This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: February 16th, A Group of Six Obscure Former Pirates

There have been six former Pittsburgh Pirates who were born on this date. Combined they played just 62 games for the Pirates, and 51 came from one player.

Jorge Rondon, pitcher for the 2016 Pirates. Prior to joining Pittsburgh, he played a total of 11 big league games over two seasons with three different teams. He was originally signed by the St Louis Cardinals at 18 years old in July of 2006, as an international amateur free agent out of Venezuela. His first two seasons were spent in the Venezuelan Summer League, where he had a 6.46 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP in 15.1 innings over ten games in 2006. That was followed by a 1-6, 4.74 record, 27 strikeouts and a 1.56 WHIP over 62.2 innings in 2007. He saw action with Johnson City of the short-season Appalachian League in 2008, as well as Quad Cities of the Low-A Midwest League. Rondon combined to go 3-2, 3.82 with six saves, 26 strikeouts and a 1.63 WHIP, throwing 30.2 innings over 29 appearances. He played with Quad Cities and Palm Beach of the High-A Florida State League in 2009, going 1-6, 5.09 in 69 innings, with 48 strikeouts and a 1.54 WHIP. After pitching only in relief in 2008, he made 12 starts and six relief appearances in 2009. Rondon spent the 2010 season in Quad Cities, where he made 19 starts and ten relief appearances. He had a 4-8, 5.30 record in 108.2 innings, with a 65:76 BB/SO ratio and a 1.71 WHIP. He pitched strictly in relief in 2011, splitting the year between Palm Beach and Springfield of the Double-A Texas League. He combined to go 2-13, 7.03, with 13 saves in 58 appearances. He had 46 walks, 57 strikeouts and a 1.84 WHIP in 64 innings. He pitched winter ball in Venezuela for the first time during the 2011-12 off-season, though he allowed six runs in 3.1 innings.

Rondon showed huge improvements during the 2012 season, which he split between Springfield and Memphis of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. With similar results in each place, he finished with a 3.49 ERA, a 1.33 WHIP and 50 strikeouts in 49 innings over 46 outings. After seeing plenty of work in the winter, resulting in a 4.40 ERA over 28.2 innings, he spent all of 2013 with Memphis. He had a 3-5, 3.06 record in 51 games, with 42 strikeouts, a 1.61 WHIP and 67.2 innings pitched. After playing winter ball again, where he had a 4.15 ERA in 26 innings, he spent almost all of 2014 with Memphis. He had a 3.03 ERA, a 1.27 WHIP, 51 strikeouts and ten saves in 62.1 innings that year, while also getting his first cup of coffee in the big leagues. Rondon made his Major League debut on June 29, 2014 with the Cardinals. He threw a shutout inning, which ended up being his only big league game that season. The Colorado Rockies picked him up off waivers after the 2014 season. Rondon lasted two games with the Rockies, where he had absolutely awful results in both games. He allowed three runs over one inning in his debut, then had one of the worst outings in big league history. Rondon faced eight batters on May 1, 2015 against the San Diego Padres and all eight batters scored, seven of the runs were earned. He was put on waivers a short time later, then he was a member of the Baltimore Orioles by May 10th, leaving him with a 90.00 ERA during his time in Colorado.

