There have been 14 former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, including the man who caught the last out of the 1979 World Series.
Omar Moreno, outfielder for the 1975-82 Pirates. He signed as a 16-year-old out of Panama with the Pirates in 1969 and would play 25 games in the Gulf Coast League that year. Moreno spent seven seasons in the minors before making his big league debut in September 1975. He hit .290 during his first season, with five walks and a low .625 OPS, due to one extra-base hit and three walks. In 1970, he spent most of the year back in the GCL, with a brief trip to the New York-Penn League as well. He combined to hit .227 in 61 games, with nine steals and a .572 OPS. Rarely do you see someone spend three years in the GCL and make it big, but that’s what happened to Moreno. He played 38 games in the league in 1971, hitting .327 with six steals. He made it to full-season ball to start 1972 and hit just .215 in 51 games, so he finished the season in the short-season New York-Penn League, where he hit .290 in 68 games, with 52 runs scored. After stealing just 20 bases total in his first three seasons, Moreno stole 39 bases in 1972.
In 1973, Moreno spent almost all of the season with Class-A Salem of the Carolina League, where he batted .284 with 39 extra-base hits, 112 runs scored, 85 walks, and 77 steals in 88 attempts. He moved up to Double-A in 1974, playing for Thetford Mines of the Eastern League. He hit .300 in 112 games, with 88 runs scored, 77 walks and 67 steals. He also played 23 games, in Triple-A, though it didn’t go as well with a .220 average. In 1975, Moreno batted .284 in 130 games with Charleston of the Triple-A International League. He had 73 runs scored, 51 walks and 39 steals. The Pirates gave him a September trial, though it amounted to one start and five games off of the bench. He began the 1976 season in Triple-A, before getting some brief big league time in June and July, then finally making it back to stay in the majors in early August. He batted .315 with 55 steals for Charleston, and he hit .270 with 15 steals in 48 games for the Pirates. Moreno became the regular center fielder in 1977. While he hit just .240 that season in 150 games, he showed his value with his speed, stealing 53 bases, which was the fourth highest total in the National League. He also scored 69 runs. He had a low average again in 1978 (.235), but his speed, along with 81 walks, helped him score 95 runs and steal a league leading 71 bases. That mark tied a team record for steals set back 90 years earlier by Billy Sunday.
The Pirates won the NL East in 1979 and Moreno was a big part of that team. He set career highs with a .282 average, 110 runs scored, 21 doubles and eight homers. He also led the NL in plate appearances, at-bats, and for the second year in a row, stolen bases. His 757 plate appearances that year set a team record for a single season. His 77 steals that season set a team record that lasted all of one year. In the World Series he hit .333 with 11 hits, helping the Pirates win in seven games over the Baltimore Orioles. He finished 15th in the MVP voting that year, which ended up being the only year in which he received MVP votes. In 1980. Moreno led the NL in triples with 13, and also set a career high/franchise record with 96 steals. He once again led the league in plate appearances and at-bats, while batting .249 with 20 doubles and 87 runs scored. He led all NL outfielders in putouts during both the 1979 and 1980 seasons.
In 1981, Moreno batted .276 with 39 steals and 62 runs scored in 103 games during the strike-shortened season. The next season saw him hit .245 in 158 games, with 82 runs scored and 60 stolen bases. As good as he was in the stolen base department, the 1982 season ended up being the third straight season in which he led the league in caught stealing. After the 1982 season, Moreno left as a free agent to sign with the Houston Astros. He would later play with the New York Yankees (1983-85), Kansas City Royals (1985) and Atlanta Braves (1986) before retiring. He batted .244 in 145 games in 1983, with 97 games in Houston and 48 in New York. He stole 37 bases and scored 65 runs, while tying his career high of 21 doubles, and hitting 12 triples. In 1984 with the Yankees, he batted .259 in 117 games, with 20 steals and 37 runs scored. Moreno batted .197 in 34 games for the 1985 Yankees before they released him in mid-August. He signed with the Royals in September and hit .243 in 24 games. He ended up with just one stolen base that season. He ran more in 1986 with the Braves, but he wasn’t successful. Moreno hit .234 in 118 games, with 46 runs scored and 17 steals in 33 attempts.
Moreno played 944 games for the Pirates, batting .255 with 530 runs and 412 stolen bases. His 1978-80 stolen base totals are the three highest in team history. Only Hall of Famers Max Carey and Honus Wagner have more steals in a Pittsburgh uniform. Moreno ranks 42nd all-time with 487 steals. He finished his career with a .252 average in 1,382 games, with 699 runs scored, 171 doubles, 87 triples, 37 homers and 386 RBIs.
