While talking to Tim today about Daniel Cabrera I noticed that Cabrera had at one point(or more in a couple cases) led the league in losses, earned runs allowed, wild pitches, walks and hit batters. I figured right away that has to be rare and unenviable at the same time. I assumed no Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher had ever pulled that off and I was right, but just how close has a pitcher come to doing that in team history?
First we start with Pirates who have led the league in losses. It has happened quite a lot recently with the last time being Zach Duke in 2009. Others who have pulled it off are Kip Wells, Jeff D’Amico, Paul Wagner, Jose De Leon, Bob Friend, Murry Dickson, Ron Kline, Rip Sewell, Bob Klinger, Max Butcher, Larry French, Wilbur Cooper, Silver King and Harry Staley. The list is 15 long
Next up will be earned runs allowed. Right away new names enter the fray, Esteban Loaiza is the most recent followed by Bob Walk, Rick Rhoden and then it gets familiar with Dickson, Friend and Cooper also making this list followed by Al Mamaux and Fleury Sullivan way back in 1884.
How about wild pitches next. We have Ian Snell in 2007, Jason Schmidt in 1998, Walk in 1988, Kline in 1956, Paul LaPalme in 1954, Johnny Lindell in 1953, Elmer Ponder in 1920 and Staley in 1889. Right there we eliminated everyone from possibly leading all five categories.
Hit batters is next and we have five new names at the top, Rick Reuschel was the last in 1986(Pirates need to pitch inside more apparently) Steve Blass, Don Cardwell, Bill Swift and Don Songer. Then Wilbur Cooper makes his third appearance on one of these lists, followed by Lefty Leifield and Jack Chesbro. Then we get to 1891 until 1895 when three Pirates pitchers led the league twice in hit batters. That is six times over a five year span, Pink Hawley, Red Ehret and Mark Baldwin with the latter two tying in 1892.
Finally we get to walks. Wells is the most recent followed by Bob Veale four times, Lindell, Kirby Higbe, Mamaux and Marty O’ Toole.
I’d like to give Cabrera some credit though, he never led the league in hits allowed. If we expand it to that we come across some repeats of guys above. Wilbur Cooper for the fourth time makes a list. Duke, no surprise makes his third appearance as well as Bob Friend and Murry Dickson. Larry French makes his second appearance.
If we go even further, home runs allowed aren’t exactly something any pitcher strives for so why not figure that into there as well. We have some new names like Don Robinson and John Candelaria followed by some familiar names, Dickson again and then in 1919 we have Wilbur Cooper making his fifth appearance on an unenviable list.
Cooper won 216 games, had a 2.89 career ERA in 3480 innings so if he can do something like that and still be the Pirates all-time leader in wins I guess it isn’t too bad. Cabrera just needs to pick up those other 168 wins and lower his ERA by over two runs a game and these two pitchers will have something else in common. If someone asks you though, what could Daniel Cabrera have in common with one of the best pitchers in franchise history, you now have an answer.