, but he played for Statesville, NC as a player/manager that season. In 1916, he hit .278 with 23 extra-base hits in 125 games for Springfield of the Class-B Eastern League. In 1917, Booe was with San Antonio of the Class-B Texas League for the first of seven season with the team. The last five seasons saw the league bumped up to Class-A. He hit .245 in 142 games, with 21 extra-base hits.
Booe missed the 1918-19 seasons serving in the Army during WWI. He rejoined San Antonio in 1920, where he hit .296 with 29 extra-base hits in 153 games. In 1921 with the switch to Class-A, he hit .294 in 148 games, with 30 extra-base hits. The next season saw him bat .311 in 153 games, with 30 doubles, 13 triples and two homers. Booe batted .310 in 113 games in 1923, with 21 extra-base hits. In 1924, he had a .310 average in 123 games, with 14 doubles, 12 triples and seven homers. In his final season with San Antonio, he hit .328 in 106 games, with 23 doubles and ten homers. He was with Fort Smith of the Class-C Western Association in 1926, hitting .320 in 136 games, with 40 doubles, nine triples and 11 homers. Booe moved up to Danville of the Class-B Three-I League in 1927, where he hit .260 with 14 extra-base hits in 87 games. He played for Dayton of the Class-B Central League in 1928, hitting .314 in 91 games, with 50 runs, nine doubles, six homers, 57 walks and an .835 OPS. In 1929, Booe joined Fort Wayne of the Central League, and hit .303 with 49 runs, 20 extra-base hits, 35 RBIs and an .805 OPS. His last season was split between a .295 average in 32 games for St Joseph of the Class-A Western League, and a .318 average in 26 games for Greensboro of the Class-C Piedmont League. He also had six years of managerial experience in the minors.
Pete Compton, outfielder for the 1916 Pirates. He played six seasons in the majors between 1911 and 1918, seeing time with five different big league clubs. Compton went 1-for-16 in five games in Pittsburgh during the middle of the 1916 season. The Pirates picked him up as a waiver claim from the Boston Braves on July 3rd and returned him 11 days later. There was some dispute over his claim by the Pirates. Boston had put him on waivers with the idea to trade him to Louisville of the Double-A American Association. In fact, they already had a deal worked out. Owner Barney Dreyfuss refused to waive his claim and Compton joined the Pirates, where it was said that his play was unsatisfactory. Manager Jimmy Callahan asked that he be placed back on waivers and Boston immediately picked him back up for the $1,500 waiver cost. Boston then sent him to Louisville, as per the original deal. Compton played a total of 19 seasons in the minors and collected over 2,600 hits as a pro, with 186 coming in the majors.
Compton debuted in pro ball in 1909 at 19 years old, hitting .217 with one extra-base hit in 26 games for Lancaster of the Class-D Ohio-State League. That doesn’t sound like the start of a future big league player, but he quickly turned things around. In 1910, he hit .253 with 20 extra-base hits for Beeville of the Class-D Southwest Texas League. The next year he moved up to Battle Creek of the Class-C Southern Michigan League and hit .352 with 28 doubles and 25 triples in 125 games. That led to a late-season trial with the St Louis Browns, where he hit .271/.302/.328 with nine runs and five RBIs in 28 games. In 1912, he batted .280 in 103 games with the Browns, with 26 runs, 12 extra-base hits, 30 RBIs, 11 steals and a .694 OPS. Compton batted .180/.274/.330 with 14 runs and 17 RBIs in 63 games for the Browns in 1913, then finished the season in the minors with Kansas City of the American Association, where he also spent all of the 1914 season. He hit .262 with 15 runs and 12 extra-base hits in 36 games with Kansas City to finish out the 1913 season. The next year he hit .325 in 166 games, with 89 runs, 33 doubles, 13 triples, 11 homers, 58 steals, 63 walks and an .864 OPS. He batted .343 in the first half of the 1915 season in Kansas City, then joined St Louis of the Federal League for two games (2-for-8 with three RBIs), before returning to Kansas City. The Boston Braves then purchased his contract 16 days later and he hit .241/.290/.345 in 35 games to finish the season.