Chris Bootcheck, pitcher for the 2009 Pirates. He was originally drafted out of high school in the 17th round in 1997 by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He decided to attend Auburn, where he moved up to a first round pick in 2000 by the Anaheim Angels. He signed too late to play in 2000, but he split the 2001 season between High-A (87 innings) and Double-A (36.1 innings). Bootcheck had mediocre overall results that season, though he did much better in his time at High-A. He combined to go 11-7, 4.38 in 123.1 innings, with 108 strikeouts. In 2002, he made 19 starts with Double-A Arkansas of the Texas League and nine starts with Salt Lake City of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He combined for a 12-10, 4.50 record in 174 innings, with better results at the upper level, which is a bit surprising because it was not a pitcher-friendly ballpark. He repeated Salt Lake City in 2003, going 8-9, 4.25 in 171.2 innings, with his strikeout rate dropping down to 4.3 per nine innings. Bootcheck debuted in the majors with the Angels in 2003, making one start and three relief appearances, posting a 9.58 ERA in 10.1 innings.
Bootcheck spent all of 2004 and most of 2005 in Triple-A, getting two starts and three relief appearances in the majors during the latter season. He struggled in Triple-A both years, though partially due to the ballpark, posting a 5.12 ERA in 28 starts in 2004 and a 5.63 ERA in 20 starts in 2005. The 2006 season was a much worse season, though he pitched seven times for the Angels and all in relief. He had a 6.72 ERA at Salt Lake City in 65.2 innings, with five starts and 35 relief appearances. He did well with the Angels though, posting a 3.38 ERA in 18.2 innings. Bootcheck moved to full-time relief in 2007 and stayed in the majors all season, posting a 4.77 ERA in 77.1 innings over 51 appearances. After a 10.13 ERA in 16 early seasons innings in 2008, he spent the rest of the season in the minors. He was granted free agency after the season and the Pirates signed him two months later. Bootcheck spent the first four months of the season in Triple-A, joining the Pirates in early August. He had rough numbers, though almost all of the damage came in two outings in which he gave up a total of 11 runs in 3.1 innings. In his brief time in Pittsburgh, he had an 11.05 ERA in 13 appearances and 14.1 innings. The Pirates released him after the season and he spent 2010 in Japan and part of 2011 in Korea. Bootcheck signed with four different MLB teams from 2011-14, but his only big league game was one inning on June 14, 2013 for the New York Yankees. He pitched in Triple-A for the Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies during those final four seasons. He final games in pro ball came in the Dominican over the 2014-15 winter season. He finished 3-7, 6.55 in 148.1 innings over 91 games in the majors.
Rafael Belliard, infielder for 1982-90 Pirates. He signed as an 18-year-old in 1980 and moved through the Pirates system quickly, making his Major League debut in September of 1982 after just 187 minor league games. However, he didn’t stick in the Major Leagues until the 1986 season. Belliard batted .182 in 20 lower level games during his first season of pro ball in 1980. The next year saw him .216 in 127 games for Alexandria of the Class-A Carolina League. He posted a low .514 OPS that year, but he scored 58 runs and stole 42 bases. In 1982, he moved up to Buffalo of the Double-A Eastern League, where he hit .274 in 40 games. He played nine games for the Pirates that year as a September call-up, though he batted just twice and was mostly a pinch-runner/defensive replacement at shortstop. In 1983, he batted .262 in 127 games for Lynn of the Eastern League, with 63 runs scored and a .631 OPS. He played four games with the Pirates in September and had just one at-bat. Belliard only played in the majors in 1984, though he missed most of the season due to fracturing his left fibula twice. He went 5-for-22 at the plate in 20 games that season. A large majority of the 1985 season was spent in Hawaii of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He went 4-for-20 in 17 games with the Pirates, with all of that time coming in April/May.
Through the 1985 season, Belliard played just 50 games for the Pirates with a total of 43 plate appearances, but that sporadic play changed in 1986 when he played 117 games between shortstop and second base. He batted .233 with 33 runs scored a career highs of 31 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. In 1987, he batted .207 with 26 runs scored in 81 games. On May 5, 1987, Belliard homered off Eric Show for his only homer with the Pirates. Ten years later while with the Atlanta Braves, he hit his only other career home run. Belliard played 122 games in 1988 and amazingly he hit four triples, while finishing with no doubles or homers on the year. In 1989, he hit .214 in 67 games and finished with a lowly .493 OPS. During his last season in Pittsburgh in 1990, he played just 47 games and hit .204 in 54 at-bats. Never confused as a power hitter, he didn’t have a single extra-base hit during his first four partial seasons (1982-85) with the Pirates, and he ended up with just 26 total extra-base hits during his time in Pittsburgh.
