Big Lead Sports Bar


Pittsburgh Pirates: The Last Stop Part II

The second in a two-part expose! For part one, click here!


Brian Boehringer: This 1996 Yankee World Series Champion spent three seasons with the Pirates. They never gave him the chance at getting back to the World Series that Cam Bonifay promised when he signed.
Post-Pirate Career: None. Out of MLB after 2004.

Francisco Cordova: Think a less muscular Pedro Sanchez
in a Pirate uniform. Also known as the guy who combined on a no-hitter in 1997 with Napoleon Dynam...I mean, Ricardo Rincon. As Greg Brown said that star-crossed night, "It's a freak show!"
Post-Pirate Career: None. Out of MLB after 2000. Vote for Pedro.

Jabba the Jimmy Anderson: If anyone has that picture of him from a few years back with his gut sticking out, please
email it and I'll pop it in this article to further illustrate my point.

UPDATE: Thanks to Mondesi's House reader Ryan, he of sites Pittsburgh Dish and, for providing the picture I was looking for of Jimmy.

For those of you unfamiliar with Jabba, think David Wells, minus 200 wins, a World Series ring, and charisma. Here is the much-anticipated side-by-side comparison:

Released following the 2002 season.
Post-Pirate Career: Reds, Giants, Cubs (twice), Red Sox. Started seven games over that span and won one. Out of MLB after 2004. Lives off of Star Wars residual checks.

Jeff D'Amico: Brought in to round out a 2003 pitching staff, and his 16 losses certainly fit right in. Released after 2003.
Post-Pirate Career: Had stomach problems caused by eating too many innings for Pirates. Out of MLB by 2004.

John Ericks: How do you sum up a highlight-less career spent entirely in Pittsburgh, spanning three years, 8 wins, 14 losses, and a 4.78 ERA? With a boring sentence like the preceding one.
Post-Pirate Career: Signed with Cleveland, they thought better and refused to let him play. Maybe if they were the Browns, and he was a Steeler, they would have been able to use him. Because the Browns are bad. And the Steelers are really good. And Ericks was a Pirate. Out of MLB after 1997.

Jose Silva: The on-again, off-again starting pitcher actually spent parts of five seasons trolling in the land of
Primanti known as Pittsburgh, PA.
Post-Pirate Career: 12 games with Cincy in 2002 wrapped up his MLB career. Signed with A's, then Padres, then Cubs, then Diamondbacks, but never played in another MLB game.

Josias Manzanillo: Once a member of the Flying Manzanillo Brothers circus act, he converted to baseball and appeared in 71 games for the reliever-eating 2001 Fighting McClendons. Released mid-season in 2002 when his right arm fell off.
Post-Pirate Career: Cups of coffee with the Reds, Marlins and Red Sox. Out of MLB by 2004. Signed with Ringling Brothers in 2005.

Mark Redman: Messrs. Littlefield and McClatchy thought he could build upon his 2004 season, and signed him as a starter for 2005. He didn't disappoint, showing the Pirates that he was able to up his losses from 12 to 15.
Post-Pirate Career: Somehow dumped on Kansas City for 2006, where his 5.35 ERA is just what the Royals were looking for.

Mark Wilkins: 6 MLB seasons, all in black and gold. The undisputed high point was his
breaking of teammate Jeff Tabaka's jaw in a drunken brawl while in Arizona.
Post-Pirate Career: Signed and released by the A's during the 2000 offseason. Never played in MLB again. Jeff Tabaka refuses to speak to him.

Mike Williams: This should speak volumes about Mike Williams' years in Pittsburgh: 2 time All Star with the Pirates, in 2002 and 2003. This should speak volumes about Mike Williams' trade value coming off straight 2 All Star seasons: traded for pitcher
Frank Brooks.
Post-Pirate Career: Helped the Phillies miss the playoffs in 2003, signed with Tampa Bay, and never appeared in another MLB game.

Omar Olivares: $4 million for 6 wins in 2001. That was some keen GM work by Cam the Man.
Post-Pirates Career: None. Out of MLB following 2001. Still sends Christmas cards to Cam Bonifay.

Paul Wagner - Wagner's tenure in Pittsburgh was highlighted by his 16 losses in 1995. Just think, Oliver Perez is on pace to top that mark by August! Can we vote him to the All Star Game too? Released mid-season in 1997.
Post-Pirate Career: 9 starts over 2 1/2 years with Milwaukee, Atlanta, Cleveland, and the Mets. Out of MLB after 1999. Hopes Oliver Perez keeps losing.

