Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, plus a transaction of note.
Marino Salas, reliever for the 2008 Pirates. He signed with the Baltimore Orioles as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic at 16 years old in 1998. He spent a total of nine seasons with the Orioles without making it to the majors. His first three years of pro ball were spent playing in the Dominican Summer League (no stats available). Salas made it to the U.S. in 2001, playing in the Gulf Coast League, where he had a 4.82 ERA and six saves in 18.2 innings over 15 relief appearances. He spent the next two seasons with Bluefield in the short-season Appalachian League, posting a 3-0, 5.40 record and 34 strikeouts in 36.2 innings over 27 appearances in 2002. That was followed by a 4.89 ERA in 35 innings over 23 games in 2003. While that ERA looks like a minor improvement, his WHIP went from 1.77 the first year, down to 1.29 in 2003. Salas finally made it to full-season ball six years after he signed, playing for Delmarva of the Low-A South Atlantic League in 2004. He went 2-4, 2.15 with 13 saves and 46 strikeouts in 50.1 innings over 40 appearances. He moved up to High-A the next year, going 4-2, 3.63 with 16 saves and 63 strikeouts in 62 innings over 50 outings with Frederick of the Carolina League. In 2006, he spent the entire year in Double-A with Bowie of the Eastern League. Salas had a 2.92 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and 46 strikeouts in 49.1 innings, with 19 saves in 44 appearances.
The Milwaukee Brewers acquired Salas via waivers prior to the 2007 season. He did well that year in Double-A Huntsville of the Southern League, putting up a 1.42 ERA and 17 saves in 37 games, but struggled a bit in Triple-A Nashville of the Pacific Coast League, posting a 4.94 ERA in 23.2 innings. He had 54 strikeouts and a 1.20 WHIP in 61.2 innings between both stops. He was acquired by the Pirates from the Brewers for Solomon Torres on December 7, 2007. Salas pitched 13 games in relief for the 2008 Pirates during his only season in the majors, posting an 8.47 ERA in 17 innings, with 14 walks and nine strikeouts. He was called up four different times during the season, seeing action in May, June, July and September. In Triple-A Indianapolis of the International League that season, he had a 3.47 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 57 innings. The Pirates released him after the 2008 season and he pitched in Mexico in 2009, which was his last season of summer ball. He lasted just ten innings, allowing six runs on 14 hits and seven walks. Salas played winter ball through the 2012-13 off-season in the Dominican before retiring. He played a total of seven seasons in winter ball, where he went 3-3, 3.68 in 78.1 innings over 76 appearances.
Victor Santos, pitcher for the 2006 Pirates. He played for seven teams over a seven-year big league career, which started with the 2001 Detroit Tigers. He then moved on to the Colorado Rockies (2002), Texas Rangers (2003), Milwaukee Brewers (2004-05), Pirates, before finishing in 2007 with the Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles. Santos was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Tigers at age 19 in 1996 out of St Peter’s University in NJ. That school has produced just four Major League players, including Frank Brooks of the 2004 Pirates. Santos was born in the Dominican Republic, but attended high school and college in New Jersey. He debuted in the Gulf Coast League, and he finished his first season in High-A with Lakeland of the Florida State League, combining at the two levels to go 5-4, 2.07 in 78.1 innings, with 64 strikeouts and a 1.09 WHIP. He spent the entire 1997 season back in Lakeland, where he had a 10-5, 3.23 record and 108 strikeouts in 145 innings. Santos split the 1998 season between three levels, starting back at Lakeland and finishing at Triple-A Toledo of the International League, with six games at Double-A Jacksonville of the Southern League in between. He went 10-6, 3.74 in 151.2 innings, with 123 strikeouts. Overall it was a strong season, but he had an 11.05 ERA in his brief time with Toledo, as his results got worse the higher he went in the system.
In 1999, Santos spent the entire year with Jacksonville, where he had a 12-6, 3.49 record in 173 innings, with 146 strikeouts. He was injured for most of the 2000 season, which saw him limited to four games and 14.1 innings over three levels. Santos began the 2001 season in the majors, and was with the Tigers for most of the year, except for six Triple-A starts. He went 2-2, 3.30 in 76.1 innings during his rookie season, with seven starts and 26 relief appearances. His pro career started with no earned runs over his first 27.1 innings. He was traded to the Colorado Rockies right before the 2002 season started. That year he went 0-4, 10.38 in 26 innings over 24 appearances, including two starts. He spent a bigger part of the year in Triple-A Colorado Springs of the Pacific Coast League, going 4-9, 5.72 in 21 starts and 118 innings, picking up 134 strikeouts. Santos was released at the end of the season and he signed a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers. He made four starts and four relief appearances in the majors in 2003, posting a 7.01 ERA in 25.2 innings. He did well that season in Triple-A with Oklahoma of the Pacific Coast League, but it came with a huge drop in his strikeout rate. Santos went 5-4, 3.41 in 108.1 innings, finishing with 65 strikeouts.
