Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, plus a transaction of note.
Marino Salas, reliever for the 2008 Pirates. He signed with the Baltimore Orioles as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic at 16 years old in 1998. He spent a total of nine seasons with the Orioles without making it to the majors. His first three years of pro ball were spent playing in the Dominican Summer League (no stats available). Salas made it to the U.S. in 2001, when he spent the season in the rookie level Gulf Coast League. He had a 4.82 ERA, a 1.82 WHIP, a 13:10 BB/SO ratio and six saves in 18.2 innings over 15 relief appearances. He spent the next two seasons with Bluefield in the short-season Appalachian League. He posting a 3-0, 5.40 record over 27 appearances during the 2002 season, with 34 strikeouts and a 1.77 WHIP in 36.2 innings. That was followed by a 4.89 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 35 innings over 23 games during the 2003 season. While that ERA looks like he made minor improvements over the 2002 season, his WHIP dropped down 48 points to a 1.29 mark in 2003. Salas finally made it to full-season ball six years after he signed, playing for Delmarva of the Low-A South Atlantic League in 2004. He went 2-4, 2.15 over 40 appearances, with a 1.35 WHIP, 13 saves and 46 strikeouts in 50.1 innings. He moved up to Frederick of the High-A Carolina League for the 2005 season. He posted a 4-2, 3.63 record, a 1.32 WHIP, 16 saves and 63 strikeouts in 62 innings over 50 outings. He spent the entire 2006 season with Bowie of the Double-A Eastern League. Salas had a 2.92 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and 46 strikeouts over 49.1 innings, with 19 saves in 44 appearances. He made his first winter ball appearance in the Dominican during the 2006-07 off-season, picking up a win for one scoreless inning of work.
The Milwaukee Brewers acquired Salas via waivers prior to the 2007 season. He did well that year for Huntsville of the Double-A Southern League, putting up a 1.42 ERA and 17 saves in 37 games. He struggled a bit with Nashville of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, posting a 4.94 ERA in 23.2 innings. He had a 2.77 ERA, 54 strikeouts and a 1.20 WHIP in 61.2 innings between both stops. He was acquired by the Pirates from the Brewers for Solomon Torres on December 7, 2007. Salas had a 3.77 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP over 14.1 innings in the Dominican during the 2007-08 off-season. He pitched 13 games in relief for the 2008 Pirates during his only season in the majors, posting an 8.47 ERA in 17 innings, with a 2.29 WHIP, 14 walks and nine strikeouts. He was called up four different times during the season, seeing action in May, June, July and September. He had a 3.47 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP and 54 strikeouts over 57 innings for Indianapolis of the Triple-A International League that season. Salas allowed seven runs over 11 innings of Dominican winter ball during the 2008-09 off-season. The Pirates released him after the 2008 season. He pitched in Mexico during the 2009 season, which was his last season of summer pro ball. He lasted just ten innings that year, allowing six runs on 14 hits and seven walks. Salas played winter ball through the 2012-13 off-season in the Dominican before retiring. He played a total of seven seasons in winter ball, where he went 3-3, 3.68 in 78.1 innings over 76 appearances. His 2009-10 off-season was limited to one run over 5.1 innings. He made ten appearances in 2010-11, when he had a 2.38 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP over 11.1 innings. He pitched 20 games the following winter, finishing that off-season with a 3.60 ERA, a 1.55 WHIP and 20 strikeouts in 20 innings. His final winter season saw him give up two runs over 5.1 innings, while playing for two teams in the Dominican league.
