Pirates Amassing a History of White Flag Hurlers

For reasons I can’t begin to comprehend, my thoughts turned toward Ryan Vogelsong recently. I remembered how Vogelsong had such a great Spring Training in 2004 (26-1/3 IP and a 2.05 ERA). There was talk of him being a solid member of the rotation. It all fell apart and soon enough he was mopping up. So, in the tradition of Ryan “White Flag” Vogelsong, here is a listing of the Patron Saint of Lost Causes from each season of the Streak.

The White Flag for any given year had to appear in at least 20 games, including 15 relief appearances. Thanks to the magic of baseball-reference.com, I checked what the Pirates W-L record in each of those hurlers’ appearances. The pitcher whose appearances marked the lowest W-L percentage was given the White Flag title for the season.



Mark Petkovsek – the Pirates went 5-21 in his 26 appearances. A former first round pick of the Rangers, Petkovsek was picked up via free agency by the Pirates. In his lone ML season with the Buccos, he was 3-0 despite a 58 ERA+. He managed to have a decent career – posting a pair of 10 win seasons and finishing with a lifetime 94 ERA+.



Jeff Ballard – made 28 appearances and the Pirates were 7-21. Ballard had one of those “how’d he do that” seasons in 1989 for Baltimore. Despite striking out just 62 hitters in 215-1/3 IP, Ballard went 18-8. He won 41 games in his career and just 13 after his stellar year in 1989. He was 1-1 with a 65 ERA+ in 1994, his last season in the Show.



Jeff McCurry – made 55 appearances and the Pirates were just 15-40 in those games. He was big (6’7″) and was born in Japan. He would appear in just 56 more games in his career, including 16 with Pittsburgh in 1998. He was 1-4 with an 86 ERA+ in 1995.



Ramon Morel – the Dominican Republic native made 29 of his 43 career appearances in 1996. the Pirates were just 7-22 in games where he toed the rubber. He was 2-1 with an 82 ERA+.



Dave Wainhouse – the Pirates were 5-20 in his 25 appearances in 1997. Like Petkovsek, he was a former #1 draft pick (Montreal 1988). He finished his career with an ERA+ of 66. In an otherwise near magical season, Wainhouse posted an ERA higher than 8.00 in 28.0 IP in 1997.



Javier Martinez – the Pirates were only 5-32 in his 37 appearances. I have no recollection of this guy. None. Maybe it is because in the summer of 1998 my wife was pregnant with our first kid. Who knows. He was just 21 that year and never again appeared in the Bigs. His ERA+ was a semi-respectable 90 in 41.0 IP.



Greg Hansell – Bucs sported a 12-21 record in his 33 appearances. Big (6’5″) righty Hansell’s last stop in the Show was his 33 game season in Pittsburgh in 1999. And it was his best year in the Majors. He was only 1-3, but had an ERA better than league average for the only time in his career.



Jeff Wallace – the club was 9-29 in his 38 appearances in 2000. Wallace was effective in 1999 (125 ERA+ in 39 IP). But the wheels fell off in 2000. His ERA jumped to over 7.00 in 35-2/3 IP. He was acquired by Pittsburgh in the deal that sent Jay Bell and Jeff King to KC.



Damaso Marte – before he was an effective LOOGY, Marte was in 23 games in 2001 for the Pirates. The Battling Bucs managed to win just three of them. Marte posted a 97 ERA+ in 36-1/3 innings of work that season. You know the rest of the story.



Ron Villone – journeyman Villone was picked up as a free agent prior to 2002 and was actually the Opening Day starter. He was demoted to the bullpen after seven starts and the Pirates were just 8-30 in his 38 relief appearances. His ERA was 5.14 in relief and 6.81 as a starter.



Mark Corey – before there was Ryan Vogelsong, there was Mark Corey. The Pirates were 5-17 in his 22 appearances in 2003. His ERA+ was 82.



Mark Corey – the Pirates managed a 5-26 record in his 31 outings. His ERA+ of 95 was the best of his career. Yet, this was his last season in the Majors.



Ryan Vogelsong – Buccos were just 7-37 in his appearances



Ryan Vogelsong – 2-18 anyone? But that wasn’t the worst



Tony Armas – the disaster that was Armas’ 2007 season included 15 starts and 16 relief appearances. Pittsburgh was just 1-15 in games he pitched in relief.



Franquelis Osoria – the bespectacled one made 43 appearances and the Pirates were 16-27 in those games. He edged out Sean Burnett whose presence on the mound resulted in a 22-36 W-L record.

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

2009 Chone projections

Next Story »

Dock Ellis Dead at Age 63

Latest Analysis

  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    1 day ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    3 days ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    4 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    5 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    7 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    1 week ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    1 week ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    1 week ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    2 weeks ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    2 weeks ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles