This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: May 22nd, Schofield for Pagan; Big Game for Pops

Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a trade and one game of note.

The Players

Corey Dickerson, outfielder for the 2018-19 Pirates. He was originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2009 out of Meridian Community College in Mississippi, selected in the 29th round. He decided to return to school, then the Rockies signed him out of the eighth round in 2010. He went to the short-season Pioneer League his first season, where he hit .348 in 69 games for Casper, with 54 runs, 22 doubles, nine triples, 13 homers, 61 RBIs and a 1.046 OPS. Dickerson moved up to Asheville of the Low-A South Atlantic League in 2011, where he hit .282 in 106 games, with 78 runs, 27 doubles, 32 homers, 87 RBIs and a .986 OPS. He advanced to the high-offense environment of the California League in 2012, and dominated pitchers in the league putting up a .980 OPS in 60 games with Modesto. He then moved up to Tulsa of the Double-A Texas League, where he had an .826 OPS in 67 games. Between both stops that year, he hit .304 in 127 games, with 83 runs, 40 doubles, seven triples, 22 homers, 81 RBIs, 16 stolen bases and an .899 OPS. He continued to hit well in the Arizona Fall League after the season, batting .364/.368/.515 in 17 games. He played in another great park for offense in 2013, spending half of that season with Colorado Springs of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He batted .371 in 75 games, with 61 runs, 21 doubles, 14 triples, 11 homers, 50 RBIs and a 1.046 OPS. Dickerson then joined the Rockies in late June, where he hit .263 in 69 games, with 32 runs, 13 doubles, five triples, five homers, 17 RBIs and a .775 OPS.

Dickerson batted .312 for the 2014 Rockies, with 74 runs, 27 doubles, 24 homers, 76 RBIs and a .931 OPS in 131 games. He had three different stints on the disabled list in 2015, which limited him to 65 games. He batted .304 that year, with 30 runs, 18 doubles, ten homers, 31 RBIs and an .869 OPS. He was part of a four-player deal with the Tampa Bay Rays on January 28, 2016. Dickerson hit .245 in 148 games for the 2016 Rays, with 57 runs, 36 doubles, 24 homers, 70 RBIs and a .761 OPS. He followed that up with an All-Star season in 2017, hitting .282 over 150 games, with 84 runs, 33 doubles, 27 homers, 62 RBIs and an .815 OPS. He struck out 152 times that season, which set a career high. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates during the Spring Training of 2018 for reliever Daniel Hudson and minor league prospect Tristan Gray. Dickerson won the Gold Glove in left field for the Pirates in 2018, while hitting .300 in 135 games, with 65 runs, 35 doubles, 13 homers, 55 RBIs and an .804 OPS. He was rated with 1.0 WAR on defense that season, which was the only year during his career that he put up a positive dWAR number. He spent the early part of the 2019 season on the injured list. He played 44 games for the Pirates, before being sent to the Philadelphia Phillies in a trade for international bonus slot space on July 31st.

Dickerson was hurt soon after he joined the Phillies, so his entire 2019 season was limited to 78 games. He batted .304 between both stops, with 33 runs, 28 doubles, 12 homers, 59 RBIs and a .906 OPS. He became a free agent after the 2019 season, then signed with the Miami Marlins. Dickerson hit .258 during the shortened 2020 season, with 25 runs, five doubles, seven homers, 17 RBIs and a .713 OPS in 52 games. He began the 2021 season with the Marlins, but they traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays on June 29th. He hit .271 in 109 games between both stops, with 43 runs, 18 doubles, six homers, 29 RBIs and a .734 OPS. He signed a free agent deal with the St Louis Cardinals for 2022, then hit .267 in 96 games, with 28 runs, 17 doubles, six homers, 36 RBIs and a .698 OPS. He signed with the Washington Nationals as a free agent for the 2023 season. He went on the injured list with a calf strain almost immediately after the season started, and has not returned as of mid-May. His career stats at that time of this write-up show a .281 average in 1,035 games, with 471 runs, 230 doubles, 134 homers and 452 RBIs.