Pete Schourek: One year, 4-7, 5.34 ERA in 1999. One would think that would deserve, oh, a $5 million a year contract, but this time, the Pirates couldn't find a pen.
Post-Pirate Career: 4-15 with a 4.99 ERA with Boston. Out of MLB in 2001.

Ramon Martinez: Honestly, I totally forgot that the Pirates had Ramon Martinez for 4 games and an 8.62 ERA in 2001. Did you ever wonder how cool it would have been if the Pirates had all these free agents from over the years signed in their primes? Martinez, Lofton, Sanders, Burnitz, Santiago, Mondesi...laugh now, but even I will admit that they had some good years in there.
Post-Pirate Career: Watching his brother dominate major league hitters for a 15th season.

Rich Loiselle: The Pirates' Closer (is that a double negative?) in 1997 and '98, he spent six years in the Steel City until a new, hotshot GM decided he didn't want him back for 2002.
Post-Pirate Career: ________________

Ron Villone: Ever wonder how bad the Pirates have been? Just think back to Opening Day 2002, when a career journeyman like Villone trotted out and took the ball from Bruce Froemming. And then look at the Opening Day starters around him: Adrian Brown, Kevin Young, Armando Rios, Mike Benjamin, et al. And then look at the fans' faces when they realized the season was over on the first day.
Post-Pirate Career: Converted to the bullpen, he's pitched for the Diamondbacks, Astros and Mariners. Somehow has found his way to the Bronx Zoo, and has tossed in 31 games for the '06 Yanks.

Ryan Vogelsong: I'm taking full advantage of the fact that he was released only hours ago. Let's face it, we all knew he was destined for this list. He was remarkably consistent as a Pirate starter---just look at his ERA in 2003 (6.55) and 2004 (6.50).
Post-Pirate Career: Ryan plans on joining the Bucco Brigade, tossing t-shirts to fans and writing in votes for Ronny Paulino for the All Star Game.

Steve Cooke: Lingered five years in a Pirate uniform. Asked to vacate the premises after 1997.
Post-Pirate Career: Pitched 6 innings with the Reds (and won!), was cut but did not bleed, signed a deal with Tampa Bay but never appeared in another game after 1998.

Todd Ritchie: I swear, I witnessed him throw at least two near no-hitters back in the day when I was duped into buying season tickets (2000 and 2001). As far as I knew, he was Cy Young reincarnated and poured into a Pirate vest. In retrospect, as bad as I felt about dropping $8 grand on 2 years of BucBall, just imagine the look on the White Sox's collective faces when they traded 3 pitchers for Ritchie and he gives them a year like 2002: 5-15, 6.06 ERA.
Post-Pirate Career: Surprisingly, the Sox did not re-up Ritchie for 2003, but he found a taker in Milwaukee. Think 15 losses and a 6 ERA could scare them? He started 5 games for the Brewers in '03, 2 with the D-Rays in 2004, and signed with, yep, you guessed it...the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2005. He was released before the season started.

Zane Smith: He was acquired in August of 1990, in the days that the Pirates were buyers at the trading deadline, not sellers. Sure, they gave up Moises Alou to get him, but the World Series win was all worth it. Wait...
Post-Pirate Career: Released by Pirates midseason in 1996. Never played in MLB again. Still wears his phantom 1990 Pirates World Series ring.


Pat said...

Somehow, Jimmy Anderson got a World Series ring for the one or two games he pitched in a Red Sox uniform. The world is an unfair place.

Anonymous said...

I was at one of the Todd Ritchie near no-hitters against the KC Royals in mid-July, so you were not in the midst of a bad acid trip - this actually did happen. Ritchie was actually outstanding for us in 1999, winning 15 games and managing an ERA of somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.50.

Does anybody else vividly remember the PG headline from the day after the Marc Wilkins/Jeff Tabaka melee? It read, on the front page of the Sports Section no less, "WILKINS SMOKES TABAKA" - like it was a heavyweight title fight. Quite possibly the funniest thing I've ever come across in the print media, and that's saying something.

Anonymous said...

