This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: September 25th, Tony Womack and a Pennant Clinched

Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players have been born on this date, plus we have one game of note.

Vance Worley, pitcher for the 2014-15 Pirates. The Philadelphia Phillies drafted him twice, making him a 20th round out of high school in 2005, and then again three years later as a third round pick out of Cal State Long Beach. He made two starts with Williamsport of the short-season New York-Penn League during the 2008 season, followed by 11 starts for Lakewood of the Low-A South Atlantic League. Worley combined to go 3-2, 2.48 in 69 innings, with 61 strikeouts and a 1.00 WHIP. The 2009 season was spent entirely in Double-A, where he had a 7-12, 5.34 record, 100 strikeouts and a 1.38 WHIP in 153.1 innings over 27 starts for Reading of the Eastern League. He split the 2010 season between Reading (19 starts) and Lehigh Valley of the Triple-A International League (eight starts), going 10-7, 3.36 in 158 innings, with 119 strikeouts and a 1.30 WHIP. The Phillies first called him up in late July of 2010 for one game, then he returned in September for four more games. He finished with a 1.38 ERA and an 0.92 WHIP in 13 innings. Most of the 2011 season was spent in the majors. He made nine starts that year for Lehigh Valley, where he went 5-2, 2.31 in 50.2 innings, with 50 strikeouts and a 1.05 WHIP. Worley posted an 11-3, 3.01 record in 21 starts and four relief appearances for the 2011 Phillies, with a 1.23 WHIP over 131.2 innings. He set a career high with 119 strikeouts, which was also his high for a season in the minors. He finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting.

Worley’s 2012 season did not go well. He posted a 6-9, 4.20 record in 133 innings over 23 starts, with 107 strikeouts and a 1.51 WHIP. He missed a month in the middle of the season due to an elbow injury. The Phillies traded him to the Minnesota Twins in December of 2012, where things didn’t get any better. He had a 1-5, 7.21 record, 25 strikeouts and a 1.99 WHIP in 48.2 innings over ten starts for the 2013 Twins, which ended up being his only season in Minnesota. He was optioned to Rochester of the International League on June 1st, then never returned to the Twins. He went 6-3, 3.88 in 58 innings over nine starts, before being placed on the disabled list in mid-July for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. The Pirates purchased Worley from the Twins shortly before the 2014 season started. He joined the Pirates after making seven starts for Indianapolis of the International League, going 3-2, 4.30 in 46 innings, with 43 strikeouts and a 1.11 WHIP. He was strong as a starter for the 2014 Pirates, posting an 8-4, 2.85 record in 110.1 innings over 17 starts and one relief appearance, finishing with 79 strikeouts and a 1.21 WHIP. That performance helped the Pirates to their second straight playoff appearance. He split the 2015 season between starting and relief, seeing his ERA drop to 4.02 in 71.2 innings over eight starts and 15 relief outings. He had 49 strikeouts and a 1.42 WHIP. He also spent five starts back in Indianapolis, where he posted a 2.38 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP over 34 innings.

Worley was released at the end of the 2015 season, then signed with the Baltimore Orioles for 2016. He went 2-2, 3.53 in 86.2 innings that season, splitting his time between four starts and 31 relief appearances. He had 56 strikeouts and a 1.37 WHIP. He spent his final season in the majors with the 2017 Miami Marlins, going 2-6, 6.91 in 71.2 innings over 12 starts and 12 relief appearances, with 50 strikeouts and a 1.80 WHIP. He also made eight starts with New Orleans of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League that season, posting a 4.43 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP over 44.2 innings. It appeared that he finished his career in the minors in 2018, when he had a 13.50 ERA over four starts for the New York Mets Triple-A affiliate (Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League). However, he made a comeback in 2021. He pitched in independent ball that year for Kane County of American Association, while also seeing time with the Syracuse Mets, the new Triple-A team of the Mets. Worley went 5-6, 4.23 in 86 innings with Syracuse, while posting a 4.01 ERA in 33.2 innings with Kane County. He also spent the 2022 season with Kane County, where he went 6-9, 4.89 in 114 innings over 18 starts, with 56 strikeouts and a 1.53 WHIP. He did not play in 2023. He posted a 35-36, 4.09 record in 667 innings during his eight-year big league career, while making 97 starts and 66 relief appearances. He had 497 strikeouts, a 1.43 WHIP, two complete games, two saves and one shutout.

