Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date starting with a member of the first team in franchise history to win the World Series.
Bill Abstein, first baseman for the 1906 and 1909 Pirates. He played three seasons in the minors before he made his big league debut with the 1906 Pirates in late September. Pittsburgh purchased his contract that season after he hit .311 in 127 games for Shreveport of the Southern Association. He batted .200 in eight games for the Pirates, then was assigned to the Providence Grays of the Eastern League for the 1907 season. He spent two full years there, hitting .276 with 31 triples over 281 games. Pittsburgh owner Barney Dreyfuss got his contract back on August 7, 1908 from Providence, though he was allowed to finish out the minor league season before joining the Pirates. He was scheduled to report to the Pirates on September 21st, and manager Fred Clarke even wrote his name in the lineup that day, but he failed to show up to the team. Instead, Abstein decided to go home for the winter, after being worn down by playing 145+ games that season. First base was considered to be the biggest hole in the Pirates lineup going into 1909, after they used four players there in 1908 with almost no success (the group combined for 0.4 WAR). The Pirates made him the everyday first baseman in 1909 and he would end up batting .260 with 70 RBIs in 137 games, helping Pittsburgh to its second World Series appearance. In the series against the Detroit Tigers, Abstein hit .231 with two RBIs and the Pirates took the series four games to three. Following the season, Abstein was put on waivers, where he was picked up by the St Louis Browns. He was a solid hitter for the deadball era, but the team and the fans had a lot of issues with his ability to play defense, which led to the move. It turned out to be a wise decision for the Pirates. He lasted just 25 games with the Browns in 1910, hitting .149 before returning to the minors where he finished his baseball career in 1916. Abstein was a career .273 hitter over 1,501 games during his 12 seasons in the minors. In a sign of the times, he was referred to as “Big Bill” often, though he stood 6’0″, 185 pounds.
Travis Snider, right fielder for the 2012-14 and 2015 Pirates. He was a first round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2006 out of high school in Washington, taken 14th overall. It took him just two full seasons to get to the majors, making his big league debut at 20 years old on August 29, 2008. Snider hit .301 with two homers in 24 games during his first trial in the majors. In 2009, he made the Opening Day roster, although he couldn’t stick for the entire season. He was sent to Triple-A in late May and returned to the Blue Jays in August to finish the season. He hit .241 in 77 games, with nine homers and 29 RBIs. Snider spent time on the disabled list in 2010, limiting him to 82 games. He batted .255 and set career highs with 14 homers and 20 doubles. In 2011, he struggled in the majors, hitting just .225 with three homers in 49 games. He joined the Pirates during the middle of the 2012 season, coming over in a trade with the Blue Jays for pitcher Brad Lincoln. He had played just ten big league games that year prior to the trade. Snider did poorly after the deal, putting up a .652 OPS in 50 games, with one homer and nine RBIs. He had a platoon role in right field in 2013, playing 111 games, with 53 outfield starts. He had a career worst .614 OPS, with five homers and 25 RBIs. Snider played a career high 140 games in 2014, though half of his games were off of the bench (71 starts). He batted .264 with 13 homers and 38 RBIs. In 301 games with the Pirates over that three-year stretch, he hit .243 with 19 homers and 72 RBIs in 711 at-bats. He was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in January 2015 for minor league pitchers Steven Brault and Stephen Tarpley. Snider returned to the Pirates after being released by the Orioles in mid-August. He was hitting .239 in 69 games, with three homers. In 18 games back with Pittsburgh, he hit .192 with one home run. That was his last action in the majors, though he was still an active player in 2020. Since leaving the Pirates the second time, he has spent time with the Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers, New York Mets, Arizona Diamondbacks and Miami Marlins, as well as a short stint in independent ball. In 630 big league games over eight seasons, he’s a .244 hitter, with 54 homers and 212 RBIs.