Before his time with the Pirates, Compton was hitting .204/.264/.225 in 34 games with Boston. His Pirates time lowered him to a .458 OPS for the season. He batted .291 with 20 extra-base hits in 73 games for Louisville after being sold to the minors. The 1917 season was split evenly between Double-A Louisville (highest level of the minors at the time) and New Orleans of the Class-A Southern Association. He combined to hit .243 with 25 extra-base hits in 127 games. He played for both teams again in 1918 and did better in each place, combining to hit .336 with 50 runs in 85 games. He returned to the majors later in the 1918 season to hit .217/.277/.250 in 21 games with the New York Giants. He played another ten years of pro ball before retiring. His big league career shows a .241 average in 291 games, with 78 runs, 24 doubles, eight triples, five homers and 80 RBIs. He often went by the nickname “Bash”, which was a shortened version of his middle name Sebastian.
In 1919, Compton hit .294 with 42 extra-base hits in 167 games for Seattle of the Double-A Pacific Coast League. He stayed in league with Los Angeles in 1920 and played exactly 200 games, batting .307 with 228 hits, 33 doubles and 14 homers. In 1921, he batted .278 in 166 games for Sacramento of the PCL, finishing with 29 doubles, seven triples and 18 homers. The 1922 season was split between Sacramento and San Francisco of the PCL, hitting .306 with 37 extra-base hits in 126 games. With San Francisco in 1923, he hit .325 in 134 games, with 37 doubles among his 49 extra-base hits. Compton moved down a level to Houston of the Class-A Texas League for the 1924-25 seasons. He hit .317 with 36 doubles, 14 triples and 11 homers in 151 games in 1924. In 1925, he batted .315 in 143 games, with 33 doubles and ten homers. He played for Fort Worth of the Texas League and Wichita of the Class-A Western League in 1926, combining to hit .328 with 49 extra-base hits in 139 games. He had a .345 average and 20 extra-base hits in 70 games for Denver of the Western League in 1927. His pro career finished with Miami of the Class-D Arizona State League in 1928, where he hit .310 in 67 games, with 21 extra-base hits.
Harley Young, pitcher for the 1908 Pirates. He had quite a pro record before making his big league debut, though his available stats are limited. He was 21 years old in 1905 when he went 18-3 in 201 innings for Pittsburg of the Class-C Missouri Valley League. His ERA isn’t available, but it’s known that he allowed 2.51 runs per nine innings. He was still in Class-C ball in 1906 when he had a 24-17 record in 48 appearances for Springfield of the Western Association. He got a spring tryout with the St Louis Browns, but remained in the minors. He stayed in the Western Association in 1907, posting a 29-4 record for Wichita, picking up the decision in all 33 games he pitched. The Pirates purchased Young from Wichita on August 5, 1907. He was allowed to finish the season with his minor league team, and then joined the Pirates for Spring Training in 1908. During his short time in Pittsburgh, he made three starts and five relief appearances, posting an 0-2, 2.23 record in 48.1 innings. The Pirates traded Young and outfielder Tommy McCarthy mid-June of 1908 to the Boston Doves for Irv Young. The interesting part of the trade is that the Pirates tried to acquire Irv Young right before signing Harley, offering Boston two players and $10,000. Boston wasn’t satisfied with the players included so they passed. Harley Young had an 0-1, 3.29 record in 27.1 innings over two starts and four relief appearances after the trade, so he really didn’t get a great shot with either team that season.
The 1908 season ended up being Young’s only season in the majors. He spent part of that season with Jersey City of the Class-A Eastern League, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. He went 2-7, in nine starts and 74 innings pitched. He was sold to Oklahoma City of the Class-C Texas League during Spring Training in 1909. Young pitched in pro ball from 1905 until 1920, picking up at least 153 career wins (some stats are incomplete). He went 17-10, while throwing 257 innings in 36 games for Oklahoma City in 1909. He remained there in 1910, and had a 5-18 record in 174 innings. He put in a lot of work for Oklahoma City in 1911, going 18-17 in 299.1 innings over 38 games. He moved to the Class-A Western League in 1912, which was the first year of Double-A ball, so Class-A was no longer the highest level of the minors. Young went 11-15 in 263 innings for Topeka in 1912, and he had a 3.90 ERA (no record available) in 198.2 innings for Sioux City in 1913. He has no pro teams listed for 1914-16, then returned briefly in 1917 for Tulsa of the Class-D Western Association. When he joined Tulsa, it was said that he’s been retired for some time, running a citrus plantation in Florida. In 1918, he played for Seattle in the Class-B Pacific Coast International League and Shreveport of the Class-B Texas League. Young went 13-6 that season, with all of his wins coming for Seattle. He has no pro stats for 1919, before returning for his final season in 1920, when he played for Petersburg of the Class-B Virginia League and Victoria of the Pacific Coast International League, posting a combined 16-15 record in 279 innings, with 2.58 ERA in 101 innings with Petersburg.
