This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: November 14th, Nine-Player Trade with Toronto Blue Jays

Eight former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a major trade of note. Side note to this is that November 14th has one of the lowest total of MLB players born on this date with just 43 over the years. The odd part is that five of the first nine MLB players born on this date started their career with the Pirates (the last five played listed below).

The Transactions

On this date in 1996, the Pirates traded Dan Plesac, Orlando Merced and Carlos Garcia to the Toronto Blue Jays for Jose Silva and two minor league players, plus three players to be named later. Silva was the only player with MLB experience acquired in the deal by the Pirates, and he had just two games. Three of the players in the trade never made the majors, but the Pirates got some value out of Silva, Abraham Nunez and Craig Wilson, with the latter two joining the Pirates as PTBNL on December 11th. Plesac, Merced and Garcia were part of a cost cutting measure for the Pirates, as they tried to get their payroll down to $14,000,000 for the 1997 season. The Blue Jays didn’t get much value from their players, and only Plesac was still around after the 1997 season. Merced and Garcia both had down years and Toronto basically finished the same as the previous year, going from a 74-88 record to 76-86.

Abraham Nunez was said to be the key to the deal for the Pirates, but he never reached his potential, posting a 1.1 WAR over eight seasons in Pittsburgh. Silva stayed around five seasons, though he had a -0.5 WAR for his time with the Pirates. Wilson wasn’t originally the key, but he ended up being the best player in the entire deal for either side (after the trade that is). He had 94 homers and 282 RBIs for the Pirates over six seasons. His WAR value was only 4.6 in his six seasons in Pittsburgh, but he put up a positive number each year. The other three players who failed to make the majors were pitcher Jose Pett, infielder Brandon Cromer and pitcher Mike Halperin. Pett was actually a top 100 prospect in baseball twice, but he struggled badly in both of his trials in Triple-A. He ended up pitching just one game after 1997, with his career basically ending at 21 years old. He was sidetracked by a major car accident in 1995 and never fully regained the quality of his pitches. He received a $700,000 signing bonus at 16 years old. Cromer was a 34th overall pick in 1992, and he had two brothers who made it to the majors.

On this date in 1947 the Pirates purchased seldom used shortstop Stan Rojek from the Brooklyn Dodgers. During his first season in Pittsburgh, Rojek led the National League in games played, plate appearances and at-bats. He also finished tenth in the MVP voting, thanks in part to a .290 average with 85 runs scored. Rojek would play two more full seasons in Pittsburgh and part of 1951 before they traded him to the St Louis Cardinals for Rocky Nelson and Erv Dusak. During his time in Pittsburgh, Rojek hit .266 in 384 games, with 185 runs scored, 99 RBIs and a .654 OPS. His 1948 season was worth 4.1 WAR, but the other three years combined he had 0.3 WAR.

The Players

Xavier Nady, outfielder for the 2006-08 Pirates. He  played 12 years in the majors, seeing time with eight different teams. He was a fourth round draft pick by the St Louis Cardinals out of high school in 1997, then three years later he was a second round pick of the San Diego Padres out of the University of California. Nady actually debuted in the majors during his draft season, collecting a single in a late-season pinch-hit at-bat. It took three years before he played his second big league game. He played his first minor league games in High-A in 2001, where he hit .302 with 96 runs, 38 doubles, 26 homers, 100 RBIs, 62 walks and a .908 OPS in 137 games for Lake Elsinore of the California League. Despite those strong results, part of the 2002 season was spent back in Lake Elsinore, where he had a .278 average and a .962 OPS in 45 games. The rest of the year was spent in Triple-A Portland of the Pacific Coast League, where he hit .283 in 85 games, with 46 runs, 12 doubles, ten homers, 43 RBIs and a .752 OPS. Nady opened the 2003 season in the majors, though part of July and all of August were spent back in Portland, where he had an .800 OPS in 37 games. He hit .267 in 110 games for the Padres that season, with 50 runs, 17 doubles, nine homers, 39 RBIs and a .712 OPS. He spent more than half of the 2004 season back in Portland and dominated, with a .330 average, 42 extra-base hits, 70 RBIs and a 1.019 OPS in 74 games. With the 2004 Padres, he hit .247/.301/.416 with three homers and nine RBIs in 34 games.

