Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, including one of the best outfielders in franchise history.
Max Carey, Hall of Fame center fielder for the Pirates from 1910 until 1926. Carey debuted at the end of the 1910 season for two games, and then was a regular in the lineup for the next 16 seasons. He led the National League in stolen bases ten times from 1913 until 1925. He led the league in runs in 1913, in triples in 1914 and 1923, and walks in 1918 and 1922. In 1922 he scored 140 runs, which is the fifth highest total in team history. Carey finished his career with 738 stolen bases which still ranks as the ninth highest total all-time. He had a career .285 average with 1,545 runs scored, 2,665 hits and 1,040 walks. Among Pirates all-time records he ranks fourth in games played with 2,178, fourth in runs with 1,414, tied with Pie Traynor for fourth in hits with 2,416, fifth in doubles, sixth in triples, second in walks to Willie Stargell and first in stolen bases with 688. He has the fourth most putouts as an outfielder all-time and seventh most assists. He led NL center fielders in putouts seven times and assists five times. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1961.
Carey had a short minor league career, playing 48 games for South Bend of the Central League in 1909 at 19 years old, followed by another 96 games for South Bend in 1910. He batted just .158 during his first pro season, then nearly doubled his average in 1910. He was still attending college at the time, which limited his playing time during those first two seasons. Despite a brief minor league career, the Pirates obtained his rights on August 15, 1910, though he was allowed to finish the season with his minor league club before reporting to Pittsburgh. Despite seeing him for just two games, Carey earned a big league starting spot in 1911 and put together a solid performance for a 21-year-old rookie in 129 games. He really took off in 1912, batting .302 with 114 runs scored and 45 stolen bases. By 1912, he won his first stolen base crown, swiping 61 bags. He also led the NL with 99 runs scored. Carey’s speed and defense helped him excel during the deadball era when hitting numbers were at an all-time low. A good example was his 1916 season in which he hit .264 in 154 games. Carey stole a league leading 63 bases and he scored 90 runs, which ranked him second in the league. His .711 OPS doesn’t look like much that year, but he actually put up 5.1 WAR.
Carey’s best season (according to WAR) came in 1917, which was a rough year in Pittsburgh, as the club finished 51-103. He put up 5.2 WAR, thanks in part to a .296 average, 46 steals and 82 runs scored. The 1918 season was shortened a month due to the war, but Carey led the league with 58 steals and 60 walks. Carey also lost time during the 1919 season due to surgery on his arm for an abscess, which took a while to heal. He returned in 1920 and put together a solid run of seasons, including 1922, when he had an .868 OPS, 140 runs scored and 5.1 WAR. In 1925, he hit .343 and had a .909 OPS, while collecting his tenth stolen base title. Carey then batted .458 during the World Series, with four doubles, three steals and six runs scored. However, the 1926 Pirates had a lot of issues, both on and off the field and Carey got caught up in the drama, which eventually led to him being put on waivers in August after everything came to a boil. It was part of the ABC affair, which saw the Pirates part ways with three of their veteran players on the same day, which did not go over well with fans. Carey remained in the majors for three more seasons, playing his final 298 games for the Brooklyn Robins.
Warren Morris, second baseman for the 1999-2001 Pirates. He was acquired from the Texas Rangers along with Todd Van Poppel in exchange for Esteban Loaiza on July 17, 1998. Morris was a fifth round draft pick of the Rangers in 1996 out of LSU. He didn’t sign until late in the summer and made his pro debut in 1997. He started pro ball in High-A and finished the season in Triple-A, skipping right over the Double-A level, though he would spend the entire following season in Double-A. Morris hit .331 with 19 homers, 17 stolen bases and 103 RBIs in 1998 to earn the Pirates starting second base job in 1999. He managed to bat .331 with the Rangers before the trade and .331 in 44 games with the Pirates (Carolina of the Southern League) after the deal. He played 147 games during his rookie season in 1999, hitting .288 with 15 homers, 73 RBIs and 65 runs scored, earning a third place finish in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. He had a sophomore slump in 2000, hitting .259 with only three homers and 43 RBIs, despite getting 25 more plate appearances than the previous season. He performed even worse in 2001 and spent nearly half the season in the minors, where he put up an .804 OPS in 57 games for Triple-A Nashville. Morris hit .204 in 48 games that season for the Pirates, then was released during spring training in 2002. He batted .267 in 339 games for the Pirates over three seasons. Morris signed as a free agent with the Minnesota Twins just two days after being released by the Pirates. He played in four big league games that season before being traded in mid-June to the St Louis Cardinals, who then lost him on waivers to the Boston Red Sox just five weeks later. He became a free agent after the 2002 season and signed with the Detroit Tigers. He batted .272 in 97 games for Detroit in 2003, but he still ended up playing his final big league game that year. He re-signed with the Tigers for 2004, then spent the entire year in the minors. He played one more year of minor league ball before retiring, spending time in the Milwaukee Brewers and Cleveland Indians system in 2005.