Tony Womack, second baseman for the 1993-94 and 1996-98 Pirates. He was a seventh round draft pick by the Pirates in 1991 out of Guilford College, where he’s the only draft pick to ever make it to the majors. He debuted with Welland of the short-season New York-Penn League, where he hit .277/.344/.313 in 45 games, with 30 runs scored, four extra-base hits, eight RBIs and 26 stolen bases. He spent all of 1992 at Augusta of the Low-A South Atlantic League, where he hit .245 in 102 games, with 62 runs, 11 extra-base hits, 18 RBIs and 50 steals, though he was caught stealing 25 times. Low power numbers led to a .606 OPS that year. Womack started the 1993 season at Salem of the High-A Carolina League, and he finished the year in the majors. He had a .299 average, 41 runs, 28 steals and a .706 OPS in 72 games with Salem. He then moved to Carolina of the Double-A Southern League for 60 games, where he had a .304/.346/.348 slash line,  41 runs and 21 stolen bases. He combined for a .301 average in 132 games, with 82 runs, 25 extra-base hits, 41 RBIs, 49 steals and a .701 OPS. He joined the Pirates in September, where he hit .083/.185/.083 in 28 plate appearances over 15 games. He went to Buffalo of the Triple-A American Association in 1994, where he posted a .221 average and a .505 OPS in 106 games. He had 40 runs, 11 extra-base hits, 18 RBIs and 41 bases. He played five games that year for the Pirates, going 4-for-12 with four singles and two walks. The entire 1995 season was spent in the minors, with most of his time back at Carolina. He also played 32 games for the new Triple-A affiliate of the Pirates (Calgary of the Pacific Coast League). He combined for a .262 average and a .632 OPS in 112 games, with 64 runs scored, 18 extra-base hits, 25 RBIs and 34 steals.

Womack showed a lot of improvements while with Calgary in 1996, posting a .300 average and a .729 OPS over 131 games, with 75 runs, 19 doubles, 11 triples, 47 RBIs and 37 steals. He got another shot with the Pirates that year, then hit .333/.460/.500 in 40 plate appearances over 17 games. Womack played three partial seasons with the Pirates, totaling 37 games, before finally getting a chance to play full-time in 1997. He finished ninth in the Rookie of the Year voting that year, while receiving mild MVP support (24th place finish). He also made the All-Star team. He hit .278 over 155 games, with 85 runs, 41 extra-base hits, 50 RBIs and a .700 OPS. Womack stole 60 bases (in 67 attempts) that year to lead the National League. He led the National League with 58 steals in 1998, while getting caught just eight times. He hit .282 over 159 games, with 85 runs, 36 extra-base hits, 45 RBIs and a .677 OPS. He was dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks prior to the 19999 season for pitchers Jason Boyd and Paul Weichard. Womack led the National League in steals for a third straight season during his first year with Arizona, swiping a career-high 72 bags. He also set a career-best with 111 runs scored, while batting .277 over 144 games, with 39 extra-base hits, 41 RBIs, 52 walks and a .702 OPS. He hit .271 during the 2000 season, with 95 runs scored, 57 RBIs, 45 steals, a .692 OPS. He had 42 extra-base hits that year, including a league leading total of 14 triples. He helped the 2001 Diamondbacks to a World Series title by providing strong defense at second base (1.5 dWAR), to go along with 66 runs scored and 28 steals in 125 games. He batted .266 that year, with 27 extra-base hits, 30 RBIs and a .652 OPS. He scored a total of eight runs in the postseason, despite going 1-for-4 in steal attempts.

Womack batted .271 during the 2002 season, with 90 runs scored, 33 extra-base hits, 57 RBIs, 46 walks, 29 steals and a .678 OPS in 153 games. He was traded during the 2003 season to the Colorado Rockies, who then sent him to the Chicago Cubs a short time later. Between the three stops that year, he had a .226 average, 43 runs scored, 20 extra-base hits, 22 RBIs, 13 steals and a .558 OPS in 103 games. He signed with the Boston Red Sox as a free agent for 2004, but they ended up trading him to the St Louis Cardinals before the season started. Womack ended up having his best overall season that year, hitting .307 over 145 games, with 91 runs scored, 22 doubles, five triples, 38 RBIs, 26 steals and a career best .735 OPS. He signed a free agent deal with the New York Yankees for 2005, then hit .249/.276/.280 in 108 games, with 46 runs, nine extra-base hits, 15 RBIs and 27 steals. The Yankees traded him to the Cincinnati Reds, who would release him just three weeks into the 2006 season. He signed with the Cubs, but his stay there lasted just six weeks before being released, which ended his big league career. He batted .265/.342/.353 in a total of 28 games during his final season. Womack played 1,303 big league games, finishing with a .273 average, 739 runs scored, 190 doubles, 59 triples, 36 homers, 368 RBIs and 363 steals. Despite some seasons with big overall numbers in speed and runs scored over a 13-year career, Womack finished with a 2.5 WAR for his career, which includes 3.3 WAR for the St Louis Cardinals in 2004.