Victor Santos, pitcher for the 2006 Pirates. He played for seven teams over a seven-year big league career, which started with the 2001 Detroit Tigers. He then moved on to the Colorado Rockies (2002), Texas Rangers (2003), Milwaukee Brewers (2004-05), Pirates (006), before finishing with the Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles in 2007. Santos was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Tigers at age 19 in 1996 out of St Peter’s University in NJ. That school has produced just four Major League players, including Frank Brooks of the 2004 Pirates. Santos was born in the Dominican Republic, but attended high school and college in New Jersey. He debuted in the rookie level Gulf Coast League, then finished his first season with Lakeland of the High-A Florida State League. He combined at the two levels to go 5-4, 2.07 in 78.1 innings, with 64 strikeouts and a 1.09 WHIP. He spent the entire 1997 season back with Lakeland, where he had a 10-5, 3.23 record, a 1.34 WHIP and 108 strikeouts in 145 innings. Santos split the 1998 season between three levels, starting back at Lakeland, while finishing at Toledo of the Triple-A International League, with six games for Jacksonville of the Double-A Southern League in between. He went 10-6, 3.74 in 151.2 innings between all three stops, with 123 strikeouts and a 1.33 WHIP. While it was a strong season overall, he had an 11.05 ERA in his brief time with Toledo. His results got worse that year the higher he went in the system.
Santos spent the entire 1999 season with Jacksonville, where he had a 12-6, 3.49 record in 173 innings, with 146 strikeouts and a 1.20 WHIP. He was injured for most of the 2000 season, which saw him limited to four games and 14.1 innings over three levels. Santos began the 2001 season in the majors with the Tigers. He remained at the big league level for most of the year, except for six starts with Toledo, where he had a 6.37 ERA over 35.1 innings. He went 2-2, 3.30 in 76.1 innings for the 2001 Tigers, with 52 strikeouts and a 1.45 WHIP over seven starts and 26 relief appearances. His big league career started with no earned runs over his first 27.1 innings. He was traded to the Colorado Rockies right before the 2002 season started. He went 0-4, 10.38 in 26 innings over 24 appearances (two starts) for the 2002 Rockies, with 25 strikeouts and a 2.42 WHIP. He spent a bigger part of the year at Colorado Springs of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, where he had a 4-9, 5.72 record in 21 starts, with 134 strikeouts and a 1.61 WHIP over 118 innings. Santos was released at the end of the 2002 season, then signed a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers. He made four starts and four relief appearances in the majors during the 2003 season, posting a 7.01 ERA, a 1.75 WHIP and 15 strikeouts in 25.2 innings. He did well that season with Oklahoma of the Pacific Coast League, but it came with a huge drop in his strikeout rate. Santos went 5-4, 3.41 in 108.1 innings, finishing with 65 strikeouts and a 1.36 WHIP.
Santos became a free agent at the end of the 2003 season, then signed with the Milwaukee Brewers, where he got a chance to pitch regularly. He had an 11-12, 4.97 record and a 1.47 WHIP over 154 innings in 2004, while setting career highs in wins, innings and strikeouts (115). Santos went 4-13, 4.57 in 141.2 innings over 24 starts and five relief appearances during the 2005 season, finishing the year with 89 strikeouts and a 1.50 WHIP. He was signed early in the 2005-06 off-season as a minor league free agent by the Kansas City Royals, but the Pirates selected him in the Rule 5 draft. He had a 5-9, 5.70 record, 81 strikeouts and a 1.66 WHIP in 115.1 innings for the 2006 Pirates, while making 19 starts and six relief appearances. He became a free agent after the 2006 season, then signed with the Cincinnati Reds, who sold him to the Baltimore Orioles in the middle of the 2007 season. Santos saw his first winter ball action in the Dominican during the 2006-07 off-season, posting a 3.65 ERA over three starts. He went 1-6, 5.83 in 63.1 innings over three starts and 33 relief appearances between both big league stops during the 2007 season, finishing up with 48 strikeouts and a 1.64 WHIP. He also had a 1.11 ERA over 24.1 innings for Louisville of the International League during his time with the Reds. Santos had a 7.94 ERA over 11.1 innings in the Dominican during the 2007-08 off-season. He signed with the San Francisco Giants as a free agent during that same off-season, but he spent the entire 2008 season with Fresno of the Pacific Coast League, where he had a 6.38 ERA, 107 strikeouts and a 1.67 WHIP in 139.2 innings.
