While writing about the Pirates farm system in 1967 yesterday, I saw John Lamb and his 47 games pitched in the majors without a victory. That was the Pirates record for most games pitched without a win until Pat Clements came along and pitched 92 games without picking up a win. That got me thinking about what other players spent the most time in a Pirates uniform without accomplishing an easy goal, such as picking up just one win. Here is a list of some of the more impressive feats in that regard, along with a few others just thrown in that I wondered about.
Most games pitched without a loss: Jeff Wallace, 90. He came over in the Jeff King/Jay Bell trade and while he never picked up a loss, he pitched just 86.2 innings and had a 4.67 ERA in those 90 games.
Most games without a strikeout: Frank Barrett, 5. Between 1939 and 1950 he pitched five seasons in the majors, 104 games total. His last season was spent mostly in the minors but he was a September call-up for the Pirates and pitched 4.1 innings over five games without recording a strikeout. Over his big league career he averaged 3.7 K/9.
Most innings without a strikeout: Len Gilmore, 8. His eight inning outing on October 1, 1944 got him on two lists for most innings without recording a stat. That start was his only big league game, he took the loss, gave up 13 hits and seven runs. All 36 batters he faced that day had one thing in common, they all put the ball in play leaving him with the most innings without a strikeout and without a walk.
Most innings without allowing a run: Timothy Jones, 10. He made one start and two relief appearances for the 1977 Pirates without allowing a run. The team rewarded the 23-year-old pitcher by trading him during the next Spring Training. He never played in the majors again.
Most appearances without allowing an earned run: Jim Minshall, 6. He was another player mentioned during that 1967 farm system article from yesterday. He didn’t make the majors until 1974 and when he did, he got into just six games over two seasons but he still finished his big league career with a 0.00 ERA.
Most innings without allowing a home run: Jack Hallett, 185. He didn’t have trouble allowing homers with the White Sox in 1940-41, giving up eight in 88 innings but during his three seasons with the Pirates, including 115 innings in 1946, he didn’t allow one home run. The most amazing part about that stat is that he once allowed three homers in one game while with the White Sox.
Most starts without a complete game: Ross Ohlendorf, 64. Apparently, complete games aren’t something salary arbitrators look at when making their decision.
Most complete games without a shutout: Jim McCormick, 36. In 1887, the Pittsburgh Alleghenys moved from the American Association to the National League. One of their first moves they made as an NL team was acquiring 30-year-old McCormick, who had 252 career wins. A 13-23 record in 1887 spelled the end of his big league career, but at least he finished every game he started, unlike some people.
The hitters now get their turn, sort of, because for the hitting stats we have a lot of pitchers who failed to complete an easy task.
Most at bats without a hit: Pete Schourek, 25. He wasn’t the worst hitting pitcher ever, he even batted over .200 in four seasons with the Reds but while he was with the Pirates in 1999, he couldn’t get a single hit.
Most at bats without a double: Tommie Sisk, 206. He spent seven seasons in a Pirates uniform without collecting an extra base hit. Put him in a Padres uniform in 1969 and he hits a double in his sixth at bat. Go figure.
Most at bats without a triple: Ronny Paulino, 1021. Is anyone surprised by this? What is surprising is that he one-upped Sisk by getting his first career triple just three innings into his Marlins career with the hit coming off almost former Pirate, Scott Olsen and going over the head of Lastings Milledge, who played center field so poorly that opening series of the season that he was back at AAA after one week.
Most at bats without a home run: Tommy Thevenow, 1730. He played six seasons and 499 games in a Pirates uniform without hitting a home run. He actually hit just two homers during his 15 year big league career and amazingly, they came just five days apart from each other. Thevenow is also the leader with 201 RBI’s without the help of a homer.
Most at bats without a stolen base: Bob Friend, 1097. Not only did he not steal a base in his career, he never even attempted a stolen base.
Most at bats without scoring a run: Kevin Correia, 46. He actually hit two doubles in 2011 so it isn’t totally his fault. He was coming off a career high four runs scored in 2010 so it was quite a drop-off for him.
Most games without a plate appearance: Chris Resop, 98. Much like Correia with runs, he still has a chance to get himself of this particular list. He has batted just once during his six year big league career, it came during his third big league game and he struck out.
Most at bats without an RBI: Miguel Dilone, 69. He played parts of five seasons with the Pirates without driving in a run. It took eight games for him to get one once he left and all of ten games before he had two in one game.
Most at bats without a strikeout: John Newell/Cliff Knox, 18. Don’t try to look this one up at home, you might get a different answer. Baseball didn’t always keep track of strikeouts, so some of the players from the early years look like the best contact hitters ever. Newell and Knox each played one season in the majors, six games for Knox in 1924 and five games for Newell in 1891. Neither struck out, although neither hit much. Newell had a .111 average while Knox doubled his output, with four hits and a .222 average.
Most hits without a double: Felix Fermin, 41: He managed to collect two triples but couldn’t stop at second base once (or homer) with the Pirates. It actually took him over a month with his new team (Indians) in 1989 to get his first career double.+ posts
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.