Young has a little more notoriety than your average one-year player from 100+ years ago. The popular thing to do back in that era was give players with the same last name, the same nickname. The great Cy Young was nearing the end of his brilliant career back then and the aforementioned Irv Young got the unfortunate nickname of “Cy the Second”. In fact, he was often just called Cy Young and the original Cy Young would get the nickname “Old” Cy Young. Imagine stealing the nickname of one of the greatest pitchers ever. That’s not too much pressure for a young (pardon the pun) pitcher, is it? So when Harley came around in 1908, he got the nickname “Cy the Third”. In fact, he already had the nickname in the minors, and just like with Irv, sometimes Harley was just called Cy Young. Harley fell exactly 511 wins short of Cy Young’s career total, while Irv won 63 big league games.
Bill Nelson, pitcher for the 1884 Alleghenys. He started and finished three games for the 1884 Alleghenys, winning one. That brief trial turned out to be his only MLB experience. Nelson debuted on September 3rd and pitched his final game seven days later, a 10-2 loss to Columbus. He was actually slated to pitch his first game on September 1st, but he got hit on the hand with a pitch in the top of the first and had to leave the game before throwing a pitch. That game isn’t credited to him for some reason, but it should be cited as his debut. His lone win came over a Hall of Famer Hank O’Day (he’s in the Hall as an umpire) in a 10-3 win on September 6th. In what would seem extremely odd by today’s standards, he batted sixth in the lineup in his first big league start. He was in the ninth spot for the final two games (he went 2-for-12 at the plate). After the Alleghenys game on September 13th, Nelson and outfielder Conny Doyle were both released. The Alleghenys signed outfielder Billy Reid to replace Doyle, but they didn’t bring on another pitcher. One really interesting note about bringing in Nelson when the Alleghenys did is that a month earlier, he hit Charlie Eden of Grand Rapids with a pitch and Eden made an attempt to attack him with his bat, which eventually led to the game being called. Eden was the center fielder for the Alleghenys by the time Nelson arrived.
Nelson pitched for Muskegon of the Northwestern League to begin the 1884 season. He was 20 years old and in his first season of pro ball. He played for a team from his hometown of Terre Haute that became a minor league in 1884 in the same league as Muskegon, so it’s a bit of a surprise that he actually switched teams. He was called the “well-know Terre Haute pitcher” at the time of his signing in January of 1884. Before his first pro game, he faced a big league team tied to the Alleghenys. The Columbus Buckeyes of the American Association played an exhibition game against Muskegon on April 20, 1884 and Nelson pitched the entire game. The lineup that day included eight future players for the Alleghenys, as Columbus folded after the 1884 season and sold their players to Pittsburgh. The pitcher that day was Ed Morris, who holds almost all single-season records for the Pirates as a pitcher. He shut out Muskegon and struck out 14 batters. Nelson pitched the entire game and he allowed 29 runs. He had a 9-18 record for Muskegon, though it came with a 1.72 ERA in 245.1 innings.
Nelson played in the minors until 1889. His stats for the minors are far from complete, but they show that he struggled in trials with two teams in 1885, allowing 37 runs in 29 innings. He pitched three games for the Hamilton Clippers of the Canadian League and one game for Toledo of the Western League. He played for Lincoln of the Western League in 1886-87, with awful stats in three pitching appearances in 1887 resulting in 46 runs over 22 innings, though his records show that just ten of the runs were earned. He also played some games at first base and center field in 1887, hitting .196 with nine runs and a double in 11 games. There are no stats available for his final two seasons in which he appeared with Dubuque of the Central Interstate League in 1888 and his hometown team of Terre Haute in the Illinois-Indiana League in 1889.