Jermaine Allensworth, outfielder for the 1996-98 Pirates. He was a first round draft pick of the Pirates in 1993, taken 34th overall out of Purdue University. Allensworth was originally drafted by the California Angels in the 15th round out of high school in 1990, but chose the college route instead. He hit well that first season in short-season A-ball with the Pirates, batting .308 with 18 steals in 67 games. He was moved to Double-A the following season, but struggled with the big jump in levels, posting a .656 OPS in 118 games. He hit better in 1995 and made it to Triple-A mid-season, where he put up an .849 OPS in 51 games. Allensworth broke out in 1996 at Triple-A, hitting .330 with 25 steals and 77 runs scored in just 95 games, which earned him a promotion to the big leagues in late July. He hit .262 with 11 steals and 31 RBIs in 61 games for the Pirates that season. He started the 1997 season in the majors and was playing center field everyday until a broken hand in May cost him six weeks of the season. He would hit .255 in 108 games that year, post much better results before the injury. The 1998 season saw him hit .309 through 69 games before the Pirates traded him to the Kansas City Royals for minor league pitcher named Manuel Bernal. It seemed like a one-sided deal, but it ended up being perfect timing. Allensworth would be shipped to the New York Mets before the season was over and he finished his MLB career there in 1999. After the trade from the Pirates, he compiled -0.4 WAR in a total of 104 games. He was out of the majors by 1999, though he played pro ball until 2008. The Mets traded him to the Boston Red Sox after the 1999 season, but he never played for Boston. He saw time in the Detroit Tigers and Atlanta Braves systems, before spending his final five years playing independent ball in the Northern League. Allensworth hit .272 with ten homers, 33 steals and 98 RBIs in 238 games with the Pirates.
Lloyd McClendon, utility player for the 1990-94 Pirates, then managed the team from 2001 until 2005. The Pirates acquired him late in the 1990 season from the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later. It was his fourth season in the majors and he was hitting just .159 at the time of the trade. McClendon worked his way through the minors the hard way, getting drafted in the eighth round by the New York Mets in 1980 out of college. He didn’t debut in the majors until seven years later at 28 years old. The Mets traded him five years earlier to the Cincinnati Reds as part of the package to acquire Tom Seaver in 1982. McClendon hit .215 in 117 games with the Reds before being dealt to the Cubs after the 1988 season. In 1989, he batted .286 and played a career high 95 games, but he hit a rough patch at the plate before joining the Pirates. He was a part-time player, used as a corner outfielder, first baseman, pinch-hitter and emergency catcher during his four full season with the Pirates. In 1991 he hit .288 with seven homers in 163 at-bats , pinch-hitting 40 times that season. He hit .253 during the 1992 regular season, but in the playoffs he went 8-for-11 with four walks and four RBIs. His average dropped the next two seasons before the Pirates allowed him to leave via free agency in October of 1994. He signed with the Cleveland Indians and finished his playing career in Triple-A in 1995. McClendon batted .251 with 312 games in Pittsburgh, with 17 homers and 77 RBIs. He was a .244 career hitter in 520 big league games.
McClendon was named as the Pirates manager for the 2001 season. He lost 100 games during that first season, then finished between 72-75 wins in each of the next three years. He was let go near the end of the 2005 season. He had a 336-446 record during his managerial tenure with the Pirates, finishing as high as fourth place twice. McClendon managed the 2014 Seattle Mariners to a winning record, then dropped below .500 in his second season there. He took over managing the Detroit Tigers during the final eight games of the 2020 season.