Rondon debuted for Baltimore with 3.1 shutout innings on August 2nd. It was a short stint in the majors, but he was back by the end of the month to finish out the season. He threw two shutout innings in his first game back, then gave up 15 runs over eight innings in his last six appearances combined. He did well in the minors with the Orioles that season, posting a 2.33 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP in 54 innings over 30 appearances. Rondon was selected off waivers by the Pirates on October 26, 2015. He lasted just two games with the 2016 Pirates, allowing seven runs on nine hits in 3.2 innings. His first appearance was much better than the second one. On June 19th, he allowed one run over two innings in a loss to the Chicago Cubs. Two days later, he gave up six runs over 1.2 innings in a 14-5 loss at PNC Park to the San Francisco Giants. That game ended up being his final game in the majors. He actually did really well in the minors that season, posting a 2.67 ERA and 12 saves in 57.1 innings over 47 games with Indianapolis of the International League. He became a free agent after the season, then signed a free agent deal with the Chicago White Sox, though he ended up playing in Japan in 2017. He had a 2-2, 4.85 record in 42.2 innings over 46 appearances while overseas. Rondon is still active, most recently playing winter ball in his home country of Venezuela, though he hasn’t played in the minors since a 2018 stint in Double-A with the White Sox, where he lasted 13 innings over nine appearances with Birmingham of the Southern League. He only played winter ball during the 2019-20 seasons, but he pitched in Mexico during the summer of 2021, posting a 4.40 ERA in 28.2 innings. He returned to Mexico in 2022, going 2-6, 4.06 in 51 innings split between two teams. He pitched his 12th season of winter ball during the 2022-23 off-season, posting a 12.00 ERA in 15 innings. He has a 13.26 ERA and a 2.53 WHIP in 19 big league innings. Rondon has pitched 717 games over all levels of pro ball.

Luis Figueroa, second baseman for the 2001 Pirates. The Pirates signed him as an amateur free agent out of Puerto Rico at the age of 23 in 1997. He split that first season of pro ball between the two A-ball teams, seeing 71 games with Augusta of the Low-A South Atlantic League and 26 games with Lynchburg of the High-A Carolina League. That year he batted .240 in 97 games, with 50 runs, 13 doubles (no triples or homers), 23 RBIs, 42 walks, 23 stolen bases and a .604 OPS. The next season he spent the entire year in Double-A with Carolina of the Southern League, hitting .249 in 117 games, with 54 runs, nine doubles, three triples, 24 RBIs, 71 walks and a .668 OPS. His stolen base total saw a huge decline, as he went 6-for-11 in steals that year. He repeated Double-A in 1999, though the Pirates switched affiliates to Altoona of the Eastern League. He saw a slight improvement in his stats, batting .263 in 131 games, with 61 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 50 RBIs, 52 walks and a .691 OPS, while going 9-for-18 in steals. The fact that Figueroa was 26 years old and starting the 2000 season back in Double-A for a third year, didn’t look too good for his future. After hitting .284/.356/.345 in 94 games for Altoona in 2000, he earned his first promotion to Triple-A Nashville of the Pacific Coast League late in the year, where he hit .250/.262/.406 in 23 games. He combined that year to finish with a .278 average, 51 runs, 19 extra-base hits, 36 RBIs, a .697 OPS and 16 steals in 22 attempts.

Figueroa would begin the 2001 season in Nashville, where he hit .300 over 92 games, putting up a .729 OPS, along with 45 runs, 16 extra-base hits and 29 RBIs. The Pirates called him up to the majors on June 27, 2001 to replace an injured Pat Meares. Figueroa, who was batting .298 at the time of his promotion, had to be added to the 40-man roster. The Pirates dropped Andy Barkett to create roster space. Figueroa played four games off of the bench for the Pirates, going 0-for-2 at the plate. He finished three of those games on defense at second base, despite playing about 90% of his minor league games up to that point at shortstop. He was sent back down after the July 2nd game, so the Pirates could activate John Wehner from the disabled list. Six weeks later, Figueroa was put on waivers, where he was picked up by the New York Mets. He remained at Triple-A with New York and stayed in the minors for quite some time after the move. He had a .714 OPS in 17 games with the Norfolk of the Triple-A International League to finish off the 2001 season. He was with the Mets until very early in 2002, playing just two games before Norfolk, before joining the Montreal Expos for the rest of the season and all of 2003. Figueroa struggled in 27 games with Ottawa of the International League in 2002, but the majority of his time was spent with Harrisburg in the Eastern League. He also ended up seeing 15 games with Brevard County of the High-A Florida State League. Between all four stops that season, he had a .242 average in 110 games, with 61 runs, 26 extra-base hits, 47 RBIs and a .635 OPS. He went 8-for-21 in steals that year. His 2003 season was spent entirely with Edmonton of the Pacific Coast League. Figueroa hit .317 in 126 games, with 66 runs, 30 doubles, 44 RBIs and a .764 OPS.