Rick van den Hurk, pitcher for the 2012 Pirates. He was signed as an international amateur free agent by the Florida Marlins in 2002 at 17 years old out of the Netherlands. Van den Hurk debuted in the rookie level Gulf Coast League in 2003, where he had a 5.35 ERA, a 1.78 WHIP and 30 strikeouts in 38.2 innings, while making ten starts and a relief appearance. He moved all the way up to the High-A Florida State League the next season, where he put up a 3.26 ERA, 43 strikeouts and a 1.47 WHIP in 58 innings over 14 starts for Jupiter. He was limited to just 14 games total during the 2005-06 seasons, missing most of each season due to Tommy John surgery. Van den Hurk split his limited 2005 time between Greensboro of the Low-A South Atlantic League and Jupiter, combining to go 1-3, 2.83 with 32 strikeouts and a 1.22 WHIP in 28.2 innings. His return in 2006 was split between five starts in the Gulf Coast League and three starts for Jupiter. Combined he had a 1.80 ERA, an 0.92 WHIP and 41 strikeouts in 25 innings. He was able to pitch 40 innings in the Hawaiian Winter Baseball league in the 2006-07 off-season to help make up for some lost time. He had a 3.60 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP and 63 strikeouts.

Despite his limited work and complete lack of upper level experience, van den Hurk debuted in the majors on April 10, 2007. He returned to the minors for 11 starts split between Carolina of the Double-A Southern League and Albuquerque of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He had a 4-2, 3.29 record over 65.2 innings, with 75 strikeouts and a 1.11 WHIP, with solid results at both levels. He spent the rest of the season as a starter in the majors, going 4-6, 6.83 in 81.2 innings, with 82 strikeouts and a 1.74 WHIP. He was injured for part of 2008, plus he made 14 minor league starts, split between Carolina and Albuquerque. He went 5-4, 4.19, with 76 strikeouts and a 1.26 WHIP over 73 innings in the minors that season. He made four starts with the Marlins that year, posting a 7.71 ERA, a 2.14 WHIP and 20 strikeouts in 14 innings. The 2009 season was split between the minors and majors as well. He had a 4.30 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP in 58.2 innings over 11 starts with the Marlins. He posted a 2.87 ERA and an 0.99 WHIP in 11 starts with the Marlins new Triple-A affiliate, New Orleans of the Pacific Coast League. Van den Hurk split the 2010 season between the Marlins and Baltimore Orioles, though he spent most of the year in Triple-A. He played nine big league games that season (seven with the Orioles), and he had a 5.09 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 17.2 innings. He went 8-4, 4.68 in 94 innings for New Orleans, while posting a 2.18 ERA over 20.2 innings with Norfolk of the International League after joining the Orioles. His big league work was limited to nine innings and nine runs allowed during the 2011 season with the Orioles, where he made two starts and two relief appearances. He was a full-time starter with Norfolk that year, going 9-13, 4.43 in 154.1 innings, with 108 strikeouts and a 1.17 WHIP.

Van der Hurk was released by the Orioles in early February of 2012. He signed three weeks later with Toronto Blue Jays. He was lost on waivers a month later to the Cleveland Indians, who parted ways with him just two weeks later. He signed with the Pirates a few days later, then spent most of the 2012 season in Triple-A, where he went 13-5, 2.92, with 113 strikeouts and a 1.19 WHIP in 123.1 innings for Indianapolis of the International League. He joined the Pirates in September, then pitched four times out of the bullpen, allowing four runs in 2.2 innings. That was the end of his big league career, but his pro career continued on through the end of the 2021 season. He officially retired in April of 2022. Van den Hurk played in Korea during the 2013-14 season. He went 7-9, 3.95 in 24 starts during the 2013 season, with 137 strikeouts in 143.2 innings. He followed that up with a 13-4, 3.18 record in 152.2 innings, with 180 strikeouts and a 1.11 WHIP. He then spent the 2015-21 seasons in Japan, where he went 43-20, 3.78 in 514 innings. He had a 14-1, 1.98 record over 154.2 innings in 2015, with an 0.93 WHIP and 191 strikeouts. He went 7-3, 3.58 in 93 innings during the 2016 season, with 105 strikeouts and an 0.94 WHIP. Van den Hurk posted a 14-7, 3.19 record in 2017, with 166 strikeouts and a 1.13 WHIP over 158 innings. He finished the 2018 season with a 10-8, 4.40 record in 143.1 innings, with 131 strikeouts and a 1.30 WHIP. He saw limited work in 2019, going 4-1, 2.18 over 41.1 innings, with 50 strikeouts and an 0.87 WHIP. He went 6-2, 4.78 in 2020, with 48 strikeouts and a 1.29 WHIP over 52.2 innings. His final season saw him go2-2, 4.77 in 54.2 innings, with 56 strikeouts and a 1.15 WHIP. During his six season playing in the majors, Van den Hurk went 8-11, 6.08 over 138.2 innings, with 35 starts and 15 relief appearances. He finished his 19-year pro career just shy of 2,000 innings pitched (1,996.2).

