Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date.
John Jaso, first baseman for the 2016-17 Pirates. He began his Major League career as a catcher, but concussion issues limited him to first base and some outfield by the time he joined the Pirates for his final two seasons in the majors. Jaso was a 12th round pick of the Rays in 2013, who debuted in Tampa Bay five years later. He didn’t stick in the majors until 2010, when he hit .263 with five homers and 44 RBIs, finishing fifth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting. He remained in Tampa through the 2011 season, then was traded to the Seattle Mariners. After one year in Seattle, he was traded to the Oakland A’s, where he spent two seasons. In 2015, he returned to his roots, getting dealt to the Rays in a five-player deal. He became a free agent after the season and signed a two-year deal with the Pirates. Jaso played a career high 132 games in 2016, hitting .268, with eight homers and 42 RBIs. In 2017, he slumped down to a .211 average in 126 games, though he tied a career high with ten homers. He came off the bench in 73 of those 126 games. Jaso was a .258 hitter in 808 career games.
Robinzon Diaz, catcher for the 2008-09 Pirates. He was the player the Pirates got back for Jose Bautista in 2008 when the latter was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays. Diaz didn’t have big shoes to fill at the time because Bautista didn’t break out until 2010, but he’s now known as the piece in a one-sided deal. He did well in his brief time with the Pirates, which made it surprising when he was let go after the 2009 season. Diaz hit .289 in 43 games for the Pirates, posting a 0.7 WAR. He saw most of his time with the 2009 club, which ended up being his last season in the majors. Diaz last played pro ball during the winter of 2017. He finished 15-year career with a .295 minor league average in 1,049 games. Before joining the Pirates, his big league career consisted of one game for the 2008 Blue Jays. He was originally signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2000.
Ray Sadler,left fielder for the 2005 Pirates. Sadler was originally signed by the Chicago Cubs as a 30th round draft pick in 1999. He had a long career in pro ball, but his entire big league career was limited to three games for the 2005 Pirates, which came between May 8th and May 11th that season. He started those three games in left field and he went 2-for-8 at the plate, hitting a solo homer off of Noah Lowry. Sadler was acquired by the Pirates in a 2003 trade for Randall Simon. He was let go after the 2006 season via minor league free agency. He spent 2015 playing independent ball, ten seasons after his only three Major League games. He played 16 years of pro ball, four years of winter ball and even played in the Italy version of the big leagues. His cousin Donnie Sadler played eight years in the majors.
Stuffy McInnis, first baseman for the 1925-26 Pirates. He is probably the best mid-season pick-up in franchise history. The Pirates signed him two months into the 1925 season and all he did was hit .368 in 59 games, helping them to win their second World Series title. The championship was his fourth World Series title overall. He was a role player with the 1926 Pirates, batting .299 in 47 games. McInnis had a terrific 19-year career that saw him bat .307, with 1,063 RBIs, 871 runs scored and 2,405 hits. He’s also third all-time in sacrifice hits with 383, which is a lot of at-bats to give away for the good of the team. McInnis struck out 251 times in 8,642 career plate appearances, including just one strikeout for the 1925 Pirates. He batted over .300 in 12 seasons, topping out at .327 in 1912 when he set a career best with 101 RBIs. He received MVP votes during each of the 1911-14 seasons with the Philadelphia Athletics, finishing as high as seventh twice. McInnis received mild Hall of Fame support, accumulating votes in seven years between 1937 and 1951.
Stuffy (his first name was John) was also a sure-handed first baseman during an era in which great defense at first base was a lot more important than now. For 11 straight seasons, he finished first or second in fielding percentage at first base. Somehow he is a -4.3 career for defensive WAR, despite being widely regarded as being great defensively and he has the range/numbers to back it up.