Figueroa was in the minors with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2004 and the Boston Red Sox in 2005. He played with Indianapolis of the International League for all of 2004, hitting .272 in 116 games, with 44 runs, 14 doubles, five homers, 48 RBIs and a .661 OPS. He was with Pawtucket of the International League for all of 2005, batting .289 in 109 games, with 58 runs, 22 doubles, seven homers, 48 RBIs and a .735 OPS. Figueroa finally made it back to the majors in 2006 with the Toronto Blue Jays, getting an eight-game trial in May/June. He went 1-for-9 at the plate during that stint, collecting a double as his first big league hit. The rest of the year was spent with Syracuse of the International League, where he hit .276 in 93 games, with 39 runs, 22 doubles, six homers, 38 RBIs and a .716 OPS. Figueroa played six games in June of 2007 with the San Francisco Giants, which ended up being his final big league time. He went 1-for-5 at the plate with the Giants, leaving him 2-for-16 during his big league time. He played 117 games for Fresno of the Pacific Coast League that year, finishing with a .303 average, 68 runs, 30 extra-base hits, 53 RBIs and a .746 OPS.

Figueroa would go on to play in the minors with the Los Angeles Angels, Chicago Cubs, then back with Toronto, the Mets and the Brewers. He also played in Mexico and in independent ball. He remained active in the minors through 2012 and he played winter ball until 2016 at age 41. He spent 2008 with Iowa of the Pacific Coast League for the Cubs. He hit .300 that year in 112 games, with 59 runs, 21 extra-base hits (18 doubles), 46 RBIs and a .725 OPS. He had a .661 OPS over 38 games in 2009, seeing almost all of that time with Salt Lake City of the Pacific Coast League (Angels). The 2010 season was split between Salt Lake City and Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League (Blue Jays). He hit .320 in 115 games, with 51 runs, 27 doubles, four triples, five homers, 71 RBIs and a .783 OPS. Figueroa played 109 games for Buffalo of the International League (Mets) in 2011, and nine games for Nashville of the Pacific Coast League (Brewers). He combined to hit .294 that year, with 55 runs, 26 extra-base hits (23 doubles), 30 RBIs and a .720 OPS. He played 64 games in Mexico in 2012, as well as 71 games in the independent Atlantic League, split between Bridgeport (61 games) and Sugar Land. He had a .288 average and a .700 OPS in Mexico, while hitting .256/.295/.306 in the Atlantic League. Figueroa played 18 MLB games, 1,617 minor league games and 400+ winter league games (full stats are missing for two seasons). In total, he had over 2,100 hits and over 1,000 runs scored. After a very successful pro debut in the stolen base department, he spent the rest of his pro career (minus the two winter seasons), going 98-for-204 in steals. Figueroa is the cousin of Jose Hernandez, who played shortstop for the Pirates in 2003 and 2006, making them one of 26 groups of relatives to play for the Pirates.

Jerry Hairston, outfielder for the 1977 Pirates. He was a third round draft pick of the Chicago White Sox out of high school in Alabama in 1970. He played for Chicago until the Pirates purchased his contract on June 13, 1977. Hairston started his pro career in the Gulf Coast League, where he hit .333 in 56 games, with 37 runs, 11 extra-base hits, 36 RBIs, 51 walks and an .890 OPS. He moved up to Appleton of the Class-A Midwest League in 1971, where he had a .268 average in 121 games, with 86 runs, 15 doubles, four triples, 39 RBIs, 14 steals, 76 walks and a .697 OPS. He was in Double-A with Knoxville of the Southern League during the 1972 season. That year he hit .292 in 132 games, with 82 runs, 19 doubles, nine triples, ten homers, 64 RBIs, 61 walks and an .812 OPS. He hit just one homer combined over his first two seasons, so that year was a huge increase in power. He began 1973 with Iowa of the Triple-A American Association, where he batted .347 in 84 games, with 51 runs, 33 extra-base hits, 65 RBIs, 61 walks and a 1.020 OPS. Hairston made it to the majors after just three years, debuting in late-July of 1973 as a left fielder/first baseman. He put up a .271 average, 25 runs, 11 doubles, 23 RBIs, 33 walks and a .705 OPS in 60 games as a rookie. He was with the White Sox through late June in 1974, then spent two months back in Iowa, before returning to the majors in late August to finish out the season. Hairston was a bench player, mostly seeing time in left field when he played defense. He batted .229/.312/.294 in 125 plate appearances over 45 games during his sophomore season. He had a .379 average and a 1.104 OPS in 42 games with Iowa that year.