Jose Mesa, reliever for the 2004-05 Pirates. He was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 1981 at 15 years old. He pitched 83.1 innings in the Gulf Coast League at 16 years old in 1982, posting a 2.70 ERA and an 0.94 WHIP, with six complete games and three shutouts. He then made it to full-season ball at age 17 in 1983, where he had a 6-12, 5.48 record, a 1.74 WHIP and a 93:91 BB/SO ratio in 141.1 innings with Florence of the Class-A South Atlantic League. The next season was split between Florence and Kinston of the Advanced-A Carolina League, which resulted in a combined 9-5, 3.84 record in 89 innings over 16 starts and one relief appearances. He had 59 strikeouts and a 1.60 WHIP. Mesa struggled in a full season with Kinston in 1985, putting up a 5-10, 6.16 record in 106.2 innings, with a 1.77 WHIP, 79 walks and 71 strikeouts. The next year saw him reach Knoxville of the Double-A Southern League late in the season for eight starts and a relief outing, after playing out most of the year with Ventura County of the Advanced-A California League. He had a combined 12-8, 3.97 record in 183.2 innings, with 143 strikeouts and a 1.43 WHIP. The Baltimore Orioles acquired him via trade in September of 1987, then had him up in the majors for the final month of the season, though he was in minors for all of the next two seasons. Mesa spent the minor league portion of his 1987 season back in Knoxville, where he went 10-13, 5.21 in 193.1 innings over 35 starts, with 115 strikeouts and a 1.60 WHIP. He had a 6.03 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP in 31.1 innings during his first trial with the Orioles that same year.

Mesa spent the 1988 season with Rochester of the International League, though he was limited to two starts and nine relief appearances. He had an 8.62 ERA in 15.2 innings, with 14 walks and 15 strikeouts. His season ended in July due to surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow. He was said to be healthy going into 1989, but he pitched just ten times all season (four starts), throwing a total of 23 innings split between Rochester and Hagerstown of the Double-A Eastern League. His 1989 season ended in May due to right elbow surgery. The 1990 season was almost a full year. Mesa made 15 starts for Hagerstown, then four starts for Rochester, before making it back to the majors. He combined to go 6-7, 3.17, with 95 strikeouts and a 1.33 WHIP in 105 innings between both minor league stops. He returned to the Orioles in 1990 for seven late-season starts, in which he had a 3.86 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP in 46.2 innings. Mesa made eight starts for Rochester in 1991, but the majority of the year was spent in the majors, where he had 23 starts for the Orioles. He had a 6-11, 5.97 record, 64 strikeouts and a 1.72 WHIP in 123.2 innings during his big league time that year. The 1992 season started with him making 12 starts and one relief appearance for Baltimore. Mesa was traded in the middle of 1992 to the Cleveland Indians. He went 7-12, 4.59 in 160.2 innings that year between both stops, with slightly better results after the trade. He had a 1.49 WHIP and a 70:62 BB/SO ratio. The Indians stayed with him as a starter in 1993, before moving him to a full-time relief role during the strike-shortened 1994 season. He went 10-12, 4.92 in a career high 208.2 innings over 33 starts in 1993. He had a 1.41 WHIP and a career high 118 strikeouts that year, the only time he reached the century mark in strikeouts. That was followed by 51 relief appearances in 1994, when he went 7-5, 3.82 in 73 innings, with 63 strikeouts and a 1.33 WHIP. He picked up his first two saves that season.

Mesa was moved to the closer spot in 1995, where he led the league in saves (46) for the only time in his career. He had a 1.13 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP and 58 strikeouts in 64 innings over 62 appearances. He was an All-Star for the first time that year, while finishing second in the Cy Young voting and fourth in the MVP voting. Mesa pitched eight times during the 1995 postseason, as the Indians just missed winning their first World Series title since 1948. He allowed a total of three runs in ten innings, though none of the runs he allowed ended up costing his team a win. Mesa had 39 saves in 1996, when he made his second (and final) All-Star appearance, but he was nowhere near the pitcher from the previous year. He went 2-7, 3.73 in 72.1 innings over 69 appearances, with 64 strikeouts and a 1.34 WHIP. The Indians returned to the World Series in 1997 and he improved over the previous year, while spending just part of the season in the closer role. He went 4-4, 2.40 in 82.1 innings over 66 appearances, with 16 saves, 69 strikeouts and a 1.35 WHIP. He blew three save chances in the postseason, including game seven of the World Series, which was won by the Florida Marlins. He gave up one run in six of his 11 appearances that postseason.