Mickey Keliher, first baseman for the 1911-12 Pirates, who was born on the same day as Max Carey. Keliher began his pro career in 1910 hitting .225 in 25 games. The following year he broke out for Petersburg of the Virginia League, hitting .323 in 122 games which earned him a September look with the Pirates. The Pirates purchased his contract on August 21, 1911 under the advisement of scout Howard Earle. At the same time, the Pirates also purchased his teammate Everett Booe, who would play briefly for the 1913 Pirates. Both players were allowed to finish their minor league season before joining the Pirates. Keliher was said to be a strong hitter, with speed and defense, but he did not make a great impression in his only three games during his September trial, going 0-for-7 with five strikeouts, and he also made an error. Keliher started one game in his career, coming on September 29, 1911 in a 7-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. The next season he was with the Pirates early, but the only playing time he received was two pinch-running appearances on May 3rd and May 9th. He stayed with the team for nearly another month before being sold to Montreal of the International League on June 7th. He then spent a total of 16 seasons over an 18-year span, playing in the minors, never getting another chance at the majors. He was a player-manager his last three seasons in the minors. He hit .313 in 1929, before passed away in September of 1930 at age 40 due to injuries suffered in an auto accident. His minor league stats are incomplete, but he had at least 1,954 hits in 1,731 games.
Silver King, pitcher for the 1891 Pirates. King was a big-time signing for the Pirates/Alleghenys, who had just finished 23-113 during the dreadful 1890 season. With the Player’s League folding after the 1890 season, almost all of those players in the PL returned to their original teams. King was one of the handful of players who didn’t, choosing to sign with the Pirates instead for a $5,000 contract. The off-season had a lot of stories about him signing and possibly not signing with Pittsburgh, but he finally ended up debuting in the eighth game of the season. He was a star player, who by age 22 had already won 143 Major League games. He debuted in the majors in 1886 at 18 years old, playing in the National League for the Kansas City Cowboys. After going 1-3 in five starts, he moved on to the St Louis Browns of the American Association in 1887 and had a huge season. He went 32-12, 3.78 in 390 innings. He was even better the next season, posting one of the best pitching seasons ever. King won 45 games, which led the AA. He also led the league with 64 starts, 64 complete games, six shutouts, 584.2 innings, an 0.87 WHIP and a 1.63 ERA (not an actual stat at the time). King won 35 more games in 1889, then became the all-time ERA leader in Player’s League history with his 2.69 mark. Pittsburgh did not get the kind of production from him they had hoped for, but he wasn’t as bad as things seemed. He had a 14-29 record, leading the NL in losses, though it came with a 3.11 ERA in 384.1 innings. The Pirates released him just before the season ended. He won 22 games in 1892 for the New York Giants, but when the pitching distance was changed in 1893 to the current distance they still use today, King had a tough time adjusting. He was a sidearm pitcher with a lot of deception in his delivery, who almost exclusively threw fastballs. He saw his ERA nearly double in one season, going 8-10, 6.08 in 1893 after posting a 3.29 ERA in 1892. He would end up winning just 24 Major League games after the age of 24. He retired during the 1894-95 seasons because he made more money outside of baseball. King returned for the 1896-97 seasons with the Washington Senators and he went 16-16, 4.45 in 299.1 innings over two seasons.
Bill Niles, third baseman for the 1895 Pirates. He was a light-hitting third baseman who started his minor league career in 1889 and bounced around the minors before getting his only shot in the majors at age 28. The Pirates used him in 11 games in 1895 and he hit .216 with five walks and two steals. Niles went through Spring Training competing for the third base job with Billy Clingman. Niles lost out in the battle, but he played well enough that he won a backup job. He was used for the first time on May 13th, then sent out to the minors on loan, where he played for Franklin of the Iron and Oil League. He was recalled by the Pirates on July 20th to take the place of an injured Clingman at third base. On August 7, 1895 he was released, with manager Connie Mack saying that they had no playing time to offer him now that Clingman was healthy again and utility player Frank Genins was playing well. The Pirates also signed pitcher Jake Hewitt that same day they released Niles, after Hewitt did well in a trial appearance for the Pirates during the previous day. The Pirates still held on to Niles’ rights after agreeing to send him to Milwaukee of the Western League on August 10th. Releases back then came with ten days notice in which a team still held the rights of a player before they were given their unconditional release. Niles was still on the Pirates reserved list after the 1895 season ended, one of 15 players they held the rights to on October 14th when the list was released. However, he wasn’t on the list anymore early in 1896. Niles posted a .930 fielding percentage during his short time in the majors, which was 58 points above league average for third baseman at the time. He returned to the minors for good after his release and played until 1900.