Ronny Cedeno, shortstop for the Pirates from 2009 until 2011. He was signed as an international free agent by the Chicago Cubs in 1999 out of Venezuela at 16 years old. It took him six years before he made the majors, debuting with the Cubs in April of 2005. Cedeno played 41 big league games that season, hitting .300 with one homer and six RBIs in 80 at-bats. The next season he was the starting shortstop for the Cubs, playing a total of 151 games, while batting .245 with six homers, 41 RBIs and 51 runs scored. Cedeno spent more than half of the 2007 season in Triple-A, where he put up a .359 average in 75 games. He had a much tougher time in the majors, batting .203 in 38 games. He took more of a utility role in 2008, batting .269 with two homers in 99 games. Cedeno was traded to the Seattle Mariners on January 28, 2009. He was struggling through the 2009 season, hitting just .167 in 59 games, when the Pirates acquired him in a seven-player deal just before the July 31st trading deadline. Jack Wilson went to Seattle in the trade, and Cedeno replaced him as the everyday starting shortstop. In 46 games after the deal, he hit .258 with five homers. With the starting role all season in 2010, he batted .256 with eight homers, 38 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in 139 games. He saw slightly less time in 2011, when he posted a .636 OPS in 128 games. He was granted free agency in October 2011 and signed with the New York Mets during the following January. In his 2+ seasons in Pittsburgh, he hit .254 with 15 homers and 91 RBIs in 313 games. He last played in the majors in 2014, seeing time with four different teams over his final three years. He spent 2012 with the Mets, 2013 with the Houston Astros and San Diego Padres and 2014 with the Philadelphia Phillies, which amounted to an 0-for-9 at the plate in seven games. He also saw non big league time with the St Louis Cardinals in 2013, the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2014 and San Francisco Giants in 2015. Cedeno played in Mexico in 2015 and Italy in 2016. Since then, he’s only been active in winter ball, including this recently completed season in Venezuela, where he hit .333 at 37 years old. He has played a total of 15 seasons of winter ball during his 21-year pro career. In 875 big league games over ten seasons, he batted .245 with 40 homers and 239 RBIs.
Pat Clements, pitcher for the Pirates during the 1985-86 seasons. He was originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the 32nd round of the 1980 draft out of high school, but decided to attend college at the University of California instead of signing. The Yankees would eventually get their man, but not until after he played for the Pirates. Three years after being drafted the first time, the California Angels selected him in the fourth round and he quickly signed. Just 22 months later, Clements was in the majors. He started his big league career in 1985 on the Angels Opening Day roster, going 5-0, 3.34 in 62 innings and 41 relief appearances. He was in the middle of his rookie season when the Pirates acquired him in a six-player deal in early August that also included John Candelaria and George Hendrick. Clements would go 0-2, 3.67 in 27 games for the Pirates to finish out that rookie year. In 1986, he pitched 61 innings over 65 appearances and had a record of 0-4 with a 2.80 ERA. Following the season, he was dealt to the Yankees in a six-player trade, along with Cecilio Guante and Rick Rhoden. The Pirates received three young players back in the deal, including Doug Drabek. In a total of 88.1 innings in New York over 55 appearances in 1987 and six more in 1988, Clements had a 5.09 ERA. He was traded to the San Diego Padres over the 1988-89 off-season and remained there until the middle of the 1992 season. He spent approximately half of his time with the Padres in the majors and the other half in Triple-A. The Baltimore Orioles selected him off waivers on July 10, 1992 and he finished up his big league time with them later that season. Clements ended his eight-year Major League career with a 17-11, 3.77 ERA in 360.1 innings over 288 games. He started just two games in the majors, though he had 53 minor league starts, including three seasons with 13+ starts between 1983 and 1990. He collected seven saves during his one full season with the Yankees, then failed to pick up another save over the next five years in the majors. He briefly pitched in Triple-A with the Orioles in 1993 before retiring. Clements pitched 92 games with the Pirates without picking up a win. No pitcher in team history comes close to that mark among the other 303 pitchers who failed to pick up a win while playing for the Pirates (John Lamb is second with 47 games).
Manny Sarmiento, pitcher for the Pirates during the 1982-83 seasons. He played parts of five seasons in the majors before the Pirates purchased his contract from the Boston Red Sox after the 1981 season. His only full season in the majors prior to joining Pittsburgh was in 1978 when he went 9-7, 4.38 in 127.1 innings over 63 games for the Cincinnati Reds. Sarmiento was signed at 16 years old by the Reds out of Venezuela in 1972. He debuted in the majors four years later, going 5-1, 2.06 in 43.2 innings over 22 appearances. Despite those strong results, he still spent half of the 1977 season in Triple-A. He pitched well with the Reds again, posting a 2.45 ERA in 40.1 innings over 24 appearances. After spending all of 1978 in the majors, Sarmiento was limited to 38.2 innings with the Reds in 1979, and his 4.66 ERA was the highest of his career. He was released by the Reds at the end of Spring Training in 1980 and signed with the Seattle Mariners, where he made nine relief appearances. The Mariners traded him to the Boston Red Sox at the end of Spring Training in 1981. He spent the entire 1981 season in the minors, where he posted a 2.34 ERA in 96 innings over 47 relief appearances in Triple-A. After joining the Pirates, he began the 1982 season in the minors before being recalled after a month. Sarmiento was used out of the bullpen at first, then moved to the starting rotation in June and made a total of 17 starts that year. In his 35 appearances he went 9-4, 3.39 in 164.1 innings, with four complete games. He was moved to a bullpen role for 1983 and he had a 3-5, 2.99 record in 84.1 innings over 52 appearances. In his first inning of work during Spring Training in 1984, Sarmiento injured his elbow and missed the entire season. He returned for one season of Triple-A in 1985 and had decent results, with a 3.18 ERA in 107.2 innings, but he never returned to the majors. He played in Mexico in 1986 before retiring. In his big league career, he went 26-22, 3.49 in 513.2 innings over 228 appearances.
