Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Top 100 All-Time Pirates: 100 - Carmen Hill
My posting has slacked off quite a bit lately. The holidays will do that, I guess. But I'm hoping to make up for it with an adventurous project that I've been planning for a while now.
I'll be counting down the top 100 players to suit up for the Bucs during the franchise's entire history. To make the list, I've largely relied upon advanced metrics, like WAR, to adjust for the differences in eras (and in some cases centuries). The list also accounts for the length a player was with the Bucs, any noteworthy accomplishments (no hitters, post season heroics, etc), though those elements don't factor in in any significant way.
With a team with such a storied and lengthy history, it makes for an interesting project to dig through turn of the century ballplayers who are far from household names. I have cards of almost all the players to include in these posts, but there are a few guys who have eluded cardboard mentality as a Pirate, or at least eluded my collection.
Anywho...on to the countdown!
Cracking the last spot on the top 100 list is Carmen "Bunker" Hill.
Ah, the days when Revolutionary War references constituted nicknames, rather than some abomination combining the first letters of first and last names.
Bunker Hill? Sure beats CarHi or CHill or some equally thoughtless nickname.
Hill broke into the majors at the tender age of 19 in 1915. Despite pitching well in his initial season, putting up an impressive 1.18 era in 3 starts and 5 relief efforts, he would spend the majority of the next decade in the minors, appearing in only 20 major league games between 1916-1922, and out of the majors entirely from 1923-1925.
In 1926, at age 30, Hill reemerged as a solid big league pitcher, earning a permanent rotation spot in 1927. His 1927 campaign would be the peak of his career, winning 22 games for the eventual NL champs and getting two points in MVP voting on the season. He would lead the team in wins, posting a 3.24 era over 277 innings.
Hill would return as a starter in 1928, posting a 16-10 record and 16 complete games in 31 starts.
He would move to the bullpen in 1929 before being claimed off waivers by St. Louis in late August. He would appear in 7 games for St. Louis across 1929 and 1930, and then kick around the minors for a few more seasons before calling it quits.
For his Pirate career, Hill pitched to a 47-31 record with a 3.26 and 47 complete games in 78 starts. Far from a household name, he is notable both for the span of his career, appearing in games for the Bucs almost 15 years apart, as he is for his exceptional run from '27-28.
The signed index card above is one of my most unique items in my collection (though that wasn't what put Hill on the list), and with a 1915 debut by far my oldest signature. But fret not, we'll quickly be moving to some more recognizable names on our list.