The 2005 season was the first full year that Nady spent in the majors. He played 124 games, while moving all around, playing 13+ games at all three outfield spots and first base. He hit .261 with 40 runs scored, 15 doubles, 13 homers, 43 RBIs and a .760 OPS. He was traded to the New York Mets for veteran outfielder Mike Cameron on November 18, 2005. In his short stay in New York, Nady batted .264 with 37 runs, 15 doubles, 14 homers and 40 RBIs in 75 games. He was acquired by the Pirates from the Mets at the 2006 trade deadline in exchange for Oliver Perez and Roberto Hernandez. Nady hit .300 in 55 games that season for the Pirates, finishing with 20 runs, 13 doubles, three homers and 23 RBIs. He had a .790 OPS in 130 games between both stops. He played in 125 games for Pittsburgh in 2007, seeing most of his time in right field. He hit .278 with 55 runs scored, 23 doubles, 20 homers and 72 RBIs, leading to an .805 OPS. He hit .330 with 50 runs, 26 doubles, 13 homers and 57 RBIs in 89 games for the 2008 Pirates, before being traded to the New York Yankees, along with Damaso Marte, in exchange for Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutchen and Jose Tabata. Nady hit .301 with 125 runs scored, 62 doubles, 36 homers and 152 RBIs in 269 games with the Pirates.  After joining the Yankees, he hit .268 in 59 games, with 11 doubles, 12 homers and 40 RBIs. His combined total of 76 runs, 37 doubles, 25 homers and 97 RBIs that year were all career highs. He had a .905 OPS with the Pirates that season, and he put up a .794 mark after the trade.

After leaving the Pirates, Nady played for the Yankees (2008-09), Chicago Cubs (2010), Arizona Diamondbacks (2011), Washington Nationals (2012) and San Francisco Giants (2012). He spent 2013 in the minors, playing for both the Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Royals, before finishing his career in 2014 with the Padres (in the majors) and Seattle Mariners (in the minors). Nady had Tommy John surgery in 2001 in the minors. He missed very little playing time due to the timing of the surgery and the shorter rehab period for position players with that surgery. However, he needed a second TJ surgery early in 2009 and played just seven games all season. He became a free agent and signed with the Cubs, where he hit .256 in 119 games in 2010, with 33 runs scored, 19 extra-base hits, 33 RBIs and a .660 OPS, while seeing most of his time at first base. He signed with the Diamondbacks for 2011 and remained at first base. He played 82 games that season, hitting .248 with 26 runs, 15 extra-base hits, 35 RBIs and a .646 OPS. The Nationals signed him for 2012, though they released him in July. He finished the year with the Giants, where he picked up a World Series ring. However, he hit just .184/.253/.316 in 59 games that year, which led to his full 2013 season in the minors.

Nady split the 2013 season between Omaha and Colorado Springs of the Pacific Coast League and had a solid overall season. He batted .296 in 124 games, with 69 runs, 26 doubles, 15 homers and 65 RBIs. His 2014 return to the Padres amounted to just 22 games. While he hit three homers in 37 at-bats, he had just two other hits, ending with a .135 average and a .644 OPS. He also played 22 minor league games that season with Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League, where he had a .633 OPS in the hitter-friendly park/league. In 961 big league games over 12 seasons, Nady had a .268 average, 365 runs scored, 159 doubles, 104 homers and 410 RBIs. During his time in Pittsburgh, he’s credited with compiling 2.9 WAR. In the rest of his career, he had a total of 0.8 WAR. While his numbers on offense were a little better than that total, his career total of -4.3 dWAR brought down his total WAR.