Santos became a free agent at the end of the year and signed with the 2004 Milwaukee Brewers, where he got a chance to pitch regularly. He went 11-12, 4.97 in 154 innings in 2004, setting career highs in wins, innings and strikeouts (115). In 2005, Santos went 4-13, 4.57 in 141.2 innings over 24 starts and five relief appearances. He was signed early in the 2005-06 off-season as a minor league free agent by the Kansas City Royals, but the Pirates selected him in the Rule 5 draft. In his only season with the club, he went 5-9, 5.70 in 115.1 innings, making 19 starts and six relief appearances. He became a free agent after the season and signed with the Cincinnati Reds, who sold him to the Baltimore Orioles mid-season. In his final year in the majors, Santos went 1-6, 5.83 in 63.1 innings over three starts and 33 relief appearances. He signed with the San Francisco Giants as a free agent in the 2007-08 off-season, but he spent the entire 2008 season in Triple-A Fresno of the Pacific Coast League, where he had a 6.38 ERA in 139.2 innings. He played independent ball in 2009 with Newark of the Atlantic League, and also played winter ball in four different countries, last playing during the 2011-12 off-season. Santos went 23-48, 5.21 in 87 starts and 99 relief appearances in the majors, throwing 602.1 innings. He pitched a total of 444 games/304 starts in his 16 years of pro ball, throwing 1,868.1 innings.
Bob Robertson, first baseman for the Pirates in 1967, and then 1969-76. He debuted in pro ball at 17 years old, hitting .302 with 43 runs, 13 homers, 63 RBIs and an .844 OPS in 70 games for Salem of the short-season Appalachian League. In 1965, he moved up to Gastonia of the Class-A Western Carolinas League, where he batted .303 with 89 runs, 25 doubles, 32 homers, 98 RBIs, 68 walks and a .970 OPS in 123 games. He had 14 steals that season, then never stole more than five bases in another season. In 1966, he played for Asheville of the Double-A Southern League, where he hit .287 with 83 runs, 25 doubles, 32 homers, 99 RBIs and a .931 OPS in 134 games. He was in Triple-A in 1967 with Columbus of the International League. Robertson hit .256 that year, with 60 runs, 14 doubles, 19 homers, 63 RBIs, 56 walks and an .810 OPS in 108 games. He debuted in the majors at 20 years old in September of 1967, though he only got into nine games that year. He hit .171/.237/.343 in 38 plate appearances, then spent all of 1968 on the sidelines after a surgery for his kidneys.
Robertson was with the Pirates during April/May in 1969, then returned in September, finishing the season with a .208 average, one homer, nine RBIs and a .569 OPS in 32 games. In between those two big league stints in 1969, he homered 34 times in Columbus, where he had a .959 OPS in 105 games. Robertson was a regular in the majors by 1970, hitting hit a career high 27 homers, to go along with a .287 average, 69 runs, 19 doubles, 82 RBIs, 51 walks and a .931 OPS in 117 games. He finished 27th in the MVP voting that season, the only time he received any MVP votes. He hit 26 homers in 1971, then added six postseason homers in 41 at-bats that year to help the Pirates to their fourth World Series title. He played a career high 131 games that year, hitting .271 with 65 runs, 18 doubles, 72 RBIs, 60 walks and an .840 OPS.