Belliard left the Pirates via free agency after the 1990 season and spent the final eight years of his career playing with the Braves. In his first season in Atlanta, he played a career high 149 games, hitting .249, which was his season high. He also set personal highs with 36 runs scored, 88 hits and nine doubles. In the NLCS against the Pirates, he hit .211 in seven games, with no runs and one RBI. He batted .375 in the World Series and drove in four runs, though he also failed to score a run in this round. In 1992, he batted .211 in 144 games, with a .494 OPS, then rode the bench as the Braves made it back to the World Series. Belliard was a bench player in 1993, batting just 89 times in 91 games. During the strike-shortened 1994 season, he hit .242 in 46 games. His role during the 1995-97 seasons in Atlanta was basically the same, accumulating 417 plate appearances in 234 games played over that three-year stretch. His season and career ended on April 9, 1998 when tore a muscle in his left quadriceps. He retired after the season and had been coaching in the majors/minors since 2000. Belliard finished with a .221 average in 1,155 games, with 217 runs scored, 142 RBIs and 43 steals. He finished with a career -0.1 WAR, though that came with a strong 8.7 dWAR. His cousin Ronnie Belliard played 13 seasons in the majors and was a little bit better at hitting homers, with six games in which he collected two homers.
Junior Ortiz, catcher for the Pirates from 1982-83, and then again from 1985-89. Ortiz was signed as an amateur free agent in 1977 at 17 years old and spent six seasons working his way through the Pirates system before making his Major League debut on September 20, 1982. He split the 1977 season between the Gulf Coast League and A-Ball, combining to hit .222 in 55 games, with better results at the higher level. In 1978, Ortiz spent the season with Charleston of the Western Carolinas League, where he hit .213 with one homer in 41 games. In 1979, he moved up to Salem of the Carolina League and batted .283 with 28 extra-base hits and 66 RBIs in 108 games. The next year was mainly spent with Buffalo of the Double-A Eastern League, where he hit .246 with 25 doubles, 12 homers, 78 RBIs and 79 runs scored in 126 games. In 1981, he hit .269 with 23 extra-base hits and 46 RBIs in 105 games with Triple-A Portland of the Pacific Coast League. He repeated the level in 1982, hitting .292 with 22 doubles and six homers in 124 games. He debuted in the majors on September 20th that season and he started the final four games of the season. Ortiz played just seven big league games in 1982 and five games in the beginning of 1983 before the Pirates traded him to the New York Mets for Marvell Wynne. Ortiz hit .254 with a .551 OPS in 68 games with the 1983 Mets. He served as the backup for the Mets in 1984, hitting .198 in 40 games.
Following the 1984 season the Pirates took Ortiz in the Rule 5 draft. For the next three years he would serve as Tony Pena’s backup. In 1985, he batted .292 in 23 games and he collected his first big league homer. Pena played 147 games that season. In 1986, Ortiz hit .336, with a .771 OPS in 49 games. When Pena was traded on April 1, 1987, Ortiz became the backup to Mike Lavalliere for two seasons. The trade led to Ortiz getting a little more playing time in 1987. He responded by hitting .271 in 75 games, with 22 RBIs. In 1988, he batted .280 in 49 games and collected two homers. That’s obviously not a lot, but he only hit five homers in his 13-year career. In 1989, Ortiz got the slight majority of the time behind the plate, batting .217 in 91 games. The Pirates traded him away just prior to the start of the 1990 season after they acquired Don Slaught. Ortiz went to the Minnesota Twins, where he batted .335 in 71 games in 1990. His .772 OPS was one point higher than his best mark with the Pirates back in 1986. In 1991, his average dropped to .209 in 61 games, and his OPS dropped 217 points. Ortiz signed with the Cleveland Indians as a free agent in 1992. He hit .250 in 86 games during his first season, setting career highs with 24 RBIs and 20 runs scored. He played a career high 95 games in 1993 and batted .221 with 19 runs, 20 RBIs and a career best 13 doubles. He was traded to the Texas Rangers in the spring of 1994 and hit .276 in 29 games, in what ended up being his final season in the majors. He signed with the Chicago White Sox as a free agent in 1995, but he spent the year in Triple-A and retired after hitting .186 in 64 games.
In his seven years in Pittsburgh, Ortiz hit .264 over 299 games. He played a total of 13 seasons in the majors (1982-94), hitting .256 with 142 runs scored and 186 RBIs in 749 games. Ortiz hit five homers in his career, all while he was with the Pirates. He had 745 at-bats for the Pirates and 1,149 while playing elsewhere. His real first name was Adalberto.
Dave Johnson, pitcher for the 1987 Pirates. He was a fifth round draft pick in 1981 by the Toronto Blue Jays out of Baltimore Community College, but he didn’t sign. The Pirates were then able to sign him as an amateur free agent in 1982. Johnson spent a total of seven seasons in the Pirates system. In his first season of pro ball, he went 4-4, 3.86 in 44.1 innings over six starts and ten relief outings for Greenwood of the Class-A South Atlantic League. In 1983, he played with Alexandria of the Carolina League, where he had a 7-5, 3.01 record and eight saves in 113.2 innings. He moved to a starting role in 1984 and split the season between the Carolina League and Nashua of the Double-A Eastern League. Johnson went 7-5, 1.32 in 13 starts at the lower level, then struggled with the promotion, going 1-8, 4.84 in 12 starts. In 1985, he spent the full season in Nashua, going 6-9, 3.12 in 153 innings over 18 starts and 16 relief outings. From there he moved to Hawaii of the Pacific Coast League (Triple-A), where he had an 8-7, 3.17 record in 150.1 innings over 22 starts. The Pirates affiliate moved to Vancouver in 1987 and he started the season back in the Pacific Coast League. Johnson debuted in the majors with the Pirates in late May of 1987, posting a 9.95 ERA in 6.1 innings over five relief appearances in three weeks, before returning to Triple-A for the rest of the season. He spent 1988 with Buffalo of the American Association, the Pirates third different Triple-A affiliate in three years. He went 15-12, 3.51 in 192.1 innings. He was let go via free agency after the 1988 season and signed with the Houston Astros.