Santos played independent ball in 2009 with Newark of the Atlantic League, posting a 5.92 ERA over 24.1 innings. He put in plenty of time that summer in Mexico, going 8-6, 4.32 in 91.2 innings for Laguna, with 44 strikeouts and a 1.43 WHIP. He pitched 2.1 innings during the 2009-10 off-season in the Dominican, while posting a 5.66 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP over 35 innings in Mexico. Santos went 3-4, 6.83 over ten starts in Mexico during the 2010 regular season, then had one scoreless appearance playing in Puerto Rico during the 2010-11 winter season. He finished up his pro career with brief stints in the Dominican and Venezuela during the 2011-12 off-season, which amounted to him allowing seven runs over nine innings. Santos went 23-48, 5.21 in 87 starts and 99 relief appearances in the majors, finishing with a 1.58 WHIP and 425 strikeouts over 602.1 innings. He pitched a total of 444 games/304 starts in his 16 years of pro ball, throwing 1,868.1 innings.
Bob Robertson, first baseman for the 1967 and 1969-76 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball at 17 years old during the 1964 season. He hit .302 that first year for Salem of the short-season Appalachian League, with 43 runs, seven doubles, 13 homers, 63 RBIs and an .844 OPS in 70 games. He played in the Fall Instructional League after the season, where he hit .215 over 47 games, with 17 runs, 12 doubles, three homers, 17 RBIs and a .691 OPS. He moved up to Gastonia of the Class-A Western Carolinas League during the 1965 season, where he batted .303 over 123 games, with 89 runs, 25 doubles, 32 homers, 98 RBIs, 68 walks and a .970 OPS. He had 14 steals that season, then never stole more than five bases in another season during his 15-year pro career. Robertson played for Asheville of the Double-A Southern League in 1966, where he hit .287 over 134 games, with 83 runs, 25 doubles, 32 homers, 99 RBIs and a .931 OPS. He was with Columbus of the Triple-A International League for most of the 1967 season. He hit .256 that year, with 60 runs, 14 doubles, 19 homers, 63 RBIs, 56 walks and an .810 OPS in 108 games. Robertson debuted in the majors at 20 years old in September of 1967, though he only got into nine games that year. He hit .171/.237/.343 over 38 plate appearances, then spent all of 1968 on the sidelines after a surgery for his kidneys. He was able to participate in the Fall Instructional League after the season (no stats available).
Robertson was with the Pirates during April/May in 1969, then returned in September. He finished the season with a .208 average, four doubles, one homer, nine RBIs and a .569 OPS in 32 games. He played 105 games for Columbus in between those two stints for the 1969 Pirates, hitting .261 during his minor league time, with 71 runs, 14 doubles, 34 homers, 76 RBIs, 60 walks and a .959 OPS. Robertson was a regular in the majors by 1970, when he hit a career high 27 homers, to go along with a .287 average, 69 runs, 19 doubles, 82 RBIs, 51 walks and a .931 OPS in 117 games. He finished 27th in the MVP voting that season, which was the only time he received any MVP votes. He went 1-for-5 with a double during his limited playoff time that year.He hit 26 homers in 1971, then added six postseason homers in 41 at-bats that year to help the Pirates to their fourth World Series title. He played a career high 131 games during the 1971 season, when he had a .271 average, 65 runs, 18 doubles, 72 RBIs, 60 walks and an .840 OPS. He had a 1.688 OPS during the NLCS series against the San Francisco Giants, then went 6-for-25 in the World Series, with four runs, two homers, five RBIs and an .825 OPS.
Robertson’s stats quickly dropped off after the strong 1970-71 seasons, mostly due to back issues that bothered him for the rest of his career. He batted .193 over 115 games in 1972, with 25 runs, 11 doubles, 12 homers, 41 RBIs and a .637 OPS. He bounced back a little in 1973, when he hit .239 over 119 games, with 43 runs, 16 doubles, 14 homers, 40 RBIs, 55 walks and a .717 OPS. That was his last season seeing regular action. Robertson hit .229 over 91 games in 1974, with 25 runs, 11 doubles, 14 homers, 48 RBIs and a .799 OPS. He went 0-for-5 in the playoffs that year. He was a part-time player in 1975-76, getting into a total of 136 games (53 starts) during that time. He hit .274 in 152 plate appearances over 74 games during the 1975 season, with 17 runs, four doubles, six homers, 18 RBIs and an .840 OPS. His last playoff action saw him go 1-for-2 with a single and a walk in three games. That was followed by a .217 average, ten runs, five doubles, two homers, 25 RBIs and a .617 OPS over 147 plate appearances. The Pirates released him just prior to Opening Day in 1977, then he didn’t play again until 1978 with the Seattle Mariners. He finished his career with the 1979 Toronto Blue Jays. Robertson had back surgery after being released by the Pirates. He batted .230/.325/.420 in 64 games for the Mariners, with 17 runs, five doubles, eight homers and 28 RBIs. He then lasted just 15 with Toronto, going 3-for-29 at the plate, with his only run and RBI coming on a home run. In nine seasons for Pittsburgh, he hit .245 over 750 games, with 265 runs scored, 93 doubles, 106 homers and 339 RBIs.