Paul Wagner, pitcher for the 1992-97 Pirates. He was drafted by the Pirates in the 12th round of the 1989 amateur draft out of Illinois State, and he made his big league debut as a spot starter in July of 1992. He debuted in pro ball with Welland of the short-season New York-Penn League, where he went 4-5, 4.47 in 50.1 innings. Wagner pitched mostly in relief in 1990, splitting the season between Low-A Augusta of the South Atlantic League and Salem of the High-A Carolina League, with more time at the lower level. He combined to go 7-8, 3.50 with 99 strikeouts six saves in 108 innings spread over five starts and 41 relief appearances. He switched back to starting full-time in 1991 and spent the season with Salem, where he posted an 11-6, 3.12 record and 113 strikeouts in 158.2 innings over 25 starts. He was in Double-A Carolina of the Southern League for most of 1992, where he had a 6-6, 3.03 record and 101 strikeouts in 121.2 innings over 19 starts. He also made eight starts with Triple-A Buffalo of the American Association, where he had a 5.49 ERA in 39.1 innings. After his one spot start in July with the Pirates, he was recalled in September for five relief appearances, finishing his first big league season with a 2-0, 0.69 record in 13 innings.

Wagner spent the entire 1993 season in the majors, where he went 8-8, 4.27 in 141.1 innings over 17 starts and 27 relief appearances. He had 114 strikeouts, one shutout and two saves. He made 17 starts again in 1994, while also pitching some relief, finishing the strike-shortened season with a 7-8, 4.59 record in 119.2 innings. He led the National League in losses in 1995, posting a 5-16 record. For a third straight season his ERA increased, this time to a 4.80 mark, while setting career highs with 165 innings pitched and 120 strikeouts. Wagner continued that downward trend in 1996, going 4-8, 5.40 in 15 starts. He had 81 strikeouts in 81.2 innings that year. He was on the disabled list for inflammation in his pitching (right) arm in June, then went down with an elbow injury in July that required surgery in early August. It was originally believed that he would miss a full year, but he was back in the majors on July 18, 1997, after pitching 12 games in the minors. He struggled during that minor league time, posting an ERA over 10.00 in 16 innings in Double-A Carolina, but the Pirates still brought him back. He pitched 14 games out of the Pirates bullpen before he was released in late August, despite a respectable 3.94 ERA in 16 innings. He had a 26-40, 4.58 record in 536.2 innings with the Pirates over six seasons, making 75 starts and 67 relief appearances.

Wagner signed with the Milwaukee Brewers one week after being released by the Pirates, and he finished the season in the majors, though he pitched just two innings over two games. He then went 1-5, 7.11 in 55.2 innings over nine starts and four relief appearances for the 1998 Brewers before being released in late July. He signed with the Atlanta Braves one week later, but he was released after four weeks without pitching in the majors. He signed with the Cleveland Indians for 1999 and spent most of the year in Triple-A back with Buffalo (then in the International League), where he had a 3.82 ERA in 129.2 innings over 23 starts. In his brief big league time that year, he gave up four runs over 4.1 innings in three relief outings. Wagner signed with the New York Mets in 2000, but he had a torn rotator cuff, so the team paid for the surgery, then released him unconditionally. He returned to the Mets in 2001 as a minor league free agent, but he was released on May 22nd after allowing 12 hits and six runs in 6.2 innings at Triple-A, which ended his career.

Claude Willoughby, pitcher for the 1931 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball in 1923 at 24 years old with Waterloo of the Class-D Mississippi Valley League, where he had a 5-3 record in eight games, and he threw 63 innings. He spent most of 1924 back in Waterloo, while also getting a brief trial with Milwaukee of the Double-A American Association, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. He went 21-7 and threw 259 innings for Waterloo. While his ERA isn’t available for that time, it’s known that he allowed just 2.99 runs per nine innings. His Milwaukee time amounted to a 1-2 record and 42 innings pitched over six games. Willoughby returned to Waterloo in 1925 and had a 10-15 record in 194 innings, while seeing his runs per nine innings increase to a 4.69 mark. He still did well enough that the Philadelphia Phillies gave him three September starts in which he posted a 1.96 ERA in 23 innings. He remained in the majors until his time with the Pirates was over. He split between starting and relief work in 1926, pitching a total of 168 innings over 18 starts and 29 relief appearances. He went 8-12, 5.95 that year, leading the league in earned runs allowed and wild pitches. He also had an odd 71:37 BB/SO ratio. His season high was five strikeouts in a game.