Johnson pitched another four seasons in the majors over the next six years, spending three seasons with the Baltimore Orioles (1989-91) and one year with the Detroit Tigers (1993). Before Johnson pitched a game with the Astros, he was traded to the Orioles on March 29, 1989. He went 4-7, 4.23 in 89.1 innings over 14 starts. He was an extreme pitch-to-contact pitcher that year, recording just 26 strikeouts. In 1990, Johnson had a 13-9, 4.10 record in 180 innings over 29 starts and a relief appearance. He had 68 strikeouts and he gave up 30 homers, which was the highest total in the American League. In 1991, he went 4-8, 7.07 in 84 innings over 14 starts and eight relief appearances. He signed with the California Angels as a free agent for 1992 and lasted just one start in Triple-A before being released. He then signed with the Tigers and finished the season with them in Triple-A. After testing the free agent waters over the 1992-93 off-season, Johnson re-signed with the Tigers. He ended up making six relief appearances in the majors that season, allowing 13 runs in 8.1 innings. He was released in October and retired after the season. In five seasons in the majors, Johnson finished with a 22-25, 5.11 record in 57 starts and 20 relief appearances, throwing a total of 368 innings. His son Steve Johnson pitched four seasons in the majors. Both father and son spent three seasons with the Orioles.
Reggie Walton, outfielder for the 1982 Pirates. He was a second round pick of the San Francisco Giants in the 1972 draft at 19 years old, selected out of Compton Community College. He played for Great Falls of the short-season Pioneer League in 1972, hitting .322 with an .818 OPS in 62 games. In 1973, he moved up to Decatur of the Class-A Midwest League, where he batted .223 with 26 extra-base hits and 11 steals in 118 games. Walton played for Fresno of the Class-A California League in 1974. He hit .312 with 85 runs scored, 33 extra-base hits and 18 steals in 137 games. The next two seasons were spent with Lafayette of the Double-A Texas League. He batted .310 with 36 extra-base hits, 78 RBIs, 77 runs scored and 52 walks in 124 games. Despite the success, Walton repeated the level and did much worse, hitting .253 with 32 extra-base hits and 17 steals in 132 games. He saw a 139 point drop in his OPS over the previous season. He was released by the Giants prior to the 1977 season and ended up playing the year in Mexico. He then signed with the Seattle Mariners, but he was released in April and returned to Mexico for the 1978 season.
The Mariners decided to purchase Walton’s contract in October of 1978, and then he spent the entire 1979 season in Triple-A with Spokane of the Pacific Coast League, where he hit .322 in 122 games, with 49 extra-base hits and 76 RBIs. Walton would debut in the majors the following June, batting .277 with two homers in 31 games. Most of the year was spent back in Spokane, where he hit .303 with 33 extra-base hits and 16 steals in 91 games. He saw brief time with the Mariners during the strike-shortened 1981 season, batting just seven times in 12 games. Once again, most of the season was spent with Spokane, though this time he put up a .744 OPS, which was 85 points lower than the previous season. The Pirates purchased his contract in early April of 1982 and he spent nearly a month in the majors, joining the club in mid-May and playing his final big league game on June 6th. He batted .200 in 13 games for the Pirates, in what ended up being his last big league experience. He remained in the Pirates system through the end of 1983 before retiring, spending his final season with Triple-A Hawaii of the Pacific Coast League, where he batted .299 with 39 extra-base hits and 71 RBIs in 117 games. Walton played 56 games over three big league seasons during his 12-year pro career. He batted .250 in the majors, with two homers and nine RBIs.
Johnny Jeter, outfielder for the 1969-70 Pirates. The Pirates originally signed him as a non-drafted free agent in 1964. At 19 years old, he batted .335, with 47 runs scored and 39 RBIs in 68 games for Salem of the Appalachian League. He was taken by the Baltimore Orioles in the 1964 first-year draft on November 30, 1964, but he returned to the Pirates during the following March as a waiver pickup. Jeter moved up to Batavia of the Class-A New York-Penn League in 1965. He hit .291 with 21 doubles, 13 homers, 69 RBIs and 71 runs scored in 115 games. He split the 1966 season between two Class-A affiliates of the Pirates, hitting .249 in 116 games, with 55 runs scored and 17 steals. Despite hitting 13 homers in 1965, he failed to connect on a single home run in 1966. In 1967, Jeter spent most of the year back with Gastonia of the Western Carolinas League, where he played 46 games during the previous season. He hit .315 in 120 games in 1967, with 17 doubles, nine triples, 18 homers, 73 RBIs, 82 runs scored and 40 stolen bases. Despite his success that year, he was back in A-Ball, playing for Salem of the Carolina League for the entire 1968 season. Jeter hit .296 with 22 doubles, 11 triples, 18 homers, 38 steals, 84 runs scored and 79 RBIs. He jumped up to Triple-A Columbus of the International League in 1969 and hit .285 with 25 homers, 60 RBIs and 67 runs scored in 118 games.