After the strong 1970-71 seasons, Robertson’s stats quickly dropped off, mostly due to back issues that bothered him for the rest of his career. He batted .193 with 25 runs, 11 doubles, 12 homers, 41 RBIs and a .637 OPS in 115 games in 1972. He then bounced back a little in 1973 when he hit .239 with 43 runs, 16 doubles, 14 homers, 40 RBIs, 55 walks and a .717 OPS in 119 games. That was his last season seeing regular action. Robertson played 91 games in 1974, hitting .229 in 234 at-bats, though his 11 doubles, 16 homers and 33 walks, helped him to a .799 OPS. He drove in 48 runs that season. He was a part-time player in 1975-76, playing a total of 136 games, with just 53 starts. He hit .274 with six homers, 18 RBIs and an .840 OPS in 152 plate appearances over 74 games in 1975. That was followed by a .217 average, two homers and 25 RBIs in 1976, as his OPS dropped to .617 that season in 147 plate appearances. The Pirates released him just prior to Opening Day in 1977 and he didn’t play again until 1978 with the Seattle Mariners, then finished his career with the 1979 Toronto Blue Jays. Robertson had back surgery after being released by the Pirates. He batted .230/.325/.420 with eight homers and 28 RBIs in 64 games with the Mariners, then lasted just 15 with Toronto, going 3-for-29 at the plate. In nine seasons in Pittsburgh, he hit .245 in 750 games, with 265 runs scored, 93 doubles, 106 homers and 339 RBIs.
Maury Wills, 1967-68 third baseman for the Pirates. He once held the MLB modern day record with 104 steals (the all-time record for steals is 138 in 1887 by Hugh Nicol). Wills hit .290 over 302 games with the Pirates and stole 81 bases. He had 586 career steals, though he also led the league in caught stealing seven times. Wills debuted in pro ball at 18 years old in 1951, playing his first two seasons for Hornell of the Class-D Pennsylvania-Ontario-New York League, where he had 54 steals each season. He batted .280 with 26 extra-base hits in 123 games his first year, then hit .300 with 34 doubles, four triples and four homers in 125 games the next year. He moved up the Brooklyn Dodgers system, playing most of 1953 in the Class-B Florida International League with Miami. Along with a brief stop in A-Ball with Pueblo of the Western League, Wills hit .286 with 88 runs, 29 extra-base hits, 28 steals and 57 walks in 111 games. In 1954, he spent the entire season with Pueblo, batting .279 with 89 runs, 33 extra-base hits, 53 RBIs, 28 steals, 54 walks and a .721 OPS in 145 games. He moved up to Double-A Fort Worth of the Texas League in 1955, hitting just .202 in 123 games, with 44 runs, 18 extra-base hits, 39 steals and a .565 OPS. That poor performance led to him being returned to Pueblo, where he hit .302 with 110 runs, 51 extra-base hits, 34 steals, 60 walks and an .821 OPS in 134 games. He moved up to the Pacific Coast League in 1957, which was the highest level of the minors (considered Open class until becoming Triple-A again in 1958). Wills took up switch-hitting for the first time that year and hit .267 in 147 games for Seattle, stealing 21 bases, to go along with 67 runs, 29 extra-base hits and a .675 OPS.
Wills stayed in the PCL with Spokane for the 1958-59 seasons. He batted .253 with 69 runs, 29 extra-base hits, 25 steals and a .628 OPS in 144 games in 1958. That was followed by a .313 average, 42 runs, 25 steals and a .778 OPS in 48 games before joining the Los Angeles Dodgers in early June of 1959. Wills hit .260 with 27 runs scored in 83 games during that first year in the majors, finishing with just seven RBIs, seven steals and a .596 OPS. He quickly established himself the next year as a strong lead-off batter (he started the year batting eighth), hitting .295 with 75 runs scored and a league leading 50 steals in 148 games. He had 17 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs and a .673 OPS. He finished 17th in the MVP voting. In 1961, he batted .282 with 105 runs scored, 23 extra-base hits, a league leading 35 steals, 59 walks and a .685 OPS in 149 games. He was an All-Star, a Gold Glove winner and he finished ninth in the MVP voting. He had his best season in 1962, which led to the National League MVP award. He batted .299 with 130 runs scored and 104 steals, which was thought to be an all-time record at the time, though it turned out to be a modern record when research uncovered nine totals higher from the 19th century. His .720 OPS that season was his career high. He led the league with ten triples and he set a Major League record with 165 games played, as the Dodgers made up three tie games. He was an All-Star again and won his second Gold Glove.
Wills hit a career high .302 in 1963, with 83 runs, 22 extra-base hits, 40 steals and a .704 OPS in 134 games. He was an All-Star and received mild MVP support, finishing 17th in the voting. In 1964, he hit .275 with 81 runs, 22 extra-base hits, 53 steals and a .641 OPS in 158 games. The next year saw him return to All-Star form with a .286 average, 92 runs, 21 extra-base hits, 94 steals (had a career high 31 caught stealing) and a .660 OPS in 158 games. That year was his sixth straight stolen base title. He finished third in the MVP voting that season.