Maury Wills, 1967-68 third baseman for the Pirates. He once held the MLB modern day record with 104 steals (the all-time record for steals is 138 in 1887 by Hugh Nicol). Wills had a .290 average and 81 stolen bases over 302 games with the Pirates. He had 586 career steals, though he also led the league in caught stealing seven times. Wills debuted in pro ball at 18 years old in 1951, playing his first two seasons for Hornell of the Class-D Pennsylvania-Ontario-New York League, where he had 54 steals each season. He batted .280 in 1951, with 94 runs, 26 extra-base hits, 51 RBIs, 59 walks and a .728 OPS over 123 games. He then hit .300 during the 1952 season, with 108 runs, 34 doubles, four triples, four homers, 54 RBIs, 64 walks and a .777 OPS in 125 games. He moved up the Brooklyn Dodgers system in 1953, playing most of the year with Miami of the Class-B Florida International League. Along with a brief stop that year at Pueblo of the Class-A Western League, Wills hit .286 over 111 games, with 88 runs, 29 extra-base hits, 39 RBIs, 28 steals, 57 walks and a .774 OPS. He spent the entire 1954 season with Pueblo, where he batted .279 over 145 games, with 89 runs, 33 extra-base hits, 53 RBIs, 28 steals, 54 walks and a .721 OPS. He moved up to Fort Worth of the Double-A Texas League in 1955, where he hit just .203 in 123 games, with 44 runs, 18 extra-base hits, 39 RBIs, 12 steals and a .565 OPS. That poor performance led to him being returned to Pueblo, where he hit .302 during the 1956 season, with 110 runs, 51 extra-base hits, 54 RBIs, 34 steals, 60 walks and an .821 OPS in 134 games. He moved up to the Pacific Coast League in 1957, which was the highest level of the minors (considered to be an Open class league for a time, until becoming Triple-A again in 1958). Wills took up switch-hitting for the first time that year, when he hit .267 in 147 games for Seattle, with 67 runs, 29 extra-base hits, 33 RBIs, 21 steals and a .675 OPS.
Wills stayed in the Pacific Coast League with Spokane for the 1958-59 seasons. He batted .253 over 144 games in 1958, with 69 runs, 29 extra-base hits, 37 RBIs, 25 steals and a .628 OPS. That was followed by a .313 average, 42 runs, ten extra-base hits, 18 RBIs, 25 steals and a .778 OPS in 48 games during the 1959 season, before joining the Los Angeles Dodgers that year in early June. Wills hit .260 over 83 games during his first year in the majors, finishing with 27 runs, seven extra-base hits, seven RBIs, seven steals and a .596 OPS. He quickly established himself the next year as a strong lead-off batter (he started the year batting eighth). He had a .295 average, 75 runs scored and a league leading 50 steals in 148 games. He finished that year with 17 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs and a .673 OPS. He placed 17th in the MVP voting, which was the first of eight times that he received MVP votes. He batted .282 during the 1961 season, with 105 runs scored, 23 extra-base hits, 31 RBIs, a league leading 35 steals, 59 walks and a .685 OPS in 149 games. He was an All-Star, a Gold Glove winner and he finished ninth in the MVP voting. He had his best season in 1962, which led to the National League MVP award. He had a .299 average, 130 runs scored and 104 steals that year. His stolen base total was thought to be an all-time record at the time, though it turned out to be a modern record, after research uncovered nine totals higher from the 19th century. His .720 OPS that season was his career high, as were his 29 extra-base hits and 48 RBIs. He led the league with ten triples in 1962, while setting a Major League record with 165 games played, as the Dodgers had to make up three tie games during the season. He was also an All-Star for the second straight year, plus he won his second Gold Glove.