Jeter was called up to the majors in June of 1969 for two weeks, then returned for the final 17 games of the season. He hit .310 in 28 games for the 1969 Pirates. He won an Opening Day spot and batted .238/.314/.341 in 85 games with the Pirates in 1970, seeing most of his time in left field. Jeter spent 1971 in the minors with Charleston of the International League before being traded to the San Diego Padres in August for veteran reliever Bob Miller. Jeter hit .324 with 30 doubles, nine triples and 17 homers in 138 games for Charleston that season. He came up to the majors with the Padres for 18 games at the end of the 1971 season and put together a .320 average in 75 at-bats. In 1972, he hit .221 in 110 games with the Padres. With low power and walk numbers, he finished with a .582 OPS that season. After the 1972 season ended, the Padres traded him to the Chicago White Sox for Vicente Romo, the brother of one-time Pirates reliever Enrique Romo. Jeter hit .240 in 89 games with the 1973 White Sox. He set career highs with 38 runs, 14 doubles, four triples, seven homers and 26 RBIs. He was traded to the Cleveland Indians during Spring Training in 1974 and he hit .353 in very limited time, which proved to be the end of his big league career. He also played in Mexico in 1977 and he played in the Inter-American League in 1979, which was a league that had one U.S. team and five other teams from four different countries.
Jeter was a .244 hitter over six seasons in the majors, ending up with a low average despite batting over .300 in three of those seasons. He hit .240 or less in each of his other three years, which also happened to be the three years he saw the most playing time. He finished his big league time with 108 runs scored, 18 homers, 69 RBIs and 28 steals in 336 games. He turns 77 today. His son Shawn Jeter played for the 1992 Chicago White Sox.
Bill Bell, pitcher for the 1952 and 1955 Pirates. He played seven years in the minors after signing at 17 years old in 1951. He received a five-figure bonus, which didn’t happen often prior to 1951. That year he went to Mayfield of the Class-D Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee League, where he had a 6-8, 3.46 record in 104 innings, with 106 walks. The next season saw him go 11-3, 2.09 for Bristol of the Appalachian League, despite issuing 113 walks in 112 innings. He picked up 194 strikeouts. He also pitched briefly in Class-B ball for Burlington-Graham of the Carolina League, where he walked 18 batters in eight innings. Despite walking more than a batter per inning in the lower level of the minors, Bell was given a September trial with the Pirates in 1952 and he walked 13 batters in 15.2 innings, while posting a 4.60 ERA over one start and three relief appearances. He was drafted into the Army during the off-season and missed the next two seasons during the Korean War. Bell’s only other big league appearance after his 1952 trial was one early season relief outing for the 1955 Pirates in which he threw a scoreless inning. On April 19, 1955, he was one of three players sent to the minors by the Pirates.
Bell pitched for Lincoln of the Class-A Western League during that 1955 season, going 8-12, 5.52 in 168 innings. On October 12, 1955, the Pirates purchased catcher Bob Hall from Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League and sent them Bell as part of the deal. The walk rate only got slightly better over the years in the minors, where he stayed until retiring in 1959. He was down pitching in Class-B in 1956 with poor results for Kinston of the Carolina League, going 6-13, 4.56 in 154 innings, with 130 walks and 120 strikeouts. He moved back up to Lincoln in 1957 after they purchased his contract from Hollywood. He had an 11-4, 4.08 record in 159 innings that season, with 151 strikeouts. The Pirates purchased his contract from Lincoln after the 1957 season and he went to Spring Training in 1958 with the Pirates. Bell was sent to the minors on March 28, 1958, and he ended up back with Lincoln. While he remained around for two more years (1958-59), he saw limited work for six different teams in five different leagues during that time. Bell passed away tragically at age 28 in 1962 due to a car accident, which put him in a coma for the final eight months of his life.