Michael Crotta, reliever for the 2011 Pirates. He was originally selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 47th round of the 2003 draft out of high school, but he decided to attend Florida Atlantic instead. The Pirates selected him in the 17th round three years later. He started his pro career in short-season ball by posting a 2.68 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 43.2 innings with Williamsport of the New York-Penn League during the 2006 season. He got promoted to Low-A, where he had a 10.38 ERA in 17.1 innings over four starts with Hickory of the South Atlantic League. He finished up his first year going 2-5, 4.87 in 61 innings, with 35 strikeouts and a 1.39 WHIP. Crotta was at Hickory again in 2007, going 10-5, 4.39 in 137.1 innings, with 74 strikeouts and a 1.43 WHIP. He got one start that year with Altoona of the Double-A Eastern League that did not go well, with seven runs allowed over 2.2 innings. He was at Lynchburg of the High-A Carolina League for the entire 2008 season, going 9-10, 4.67 in 146.1 innings over 28 starts, with 97 strikeouts and a 1.34 WHIP. He went to the Arizona Fall League after the 2008 season, where he had a 4.76 ERA and a 1.94 WHIP in 17 innings. Crotta spent the 2009 season as a starter for Altoona, where he had a 7-8, 4.76 record and a 1.49 WHIP in 143.2 innings over 27 starts. He had 97 strikeouts that year, giving him 6.1 strikeouts per nine innings, which was the highest strikeout rate of his career. He did well in four starts for Altoona in 2010, going 2-0, 1.78 in 25.1 innings. He spent the rest of the year at Indianapolis of the Triple-A International League, where he had a 5-10, 4.93 record and a 1.50 WHIP in 131.1 innings over 24 starts. He had 105 strikeouts that season, which was the only time he crossed the century mark.

Crotta was with the Pirates at the start of the 2011 season, staying with the big league club until mid-May. He had a strong Spring Training, plus he was helped out by the Pirates having three injured pitchers who were all supposed to be locks for the Opening Day pitching staff. He had a 9.28 ERA and a 2.34 WHIP in 10.2 innings over 15 relief appearances during his only big league experience. Crotta returned to the minors, where he remained with the Pirates through the 2012 season, though he was injured for part of 2011 and all of 2012. He ended up pitching a total of 11.2 innings over 12 relief appearances in the minors for the Pirates after being sent down in May of 2011, seeing time with both Indianapolis and Altoona. He fractured his elbow and needed surgery. He made three appearances in Venezuela during the 2011-12 winter league season, resulting in 3.1 shutout innings. He went to Spring Training with the 2012 Pirates, but complications from the elbow surgery cost him the entire season. He pitched in the Washington Nationals system during the 2013 season, going 6-7, 3.57 in 58 innings over 51 games for Syracuse of the International League, finishing with 44 strikeouts and a 1.45 WHIP. Crotta spent the 2014-15 seasons in Japan, starting with a 4-5, 2.58 record, 37 strikeouts and a 1.10 WHIP in 59.1 innings over 62 appearances during the 2014 season. That was followed by a 4-2, 5.21 record, 29 strikeouts and a 1.61 WHIP in 46.2 innings over 45 games during the 2015 season. He finished his pro career making nine relief appearances in the minors for the Detroit Tigers, which were split between Erie of the Eastern League and Toledo of the International League. He allowed eight runs over 9.1 innings during that time.