I believe the other near no-no was against the Indians. Of course, the potent offense scored it's lone run in the ninth to earn Ritchie a win.

Anonymous said...

C'mon, Zane deserves better than being included here.

-Handsome Sam

Anonymous said...

Great post, but you left a few guys out:

-Brad Clontz: He had a half-decent 1999 for us, a horrible 2000, not sure what happened after that but I think he's out of MLB since.

-Jason Phillips: The first guy he faced was Chris Widger on opening day 1999, and he served up a fat one. After compiling an ERA that was about 11.00 or so, he got shipped back to the minors. I think he resurfaced with Cleveland in 2003 and that was it.

-Jim Dougherty: He came into two games with the 1999 Pirates. I think he coughed up a bunch of runs in those. And I don't think he ever appeared in a game again after that.

-Ramon Morel: Everyone seemed pretty high on this guy around 1996. Not so in 1997. He got into about four games that year and I think he's been out of MLB since.

-Greg Cadaret: We signed this guy spring training 1996 and cut him. He would have been better in the pen than some of the guys we had in the system.

-Danny Darwin: For a time in 1996, we had Doctor Death on our team. He was actually having a really good year but we traded him for something really pathetic. If I recall, was it possibly Chris Corn? Or was that from another Bonifay blunder? Anyway, he hung on until the age of 85 or so when he retired in 1998 from the ChiSox. I think this guy got his first call-up in 1978, just to show how old he really was.

-Ross Powell: Lots of hype surrounding this guy when we got him in 1995. Wound up being nothing.

-Don Wengert: He replaced Ramon Martinez in the starting rotation after the untimely retirement in 2001. Wengert was about the same in terms of ability. He is now out of MLB.

-Billy Taylor: When Terry Mulholland went down, we called the guy who almost had the team made up. He was in like two games and wasn't all that great in them. He's also out of MLB. This guy used to be a closer for the Oakland A's (after The Eck had left).

-Balvino Galvez: My personal favorite. Had the team made in 2001, but ran away from camp because he didn't like something Spin Williams told him. Resurfaced later that year in Asia (not sure of the country). The only time this guy was in MLB was in 1986 with LA.

-Mike Garcia: Called up from Mexico City in 1999. Almost made the team in 2000. Eventually got a shot but faltered. Out of MLB.

-Mark Corey: The John Wehner of pitchers. Got a lot of frequent flyer miles between Nashville and Pittsburgh in 2003 and 2004. Was in the minor league system in 2005 but never got called up. Current status unknown.

-Brian Smith: I'm not really sure where this guy came from but I know he made a few appearances in 2000 with us in September. Probably out of MLB now.

-Matt Skrmetta: See above. Same story, different guy.

-Greg Hansell: A journeyman reliever called up in 1999. Better than Marc Wilkins usually was but that's not saying much. Out of MLB.

-Matt Ruebel: For some reason this guy spent a full MLB season with us despite having an ERA of 6.00 or so. It may have been because he was a lefty and because Christiansen was on the DL to start 1997, but he existed with Christiansen and Rincon that year as well. He was taken in the same 1998 draft that took Joe Randa from us and I think he played for the D-Rays for a while before fizzling out.

-Jose Parra: A spot starter in 2000. I know he played elsewhere later, just not sure where. I think he's out of MLB now though.

-Willis Roberts: We were his last stop in terms of MLB. He had a few games in 2004 and wasn't the best but wasn't the worst either.

-Dave Wainhouse: Spent about a month worth of 1997 with us. I'm pretty sure the Cards were his last stop in 1999.

-Jeff Granger: I remember him having a horrible ERA and not lasting long in 1997. He was part of that Bell and King trade. I think he's been out of MLB since 1997, and it's been some time since 97.

-Sean Lawrence: A late blooming pitching prospect who got his shot in 1998. Not all that great. Out of MLB since then.

-Todd Van Poppel: He was a swingman with us in the latter half of 1998. Later went on to sign a ludacrous contract. I think 2004 was his last MLB season.

-Tony McKnight: This guy will forever be a mystery to me. Why did we give up on him so quickly? I thought 2002 would have a rotation of Wells, D. Williams, McKnight, either Villone or Anderson, and either Arroyo, Lowe, or Fogg. One of them would be dropped for Benson along the way. However, we shelved him in our system that year and he was never heard from again. His starts in 2001 with us weren't awful, either.