Cal Hogue, pitcher for the 1952-54 Pirates. He was a bit of a difficult player, who spent ten seasons in the minors over a 13-year period and his big league career consisted of three partial seasons with the Pirates. He originally signed as a 17-year-old in 1945 with the St Louis Browns, but they released him after a knee injury. In his first season with St Louis, he went 7-11, 4.27 in 137 innings for Newark of the Class-D Ohio State League in 1945. Houge doesn’t have any records for 1946, and his time in 1947 with Aberdeen of the Class-C Northern League was extremely limited. It was said that he was difficult to work with and the Browns had enough of him. Pirates scout Joe Brehany saw a talented arm while scouting him in 1947, including a strong curveball, so he convinced the Pirates to give him a $750 bonus to sign. Branch Rickey later said that he had a Major League fastball and a great curve. Hogue spent three seasons (1948-50) in the Pirates system until voluntarily retiring from the game for one year. He went 8-3, 3.16 in 91 innings for Uniontown of the Class-C Middle Atlantic League in 1948. The next year saw him pitched 29 games total for three teams, seeing most of his time with Class-B Waco of the Big State League, where he was 0-6, 5.40 in 80 innings. Hogue spent the 1950 season with Charleston of the South Atlantic League, where he had a 3-5, 4.20 record in 75 innings. He said that his limited usage in Low-A ball in 1950 caused him to leave the game.
Despite missing the entire 1951 season, Hogue took just three months to earn a trip to the majors. He returned to Charleston, where he went 10-3, 3.21 in 126 innings. He debuted in the majors on July 15th as a reliever, then started the next day and threw a complete game 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. That was the clear high point for his season, as he went 1-8, 4.84 in 83.2 innings for a team that finished 42-112. The Pirates were only slightly better the next two years, but he saw limited time. Hogue was with the 1953 Pirates in April and late September, spending the majority of the year with Oklahoma City of the Texas League. He had a 5.21 ERA in 19 innings with the 1953 Pirates. He was only with the 1954 Pirates in April, pitching three times before being optioned to Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League on April 26th, though a large majority of his season was spent with the Pirates affiliate in New Orleans of the Southern Association. He had a 4.91 ERA in 11 innings with the Pirates that season. Hogue spent all of 1955 in the minors, playing for Hollywood and Williamsport of the Class-A Eastern League. He retired after the season, then returned for a brief stint in Triple-A in 1957, plus a short time playing in Mexico that same year. He retired for good following the 1957 season.
Pete McClanahan, pinch-hitter for the 1931 Pirates. Pittsburgh originally purchased him from Shreveport of the Class-A Texas League on September 12, 1930, though he didn’t physically join the Pirates until the following spring. He did well in Spring Training for the 1931 Pirates, making a late-spring push for a roster spot with homers in both games of a doubleheader on April 5th. In seven games for the Pirates, he batted .500 with two walks in six plate appearances without getting into a game on defense. That ended up being his only big league experience in eight seasons as an outfielder in pro ball. McClanahan played his final big league game on May 28th and recorded a pinch-hit single, then learned after the game that he was released on option to the Fort Worth Panthers of the Texas League. The 1931 Pirates had Hall of Fame brother Paul and Lloyd Waner in the outfield that year, as well as Adam Comorosky, who had a huge season in 1931. They also had a young Woody Jensen, who played outfield for the 1931-39 Pirates. That solid group of four players left no room for McClanahan to break into the lineup, though they had just two right-handed hitting outfielders going into Spring Training, which gave him a path to make the big league roster.
McClanahan debuted in pro ball briefly in 1926 at 19 years old with Beaumont of the Texas League. No stats are available, but a 1930 article from Pittsburgh said he played “less than five games” that year. He played his final game in either 1932 or 1933. He spent the 1927-28 seasons playing for Palestine of the Class-D Lone Star League, where he hit .253 with five doubles and three homers in 25 games during his first season with the team, missing the final two months due to an arm injury. In 1928, he batted .331 in 121 games, with 25 doubles, ten triples and 13 homers. McClanahan joined Shreveport in 1929 and missed most of the season with a broken ankle. He was limited to 16 games that year, and he hit .349 with eight doubles among his 22 hits. In 1930, he hit .341 with 39 doubles, five triples and 17 homers in 114 games. After being sent down by the Pirates to Fort Worth in 1931, he hit .257 with 18 extra-base hits in 63 games. The Pirates didn’t pick up his option after the season, leaving him as property of his new team. McClanahan then quit baseball after the third game of the 1932 season due to another broken ankle. At the time he said that he didn’t need the money and two broken legs were too much for him. He played for Henderson of the Class-C Dixie League in 1933 according to Baseball-Reference, though no stats are available and his local paper said that he was out of baseball in April of 1933. McClanahan played semi-pro ball in Texas in 1934. His real first name was Robert, but he got the nickname Pete from a neighbor at two weeks old and it stuck. She said that he looked just like her nephew Peter.