Hairston split the 1975 season between the White Sox and Triple-A (Chicago switched affiliates to Denver of the American Association). He had a .407 OBP in 69 big league games that year, mostly due to a high walk rate. He also had a .283 average, though it came with no power, as all eight extra-base hits were doubles. That led to a .726 OPS, to go along with 26 runs and 23 RBIs. He had a .367 average and a .991 OPS in 40 games with Denver that year. Most of the 1976 season was spent back with Iowa, as Chicago changed back to their old Triple-A affiliate. Hairston had a .289 average and an .839 OPS in 94 games with Iowa that season. He shows a decent walk rate again for the White Sox in 1976, but a low average and no power (or speed) led to a 629 OPS in 44 games. He had 20 runs, four extra-base hits and ten RBIs that year. Four years into his big league career, he had no homers and two stolen bases. Hairston did well in abbreviated time in 1977 before joining the Pirates, batting .308/.419/.385 in 13 games for the White Sox. He played 51 games for the Pirates over the last 3 1/2 months of the 1977 season, hitting .192/.271/.346 in 59 plate appearances. Two weeks after he joined Pittsburgh, he hit his first career home run as a pinch-hitter off of Tug McGraw of the Philadelphia Phillies. Exactly two weeks later, he homered again off of Jerry Koosman. Hairston’s contract was sold to a team from the Mexican League in Spring Training of 1978. He started just five games for the Pirates during his only season with the team, playing a total of 67 innings on defense. His stats are unavailable for two of his 3 1/2 seasons in Mexico, but his line from 1978 shows a .363 average, 97 runs, 37 extra-base hits, 77 RBIs and 122 walks in 144 games, resulting in a .485 OBP and a .975 OPS. He had a .315 average and a .966 OPS in 77 games during the 1980 season.

Hairston returned to the majors in September of 1981 with the White Sox, where he played until 1989, spending 13 of his 14 Major League seasons with Chicago.  While he average 100 games played per year over a five-year span (1982-86), Hairston never had more than 271 plate appearances in a season. He started 85 games in the field during that nine-year stretch, as well as another 84 games at DH. He became known as a top pinch-hitter during his day, with 434 of his 859 games coming in that role. He had a .736 OPS as a pinch-hitter, which was better than the .733 mark he put up in all of his other plate appearances. From 1982 through 1987, he hit five homers in a season five different times. He also finished with somewhere between 18 and 26 RBIs each season during that stretch, showing amazing consistency. Hairston played nine games at the end of the 1981 season, posting a .785 OPS in 29 plate appearances. He had a .233 average and a .750 OPS in 103 plate appearances spread over 85 games in 1982. He followed that up with a .294 average in 1983, with 17 runs, 15 extra-base hits, 22 RBIs and an .897 OPS. The White Sox made the playoffs that season, where Hairston went 0-for-3 with a walk in his only career postseason playing time. He hit .260 over a career high 115 games in 1984, finishing with 41 runs, 20 extra-base hits, 19 RBIs, 41 walks and a .774 OPS. He batted .243 over 95 games in 1985, with nine runs, eight doubles, two homers, 20 RBIs and a .714 OPS. He played 101 games in 1986, hitting .271 that year, with 31 runs, a career high 15 doubles, five homers, 26 RBIs and a .752 OPS. His final full season in 1987 saw him hit .230 in 66 games, with 14 runs, eight doubles, five homers, 20 RBIs and a .770 OPS.

