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.