Heinie Smith, second baseman from Pittsburgh, who played for the 1899 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball at 24 years old in 1896, playing for Paterson of the Atlantic League, where he was a teammate of Honus Wagner. In his first of two seasons with Paterson, Smith hit .267 with 31 extra-base hits, 22 steals and 93 runs in 112 games. The next year saw him hit just .217 with 22 extra-base hits in 92 games. He joined Wagner in the majors with the Louisville Colonels late in 1897 and hit .263 in 21 games. Smith batted .190 in 35 games with Louisville in 1898. He spent part of that year in the minors with Syracuse of the Eastern League, then remained in the league for the 1899 season, playing for Rochester, where he hit .315 with 43 extra-base hits in 113 games. Smith joined the Pirates on a trial basis on September 23, 1899, starting each of the final 15 games that season, including a doubleheader on his first day with the club. An injury to starting second baseman Heinie Reitz opened up a spot for Smith to play every day with the Pirates. He hit .283 with 12 RBIs and nine runs scored in the last 15 games of the season. The Pirates were actually six games under .500 when he joined the team and finished three games over the mark, with a late season 11-2 (plus two ties) run with Smith in the lineup. It was said when he joined the team that his defense was solid, but the bat was always suspect.
The Pirates completed a huge trade with Louisville in December of 1899, which completely changed the look of the club, leaving no room for Smith, who was already going back to Rochester for the next season. He returned to the majors with the 1901-02 New York Giants (he was a player/manager in 1902) joining the club at the end of the 1901 season after spending two full years with Rochester. Smith batted just .207 in nine games to end 1901 with the Giants, then he played 140 games during the 1902 season, hitting .250 with 19 doubles, 34 RBIs, 32 steals and 48 runs scored, as his own everyday second baseman. He finished his big league time with the 1903 Detroit Tigers, hitting .223 in 93 games, with a .554 OPS. Even though his Major League career was over, he was far from done as a player. He played in the minors until he was 42, finishing up his career in 1914. Smith played 16 seasons total in the minors, compiling over 2,000 career games as a pro, plus he managed for nine seasons. In the majors, he was a .237 hitter, with three homers and 54 steals in 313 games. While he’s know as Heinie now, a popular name back then for German players named Henry (his middle name), he was mostly known by his first name (George) during the early parts of his career. There’s no mention of the nickname in print before 1907.
Phil Routcliffe, outfielder for the 1890 Alleghenys. He is credited with debuting in pro ball at 14 years old when he played five weeks for Oswego of the New York State League in 1885. Two years later he batted .334 in 90 games for Sandusky of the Ohio State League. During the 1888 season, he played for Sandusky and Toledo of the Tri-State League, then he joined Davenport of the Central Interstate League in 1889, where he hit .290 with 105 steals in 105 games. Routcliffe was signed prior to the 1890 season to help fill the void of Pittsburgh players leaving to join the newly-formed Player’s League. The Alleghenys were able to sign him despite a minor league team from Hamilton also claiming he signed for the 1890 season. In reality, he did sign with both teams, but Pittsburgh had his rights because Hamilton didn’t get his contract signed before a set deadline, nullifying the deal and making him a free agent able to sign with the Alleghenys. Routcliffe made the Opening Day roster and played in the second game of the season, then sat on the bench for the next four games. When the team left for their first road trip, Routcliffe was released, ending his big league career at 19 years old, though he was thought to be 22 years old at the time according to local press accounts. He was actually too ill to play at the time, so that was a tough way to see his big league career end. It could have been worse though, as Howard Brandenburg was also released that day without appearing in a big league game, and he never made it back.
Routcliffe’s only big league game was April 21, 1890. He went 1-for-4, with a run scored, RBI and a stolen base, while making all three plays in left field. He played seven seasons of minor league ball total, retiring after the 1892 season. He returned to the Central Interstate League in 1890 after leaving the Alleghenys. He batted .250 with 71 runs scored and 37 steals in 82 games for Quincy. Routcliffe played his final two seasons with Tacoma of the Pacific Northwestern League, though he also spent time with Missoula of the Montana State League during his final season.
Jay Faatz, first baseman for the 1884 Alleghenys. His career in pro ball began in 1882 at 22 years old for an independent team. He then spent two seasons with the Saginaw Greys of the Northwestern League before joining Pittsburgh. Faatz batted .284 with 17 doubles and 68 runs scored in 64 games during the 1884 season for Saginaw. When Saginaw disbanded, it was announced on August 19th that Faatz, Tom Forster and Art Whitney would all join the Alleghenys, while three players were all released to make room for the additions. Faatz made his big league debut on August 22nd with the Alleghenys, and finished the season as their everyday first baseman. His first game was protested by Baltimore after they said that he was playing before his ten-day release from Saginaw was up, but the protest wasn’t upheld. He hit .241 with 18 runs scored in 29 games that year for the Alleghenys. He was one of ten players originally reserved for the 1885 season by the Alleghenys, but once they purchased the entire roster of the Columbus Buckeyes of the American Association, then the makeup of the 1885 roster changed tremendously. That’s not surprising because the Alleghenys finished 1884 with a 30-78 record, while the Buckeyes finished in second place with a 69-39 record.