Mesa struggled for the Indians in 1998, before being shipped to the San Francisco Giants mid-season. He combined to go 8-7, 4.57 in in 84.2 innings over 76 appearances, with 63 strikeouts, a 1.52 WHIP and one save. He had much better results in his 32 games with the Giants. He became a free agent after the season, then spent the next two years with the Seattle Mariners, where he went 7-12, 5.18 in 149.1 innings over 134 appearances, with 34 saves. That save number is a bit deceiving, as he had 33 saves in 1999 and one in 2000, when he was seeing slightly longer outings. He threw 68.2 innings over 68 games in 1999 in the closer role, when he had a 3-6, 4.98 record, along with 42 strikeouts and a 1.81 WHIP. He followed that up in 2000 by going 4-6, 5.36 in 80.2 innings over 66 appearances, with a 1.61 WHIP and 84 strikeouts. He got another chance to pitch in the playoffs in 2000, but he allowed six runs over 4.1 innings in the ALCS series loss to the New York Yankees. Mesa signed with the Philadelphia Phillies for the next three seasons, where he put up strong numbers in 2001-02, but the 2003 season didn’t go as well. He went 3-3, 2.34 in 69.1 innings, with a 1.23 WHIP and 59 strikeouts in 2001. He followed that up with a 4-6, 2.97 record over 74 appearances in 2002, with 64 strikeouts and a 1.37 WHIP in 75.2 innings  He saved a total of 87 games during those two years. His 42 saves in 2001 placed in fifth in the National League, while his 45 saves in 2002 placed him fourth in the league. The rough 2003 season saw him finish with a 6.52 ERA, a 1.76 WHIP and 24 saves in 58 innings over 61 appearances.

Mesa signed with the Pirates on January 30, 2004. In his first season with the team, he went 5-2, 3.25 in 69.1 innings, with 43 saves, 37 strikeouts and a 1.41 WHIP. He fell just three saves short of the team record at the time, set two years earlier by Mike Williams. Mesa went 2-8, 4.76 in 56.2 innings over 55 appearances in 2005, with 27 saves, 37 strikeouts and a 1.54 WHIP. He left via free agency after the season, then spent 2006 with the Colorado Rockies, where he went 1-5, 3.86 in 72.1 innings over a career high 79 appearances. He had a 1.51 WHIP and 39 strikeouts that year. The 2007 season was his last year, and it was split between the Detroit Tigers and Phillies. He had a 7.11 ERA, a 1.54 WHIP and one save in 50.2 innings over 56 games in his final season. He saved just two games after leaving Pittsburgh. His final appearance in pro ball was another tough postseason game, allowing three runs while recording just one out in the NLDS loss to the Rockies. Mesa pitched 1,022 games during his 19 seasons in the majors, going 80-109, 4.36 with 1,038 strikeouts, a 1.47 WHIP, 321 saves and 1,548.2 innings pitched. He ranks 21st all-time in saves and 12 in games pitched. His son Jose Mesa Jr is a current minor league pitcher in his tenth season of pro ball.

Julian Tavarez, reliever for the 2003 Pirates. He signed with the Cleveland Indians in 1990 as an international amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic at 16 years old. It took him just over three years to make his big league debut, not long after his 20th birthday. Tavarez pitched his first two seasons in the Dominican Summer League (no stats available) before moving to the U.S. for the 1992 season, where he played in the short-season Appalachian League for Burlington. He went 6-3, 2.68 in 83.1 innings over 14 starts that year, with 69 strikeouts and a 1.12 WHIP. He skipped to Kinston of the High-A Carolina League for the 1993 season, and did so well in 18 starts (11-5, 2.42 in 119 innings) that he got bumped up to Double-A Canton-Akron of the Eastern League. After just three appearances in which he gave up two runs over 19 innings, he joined the Indians in early August. He combined to go 13-6, 2.22 in 138 innings between both minor league stops, with 118 strikeouts and a 1.05 WHIP. Tavarez made seven starts and one relief appearance for the Indians, going 2-2, 6.57 in 37 innings, with 19 strikeouts and a 1.78 WHIP. The 1994 season was mostly spent in Triple-A with Charlotte of the International League, where he went 15-6, 3.48 in 176 innings over 26 starts, with 102 strikeouts and a 1.19 WHIP. His only big league game that year was a start for the Indians on May 26th, in which he allowed eight runs in 1.2 innings. The 1995 season was spent entirely in the majors as a full-time reliever. He went 10-2, 2.44 in 85 innings over 57 games, with 68 strikeouts and a 1.14 WHIP. Tavarez struggled in 1996, finishing with a 5.36 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP in 80.2 innings, which were spread out over four starts and 47 relief outings. Over the 1996-97 off-season, he was part of a large trade with the San Francisco Giants that included Jeff Kent and Matt Williams.

Tavarez led the National League with 89 games pitched for the 1997 Giants. He had a 6-4, 3.87 record in 88.1 innings, with a 1.42 WHIP and 38 strikeouts. He was used more in extended relief in 1998, pitching 85.1 innings over 60 appearances. He finished that season with a 5-3, 3.80 record, 52 strikeouts, a 1.55 WHIP and his first career save. His performance dropped off significantly in 1999, with a 5.93 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP in 54.2 innings over 57 appearances. The Giants decided to part ways after the 1999 season, then he was claimed on waivers by the Colorado Rockies on November 21, 1999. Tavarez saw some starting pitching work in 2000, going 11-5, 4.43 in 120 innings, with 12 starts and 39 relief appearances. He had a 1.48 WHIP and 62 strikeouts. He signed with the Chicago Cubs for 2001, then pitched almost exclusively in the rotation (28 starts in 34 games), going 10-9, 4.52 in a career high 161.1 innings, while posting a 1.49 WHIP. He had 107 strikeouts that year, which was the only time he reached the century mark in strikeouts for a season. The Cubs traded him to the Florida Marlins during Spring Training of 2002. He went 10-12, 5.39 for the Marlins, with a 1.70 WHIP and 67 strikeouts in 153.2 innings over 27 starts and two relief outings.

Tavarez signed with the Pirates as a free agent in January of 2003. He was moved back to the bullpen, where he made 64 appearances for Pittsburgh. He had a 3-3, 3.66 record in 83.2 innings, with 39 strikeouts, a 1.22 WHIP and 11 saves. He became a free agent after the 2003 season, then signed with the St Louis Cardinals. He had a great first season in St Louis, posting a 7-4, 2.38 record in 63.1 innings over 77 appearances, with 48 strikeouts and a 1.18 WHIP. He was solid the next year as well, going 2-3, 3.43 in 65.2 innings in 74 games, with 47 strikeouts and a 1.32 WHIP. He had four saves in each of his two seasons with the Cardinals. He signed with the Boston Red Sox in 2006, then remained there until he was released late in May of 2008. Tavarez had a 4.47 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP over 98.2 innings in 2006, making 52 relief appearances and six starts. He saw more time in the rotation in 2007, making 23 starts and 11 relief appearances. He had a 7-11, 5.15 record in 134.2 innings, with 77 strikeouts and a 1.50 WHIP. Despite a rough season in the rotation, the Red Sox were still able to win the World Series title that year. The 2008 season was split between Boston, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Atlanta Braves. He combined for a 5.10 ERA in 54.2 innings, with 51 strikeouts and a 1.85 WHIP. His final season in the majors (2009) saw him post a 4.89 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP in 42 outings for the Washington Nationals. He only pitched in relief during his final two seasons in the majors.

While his big league career was over at that point, Tavarez still pitched winter ball for the next three years, with stops in the Dominican, Mexico and Puerto Rico. He saw limited time in the Dominican during the winter until the 2008-09 off-season, when he had a 4.61 ERA in 56.2 innings. That was followed in 2009-10 with a 2.45 ERA over 33 innings in the Dominican, as well as six runs over 4.1 innings during his only time in Puerto Rico. He split the 2010-11 off-season between the Dominican and Mexico, going 0-3, 5.52 in 14.2 innings. He wrapped up his career with two runs over ten innings during the 2011-12 off-season in the Dominican. Tavarez pitched 17 seasons in the majors, getting into a total of 828 games, with 108 of those coming as a starter. He went 88-82, 4.46 in 1,404.1 innings. His 11 saves with the Pirates were nearly half of his big league total of 23 saves. He made 31 postseason appearances during his career and had a 3.52 ERA.

George Spriggs, outfielder for the 1965-67 Pirates. Before he joined minor league baseball, Spriggs spent time playing Negro League baseball with the Kansas City Monarchs and Detroit Stars, while also seeing two years in the military. That Negro League time was after the cutoff for Major League status for the league (1920-48), so its not listed among his career stats. The Pirates signed Spriggs as an amateur free agent in 1963. The signing scout was Joe Consoli, who would sign George “Geno” Spriggs Jr for the Pirates 24 years later out of high school. The elder Spriggs signed just before his 26th birthday, then played for Reno of the Class-A California League, where he hit .319 in 133 games, with 125 runs, 30 extra-base hits, 61 RBIs, 107 walks, 44 steals and an .887 OPS. He moved up to Asheville of the Double-A Southern League in 1964, where he batted .322 in 136 games, with 96 runs, 14 doubles, ten triples, 16 homers, 53 RBIs, 70 walks, 33 steals and an .888 OPS that was .001 higher than his previous season’s mark. Spriggs hit a bit of a wall in his first year with Columbus of the Triple-A International League, batting .240 in 136 games, with 88 runs, 30 extra-base hits, 29 RBIs, 57 walks and a .661 OPS, though he managed to steal 66 bases in 80 attempts. That speed helped him get a September shot with the Pirates, where he batted just twice in nine games, while mostly getting pinch-running opportunities. He went 1-for-2 in his first cup of coffee, with five runs and two steals. He batted .300 for Columbus in 1966, with 91 runs, 17 doubles, 15 homers, 44 RBIs, 75 walks and 34 steals in 133 games, while improving his OPS to an .845 mark. Once again he got a September look with the Pirates. He was given more hitting chances during his second trial, but still batted just seven times in nine games. He went 1-for-7 with a single and no runs or steals.

Spriggs finally got an extended look in 1967, playing with the Pirates from Opening Day through late June. He hit .175/.246/.228 in 38 games before going back to Columbus, where he had a .265 average and a .683 OPS in 81 games. He didn’t make a single start during his first two trials with the Pirates, but he got nine starts in 1967, while picking up 66 plate appearances. He ended up scoring 14 runs while collecting just ten hits. He had a double, triple, five RBIs and three steals. The Pirates lost him after the 1967 season in the Rule 5 draft to the Boston Red Sox, who ended up returning him in April. Spriggs spent all of 1968 in Columbus, hitting .275 in 138 games, with 80 runs, 28 extra-base hits, 34 RBIs, 46 steals, 65 walks and a .721 OPS. He was sold to the expansion Kansas City Royals at the end of the 1968 season. He played 23 games in the majors for the Royals in 1969, though he batted just 33 times. He batted .138/.242/.276 that year, with four runs, two doubles, a triple and no RBIs or steals. A majority of that season was spent with Omaha of the Triple-A American Association, where he hit .311 over 117 games, with 103 runs, 23 doubles, 15 homers, 62 RBIs, 46 steals, 54 walks and an .853 OPS. He got into 51 games for the 1970 Royals, including 32 starts in right field. He hit .208/.283/.292 over 145 plate appearances, with 12 runs seven RBIs and six extra-base hits, including his only big league homer. He actually saw significant time that year with Omaha, where he hit .301 in 105 games, with 71 runs, 26 doubles, nine triples, 11 homers, 43 RBIs, 29 steals and an .874 OPS.

The Royals sold Spriggs to the New York Mets during Spring Training in 1971. His career ended in 1972 with seeing another big league game. He played just four games with Tidewater of the International League in 1971, then finished up with 41 games for Tidewater in 1972, so he barely played during his final two seasons of pro ball. He suffered a broken leg that ended his season in mid-April during the 1971 campaign. He then got released in July of 1972, ending his pro career. He was hitting .209/.293/.349 at the time, with one steal in five attempts, as the broken leg seemed to affect the biggest part of his game. Spriggs finished his five-year big league career with a .191 average in 130 games, while getting a total of 253 plate appearances. He scored 35 runs, with 11 extra-base hits, 12 RBIs and nine stolen bases. He stole 324 bases in the minors. As mentioned, his son was signed by the same Pirates scout who signed him. The younger Spriggs was a 31st round pick in 1987, who played 90 games over two seasons with the Pirates before passing away tragically at 20 years old due to a car accident in December of 1988.