In his final year during his first stint with the Dodgers, Wills hit .278 with 60 runs, 17 extra-base hits, 38 steals and a .622 OPS in 143 games. He didn’t lead the league in steals for the first time since 1960, but he was caught stealing 24 times. He was an All-Star that season and he finished 21st in the MVP voting. His defense helped his MVP case, as his 1.5 dWAR by modern metrics, was his second best season of his career, trailing the 2.3 dWAR from the previous year. The Pirates acquired Wills on December 1, 1966 in exchange for third baseman Bob Bailey and infielder Gene Michael. At the time, Wills had been an All-Star in five of his previous six seasons. He also won two Gold Glove awards with the Dodgers, though the second one came five years earlier. However, his two best seasons for dWAR were not the Gold Glove years. The Pirates nullified some of that value by shifting him over to third base during his time in Pittsburgh.
Wills hit .302 with 94 runs scored, 24 extra-base hits and a .700 OPS in 149 games in 1967. His 29 stolen bases represented a career low up to that point. His average dropped to .278 in 1968, while collecting just 18 extra-base hits in 153 games, leading to a .642 OPS. However, Wills stole 52 bases and scored 76 runs that season. That OPS isn’t as bad as it seems, as the 1968 season was a huge year for pitchers and led to changes to the mound height. After the season, he was lost to the Montreal Expos in the Expansion Draft. He played just 47 games in Montreal before returning to the Dodgers for his final 3 1/2 seasons. He hit .222/.295/.238 with 23 runs and 15 steals while with the Expos in 1969, then batted .297 with a .734 OPS in 104 games with the Dodgers that season. While his regular season combined total wasn’t the best of his career, that .734 mark was better than any full season total during his 14 years in the majors. Wills batted .270 with 77 runs, 22 extra-base hits, 28 stolen base, 50 walks and a .651 OPS in 132 games in 1970. He hit .281 with 73 runs scored, 20 extra-base hits, 44 RBIs, 15 steals and a .652 OPS in 149 games in 1971. That performance earned him a sixth place finish in the MVP voting. He saw a major drop-off in production in 1972, which ended up being his final season. He hit just .129/.190/.167 in 71 games, finishing with one stolen base. He finished with a .281 average in 1,942 games, with 1,067 runs scored, 177 doubles, 71 triples, 20 homers, 458 RBIs and 552 walks, to go along with his 586 steals.
The Dodgers went to the World Series four times while Wills was on the team and they won three times, 1959, 1963 and 1965. He did not have overall postseason success, posting a .571 OPS, six steals and six runs scored in 21 games, with almost all of his production coming during the 1965 series. After his playing days were over, he managed the Seattle Mariners during parts of the 1980-81 seasons, compiling a 26-56 record in that time. Wills passed away recently, just shy of his 90th birthday. He’s the father of Bump Wills, who spent six seasons in the majors and stole 196 bases.
Eddie Murphy, outfielder for the 1926 Pirates. He was once a star player for the Philadelphia A’s, but by 1926 when he joined the Pirates, he was out of the majors for five years. Murphy debuted in pro ball in 1911 at 19 years old, playing for Scranton of the Class-B New York State League, where he hit .300 with 18 extra-base hits in 91 games. In 1912, he moved up two levels to Baltimore of the Double-A International League (highest level of the minors at the time), where he put together a .361 average and 36 extra-base hits in 122 games. He joined the Philadelphia A’s in late August that year and hit .317/.370/.359 with 24 runs scored in 33 games as their everyday right fielder. He would hold that position with the team for the next 2 1/2 seasons. In 1913, he hit .295 with 105 runs scored, 22 extra-base hits, 30 RBIs, 21 steals, 70 walks and a .747 OPS in 137 games, helping the A’s to the World Series, where they defeated the New York Giants. Philadelphia was back in the World Series in 1914, though they lost to the Boston Braves. Murphy hit .272 with 101 runs, 25 extra-base hits, 43 RBIs, 87 walks and a .720 OPS in in a career high 148 games. He stole 36 bases, but he was also caught a staggering 32 times. He wasn’t a power hitter, and in fact, he hit three of his career total of four homers during the 1914 season, then never homered again. All four of his homers were solo shots, two led off the game, three came on the road in a six-week span and one was an inside-the-park homer.
