First Pitch: Former Pirates and World Series Titles

About a week ago we had a request in the comments to look for teams that have won the World Series since 1979 with Pittsburgh Pirates on their roster. It was called a fun idea suggestion, but I’d use the word “interesting” instead.

So I decided to research that today. Below you will find every World Series winning team since 1979 and any player who played a significant role with the Pirates before they won a World Series ring AND/OR they played a significant role with their World Series winning team. Basically, I’m just eliminating players who were in the right place at the right time to qualify for both lists, but everyone of note is mentioned below.

1980 Phillies: They had future Pirates, but no former Pirates

1981 Dodgers: Jerry Reuss and Terry Forster

1982 Cardinals: Doug Bair (they also had four future Pirates among their regular hitters)

1983 Orioles: None

1984 Tigers: Doug Bair (again)

1985 Royals: Omar Moreno

1986 Mets: Lee Mazzilli and Randy Niemann

1987 Twins: Bert Blyleven and Randy Niemann

1988 Dodgers: John Tudor

1989 A’s: Dave Parker and Rick Honeycutt (asterisk here because he was drafted/traded by the Pirates without playing for them)

1990 Reds: Billy Hatcher

1991 Twins: Brian Harper and Junior Ortiz

1992/93 Blue Jays: None

1994: No World Series

1995 Braves: Rafael Belliard and Alejandro Pena

1996 Yankees: Charlie Hayes

1997 Marlins: Bobby Bonilla, Moises Alou, John Cangelosi and John Wehner

1998/99 Yankees: None

2000 Yankees: Luis Sojo and Denny Neagle

2001 Diamondbacks: Jay Bell, Tony Womack, Midre Cummings and Miguel Batista

2002 Angels: None

2003 Marlins: None

2004 Red Sox: Bronson Arroyo, Tim Wakefield, Jimmy Anderson, Pokey Reese and Adam Hyzdu

2005 White Sox: Damaso Marte

2006 Cardinals: Jeff Suppan and Ricardo Rincon

2007 Red Sox: Tim Wakefield

2008 Phillies: Matt Stairs and ***Chris Coste (signed and released in minors by Pirates)

2009 Yankees: Eric Hinske, Xavier Nady, Damaso Marte

2010 Giants: Freddy Sanchez, Jose Guillen, Denny Bautista and Javier Lopez

2011 Cardinals: Octavio Dotel, Miguel Batista and ***Arthur Rhodes (traded by Pirates without playing for them)

2012 Giants: Xavier Nady, Ryan Vogelsong, Javier Lopez, Jean Machi (see 2014) and Eric Hacker (He’s the type of player I said I would leave out, but who doesn’t like the be reminded of Eric Hacker).

2013 Red Sox: David Ross, Brock Holt, Pedro Ciriaco, John MacDonald and Joel Hanrahan

2014 Giants: Javier Lopez, Ryan Vogelsong, Travis Ishikawa and **Hunter Strickland/Jean Machi (both played in the minors for Pirates)

2015 Royals: Chris Young, and I have to mention Erik Kratz, even though he didn’t help Pirates or Royals significantly

2016 Cubs: David Ross

2017 Astros: Charlie Morton and Francisco Liriano

2018 Red Sox: Brock Holt and Steve Pearce

2019 Nationals: Hunter Strickland



I would do better on any pre-2000 stadium quiz game than I did on this one. I got 24 correct and two of the ones I missed didn’t even sound familiar


I watched League of Their Own the other night…


By John Dreker

Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date.

Turner Ward, outfielder for the 1997-99 Pirates. He was drafted in 1986 by the Yankees in the 18th round and made his Major League debut four years later for the Cleveland Indians. Ward was traded to the Blue Jays in 1991 and then was picked up on waivers by the Brewers in November of 1993. In his first seven seasons, he had more than 200 plate appearances just once, coming during the 1994 season when he hit .232 with 45 RBIs and 52 walks in 102 games. In 1996 he played just 43 games, getting 82 plate appearances in which he hit .179 with ten RBIs. The Pirates picked him up on April 22, 1997 as a free agent. After hitting .340 in 59 games for Triple-A Calgary, he was called up and continued with the hot bat. Ward hit .353 in 71 games, with 33 RBIs and 33 runs scored. In 1998 he played a career high 123 games, with half (61 games) coming off of the bench. He ended up hitting .262 with nine homers and a career high 46 RBIs. In 1999, he struggled at the plate in limited playing time and was released in August. He signed with Arizona, where he hit .348 in 23 ABs, then hit a three-run homer during the NLDS against the Mets. Ward played parts of two more seasons in the majors before retiring as a player. He has coached and also managed three years in the minors since retiring, including the 2007 season for the Pirates with their State College affiliate.

Hank Schenz, infielder for the 1950-51 Pirates. He began his minor league career in 1939, playing four years before losing three seasons to military service during WWII. When he returned in 1946, he hit .333 in 138 games for the Tulsa Oilers of the Texas League, earning a late season promotion to the majors. Schenz spent four seasons with the Cubs, but he only spend one full year in the majors (1948). He hit .261 that year in 96 games, spending most of his time in the field playing second base. The other three seasons combined saw him play only 20 games. The Cubs traded Schenz to the Dodgers during the 1949 season and the Pirates purchased his contract from Brooklyn that November. In 1950 he saw backup playing time at 3B/SS/2B, getting into a total of 58 games with 110 plate appearances. He hit .228 with five RBIs and 17 runs scored. The latter number was high due to numerous pinch-running appearances. In 1951 he was used often early at second base, but by the end of June he was put on waivers, where the New York Giants picked him up. The rest of his Major League career consisted of just eight pinch-running appearances. Schenz finished his pro career with four seasons in the minors, the last as a player-manager for the Tulsa Oilers.

Red Smith, catcher for the 1917-18 Pirates. In Major lLeague baseball, four players have been known by the name Red Smith. All played during the same era and one played for the Pirate. Willard Jehu “Red” Smith caught two seasons in the majors, both for Pittsburgh. He began his pro career in 1910, but didn’t make the majors until mid-September 1917 after hitting .267 in 89 games for the Birmingham Barons of the Southern Association. It was his fourth straight season playing in that league, which was two levels below the majors (equivalent to AA now). Smith caught six games with the 1917 Pirates, got 24 plate appearances and hit .143 with two RBIs. In 1918 he saw limited time, getting into 15 games total, six as a starter. He hit .167 with three RBIs in 24 at-bats. His minor league records include big spaces with no information. He is listed as playing in 1919, 1923 and 1926-28.

Pop Corkhill, outfielder for the 1891-92 Pirates. He was a star outfielder earlier in his career, posting three straight 90+ RBI seasons for the Cincinnati Red Stockings from 1886-1888. In 1889 he hit .250 with 78 RBIs and 91 runs scored for the Brooklyn Bridegrooms, helping them take the American Association title. When the team moved to the National League for the 1890 season, Corkhill came along. While the team finished in first place again, he hit just .225 in 51 games. The 1891 season saw him play for three different teams in two different leagues, the third team being the Pirates. In 41 games in Pittsburgh, he hit .228 with 20 RBIs, while playing center field. The following season he saw time in center and right field, playing strong defense, but hitting only .184 in 68 games, in what would be his last season in the majors. Pop was a career .254 hitter with 631 RBIs and 650 runs scored in 1,086 games. He was one of the top outfielders of his day, five times leading the league in fielding percentage and his 224 outfield assists rank him 35th still to this day.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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