Hoke Warner, infielder for the 1916-17 and 1919 Pirates. He played four years in the minors before getting his first chance with the 1916 Pirates. Warner spent his first two seasons of pro ball with Jackson of the Southern Michigan League. The league was considered to be a Class-D league in 1913 when he was 19 years old. It was considered to be one level higher in 1914 at Class-C. Warner batted .298 in 40 games during his first season with Jackson (limited stats are available). He hit .305 over 128 games in 1914, with 61 runs, 24 doubles, five triples, 20 steals and a .713 OPS. He spent part of the 1915 season with Jackson, though he split the year between three teams. He hit .245 in 46 games for Dayton of the Class-B Central League, where he had 12 runs, four doubles and eight steals. He played the rest of the season (56 games) in the Southern Michigan League for Jackson and Saginaw, where his individual stats are unavailable. Including his time with Dayton, he batted .284 over 102 games in 1915, with 45 runs, 16 doubles, two triples and 17 steals. Warner was with Dayton in 1916 before joining the Pirates. He batted .318 in 105 games for Dayton (only available stats). He was purchased by the Pirates on July 12, 1916. Local fans were told that he was considered to be the fastest player in the Central League, who also offered strong defense at a young age. Pirates manager Jimmy Callahan saw him playing a doubleheader three days earlier, then encouraged owner Barney Dreyfuss to meet Dayton’s purchase price of $4,000. Warner was supposedly going to finish the season in Dayton on September 10th, but he reported to the Pirates three weeks earlier.

Warner opened his Pirates career on August 21, 1916, batting lead-off in both games of a doubleheader, while playing third base. His fielding was good that day, but he collected just one single in two games. That hit came off of Grover Alexander, a pitcher who would win 373 career games before going on to the Hall of Fame. Warner hit .238 over 44 games during that rookie season, with 12 runs, four extra-base hits, 14 RBIs, six steals and a .556 OPS. He played three games for the 1917 Pirates, going 1-for-5 at the plate during his brief time. He was released to Wilkes-Barre of the Class-B New York-Penn League on May 14, 1917, 11 days after his final game. Warner hit .305 in 114 games that season for Wilkes-Barre. It was announced on October 9, 1917 that he was drafted into military service during WWI, which caused him to miss the entire 1918 season. While still on active duty in France in March of 1919, the Pirates reportedly traded Warner and Gus Getz to Toledo of the Double-A American Association for some catching help, acquiring veteran Ed Sweeney. However, Warner returned home in mid-May and reported to the Pirates a short time later to get into shape to play.

Warner made his 1919 debut on June 18th as a pinch-runner. He played his final game for the Pirates on July 24th as a pinch-runner. He played four games in the middle of that 37-day stretch, three of those as the starting third baseman. He went 1-for-8 with two RBIs and three walks for the Pirates that season. He also spent some time in the minors that year, hitting .250 (with six doubles) in 27 games for the Kansas City Blues of the American Association, after being released to them on July 29th. Warner next played for the 1921 Chicago Cubs, in what is his only known pro experience after the 1919 season. Chicago purchased his contract from Kansas City in January of 1921, but he did not play for the Blues during the 1920 season. He told the team that their contract wasn’t significant enough, so he opened his own restaurant in the Pittsburgh area instead, while also playing semi-pro ball. Warner hit .211 over 14 games, with four runs, three RBIs and a .505 OPS during his brief time with the Cubs. They released him on June 20th, ending his pro career. His final big league stats show a .228 average in 67 games, with 16 runs, five extra-base hits and 19 RBIs. He had the nickname Hooks, but he’s the only big league player with the first name Hoke.

Tom McCarthy, pitcher for the 1908 Pirates. He made his pro debut with the Mount Clemens Bathers of the Class-D Southern Michigan League, which was the lowest level of the minors at the time. There are no pitching stats available, but he’s credited with hitting .284 in 61 games. McCarthy moved up three levels to Newark of the Class-A Eastern League in 1907 (highest level of the minors at the time), where he had an 18-12 record, 121 strikeouts and an 0.98 WHIP over 258 innings. The ERA numbers aren’t available for the league, but he allowed 2.93 runs per nine innings. He also did well at the plate for a pitcher, hitting .279 in 56 games, with five doubles and a homer. He reportedly had his contract purchased by the New York Giants in August of 1907, but never pitched for them. By October of 1907, there were reports that he would get a tryout with the Cincinnati Reds. He made his Major League debut with the Reds on May 10, 1908, starting the second game of a doubleheader. McCarthy allowed five runs in 3.2 innings, taking the loss in an 8-7 game. Shortly after that game, and before he could pitch again for Cincinnati, the Pirates picked him up on waivers for $1,500. When he showed up to Pittsburgh, McCarthy told the local papers that he didn’t pitch with the Reds because he got sick during Spring Training and it took him some time to recover. He then got hit with a line drive on his knee during practice in mid-May. He couldn’t pitch for a time after being hit, though he was healthy when he reached the Pirates. The Pirates played doubleheaders on May 30th and May 31st. McCarthy got the start in the final game played over those two days. He won 13-3 over the Chicago Cubs, in what would turn out to be his only start for the Pirates. He also had one relief appearance on June 9th against the Giants, in which he allowed one run over three innings.