Willoughby had a 3-7, 6.54 record in 97.2 innings over six starts and 29 relief appearances in 1927. The Phillies were 51-103 that season, so he wasn’t really hurting their chances of winning with his performance. In 1928, he went 6-5, 5.30 in 130.2 innings over 13 starts and 22 relief appearances. He had his best year in 1929 when offense started to increase in baseball. He finished 15-14, 4.99 in 243.1 innings over 35 starts and 14 relief appearances. He set a career high with 14 complete games, which was nearly half of his career total. Willoughby had a tough 1930 season that saw him go 4-17, 7.59 in 154 innings. It was a huge year for offense all around baseball, but that ERA was still well above league average (4.97). He went 38-56, 5.83 in five seasons in Philadelphia before getting traded to the Pirates on November 6, 1930. The Phillies received Dick Bartell in the deal, while the Pirates got Willoughby and Tommy Thevenow. It was a one-sided deal, with the young Bartell going on to become a star player. The Pirates were banking on Willoughby turning things around after that rough 1930 campaign, but things didn’t get any better, even with offense around baseball starting to return to normal levels. He lasted just two starts and seven relief appearances with the Pirates. The 32-year-old Willoughby went 0-2, 6.31 in 25.2 innings in Pittsburgh. That ended up being his last season in the majors. On June 5, 1931, the Pirates sold him to the San Francisco Seals of the Double-A Pacific Coast League.

Willoughby played until 1937 in the minors before retiring, spending about half of that time with Little Rock of the Class-A Southern Association. He won a total of 110 games in the minors over ten seasons. He went 10-11, 3.57 in 159 innings with San Francisco to finish out the 1931 season. He split 1932 between five games with San Francisco and 194 innings with Little Rock. He went 2-2 in 19 innings with San Francisco, and he had a 15-9, 4.31 record with Little Rock. He remained in Little Rock until the middle of the 1935 season. Willoughby went 13-20, 3.71 in 269 innings in 1933. He had an 11-15, 3.92 record in 225 innings in 1934. He joined New Orleans of the Southern Association mid-1935, combining with his Little Rock time for a 9-15 record in 153 innings over 41 games pitched. He joined Davenport of the Class-A Western League for his final two seasons. He went 17-10, 3.07 in 214 innings in 1936, followed by a 5-1, 3.42 record in 71 innings in 1937. He was a manager for Bartlesville of the Class-D Kentucky-Oklahoma-Missouri League in 1946, an affiliate of the Pirates. He led them to a 47-73 record. While he has no stats, records indicate that he played at least one game at 47 years old. His son Keith played for the team, so there’s some question as to whether Claude actually played. At minimum, he played in a mid-season exhibition game in which he threw four innings. Willoughby finished his big league career with a 38-58, 5.84 record in 101 starts and 118 relief appearances. He had 33 complete games, four shutouts and nine saves (not an official stat at the time). He finished with 406 walks and 175 strikeouts in 841.1 innings.

Joe Leonard, third baseman for the 1914 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball at 18 years old with Des Moines of the Class-A Western League. He spent his first two seasons there before joining the Pirates after scout Chick Fraser recommended him to Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss. That led to Leonard’s purchase from Des Moines for $3,000 on July 31, 1913. When his purchase was announced, it was also said that he wouldn’t report to Pittsburgh until Spring Training of 1914. Leonard hit .282 with 20 extra-base hits in 112 games in 1912. He made his impression on the Pirates by hitting .277 with 28 doubles, nine triples and four homers in 154 games in 1913. A quote in the Pittsburgh papers in August of 1913 from two MLB veterans in the Western League said that Leonard was the best looking infield prospect in the league in quite some time. His rookie season didn’t go quite so well, but he was just 20 years old at the time, so it’s a bit surprising that the Pirates didn’t hold on to him longer, especially considering the price and scouting report. He hit .198/.268/.246 with 17 runs, four extra-base hits and four RBIs in 53 games as a rookie for the Pirates in 1914. He had a total of 145 plate appearances.