Wills hit a career high .302 in 1963, when he finished with 83 runs, 22 extra-base hits, 34 RBIs, 40 steals and a .704 OPS over 134 games. He was an All-Star for a third straight season, while also receiving mild MVP support, finishing 17th in the voting. He hit .275 during the 1964 season, with 81 runs, 22 extra-base hits, 34 RBIs, 53 steals and a .641 OPS in 158 games. The next year saw him return to All-Star form with a .286 average, 92 runs, 21 extra-base hits, 33 RBIs, 94 steals (had a career high 31 caught stealing) and a .660 OPS in 158 games. That year was his sixth straight stolen base title. He finished third in the MVP voting that season. Wills hit .273 during the final year of his first stint for the Dodgers, finishing the season with 60 runs, 17 extra-base hits, 39 RBIs, 38 steals and a .622 OPS in 143 games. He didn’t lead the league in steals for the first time since 1960, but he was caught stealing 24 times. He was an All-Star that season, plus he finished 21st in the MVP voting. His defense helped his MVP case, as his 1.5 dWAR was his second best season of his career, only trailing the 2.3 dWAR from the previous year. The Pirates acquired Wills on December 1, 1966, in exchange for third baseman Bob Bailey and infielder Gene Michael. At the time, Wills had been an All-Star in five of his previous six seasons. He also won two Gold Glove awards with the Dodgers, though the second one came five years earlier. However, his two best seasons for dWAR were not the Gold Glove years. The Pirates nullified some of that value by shifting him over to third base during his time in Pittsburgh.
Wills hit .302 for the 1967 Pirates, with 94 runs scored, 24 extra-base hits, 45 RBIs and a .700 OPS in 149 games. His 29 stolen bases represented a career low up to that point. His average dropped to .278 in 1968, while collecting just 18 extra-base hits and 31 RBIs in 153 games, leading to a .642 OPS. However, Wills stole 52 bases and scored 76 runs that season. That OPS isn’t as bad as it seems, as the 1968 season was a huge year for pitchers, which led to changes to the mound height to swing the results back towards the hitters. Wills was lost to the Montreal Expos in the Expansion Draft after the 1968 season. He played just 47 games in Montreal, before returning to the Dodgers for his final 3 1/2 seasons. He hit .222/.295/.238 for the Expos, with 23 runs and 15 steals. He then had a .297 average and a .734 OPS in 104 games with the 1969 Dodgers. While his regular season combined total wasn’t the best of his career, that .734 OPS was better than any full season total during his 14 years in the majors. He combined to hit .274 over 151 games, with 80 runs, 22 extra-base hits, 47 RBIs, 40 steals and a .673 OPS. He finished that year 11th in the MVP voting. Wills batted .270 for the 1970 Dodgers, with 77 runs, 22 extra-base hits, 34 RBIs, 28 stolen base, 50 walks and a .651 OPS in 132 games. He hit .281 over 149 games in 1971, with 73 runs, 20 extra-base hits, 44 RBIs, 15 steals and a .652 OPS. That performance earned him a sixth place finish in the MVP voting. He saw a major drop-off in production in 1972, which ended up being his final season. He hit just .129/.190/.167 in 71 games, finishing with 16 runs, four extra-base hits, four RBIs and one stolen base. He ended his career with a .281 average, 1,067 runs, 177 doubles, 71 triples, 20 homers, 458 RBIs, 552 walks and 586 steals in 1,942 games. He ranks 20th all-time in steals, as well as fifth all-time with 208 caught stealing.
The Dodgers went to the World Series four times while Wills was on the team. They won three times, 1959, 1963 and 1965. He did not have overall postseason success, posting a .571 OPS, six steals and six runs scored in 21 games, with almost all of his production coming during the 1965 series. After his playing days were over, he managed the Seattle Mariners during parts of the 1980-81 seasons, compiling a 26-56 record in that time. His career value stands at 39.6 WAR. Wills passed away recently, just shy of his 90th birthday. He’s the father of Bump Wills, who spent six seasons in the majors and stole 196 bases.