After playing minor league ball during the 1885-87 seasons, spending most of that time in Toronto, Faatz played three more years in the majors (1888-90), seeing time in three different leagues. He played for the 1888 Cleveland Blues of the American Association, the 1889 Cleveland Spiders in the NL, and the Buffalo Bisons of the Player’s League, where he served as the player-manager to finish out the season. He hit .264 with 73 runs scored, 51 RBIs and 64 steals in 120 games with the Blues in 1888. While he was in a new league in 1889 with Cleveland, it was actually the same club transferring from the American Association to the National League, just like the Alleghenys did two years earlier. Faatz hit .231 in 117 games in 1889, with 50 runs scored, 38 RBIs and 27 steals. In his Player’s League stint in Buffalo, he hit just .189 in 32 games. He continued to play minor league ball during the 1891-92 and 1894 seasons, spending most of that time in Syracuse. Faatz would see time as the player-manager for Syracuse in 1892 and 1894, and just as a manager in 1896, leading New Castle (PA,) of the Interstate League. In 298 games over four seasons in the majors, he hit .241 with 159 runs scored, 105 RBIs and 93 steals, though those last two numbers are incomplete because those stats weren’t kept in 1884.
Bill Kuehne, infielder for the Alleghenys from 1885 until 1889. He is one of 41 Major League players born in Germany and ranks second in most statistical categories to Glenn Hubbard among players in that group. Kuehne started his big league career as a member of the 1883-84 Columbus Buckeyes of the American Association, a short-lived franchise that produced the manager and five players who would make up a large part of the 1887 Pittsburgh Alleghenys in their first year in the National League. It wasn’t just his big league debut in 1883, he had no prior minor league experience either at 24 years old. He batted .227 with 14 triples and eight doubles in 95 games. Kuehne played seven different spots during his big league career (all except pitcher and catcher), but a large majority of his time was spent at third base. During the 1884 season, he batted .236 in 110 games, with 16 triples, 13 doubles, five homers and 48 runs scored. After the season, the Columbus team was purchased by the Alleghenys for a reported $8,000 price. The deal included the rights to ten players.
Kuehne joined Pittsburgh in 1885 and stayed with the team through the rest of their time in the American Association, plus their first three years in the National League. He played 104 games in 1885, hitting .226 with 54 runs scored and 43 RBIs. He had a very rare season in baseball history that year, with more than twice as many triples (19) than doubles and homers combined (nine, all doubles). In 1886, the Alleghenys had their first strong season, finishing with an 80-57 record, which is what helped them get invited to join the National League, though there were off-field issues that helped hasten the move. Kuehne hit just .204 that season and he played more outfield than third base that year. He had 17 triples and 16 doubles, as well as a career best 73 runs scored in 117 games. Although he wasn’t in the Opening Day lineup in 1887 for the first National League game in franchise history, he played 102 games that season and posted a .299 batting average, with 68 runs scored, 18 doubles and 15 triples. For the only season in his career, most of his playing time in 1887 was at shortstop.
In 1888, Kuehne was in the lineup every day for the Alleghenys, playing all 138 games, which led the NL. The team is actually credited with 139 games that season, but one game was forfeited and credited as a win for Pittsburgh. He batted .235 with 60 runs scored, a career high 22 doubles, 11 triples, 62 RBIs and a career best of 34 steals. He walked just nine times, leaving him with an awful .250 OBP for the season. Kuehne was a regular again in 1889, though he did some moving around. He made 75 starts at third base, while also seeing time at six other positions during the year. He batted .246 with 30 extra-base hits, 57 RBIs and 43 runs scored in 97 games. When the Player’s League was formed, he jumped to the new league and played with the Pittsburgh Burghers (the recognized team name, though it was almost never used), along with most of his 1889 Alleghenys teammates. He hit .235 in 1890, setting career highs with 126 hits, 73 RBIs and 28 walks, while playing 128 games, all of them at third base. When the Player’s League folded after one season he was returned to the Alleghenys. Technically the 1891 NL Pittsburgh team was a new franchise, made up of the officials/players of the two 1890 Pittsburgh teams. The new consolidated team replaced the 1882-90 team in the National League on January 15, 1891.
However you look at the 1890/91 Pittsburgh team and the split, Kuehne didn’t play for the new team, though he played two more seasons in the majors. He was cut just before Opening Day in 1891, then split that season between two American Association teams, playing for a new franchise in Columbus, as well as the Louisville Colonels. He combined to hit .235 in 107 games, with 57 runs scored, 39 RBIs and 30 steals. It was the third season in four years that he finished with a .235 average. The American Association ended after the 1891 season and just the National League existed from 1892-1900. Kuehne played for three National League teams in 1892, starting with the same team he played for at the end of 1891, making the move with Louisville to the NL. He would wind up his big league career with brief time for the St Louis Browns and Cincinnati Reds at the end of the year. He batted just .168 in 89 games during that last year, though he had a decent total of 40 RBIs. Kuehne finished his career with a .232 average, 533 runs scored and 403 RBIs in 1,087 big league games. He hit .240 with ten homers and 92 steals in 558 games with the Alleghenys. He ranks 18th in team history with 67 triples.