Leonard was playing sparingly with the Pirates through early June of 1914 until he was slowed by an ankle injury. The Pirates cut veteran third baseman Mike Mowrey in early August, and then the August 17th newspapers declared that the 20-year-old Leonard was now the team’s starting third baseman. However, he started just five games after that point of the season, with the Pirates handing the job instead to Alex McCarthy, who was batting .085 at that time (he finished with a .150 average). Part of the reason for the change was that Leonard missed over a week with the flu, which hit him the same day that he was announced as the new starter. Leonard last played on September 13th. On April 21, 1915 (seven days after Opening Day), the Pirates sold him to Columbus of the Double-A American Association (highest level of the minors at the time). He didn’t appear in a game before the sale, and he didn’t stick with Columbus for the entire season, spending part of the year with the Kansas City club in the American Association. In 127 games between both stops, he hit .281 with 60 runs, 28 extra-base hits, 16 steals and 73 walks.

Leonard opened the 1916 season with Columbus, hitting .269 with 22 extra-base hits in 99 games. He joined the Cleveland Indians in mid-August for four games (online stats show three, but he played four), then was traded to the Washington Senators in a four-player deal. He batted .271 with 21 runs, seven doubles, 14 RBIs and a devilishly mediocre .666 OPS in 46 games in 1916. He served in a utility role with the 1917 Senators, mostly playing the corner infield spots. He hit just .192 in 99 games, with 30 runs, six doubles, seven triples, 23 RBIs, 45 walks and a .562 OPS. He missed the 1918 season due to service in WWI, then returned in 1919 to bat .258 in 71 games, with 26 runs, 13 extra-base hits, 20 RBIs and a .687 OPS. He pinch-ran in the sixth game of the 1920 season, and that ended up being his final big league game. Leonard had appendicitis and died eight days after his final big league game at 26 years old. It was said that he visited a doctor five days before his passing, but that doctor didn’t diagnose the appendicitis and let him leave. Four days later, he had an operation after it ruptured. His actual cause of death was pneumonia that he got while at the hospital. He finished his big league career as a .226 hitter in 269 games, with 94 runs, 23 doubles, 12 triples, two homers and 61 RBIs.

Jim Wallace, right fielder for the Pirates in 1905. His big league career lasted all of six days, but he got into seven games during that brief stretch. Wallace went 6-for-29 at the plate with three RBIs and a .523 OPS during his stint with the 1905 Pirates. He also picked up three outfield assists. Wallace never played in the majors again, but he had a decent minor league career spent solely in the Northeast. He was born in Massachusetts and spent most of his nine-year career in his home state. He began at 22 years old in 1904, playing for Haverhill of the Class-B New England League, where he hit .284 with 16 doubles and two triples in 108 games. His best minor league season was during the 1905 campaign, which got him his big league shot. He hit .315 in 98 games for Haverhill, while also getting a brief trial with Rochester in the Class-A Eastern League, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. He batted .194 with seven hits (one triple) in 11 games with Rochester. On August 23, 1905, the Pirates purchased Wallace from Haverhill for an undisclosed price, with owner Barney Dreyfuss completing the deal quickly because other Major League teams were also after the young outfielder. The scouting report was strong, noting that he could also pitch, but he was better as a hitter/fielder. It was noted that he hit the ball hard, but more attention was paid to his defense, with Wallace being called the best outfielder in the league, with plenty of speed that allowed him to cover a lot of ground.

Wallace batted lead-off in both games of a doubleheader in his first day in the majors, just one day after he was purchased. The Pirates were in Boston at the time, so he was able to join the team right away. He did well that first day, collecting three hits. The lineup behind him during those games was pretty formidable, with Fred Clarke, Tommy Leach and Honus Wagner in the 2-4 spots. When the Pirates returned home on August 31st, they had a new outfielder that they wanted to try out, Bob Ganley. Manager Fred Clarke said that Wallace was a good player that needed more seasoning in the minors, but that six-day stint with the Pirates turned out to be his only big league time. He was released on August 30th, one day after his final two games, in which he struck out four times in the doubleheader, then got pinch-hit for in the ninth. His minor league stats are spotty, but his travels were documented. He played for Rochester and Toronto in the Eastern League in 1906, combining to hit .240 with eight doubles and a homer in 92 games. He played for Brockton of the New England League and Utica of the Class-B New York State League in 1907. Only the Brockton stats are available. They show a .231 average and two doubles in 15 games.