McCarthy was traded to the Boston Doves on June 18, 1908, along with pitcher Harley Young, in exchange for veteran pitcher Irv Young. The veteran Young was supposed to help the Pirates with their pennant run, but McCarthy ended up being the best pitcher of the group during the duration of the 1908 season. He would go 7-3, 1.63 in 94 innings over 14 appearances for the Doves, while compiling a 1.12 WHIP.  He had seven complete games and two shutouts in 11 starts for Boston. One of those shutouts came against the Pirates on July 17, 1908 in Pittsburgh. He injured his arm in a start against the Pirates on August 4th and didn’t pitch again for seven weeks. McCarthy is credited online for pitching with Charleston of the Class-C South Atlantic League in 1908, but that’s a different pitcher with the same last name. Despite the strong work after the trade in 1908, he was unable to pick up his first win of the 1909 season through the middle of July. He was sent to the minors with an 0-5, 3.50 record in 46.1 innings. McCarthy never returned to the majors, finishing up his career in the minors in 1911. McCarthy played out the 1909 season with Hartford of the Class-B Connecticut State League, where he had a 9-2 record in 14 games, while batting .283 over 20 games. He was traded to Indianapolis of the American Association prior to the 1910 season, but an arm injury limited his work (no stats are available), and he was released in July. He returned to Hartford during his final season of pro ball, where he had a 15-9 record and a 1.17 WHIP over 207 innings. He put up a .302 average over 41 games. He finished up his big league career with a 7-9, 2.34 record and a 1.32 WHIP in 150 innings. There was an interesting note from very early in his time in Boston. McCarthy was introduced to Tommy McCarthy, the Hall of Fame outfielder, who also played on Boston. Despite the star outfielder retiring just 12 years earlier when the younger McCarthy was 12 years old, the younger McCarthy said that he had never heard of the future Hall of Famer.

The Trades

On this date in 1965, the Pirates traded shortstop Dick Schofield to the San Francisco Giants for shortstop Jose Pagan. Schofield was 30 years old at the time, in his 13th season in the majors. He came up with the St Louis Cardinals as an 18-year-old in 1953. He had been with the Pirates since 1958. At the time of the trade, he was batting .229/.317/.275 in 31 games. He was coming off a season in which he hit .246/.345/.349 in 121 games. He made the third most errors among National League shortstops in 1964. Pagan was also 30 years old at the time of the deal, and he was putting up similar numbers on offense with the Giants, hitting .205/.272/.253 in 28 games. He was in his seventh season in the majors, coming off a year in which he hit .223/.289/.264 in 134 games. The trade looked a bit one-sided based on the ages and previous season’s stats, but Pittsburgh was making room for young shortstop Gene Alley at the time.

Pagan only played shortstop in San Francisco in 1965, but he spent most of his time in Pittsburgh at third base during that first season. He lasted with the Pirates until 1972, becoming a utility player, who received decent playing time at third base, shortstop and left field, while occasionally filling in at other spots. He hit .263 in 625 games for the Pirates, with 168 runs, 189 RBIs and a .690 OPS. Schofield hit .197/.267/.243 in 112 games for the Giants before they sold him to the New York Yankees in May of 1966. He stuck around the majors until 1971, playing for six different teams after he left Pittsburgh. He had 1.7 WAR in his seven seasons after the deal, while Pagan gave the Pirates 3.5 WAR during his eight years, so the deal basically worked out even. Pagan offered more offensive value, while Schofield offered more defensive value.

The Game

On this date in 1968, Willie Stargell hit three homers and drove in seven runs in a 13-6 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Stargell just missed his third homer of the game in the sixth inning, when he got a double off the left field wall. Two innings later, he put another one over the fence to cap off his day. Stargell drove in six runs in a game four times during his career, but the seven RBIs in this contest set a career high. This game was one of four three-homer games in his career. You can find the boxscore for this game here.