Eddie Murphy, outfielder for the 1926 Pirates. He was once a star player for the Philadelphia A’s, but by the time he joined the Pirates in 1926, he had been out of the majors for five years. Murphy debuted in pro ball in 1911 at 19 years old, playing for Scranton of the Class-B New York State League. He had a .300 average and 18 extra-base hits in 91 games. He moved up two levels to Baltimore of the Double-A International League (highest level of the minors at the time) for the 1912 season, where he put together a .361 average, 14 doubles, 15 triples and seven homers in 122 games. He joined the Philadelphia A’s in late August that year, then hit .317/.370/.359 as their everyday right fielder, with 24 runs, five extra-base hits and six RBIs in 33 games. He would hold that position with the team for the next 2 1/2 seasons. He hit .295 in 1913, with 105 runs scored, 22 extra-base hits, 30 RBIs, 21 steals, 70 walks and a .747 OPS over 137 games. He helped the A’s to the World Series that year, where they defeated the New York Giants. He went 5-for-22 during the series, with five singles, two runs and two walks. Philadelphia was back in the World Series in 1914, though they lost to the Boston Braves. Murphy hit .272 during the 1914 season, with 101 runs, 25 extra-base hits, 43 RBIs, 87 walks and a .720 OPS in in a career high 148 games. He stole 36 bases, but he was also caught a staggering 32 times. He wasn’t a power hitter, and in fact, he hit three of his career total of four homers during the 1914 season, then never homered again. All four of his homers were solo shots. Two led off the game, three came on the road in a six-week span, and one was an inside-the-park homer. Murphy went 3-for-16 in the World Series, with two runs, two doubles and two walks.
Murphy was sold to the White Sox on July 15, 1915 for $11,500. He hit .274 in 138 games that season, with 88 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 43 RBIs, 68 walks, 33 steals and a .698 OPS. He put up much better results after switching teams, finishing with a .588 OPS in Philadelphia, and an .802 OPS with Chicago. He took up a bench role during the 1916 season, when he hit .210/.286/.274 in 117 plate appearances over 51 games, with 14 runs, six extra-base hits and four RBIs. The 1917 season saw him rebound in a limited bench role, hitting .314/.386/.392 in 64 plate appearances over 53 games, with nine runs, three extra-base hits and 16 RBIs. The White Sox won the World Series that year over the Giants, though he didn’t see any postseason time. He got more playing time in 1918, when he hit .297 over 91 games, with 36 runs, nine doubles, three triples, 23 RBIs and a .699 OPS. He was a bit player on the 1919 White Sox, playing just 30 games all year, but he did incredible in his limited time. He had a .486 average, eight runs, four doubles, five RBIs and seven walks (with no strikeouts) in 43 plate appearances, leading to a 1.171 OPS. He went 0-for-2 with a HBP during the infamous Black Sox World Series. He was able to play a little more in 1920, when he responded with a .339 average, 22 runs, three extra-base hits, 19 RBIs and a .777 OPS in 133 plate appearances over 58 games (16 starts). In his final big league time before heading to the minors for five seasons, Murphy got just five at-bats in six games for the 1921 White Sox. All of those appearances came off of the bench, with his last game coming on May 30th. He played 117 games with Columbus of the Double-A American Association that season, where he had a .293 average and 28 extra-base hits.
Murphy remained in Columbus through the end of the 1925 season. He hit .317 in 140 games during the 1922 season, with 27 doubles, 11 triples and four homers. He batted .351 over 154 games in 1923, with 209 hits, 39 doubles, eight triples and 13 homers. The 1924 season saw him hit .350 in 146 games, with 199 hits, 30 doubles, 12 triples and five homers. Murphy batted .397 in 100 games during the 1925 season, with 21 doubles, five triples and three homers. He moved on to Rochester of the Double-A International League in 1926, where he had a .355 average and 33 extra-base hits through 111 games in early August. The Pirates purchased his contract “for a large sum” on the recommendation of scout Chick Fraser. Murphy would bat 22 times in 16 games for the 1926 Pirates. He saw somewhat limited time due to a minor knee injury suffered in late September, which in turn led to him being released back to Rochester before the season ended. He hit .118/.250/.118 during that brief time for the Pirates, with three runs, six RBIs and three walks. He was back in Rochester by 1927, where he batted .341 over 83 games, with 32 extra-base hits. He retired from baseball in 1928, after playing 114 games that season for Jersey City and Montreal of the International League. He batted .304 during that last season, with 13 extra-base hits in 322 at-bats. He was a member of four World Series teams, though he failed to pick up a single postseason RBI in 45 plate appearances. Murphy hit .287 during 11-year big league career, with 411 runs, 66 doubles, 32 triples, 195 RBIs, 294 walks and 111 steals in 761 games.