Hairston barely played during his final two seasons in the majors, but that was by design. He was just short of having ten years of service time in the majors after the 1987 season. That service time mark comes with extra benefits for the players, including the maximum pension. The White Sox signed him as a pinch-hitter on August 31, 1988, and he played three games that year as a pinch-hitter. They then signed him again on September 1, 1989, and once again he pinch-hit in three games. Despite spending all of that time in the majors prior to that point, he was working a regular job in the summer. He was 31 days short of the maximum pension going into 1989, and that’s exactly how many days he was on the active roster, finishing with exactly ten years of big league service time. In his big league career, Hairston was a .258 hitter in 859 games, with 216 runs, 91 doubles, 30 homers and 205 RBIs. Despite a few double-digit stolen base totals in the minors and Mexico, he went 4-for-9 in steals during his big league career. He comes from a huge baseball family, one of a handful of three generation families in big league history. His dad Sam Hairston played five years in the Negro Leagues and another year for the 1951 White Sox. His brother John Hairston played for the 1969 Chicago Cubs, and his sons Jerry and Scott played a combined total of 27 seasons in the majors.

Ray Harrell, pitcher for the 1940 Pirates. Prior to joining the Pirates as a waiver pickup in January 1940 (at a cost of $7,500), he played parts of four seasons in the majors with three different teams, compiling a 9-20 record in 104 games. Harrell did not have a strong debut in pro ball after getting noticed for his earlier work in semi-pro ball. Playing in Class-B in 1933 at 21 years old, he had a 10-16, 6.04 record and 161 walks in 210 innings, while playing for Quincy of the Mississippi Valley League. He moved up to Rochester of the Double-A International League in 1934 (highest level of the minors at the time) and showed massive improvements, with a 12-9, 4.06 record in 184 innings, while putting up a much lower walk rate. Harrell debuted with the St Louis Cardinals at the start of the 1935 season. He had a 6.67 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP in 29.2 innings over 11 outings (one start), before spending the final three months of the season in the minors back at Rochester, where he went 6-10, 4.98 in 103 innings. He spent all of 1936 at Rochester, posting a 14-13, 4.80 record in 212 innings, with 136 walks and 153 strikeouts. He then spent all of 1937 with the Cardinals, where he had a 3-7, 5.87 record and a 1.63 WHIP in 96.2 innings over 15 starts and 20 relief appearances. He did slightly better in a limited role in 1938, putting up a 4.86 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP in 63 innings, while making three starts and 29 relief appearances. Harrell was sold to the Chicago Cubs after the 1938 season, then traded to the Philadelphia Phillies during the 1939 season. He had a 3-9, 5.87 record that year in 112 innings spread over 12 starts and 14 relief appearances, with most of that time coming with the Phillies, after posting an 8.31 ERA in 17.1 innings with the Cubs.

After joining the Pirates in January of 1940, Harrell pitched three games during his only season with the team. All of his appearances were in relief, all in losses, and all came within a four-day stretch in early May. He allowed five runs in 3.1 innings before being sent down to the minors, where he posted a 6-23, 3.77 record in 203 innings, while pitching for Portland of the Double-A Pacific Coast League.  When the Pirates released him to Portland on May 14th, they did it with an agreement in place that allowed them to purchase Portland catcher Ed Fernandes by September 6, 1940. Fernandes was playing for the Pirates just four weeks later. Usually when you see a player from the 40’s with a big gap in their Major League career, it is because they served during WWII, but Harrell actually played in the minors the whole time, until getting a brief shot with the 1945 New York Giants, which ended up being his last season in the majors. He pitched 12 times in relief that season, posting a 4.97 ERA in 25.1 innings. Most of that time between big league appearances was spent with San Francisco of the Pacific Coast League. He split the 1941 season between Portland and San Francisco, combining on a 9-17 record, with 226 innings pitched. He then went 4-8, 3.74 in 137 innings for San Francisco in 1942. He made 12 starts and 24 relief appearances that season. The Pacific Coast League was weakened greatly by losing their best players to the majors and the war effort by 1943. Harrell had a 17-16, 3.17 record that year in 241 innings. He then improved to 20-18, 2.61 in 1944, with 168 strikeouts in 300 innings.