John Tudor, pitcher for the 1984 Pirates. He was in the majors with the Boston Red Sox for five seasons before the Pirates acquired him in December of 1983 in exchange for Mike Easler. He was originally drafted by the New York Mets in 1975 out of Georgia Southern University, taken in the 21st round. Back when the draft had a January phase as well, Tudor moved up to the third round just seven months later and signed with the Red Sox. He reached Triple-A just one year later, but didn’t make his big league debut until two full years after his Triple-A debut. After putting up a 6.43 ERA in six starts with the 1979 Red Sox, Tudor spent half of the 1980 season in the majors and he did well. He had an 8-5, 3.02 record in 92.1 innings. He saw a slip in his production during the strike-shortened 1981 season, with a 4.58 ERA in 78.2 innings, covering 11 starts and seven relief appearances. He finally saw full-time starting rotation work during the 1982-83 seasons, making a total of 64 starts, while throwing 437.2 innings. Tudor won 13 games each season, which set/tied a career high for victories that he would soon smash. For the Pirates in 1984, he went 12-11, 3.27 in 32 starts, throwing a total of 212 innings. He was one of four pitchers to win at least 12 games that season for a club that would finish 12 games under the .500 mark. Almost a year to the day the Pirates traded for him, they dealt him to the St Louis Cardinals in a four-player deal that got them George Hendrick. Tudor would have a career year in 1985 leading St Louis to the World Series with 21 wins, a 1.93 ERA and ten shutouts. He never won more than 13 games in any of his other 11 seasons in the majors and threw just six other shutouts in his entire career. He also set a career high with 275 innings pitched that season. He started five postseason games and won three of them, including two World Series victories. Tudor had a strong year in 1986 as well, going 13-7, 2.92 in 219 innings. He would go on to help the Cardinals to the 1987 World Series and the Los Angeles Dodgers to the 1988 World Series. His career was sidetracked in 1989 when injuries limited him to just 14.1 innings. He pitched well in 1990 back with the Cardinals, going 12-4, 2.40 in 146.1 innings, but he decided to retire after the season. He finished with a 117-72, 3.12 record in 1,797 big league innings. Tudor was a talented pitcher who relied later in his career on command and changing speeds. Multiple arm and shoulder injuries during his last few seasons had his fastball down to about 80 MPH average in his final season, easily the slowest non-knuckleball pitcher in the game at that point. We featured Tudor here in a Card of the Day article.
Fred Waters, pitcher for the Pirates during the 1955-56 seasons. He was originally signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949 as an amateur free agent, then moved on to the Milwaukee Braves early in 1953, before the Pirates traded for him later that same year. He was one of six players, plus cash, that the Pirates received in return for second baseman Danny O’Connell. Waters had won 18 games his first season in the minors but never approached that win total in any of the six seasons that followed before the Pirates called him up in mid-September of 1955. He had an impressive run over three levels in 1951, compiling a 13-1 record, with a 2.93 ERA in 135 innings. That was followed by a 4.88 ERA during the 1952 season. Before joining the Pirates, he went 10-10, 4.36 in 196 innings in 1953. Waters went 13-4, 3.64 in 1954, spending most of the season pitcher for Waco of the Texas League. Before joining the Pirates in 1955, he spent part of the season back in Waco, but also had a stint pitching in the Mexican League. He joined the Pirates on September 11th and pitched two games in relief during his first big league trial at 28 years old, allowing two runs in five innings. He began the 1956 season back in the minors before being called up before a July 14th doubleheader in which he pitched in both games. He would go on to pitch 23 games that season for the Pirates, five as a starter, and he finished with a 2-2, 2.82 record in 51 innings. He had his contract sold to Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League on February 12, 1957, but he was still able to attend Spring Training with the Pirates that year and had a chance to win a job. Despite throwing seven shutout innings during Spring Training in 1957, Waters was one of the final cuts before Opening Day. He then returned to the minors for five more seasons before retiring as a player. He was pitching in Pensacola, playing in the Alabama-Florida League during the 1960-62 seasons. That was the equivalent of pitching in short-season ball now, so it’s no surprise that he dominated the league, going 41-13, 2.04 in 516 innings during his final three years as a player. Waters managed for 21 years in the Minnesota Twins farm system, starting his second big league career in 1964.