Dick Davis, outfielder for the 1982 Pirates. He was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Milwaukee Brewers out of Snow College in 1972. He debuted in the majors with the Brewers five years later. Davis debuted in pro ball at 18 years old with Newark of the short-season New York-Penn League, after hitting .347 in 28 games at Snow College. He hit .288/.336/.374 over 37 games for Newark, with 16 runs, nine extra-base hits and 18 RBIs. He spent the next two seasons with Danville of the Class-A Midwest League. Davis hit .274 in 1973, with 57 runs, 27 extra-base hits, 43 RBIs and a .735 OPS over 101 games. He followed that up with a .262 average, 76 runs, 35 extra-base hits, 38 RBIs, 28 steals and a .733 OPS over 114 games in 1974. His stolen base total that year was quite an improvement after attempting just ten steals in his first two seasons combined. Davis moved up to Thetford Mines of the Double-A Eastern League in 1975, where he batted .253 over 132 games, with 66 runs,23 doubles, 16 homers, 67 RBIs, 14 steals and a .731 OPS. The 1976 season was also spent in the Eastern League, just with the Milwaukee affiliate changing to the Berkshire Brewers. Davis batted .289 over 126 games that year, with 70 runs, 24 doubles, 16 homers, 69 RBIs and a .763 OPS. He moved up to Spokane of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 1977, where he had an outstanding year. He batted .355 over 114 games, with 94 runs, 25 doubles, 13 homers, 74 RBIs, 18 stolen bases and a .915 OPS. That led to his first big league shot, where he batted .275/.278/.314 in 54 plate appearances over 22 games with the Brewers.

Davis spent the entire 1978 season in the majors, hitting .248 over 69 games (52 starts), with 28 runs, ten doubles, five homers, 26 RBIs and a .644 OPS. He saw a bit more playing time in 1979, while getting extra work in the DH spot. He batted .266 in 91 games, with 51 runs, 13 doubles, 12 homers, 41 RBIs and a .716 OPS. He made 50 starts as the DH, then another 30 in the outfield. He set a career high with 106 games played in 1980, when he finished with a .271 average, 50 runs, 32 extra-base hits, 30 RBIs and a .683 OPS. He made 59 starts in the DH spot that year. Davis was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies during Spring Training in 1981. He hit .333/.387/.479 in 45 games during the strike-shortened season, with 12 runs, six doubles, two homers and 19 RBIs. The 1982 season saw him play with three different teams, starting with 28 games for the Phillies. He was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays on June 15th for Wayne Nordhagen, who was subsequently traded to the Pirates for Bill Robinson. After just three games, Davis was acquired by the Pirates in a trade with the Blue Jays on June 22, 1982 for Nordhagen. It turned out that Nordhagen was injured at the time, so the Pirates returned him to his original team and got Davis instead. Davis hit .182/.224/.312 in 86 plate appearances over 39 games for the Pirates, seeing most of his playing time in right field. He had a .230 average, 12 runs, 11 extra-base hits, 19 RBIs and a .625 OPS in 70 games between all three stops that year.

Davis remained with the Pirates until he was released late in Spring Training of 1983. He played with the Philadelphia Phillies at Triple-A in 1983, putting up a .328 average, 44 runs, 24 doubles, seven homers, 49 RBIs and an .873 OPS over 87 games for Portland of the Pacific Coast League. He then spent his final five seasons of pro ball playing for Kintetsu in Japan. Davis put up a .310 average, 42 runs, 16 doubles, 18 homers, 45 RBIs and a .913 OPS over 78 games in 1984. He hit .343 in 128 games during the 1985 season, with 88 runs, 22 doubles, 40 homers, 109 RBIs and a 1.058 OPS. That was followed in 1986 by a .337 average over 122 games, with 83 runs, 25 doubles, 36 homers, 97 RBIs and a 1.042 OPS. He hit .337 during the 1987 season, with 44 runs, 31 extra-base hits, 49 RBIs and a .930 OPS in 91 games. He finished up with a .303/.349/.480 slash line over 42 games in 1988. Davis was a .265 hitter in 403 big league games, with 160 runs, 62 doubles, 27 homers and 141 RBIs. Despite four straight seasons of double-digit stolen base totals in the minors, he went 13-for-26 in steals during his six seasons in the majors. His cousin is Enos Cabell, who played 15 years in the majors.

