This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: August 11th, Woody Jensen

Six former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date.

Melky Cabrera, outfielder for the 2019 Pirates. Cabrera signed with the Pirates as a minor league free agent in 2019 and made the team out of Spring Training. Playing in his 15th season in the majors, he hit .280/.313/.399 in 133 games, with seven homers and 47 RBIs. Cabrera left via free agency after the season and signed with the New York Mets in June. He’s a career .285/.334/.417 hitter in 1,887 games, with 144 homers and 854 RBIs. Cabrera was an All-Star during the 2012 season when he finished with a .346 batting average.

Andrew Lambo, OF/1B for the 2013-15 Pirates. Lambo was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31, 2010 in the Octavio Dotel deal.  He was originally a fourth round pick of the Dodgers in 2007. He debuted in the majors with the Pirates in 2013 and saw action in parts of three seasons, never playing more than 21 games. Lambo hit .191/.232/.298 in 98 plate appearances for the Pirates, though that includes him going 1-for-25 during the 2015 season. He was lost via waivers to the Oakland A’s in November of 2015 and recorded just one more Major League at-bat. Lambo missed significant time during his career due to a major wrist injury, a suspension and he battled cancer while in Oakland. He retired from baseball after playing independent ball in 2017.

Al Pedrique, shortstop for the 1987-88 Pirates. He was signed by the New York Mets in 1978 as an amateur free agent out of Venezuela. For a time, it looked like he wouldn’t get past Double-A, spending four seasons there (1981-84) with the Jackson Mets of the Texas League. He finally made it to Triple-A in 1985, spending two full years there before making the 1987 Mets roster. In five games in New York, one as a starter, Pedrique went 0-for-6 at the plate, with a walk and run scored. He went back to the minors in early May. The Pirates acquired Pedrique, along with outfielder Scott Little, on May 29, 1987 in exchange for veteran infielder Bill Almon. Pedrique joined Pittsburgh the next day and was soon a regular in the lineup, making 68 starts at shortstop over the rest of the season. He played solid defense and hit .301 with 27 RBIs and 23 runs scored in 88 games for the Pirates that year.

In 1988, he began the year as the Pirates starting shortstop, but he was struggling at the plate and was soon benched, then sent to the minors in early June. He returned in August, seeing plenty of action at first, but soon took a bench role when his bat failed to come around. By September he was seldom used. In November, Pedrique was released, though he signed with the Detroit Tigers two weeks later. He played 31 games for the 1989 Tigers, his last stint in the majors. He played pro ball until 1994, finishing with 1,436 games played in the minors. Since retiring as a player, he has managed during 15 seasons, mostly in the minors. His only Major League experience came with the 2004 Arizona Diamondbacks, who went 22-61 under him and 51-111 on the season.

Dorn Taylor, pitcher for the 1987 and 1989 Pirates. He signed with the Pirates as an amateur free agent in 1981 and ended up playing nine seasons in their farm system, while spending parts of two years in the majors. He put up strong numbers throughout his minor league career, with a 74-60, 2.95 record in 245 games, 169 as a starter. He made it to the majors for the first time at the end of April in 1987, making eight starts and six relief appearances for the Pirates. Taylor went 2-3, 5.74 in 53.1 innings during his first big league stint. In early July he went on the 15-day DL, though he was pitching at Double-A on a rehab assignment before the 15 days were up. After his rehab, the Pirates sent him to Triple-A, where he finished the season. Taylor spent all of 1988 back in Triple-A, where he went 10-8, 2.14 in 22 starts. He made the 1989 Opening Day roster, but was back in Triple-A after just three games in relief. He remained in the minors until September, then saw action in six more games in relief, all one inning outings. He went 10-8, 2.58 in 25 starts in the minors that season, then he followed it up with a 14-6, 2.91 record in 30 games for Triple-A Buffalo during the next year. Taylor was traded to the Orioles on September 5, 1990 as the player to be named later in the June 25, 1990 deal that saw the Pirates acquire pitcher Jay Tibbs. Taylor pitched four games for Baltimore that season, then never played pro ball again.

Woody Jensen, left fielder for the 1931-39 Pirates. The lefty hitting/throwing outfielder spent his entire 738 game Major League career with the Pirates. He began pro ball in 1927 after playing college ball at Western Washington University, one of just three Major League players to attended that school. Jensen was with the Pirates on the bench to start the 1931 season. After five appearances over the first month, he was sent to Newark of the International League, before rejoining Pittsburgh in July. That rookie season, Jensen hit .243 with 43 runs scored in 73 games. He made the Pirates Opening Day roster again the next year, though just like the previous season, he was sent back to Newark in May. He hit .345 in 118 games in the minors, but didn’t play for the Pirates again until the following season.

Jensen would be a backup outfielder for the 1933 Pirates and for good reason. Their outfield that season had three Hall of Famers starting, Paul and Lloyd Waner, as well as Freddie Lindstrom. Jensen held his own when he played though, batting .296 with just two strikeouts in 210 plate appearances. With the same HOF outfield still intact for 1934, Jensen had the same backup role and his filled it well, hitting .290 in 88 games, although those stats come with an asterisks due to his extremely low total of four walks in 294 plate appearances.  With the trade of Lindstrom in the off-season, Jensen stepped into the starting spot in 1935 and hit .324 in 143 games with 203 hits, out-hitting both Waner brothers that year. He scored 97 runs and drove in a career high 62 RBIs.

In 1936, Jensen played a career high 153 games, leading the NL in at-bats and plate appearances. He had 54 extra-base hits, scored a career high 98 runs and fell just short of his second straight 200-hit season. Jensen had the highest fielding percentage among NL left fielders in 1935, but in each of the next two years, he led the position in errors. In 1937, he began to see a decline in his playing time and by 1938, he was again in the backup role with the emergence of Johnny Rizzo in left field, who set the Pirates single season home run record that year. Jensen played just 12 games for the Pirates in 1939 before they sold him to the Giants in June. He was sent to the International League and never returned to the majors, retiring 2 1/2 years later.

Jensen hit .285 with the Pirates, driving in 235 RBIs and scoring 392 runs. He put the ball in play as much as any player at the time, drawing only 69 walks and striking out an even 100 times in 2,869 plate appearances. His 696 at-bats during the 1936 season was a Major League record until 1969 when the Pirates Matty Alou recorded 698 at-bats. Alou had the benefit of the expanded schedule, which went into effect during the 1961 season.

Walter Barbare, infielder for the 1919-20 Pirates. He spent parts of three years in the majors with the Cleveland Indians (1914-16), getting into 105 games, with a .214 average and no homers over that time. Barbare then spent all of 1917, and most of 1918 in the minors, seeing three weeks of action in July of 1918 with the Boston Red Sox. The Pirates picked him up that off-season and gave him extended work at third base in 1919, getting 77 starts. Barbare responded with a .273 average, with 34 runs and 34 RBIs in 85 total games. The next season he saw time at SS/2B/3B, hitting .274 in 57 games. His runs (nine) and RBI (12) totals that year were especially low for a player with 199 plate appearances and a decent average. On January 23, 1921, the Pirates traded Barbare, Billy Southworth (HOF manager who was a player at that time) and Fred Nicholson, plus cash, to the Boston Braves in exchange for Hall of Fame shortstop Rabbit Maranville. Barbare had a big first season in Boston, hitting .302 in 134 games, but his average fell off to .231 that next year and by 1923 he was in the minors for his final three seasons of pro ball.  During his last year as a player, he also managed for the first of four seasons in the minors, then went on to umpire before retiring from baseball.