Wallace batted .240 with 33 runs, 12 extra-base hits and 17 steals in 69 games for Hartford of the Class-B Connecticut State League in 1908, then settled in for a bit with Lynn of the New England League, staying there until 1912. He played 71 games for Lynn in 1908, batting .253 with 39 runs, 25 extra-base hits and ten steals. During the 1909 season, he hit .236 in 124 games, with 21 extra-base hits. Wallace batted .312 with Lynn in 1910, collecting 18 extra-base hits in 88 games. He hit eight homers in 1911, which was two more than what he hit in his other eight seasons combined (noting that stats from two seasons might not be complete). He batted .246 in 125 games that season, finishing with 25 extra-base hits. He played for Lynn an Worcester of the New England League in 1912, which was his last season in pro ball. Between both stops, he hit .239 with 20 doubles and four triples.

Fred Carisch, catcher for the 1903-06 Pirates. He was born on the same day as Jim Wallace (1881), who was his teammate briefly in 1905. Carisch debuted in pro ball at the highest level at the time, playing at 19 years old in 1901 for St Paul of the Class-A Western League. There are no stats available for that season, but he was ten years younger than the average player in the league. The next year he played 78 games (only stat available) for Sioux Falls of the Class-D Iowa-South Dakota League. He then returned to Class-A ball the next season. Carisch was acquired by the Pirates as a package deal from Helena of the Pacific National League in August of 1903, after he hit .310 with 22 extra-base hits in 103 games. He came along with pitcher Gus Thompson, which actually happened quite a few times back then. A new pitcher would be signed and his personal catcher would come along. Carisch debuted with the Pirates on August 31st, five days after he reported to the team. He didn’t play his second game until three weeks later. He went 6-for-18 with four doubles and a home run in five games for the 1903 National League champs. Carisch homered in his 14th big league at-bat (fourth game) and then never homered again in the majors. It was an inside-the-park homer. He was eligible for the postseason, as the two sides agreed that anyone with the team before September 1st could play, but he didn’t appear in the World Series.

Carisch split the 1904 season between the Pirates and Jersey City of the Class-A Eastern League, where he went for most of July. A bout of typhoid fever caused him to not play after August 27th. He hit .248/.299/.288 in 37 games with the Pirates, finishing with nine runs, eight RBIs and nine walks. He hit .286 with three doubles in 24 games with Jersey City. His only full season with the Pirates was in 1905 when he hit .206 with seven runs and eight RBIs in 32 games. He had three extra-base hits and they were all triples. He played four April games in 1906 between the 15th and 19th, then went 28 days without playing again before being released to Rochester of the Eastern League. However, his final games with the Pirates came on May 9th and 10th when he caught a pair of exhibition games on consecutive days off. Carisch was a .229 hitter over 78 games as the backup catcher for four seasons with the Pirates. After being shipped to Rochester, he didn’t make the majors again for another six seasons, then had a nine-year stretch before he finished his career with two games for the 1923 Detroit Tigers at 41 years old.

Carisch hit .226 with seven extra-base hits in 57 games for Rochester to finish out the 1906 season. He played semi-pro ball in Washington during the 1907 season, despite the New York Giants and Philadelphia Athletics attempting to sign him. He then returned to the minors in 1908 with Newark of the Eastern League, where he hit just .131 in 25 games, with no extra-base hits. The next four seasons were spent in the Class-A American Association, where he saw time with four teams before returning to the majors with the 1912 Cleveland Naps (Indians). Carisch hit .257 with 32 runs, 19 extra-base hits and ten steals in 118 games for St Paul in 1909. He spent the 1910 season with Columbus, where he dropped to a .213 average and 13 extra-base hits in 90 games. He split the 1911 season between Indianapolis and Toledo, combining to hit .268 with 19 extra-base hits in 131 games. Before joining the Naps in August of 1912, Carisch hit .249 with 17 runs and seven extra-base hits in 58 games for Toledo. He hit .275/.286/.348 in 24 games that year with Cleveland.