After his time with the 1945 Giants, Harrell had a 4-3 record with Jersey City of the International League to finish out the season. He was back in San Francisco for 1946 (then a Triple-A level of play), where he went 13-6, 2.91 in 167 innings. He spent part of 1947 with San Francisco, but also played for Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League, and Memphis of the Double-A Southern Association. Only his full Memphis stats are available, as the other two stops were brief, combining for 14 games. He went 7-5, 3.89 in 118 innings for Memphis. He pitched four games for Memphis in 1948, while spending the rest of the year with Macon of the Class-A South Atlantic League. Combined he was 9-3, 3.14 in 106 innings. Harrell went 16-11, 2.81 in 221 innings for Macon in 1949. He won 162 games during his 15-season minor league career, which wrapped up in 1950 playing for Fitzgerald of the Class-D Georgia-Florida League. He was the player-manager that year, going 15-10 on the mound, with a 4.17 ERA in 203 innings. His final big league record stands at a 9-20, 5.70 record in 330 innings over 31 starts and 88 relief appearances. His only career shutout was a one-hit game in 1937 against the Boston Bees. The no-hitter was broken up by a single in the sixth inning by Ray Mueller, who was the catcher for Harrell during his final game with the Pirates.

Skip Dowd, pitcher for the Pirates on July 5, 1910, which ended up being his only Major League game. He came to the Pirates right after he graduated from Holy Cross College. Dowd actually wasn’t pitching during his last year at college due to an early season arm injury. He was still playing though, seeing time at first base and in center field. Prior to that season, he was already recognized as being a strong hitter, who played in the field when he wasn’t pitching. He was also considered to be one of the top college pitchers of the day, plus he played forward for the school’s basketball team. The Pirates originally signed him in March of 1910, but nothing was announced so that he was able to play his final season of college ball. Before his deal was announced in mid-June, it was believed that he would sign with the Cincinnati Reds, who made him a strong offer to sign, though no one knew that Barney Dreyfuss already had his signature on a deal after putting in a better offer. The local press in Pittsburgh knew that a “mysterious collegian pitcher” signed in March, but they didn’t learn his identity until June 15th. He reported to the Pirates on June 29th after graduating. Pitcher Bill Powell started for the Pirates on July 5th against the Chicago Cubs, which ended up being his last start for the Pirates. Unlike Dowd, he was able to pitch 15 games for the team before they gave up on him. Dowd came in to finish off an 11-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs that day. The last four runs by Chicago were all scored against him, though none of them were earned runs. He pitched to 13 batters in his two innings, giving up four hits, two walks and he hit a batter.

Dowd ended up spending four weeks with the Pirates, despite pitching just one game. He would be sold to Indianapolis of the Class-A American Association (highest level of the minors at the time) on July 25th, which happened to be the same day the Pirates let loose Bill Powell. Dowd’s stay in Indianapolis was short as well in 1910, though it was assumed that his arm injury limited his effectiveness, so Indianapolis brought him back in 1911. No records are available for his 1910 time in Indianapolis, while his 1911 stats show a 4-4 record. He spent six seasons (including 1910) in the minors before retiring as a player. He played the 1912-13 seasons with Utica of the Class-B New York State League. His only pitching stats from those seasons show that he pitched 27 games in 1912, followed by 32 games in 1913. He played other positions during the season as well, finishing 1912 with a .258 batting average in 51 games, then hitting .234 over 33 games in 1913. Dowd then played the next two years for Montreal of the Double-A International League, with the Double-A level being created in 1912. He had a 4-12 record in 1914, with 158.2 innings pitched, and 5.96 runs allowed per nine innings (ERA is unavailable). At 26 years old in 1915, he had a 14-9 record in 231 innings, while allowing 4.52 runs per nine innings.

Despite solid results at the top of the minors in 1915, that ended up being Dowd’s final season in pro ball, and it came under odd circumstances. Just before the year ended in Montreal, his contract was purchased by the Cincinnati Reds. He was allowed to finish the season in Montreal, then had to report to the Reds in the spring of 1916. Local papers even touted him as being the possible ace of the pitching staff, but he did so poorly in his chances that the Reds parted ways with him after his appearance on March 19th, 24 days before the opening of the season. His contract was sold back to Montreal, but shortly after he arrived there, his father passed away. Dowd ended up taking over the family business. He retired from baseball, though he still played some semi-pro ball close to home after that point. He is one of 77 players from Holy Cross to make it to the majors, although none have appeared in a game since 1977. His real name was James Joseph Dowd. It was said that he had a curve ball with sharp late break, along with excellent control.