In 1915, Murphy was sold to the White Sox on July 15th for $11,500. He hit .274 with 88 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 43 RBIs, 68 walks, 33 steals and a .698 OPS in 138 games that season, with much better results after switching teams. He had a .588 OPS that year in Philadelphia, and an .802 OPS with Chicago. In 1916, he took up a bench role and hit just .210/.286/.274 in 117 plate appearances over 51 games. The next year saw him rebound in a limited bench role, hitting .314/.386/.392 with 16 RBIs in only 64 plate appearances over 53 games. He got more playing time in 1918 and hit .297 in 91 games, with 36 runs scored, nine doubles, three triples, 23 RBIs and a .699 OPS. He was a bit player on the 1919 White Sox, playing just 30 games all year, but he did incredible in his limited time, batting .486 with seven walks and no strikeouts in 43 plate appearances., leading to a 1.171 OPS He was able to play a little more in 1920 and he responded with a .339 average, 22 runs, 19 RBIs and a .777 OPS in 133 plate appearances over 58 games (16 starts). In his final big league time before heading to the minors for five seasons, Murphy got just five at-bats in six games, all of them off of the bench, with his last game coming on May 30th. He played 117 games with Columbus of the Double-A American Association that season, hitting .293 with 29 extra-base hits.
Murphy remained in Columbus through the end of the 1925 season. In 1922, he hit .317 in 140 games, with 27 doubles, 11 triples and four homers. In 1923, he batted .351 in 154 games, with 209 hits, 39 doubles, eight triples and 13 homers. The 1924 season saw him hit .350 in 146 games, with 199 hits, 30 doubles, 12 triples and five homers. In 1925, Murphy batted .397 in 100 games, with 29 extra-base hits. In 1926, he moved on to Rochester of the Double-A International League, where he was batting .355 with 33 extra-base hits through 111 games in early August. The Pirates purchased his contract “for a large sum” on the recommendation of scout Chick Fraser. Murphy would bat 22 times in 16 games for the Pirates, hitting .118/.250/.118, while still managing to drive in six runs. He was back in Rochester by 1927, batting .341 with 32 extra-base hits in 83 games that season. He retired from playing ball in 1928 after playing 114 games that season for Jersey City and Montreal of the International League. He batted .304 with 13 extra-base hits that last season. He played in three World Series, including the final one as a member of the 1919 Chicago Black Sox. In his big league career, Murphy hit .287 with 411 runs scored, 66 doubles, 32 triples, 195 RBIs, 294 walks and 111 steals in 761 games. He struggled in the postseason, hitting .200 in 45 plate appearances, with four runs scored and no RBIs.
Ernie Diehl, outfielder for the 1903-04 Pirates. He played a very minor part of the first World Series team for the Pirates, going 1-for-3 in his lone game on May 31, 1903. That game was his pro debut at 25 years old. He batted .162/.311/.162 over 12 games for the 1904 Pirates, then played a total of four games over two seasons for Boston of the National League to finish out his big league career. When the team was called the Beaneaters in 1906, he went 5-for-11 with a triple in three games. When the team was named the Doves in 1909, he went 2-for-4 with a double and run scored in his lone game on August 12th. He didn’t have much of a minor league career, spending part of the 1907 season with Toledo of the Class-A American Association (highest level of the minors at the time) and parts of two seasons with Louisville, also of the American Association. Diehl is credited with batting .405 with 14 runs, six doubles, three triples and three steals in 22 games for Toledo. He hit .226 with eight runs and four extra-base hits in 20 games with Louisville in 1909. He was playing semi-pro/amateur ball regularly during this time, so while his pro stats don’t look like much, he wasn’t going into those games off of long breaks.
It was said that Diehl had plenty of money and the idea of playing baseball every day wasn’t for him. According to a late 1907 article, he never made a cent playing pro ball. He preferred to play when he wanted to and therefore his career was rather brief compared to the skills that he possessed, which would have easily landed him a job with the best minor league teams each year, and likely much more MLB time. It’s also said that he never signed a pro contract. The Pirates tried to sign him in 1903 after he impressed in his lone game, but he had business affairs that kept him from joining the team. He came highly recommended from pitcher Sam Leever. In 1904, Diehl filled in when needed, once taking the place of an injured Jimmy Sebring for nearly two weeks until the Pirates could get someone else signed. The Cincinnati Reds made an offer to sign him just prior to joining the Pirates, but he refused his hometown team. Owner Barney Dreyfuss said in February of 1905 that he was hoping to sign Diehl, but nothing ever came of that wish. He also turned down a 1906 contract with Boston after impressing in his brief playing time. Dreyfuss mentioned as late as 1907 that Diehl could have a job with the Pirates any time that he wanted to sign. He even called him late in the 1907 season, asking him to fill in for Fred Clarke in left field after the Hall of Famer got injured, but Diehl already had a spot with Toledo at the time. A 1908 story out of Cincinnati called him the greatest Cincinnati amateur player. He was a well-known semi-pro player at the time. He was an outstanding athlete, who also excelled at tennis.