Dave Robertson, outfielder for the 1921 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball at 21 years old in 1911 in the Class-D Tidewater League for a team from Elizabeth City (no stats available). He made the huge jump to the majors with the New York Giants just one year later, though he was barely used during the 1912 season, playing one game in early June, one in late June and another game one month later. He was originally a pitcher, but switched to outfield after a bad shoulder injury while playing college football. The Giants knew he would spend the 1912 season recovering from the injury, but he came highly praised as a baseball player, so they kept him around all season. Manager John McGraw promised big things from him in 1913, though it took him a little bit longer to reach his potential. Robertson was in the minors for the 1913 season, where he hit .335 in 135 games for Mobile of the Class-A Southern Association, with 85 runs, 45 extra-base hits and 57 steals. He returned to the Giants in 1914, when he hit .266 over 82 games, with 25 runs, 12 doubles, two homers, 32 RBIs and a .658 OPS. While that OPS doesn’t sound like anything special, it was the middle of the deadball era, so the mark was actually seven points above league average.

Robertson became the everyday right fielder in 1915, when he hit .294 over 141 games, with 72 runs, 30 extra-base hits, 58 RBIs, 22 steals and a .705 OPS. He became a feared power hitter during the 1916 season, though it was still the deadball era, so that doesn’t hold the same weight that it does now. He batted .307 in 150 games that year, with 88 runs, 18 doubles, eight triples, a league leading 12 homers and 69 RBIs in 150 games. His .752 OPS was tenth best in the league. While he led the league with 12 homers again in 1917, he didn’t quite pack the same punch. He had a .259 average, 64 runs, 18 doubles, nine triples, 55 RBIs, 17 steals and a .667 OPS. Robertson served in the military during the 1918 season. He was back in New York in 1919, though he was traded to the Chicago Cubs mid-season after playing just one game off of the bench. He ended up hitting .208/.224/.260 over 28 games in 1919, finishing with eight runs, two doubles, one homer and ten RBIs. He regained some of that power in 1920, when he put up a .300 average, 68 runs, 29 doubles, 11 triples, ten homers, a career high 75 RBIs and an .815 OPS in 134 games.

Robertson got off to a slow start in 1921, hitting .222/.243/.306 in 22 games, with seven runs, three doubles, no homers and 14 RBIs. The Pirates dealt pitcher Elmer Ponder to the Cubs to get Robertson on July 1, 1921. The local papers noted that Robertson should be a much better baseball player than his stats showed, saying that he was one of the fastest men in baseball, who could slug with the best of them and lay down a bunt just as easily. He hit .322/.361/.504 for the 1921 Pirates, with 29 runs, 18 doubles, six homers and 48 RBIs in 60 games, while seeing time at all three outfield spots. Robertson held out during Spring Training in 1922, before being released by owner Barney Dreyfuss, who thought his salary demands were outrageous. He went back to the Giants for one final year, batting .277/.320/.383 during that 1922 season, with five runs, two doubles, one homer and three RBIs in 50 plate appearances spread over 42 games. He finished his career in the minors with eight more seasons, including four as a player-manager. He was a career .287 hitter in the majors, who ended up with just 47 big league homers, despite his two home run titles. He had 366 runs scored, 117 doubles, 44 triples and 364 RBIs in 804 games.

Robertson put up big numbers in the minors after his final big league game, but they were coming in Class-B ball, three steps from the majors at the time. He played for Richmond of the Virginia League in 1923, where he had a .334 average and 40 extra-base hits in 103 games as a player-manager. He hit .304 during the 1924 season, with 37 extra-base hits in 81 games for Norfolk of the Virginia League. He remained at Norfolk for the next three seasons as a player-manager, starting with a .388 average, 37 doubles, one triple and 24 homers over 118 games in 1925. He hit .382 over 140 games in 1926, with 29 doubles, five triples and 35 homers. Robertson batted .350 in 62 games during the 1927 season, with nine doubles, one triple and 16 homers. He moved on to York of the Class-B New York-Penn League in 1928, where he had a .360 average, 28 doubles, eight triples and seven homers in 123 games. He was 38 years old that season, then ended up playing just ten more games of pro ball when he returned to Norfolk during the 1931 season. He lived in Virginia for most of his life, so he was playing his minor league ball close to home. His full name is Davis Aydelotte Robertson.

The Game

On this date in 1960, the Pirates clinched their first National League title in 33 years. They lost to the Milwaukee Braves, but the St Louis Cardinals were eliminated from the playoffs after a 5-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs. The Pirates went on to win their third World Series title that year, defeating the New York Yankees in seven games. Here’s the boxscore from the game on this date. Roberto Clemente had two hits, while Bill Mazeroski homered off of Warren Spahn.