John Sullivan, catcher for the 1908 Pirates. His big league time was very brief and spread over two seasons. He played in the minors from 1900 until 1910. He didn’t debut in pro ball until he was 27 years old, though when the Pirates brought him up eight years later, he was referred to as “young” during the recap of his first game. He debuted in pro ball at a high level, playing for Kansas City of the Class-A American League in 1900, one year before the league was elevated to Major League status. At the time, Class-A was the highest level of the minors. When he was signed by Kansas City in January of 1900, it was said that he played catcher and first base in San Francisco in 1899. Sullivan hit .227 in seven games with Kansas City. He also saw time that year with Denver of the Class-B Western League, where he would spend the 1901 season (then reclassified as Class-A). No stats are available for either of his seasons with Denver. Sullivan spent the 1902 season with Helena of the Class-B Pacific Northwest League, where he hit .254 in 115 games. The next season was spent with St Paul of the Class-A American Association, where he stayed until his big league debut at the start of the 1905 season. Sullivan hit .230 in 1903, with 41 runs and 14 extra-base hits  in 120 games. He then batted .250 during the 1904 season, with 13 extra-base hits (all doubles) in 108 games, which helped earn him an Opening Day job in 1905 with the Detroit Tigers. Sullivan played 13 games for the Tigers over the first two months in 1905, then returned to St Paul for the rest of the season. That was his only Major League experience before his brief stint with the Pirates. He hit .156/.250/.156 in 42 plate appearances for Detroit. He batted .264 in 79 games with St Paul that year, collecting four doubles, two triples and no homers.

Sullivan spent most of the 1906 season with Kansas City of the American Association, where he hit just .163 in 88 games, with 12 extra-base hits, all doubles. He also played for Topeka of the Class-C Western Association that year, though no stats are available. He was with Kansas City for the entire 1907 season, hitting .223 in 121 games, with 27 runs, 11 doubles and 12 steals. He was playing for Kansas City in 1908, prior to joining the Pirates. He hit just .211 that season, with four extra-base hits in 90 games. Sullivan and his teammate, pitcher Chick Brandon, were purchased by the Pirates on August 29, 1908 (the same day they acquired Bill Powell). Sullivan joined the Pirates on September 2nd, three days before his debut with the team. The pair (Sullivan and Brandon) was asked to report early when Pirates pitcher Bob Vail become ill and was unable to pitch, although Vail happened to be the starting pitcher during Sullivan’s only game, so he recovered fairly quickly it appears. Sullivan came into that one game in the sixth inning, and he caught Sam Leever for the final four innings of an 11-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs on September 5, 1908. It would be his only game for the Pirates. He went 0-for-1 at the plate with a walk. He threw out the only runner that tried to steal against him, which happened in the ninth inning with the score already 11-0. Apparently it was okay to attempt a stolen base late in a blowout back then, but the 35-year-old Sullivan had a strong arm and still got his man. He went 19-for-36 throwing out runners during his short time in the majors.

After his one game with the Pirates, Sullivan was soon sent back to Kansas City, because he refused to finish out the season for a salary of $350, which would have been his total pay from September 2nd through October 4th. He left the Pirates on September 11th without ever signing a contract. He played for Kansas City for all of 1909 and part of 1910, while also seeing time with two teams from the Class-B New England League in 1910, which was his final season of pro ball. He batted .219 during the 1909 season, with 13 runs and nine doubles. He had an .090 average and one double in 28 games with Kansas City in 1910, going 7-for-78 at the plate. He has no stats available for his time with Lowell and Fall River during that 1910 season. While some of his minor league stats are missing, the 2,830 available at-bats in his stats show a total of 67 doubles, four triples and one homer, which came during the 1903 season in St Paul.