Ernie Diehl, outfielder for the 1903-04 Pirates. He played a very minor part of the first World Series team for the Pirates, going 1-for-3 in his lone game on May 31, 1903. That game was his pro debut at 25 years old. He batted .162/.311/.162 over 12 games for the 1904 Pirates, then played a total of four games over two seasons for Boston of the National League to finish out his big league career. When the team was called the Beaneaters in 1906, he went 5-for-11 with a triple in three games. When the team was named the Doves in 1909, he went 2-for-4 with a double and run scored in his lone game on August 12th. He didn’t have much of a minor league career, spending part of the 1907 season with Toledo of the Class-A American Association (highest level of the minors at the time) and parts of two seasons with Louisville, also of the American Association. Diehl is credited with batting .405 in 22 games for Toledo, with 14 runs, six doubles, three triples and three steals. He had a .226 average, eight runs, four extra-base hits and three steals over 20 games with Louisville in 1909. He was playing semi-pro/amateur ball regularly during this time, so while his pro stats don’t look like much, he wasn’t going into those games off of long breaks.
It was said that Diehl had plenty of money, and the idea of playing baseball every day wasn’t for him. According to a late 1907 article, he never made a cent playing pro ball. He preferred to play when he wanted to, so therefore his career was rather brief compared to the skills that he possessed, which would have easily landed him a job with the best minor league teams each year. It’s also likely that he would have had much more MLB time. It’s said that he never signed a pro contract. The Pirates tried to sign him in 1903 after he impressed in his lone game, but he had business affairs that kept him from joining the team. He came highly recommended from pitcher Sam Leever. Diehl filled in when needed in 1904, once taking the place of an injured Jimmy Sebring for nearly two weeks until the Pirates could get someone else signed. The Cincinnati Reds made an offer to sign him just prior to joining the Pirates, but he refused his hometown team. Owner Barney Dreyfuss said in February of 1905 that he was hoping to sign Diehl, but nothing ever came of that wish. He also turned down a 1906 contract with Boston after impressing during his brief playing time. Dreyfuss mentioned as late as 1907 that Diehl could have a job with the Pirates any time that he wanted to sign. He even called him late in the 1907 season, asking him to fill in for Fred Clarke in left field after the Hall of Famer got injured, but Diehl already had a spot with Toledo at the time. A 1908 story out of Cincinnati called him the greatest Cincinnati amateur player. He was a well-known semi-pro player at the time. He was an outstanding athlete, who also excelled at tennis.
Scott Stratton, pitcher for the 1891 Pirates. He had a 34-14 record during his best season in the majors, but he was just 63-100 over the rest of his career, including losses in his only two starts with the Pirates. Stratton debuted in pro ball in the majors. He was an 18-year-old rookie in 1888, when he went 10-17, 3.64 in 269.2 innings for the Louisville Colonels of the American Association. He completed all 28 of his starts that season, while tossing two shutouts. He finished that year with 97 strikeouts and a 1.26 WHIP. He lowered his ERA to 3.23 in 1889, but he was pitching for the team that set the MLB record for losses in a season, which left him with a 3-13 record in his 17 starts. He had 42 strikeouts and a 1.49 WHIP over 133.2 innings pitched. Louisville went 27-111 that season, though it was a record that lasted just one year. While he was having the season of a lifetime in 1890, Pittsburgh went 23-113 at the same time. Stratton went 34-14, 2.36 over 431 innings, with 44 complete games and four shutouts in 49 starts. His 207 strikeouts that season ranked sixth in the league, and that total represents the only time he surpassed the century mark in strikeouts for a season. He had the best ERA and best WHIP (1.06) in the American Association that year. He also batted .323 in 55 games, with 24 RBIs. For all of that success, he was paid just $1,800 in 1890. The Alleghenys/Pirates used Guy Hecker to get him to sign in Pittsburgh prior to the 1891 season. Hecker mentored Stratton for two seasons in Louisville, then managed the Alleghenys in 1890.