Carisch spent the entire 1913-14 seasons in the majors with the Naps. He hit .216 with 11 runs, six extra-base hits and 26 RBIs in 82 games in 1913. Due to a mediocre walk rate and no power, he finished with a .539 OPS. He batted .216 with eight runs, five extra-base hits and five RBIs in 40 games in 1914, slightly improving to a .583 OPS. The 1915 season was spent with Portland of the Double-A Pacific Coast League, then he was out of affiliated ball for the next four seasons. Carisch hit .268 with 16 extra-base hits (15 doubles) in 86 games for Portland. He played semi-pro ball in Arizona in 1916 in the Copper Belt League, where he was offered a lucrative deal that he couldn’t pass up. He also did some managing after that point in semi-pro ball. He returned to pro ball in 1920 as a player-manager of Sioux Falls in the South Dakota League for one year, then the Dakota League during the 1921-22 seasons. That team played Class-D ball, which at the time was five levels below the majors. He hit .275 in 85 games in 1920, then had a .297 average and nine extra-base hits in 1921, followed by a .309 average and two doubles in 33 games in 1922. Carisch signed on with the Detroit Tigers in 1923 as a coach and appeared in two games. Both were as a defensive replacement late and he didn’t bat in either game. He wasn’t officially a player-coach, but the American League had a rule at the time that allowed someone to play up to five games with a team without signing an official contract.  He finished his big league career as a .227 hitter in 226 games, with 43 runs, 17 doubles, nine triples, one homer and 57 RBIs.

Sam Gillen, shortstop for the 1893 Pirates and a lifelong resident of Pittsburgh. He spent most of his ten-year pro career in the minors, playing three games for the Pirates in 1893 and 75 for the Philadelphia Phillies four years later. Those two stops would be his only time in the majors. Gillen debuted in pro ball in 1889 for a team from Davenport, Iowa according to an 1893 article detailing his work in pro ball. However, online sources now list his debut  as being 1890, playing for Erie of the New York-Penn League (no stats available). He probably did play in Davenport in 1889, but some record-keeping from back then didn’t list stats for players in the minors who participated in fewer than ten games, so his time in Davenport may have been brief, or he may have been playing semi-pro ball. It was said that he received an offer to play for San Jose in the California League for 1891, but he decided to stay closer to home. He split that year between Elmira of the New York-Penn League, where he hit .173 with three extra-base hits in 23 games, and Davenport of the Illinois-Iowa League, where he hit .227 in 60 games. Gillen played for Macon of the Class-B Southern Association for part of the 1892 season, batting .254 with 34 runs scored, 14 extra-base hits and 12 steals in 61 games. He also played for Quincy of the Illinois-Iowa League and hit .177 in 34 games, with 13 runs, no extra-base hits and four steals. He was back in Macon for early 1893 and he finally found his hitting stroke, batting .343 in 91 games, with 77 runs scored and 25 extra-base hits. On August 19th, it was announced in the papers that he signed with the Pirates for the remainder of the season.

Gillen made his Major League debut on August 19, 1893 for the Pirates, playing both games of a doubleheader against the first place Boston Beaneaters. It was said that he held his own at shortstop, though he made an error and wasn’t able to collect a hit. Despite the good play, it was questioned in the newspaper as to why the Pirates would use Gillen in a big situation over Jim Gray, a veteran baseball player from Pittsburgh. Gray played two games for the Pirates days earlier as a fill-in for star shortstop Jack Glasscock. Gillen’s first game was started by Glasscock, though he was forced out of the game early by a leg injury  and replaced by Gillen. The next three games of the Boston series ended up getting rained out, and he would play just one more game with the Pirates, coming in as a sixth-inning defensive replacement for Glasscock on August 26th during a blowout loss. During his time with the Pirates, Gillen finished 0-for-6 at the plate and he made two errors. He remained with the club for a time after his final game, and actually played in an exhibition game on September 5th, starting at shortstop.