Scott Stratton, pitcher for the 1891 Pirates. He had a 34-14 record during his best season in the majors, but he was just 63-100 over the rest of his career, including losses in his only two starts with the Pirates. Stratton debuted in pro ball in the majors. He was an 18-year-old rookie in 1888, when he went 10-17, 3.64 in 269.2 innings for the Louisville Colonels of the American Association. He completed all 28 of his starts that season, tossing two shutouts. He lowered his ERA to 3.23 in 1889, but he was pitching for the team that set the MLB record for losses in a season, which left him with a 3-13 record in his 17 starts and 133.2 innings pitched. Louisville went 27-111 that season, though it was a record that lasted just one year. While he was having the season of a lifetime in 1890, Pittsburgh went 23-113 at the same time. Stratton went 34-14, 2.36 in 431 innings, with 44 complete games and four shutouts in 49 starts. His 207 strikeouts that season ranked sixth in the league and represent the only time he surpassed the century mark in strikeouts. He had the best ERA and best WHIP (1.06) in the American Association. He also batted .323 in 55 games, with 24 RBIs. For all of that success, he was paid just $1,800 in 1890. After the season, the Alleghenys/Pirates used Guy Hecker to get him to sign in Pittsburgh. Hecker mentored Stratton for two seasons in Louisville, then managed the Alleghenys in 1890.
In Stratton’s debut with Pittsburgh, he faced future Hall of Famer Kid Nichols and lost a tough 4-3 decision, with some poor defense hurting Stratton’s chances to win. He actually started three days earlier (May 22nd), but that game was called after just two innings due to rain. We wrote about that called game here because it was an extremely rare case from the 19th century where there was a pitch count available. Stratton lost 5-3 to Brooklyn on June 1st, and it was another solid performance according to the papers. He developed a sore shoulder in that second start and was sent home. He was released by Pittsburgh on June 19th and signed shortly after with Louisville, though he debuted as a position player before making his first start in mid-July. He went 6-13, 4.08 in 172 innings over 20 starts for Louisville to finish out the 1891 season. Stratton went 21-19, 2.92 in 351.2 innings in 1892, but he won just 23 more games over the next three seasons, and then never pitched again in pro ball. His record really dropped off in 1893, going 12-23, 5.43 in 314.2 innings. Baseball changed pitching rules that year, including the distance to home plate, which led to more offense and many pitchers having trouble adjusting. Stratton had even more trouble in 1894 (as did most pitchers), going 9-10, 6.51 in 171.1 innings, while spending half of the season with the Chicago Colts (Cubs). He finished his big league career out with the Colts in 1895, going 2-3, 9.60 in five starts.
Stratton became an outfielder once his big league pitching career was over, and then he played minor league ball for another five seasons, finally retiring in 1900. He finished out the 1895 season with St Paul of the Class-A Western League, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. He hit .341 in 45 games, with 56 runs and 21 extra-base hits in 1895. The next season saw him play for St Paul again, though no stats are available, In 1897, Stratton played for Springfield of the Class-A Eastern League and Reading of the Class-B Atlantic League. He combined to hit .343 in 93 games (mostly with Reading), with 89 runs and 30 extra-base hits. In 1898, he spent the season with Reading, though stats are unavailable. In 1899, Reading moved up to Class-A and he batted .296 with 51 runs and ten extra-base hits in 78 games. He also played for Bristol of the Connecticut State League, which was a Class-F League, five levels lower than the Atlantic League. He hit .368 in 29 games that year. No stats are available from his final season in 1900, which he split between Hartford of the Eastern League and Wilkes-Barre of the Atlantic League. Stratton refused to play on Sundays and said he would quit before he did that. His big league record shows a 97-114, 3.87 record in 1,892.1 innings pitched, with 199 complete games in 214 starts. He tossed ten shutouts. He was a .274 hitter in the majors, with eight homers and 163 RBIs.
On this date in 1964, the Pirates signed 20-year-old catcher Manny Sanguillen as an amateur free agent out of Panama. It took him just three seasons to make the majors. He would go on to make three All-Star teams and hit .299 over 1,296 games with the Pirates in 12 seasons, helping them to six playoff appearances and two World Series titles. Sanguillen became the second player from Panama to play for the Pirates, debuting one year after outfielder Dave Roberts.