Stratton faced future Hall of Famer Kid Nichols during his Pittsburgh debut, and ended up losing a tough 4-3 decision, with some poor defense hurting Stratton’s chances to win. He actually started three days earlier (May 22nd), but that game was called after just two innings due to rain. We wrote about that called game here because it was an extremely rare case from the 19th century where there was a pitch count available. Stratton lost 5-3 to Brooklyn on June 1st, in what was another solid performance according to the papers. He was sent home after he developed a sore shoulder in that second start. He was released by Pittsburgh on June 19th, then signed shortly after with Louisville. He debuted as a position player for Louisville before making his first start for the team in mid-July. He went 6-13, 4.08 in 172 innings over 20 starts for Louisville to finish out the 1891 season. His combined total for the season shows a 6-15, 3.92 record, 57 strikeouts and a 1.36 WHIP over 190.1 innings. Louisville transferred to a National League team in 1892, as the American Association ceased operations after the 1891 season. Stratton went 21-19, 2.92 over 351.2 innings in 1892, with 93 strikeouts and a 1.17 WHIP. He completed 39 of 40 starts, including two shutouts. Despite those solid stats at 22 years old, he won just 23 more games over the next three seasons, then never pitched again in pro ball.
Stratton’s record really dropped off in 1893, when he had a 12-23, 5.43 record, a 1.73 WHIP and a 100:43 BB/SO ratio in 314.2 innings. Baseball changed pitching rules that year, including the distance to home plate, which led to more offense and many pitchers having trouble adjusting. Stratton had even more trouble in 1894 (as did most pitchers), going 9-10, 6.51 in 171.1 innings, with a 55:27 BB/SO ratio and a 1.94 WHIP. He spent half of that season with the Chicago Colts (Cubs). He finished his big league career out with the Colts in 1895, going 2-3, 9.60 in five starts, with a 2.17 WHIP and four strikeouts over 30 innings.
Stratton became an outfielder once his big league pitching career was over. He played minor league ball for another five seasons, before retiring in 1900. He finished out the 1895 season with St Paul of the Class-A Western League, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. He hit .341 over 45 games, with 56 runs, 21 extra-base hits and ten steals in 1895. He also played for St Paul in 1896, though no stats are available for that league. Stratton played for Springfield of the Class-A Eastern League and Reading of the Class-B Atlantic League during the 1897 season. He combined to hit .343 in 93 games (mostly with Reading), with 89 runs, 30 extra-base hits and 15 steals. He spent the 1898 season with Reading, though stats are unavailable for the league that year. Reading moved up to Class-A in 1899, when he batted .296 over 78 games, with 51 runs, ten extra-base hits and seven steals. He also played for Bristol of the Class-F Connecticut State League, which was five levels lower in the minors than the Atlantic League. He hit .368 in 29 games that year for Bristol, with 20 runs scored and three stolen base. No stats are available from his final season in 1900, which he split between Hartford of the Eastern League and Wilkes-Barre of the Atlantic League. Stratton refused to play on Sundays, and said he would quit before he did that. His big league record shows a 97-114, 3.87 record in 1,892.1 innings pitched, with 570 strikeouts, a 1.38 WHIP and 199 complete games in 214 starts. He tossed ten shutouts. He was a .274 hitter in the majors, with eight homers and 163 RBIs.
On this date in 1964, the Pirates signed 20-year-old catcher Manny Sanguillen as an amateur free agent out of Panama. It took him just three seasons to make it to the majors. He would go on to make three All-Star teams and hit .299 over 1,296 games with the Pirates in 12 seasons, helping them to six playoff appearances and two World Series titles. Sanguillen became the second player from Panama to play for the Pirates, debuting one year after outfielder Dave Roberts.