Gillen signed with Wilkes-Barre of the Eastern League for 1894 and hit .333 in 106 games, with 89 runs, 41 extra-base hits and 17 steals. He spent the next two seasons with Detroit of the Class-A Western League (highest level of the minors at the time), though it was said that he was reserved to Wilkes-Barre and violated rules by signing with Detroit. While stats are unavailable for 1896, his 1895 stats show a .344 average in 125 games, with 95 runs, 44 doubles, five triples, nine homers and 16 steals. During his second stint in the majors with the 1897 Phillies, he hit .259 with 32 runs, 13 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs and a .671 OPS in 75 games. He played his final big league game on August 5th, then returned to the Western League for 41 games with St Paul, where he hit .291 with 40 runs and ten extra-base hits. Gillen played for St Paul in 1898 and hit .246 in 136 games, with 76 runs, 30 extra-base hits and 19 steals. His 1899 stats aren’t available, but we know that he split the year between Columbus of the Western League and Fort Wayne of the Class-B Interstate League. That was his final season, though in the summer of 1900 he said that he intended to play again. Gillen passed away at 37 years old in 1905 and he is buried in Union Dale Cemetery in Pittsburgh. He often went by “Sammy” and it was said that his actual last name was Gilleland.

Otto Schomberg, first baseman for the 1886 Alleghenys. He debuted in pro ball at 19 years old in 1884, playing for Stillwater of the Northwestern League, where he hit .249 with 29 runs scored and ten extra-base hits in 43 games. His only records from 1885 show him batting .241 in eight games for Omaha in the Western League, but he also played later in the season for a team from Leavenworth, Kansas, which had a Western League club starting in 1886. Schomberg debuted in the majors with the Alleghenys on July 7, 1886 during their last season in the American Association. Prior to joining Pittsburgh, he was playing for Utica of the International League in his third season of pro ball. He also saw time with Providence of the Eastern League that year. He did well with both teams, hitting .324 with ten runs and six doubles in 20 games with Providence, while hitting .357 with 17 runs, five doubles and a homer in 17 games for Utica. The Alleghenys purchased his released for $800 (it’s also listed one place as $600). As a 21-year-old rookie with the 1886 Alleghenys, he hit .272, with 53 runs scored, six doubles, six triples, one homer, 29 RBIs and 57 walks in 72 games, giving him a .417 OBP and a .775 OPS. The Alleghenys traded Schomberg in early December of 1886 to the St Louis Maroons (National League) for first baseman Alex McKinnon. Three months later, Schomberg was sold to to the Indianapolis Hoosiers (National League) when St Louis folded before the 1887 season.

Schomberg hit .308 in 112 games for the Indianapolis in 1887, with 91 runs scored, 18 doubles, 16 triples, five homers, 83 RBIs, 21 steals and 56 walks, leading to an .860 OPS. He almost didn’t play in the majors in 1888 because he refused to sign for less than $2,000 for the season, and as of mid-March he was still holding out for more money. Schomberg was released after playing just 30 games with the Hoosiers in 1888, ending his big league career at 23 years old. He hit .214 that season, with 11 runs, seven extra-base hits, ten RBIs and a .594 OPS. He played his last game in the majors on July 14th, though he was released on August 21st. It was said in the local Indianapolis paper that right after he was released, he went out and bought a livery stable. After his big league career ended, he played semi-pro ball off-and-on until 1890, and also did some umpiring work. He said that he had offers to play in 1890 in the minors but decided to remain retired because his lumber business he ran with his brother in Milwaukee made him more money than he ever made in baseball. His name was often misspelled as “Shomberg” in the papers during his career. He finished his big league time with .283 average in 214 games, with 155 runs, 29 doubles, 23 triples, seven homers, 122 RBIs and 34 steals.

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