A total of 12 former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, including two Hall of Famers.
Pie Traynor, third baseman for the 1920-35 and 1937 Pirates. Considered to be the greatest third baseman in the first 100 years of baseball according to a 1969 centennial team voting, Traynor spent his entire career with the Pirates, 17 years as a player, and six seasons (1934-39) as a manager (457-406 record). His .320 career average ranks ninth in team history. In Pirates history, he also ranks seventh with 1,941 games played, sixth with 1,183 runs scored, fourth with 2,416 runs scored, fifth with 3,289 total bases, sixth with 371 doubles, fourth with 164 triples and fourth with 1,273 RBIs.
Traynor was from the Boston area and tried out for both local major league teams with neither signing him, although the Boston Red Sox liked him enough to recommend him to a team from Portsmouth, Virginia in the Class-B Virginia League with the understanding that they would sign him when they thought he was ready. The owner of Portsmouth however had other ideas and he decided to sell Traynor. Both the New York Giants and Washington Senators tried to sign him after he hit .270 in 104 games with 30 extra-base hits, but they would not match the high price the Portsmouth owner put on him. The Pirates ended up paying the $10,000 price tag after scouting him and they never looked back on that decision. Pie (first name was Harold) ended up hitting .212 in 17 games as a shortstop during that year in his first taste of the majors. Traynor returned to the minors for the 1921 season. He would hit .336 with 40 extra-base hits in 131 games for Birmingham of the Class-A Southern Association in 1921 before getting called up to the Pirates in September for seven games. He never return to the minors.
Traynor had a strong rookie season in 1922 as the starting third baseman, though he still put in 17 starts at shortstop. He hit a career low .282 in 142 games, but still drove in 81 runs while scoring 89 times. It was just a sign on things to come for him, and 1923 proved to be quite a season. He hit .338 while driving in 101 runs, scoring 108 and leading the NL in triples with 19, while also adding a career high in hits (208), homers (12) and stolen bases (28). He slipped from those numbers a little in 1924, hitting .294 with 44 extra-base hits, 82 runs and 86 RBIs, but he bounced back quickly at an important time. In 1925 the Pirates won the World Series and Traynor was a big part of that team. He hit .320 with career highs of 114 runs scored and 39 doubles, while collecting 14 doubles and 106 RBIs. He also led all National League third baseman in putouts, double plays, fielding percentage and assists. In the seven-game World Series he hit .346 with a homer and four runs batted in. He finished eighth in the MVP voting that year. In 1926, he hit .317 with 83 runs scored, 45 extra-base hits and 92 RBIs, which led to a 13th place finish in the MVP voting. He led NL third basemen in putouts and double plays.
The Pirates went to the World Series again in 1927 and once again Traynor was a big part of that team. He hit .342 with 46 extra-base hits, while driving in 106 runs and scoring 93 times. It was his third season of at least 100 RBIs up to that point, but it also started a streak of five straight seasons in which he passed the century mark in RBIs, driving in a total of 560 runs over that span. In 1928, Traynor hit .337 in 144 games, with 91 runs scored, 38 doubles, 12 triples and a career high 124 RBIs. He led the league in sacrifice hits for a second straight year, putting up a career high 42 that season. That all led to a sixth place finish in the MVP voting, his best finish. In 1929, Traynor batted .356 in 130 games, with 94 runs scored, 43 extra-base hits and 108 RBIs. He struck out just seven times that year in 597 plate appearances. He finished seventh in the MVP voting that year.
From 1925-33, Traynor received MVP votes in all but one of those nine seasons. Amazingly the year he didn’t get any votes (1930), he hit .366 with 90 runs scored and 119 RBIs in 130 games. That average was his career high, as was his .932 OPS. In 1931, he batted .298 with 37 doubles, 15 triples, 81 runs scored and 103 RBIs in 155 games. His 54 walks that year were a career high. In 1932, Traynor batted .329 in 135 games, with 39 extra-base hits and 74 runs scored. He missed 100 RBIs for the first time since 1926 and he didn’t even come close, driving in 68 runs. His performance was still enough to earn him an eighth place finish in the MVP race. The All-Star game was started in 1933 and Traynor made the team both years that he was still an everyday player. He hit .304 and led the league with 154 games played in 1933. He had 85 runs scored and 82 RBIs.
Traynor was the Pirates manager from 1934-39, and although he never won an NL pennant, he finished with a winning record, plus a second place finish in 1938. During his first season as a player-manager, he hit .309 in 119 games, with 62 runs scored and 61 RBIs. That was his last full season as a player. He hit .279 in 57 games in 1935, and he played his final five games during the 1937 season. Traynor made the Hall of Fame in 1948 and the Pirates retired his number 20 in 1972. He ranks 30th all-time in triples and he’s fifth all-time in putouts at third base.
Rabbit Maranville, shortstop/second baseman for the 1921-24 Pirates. He played 23 years in the majors and recorded 2,605 hits, but it was his glove that got him the most recognition. Maranville is considered one of the best defensive players in baseball history, posting a 30.8 dWAR, which ranks seventh all-time. He is the all-time leader for putouts at shortstop and he has more assists than anyone in the history of baseball. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1954.
Maranville began his pro career at 19 years old with New Bedford of the Class-B New England League in 1911, where he hit .227 in 117 games, with 28 extra-base hits. He returned to New Bedford in 1912 and improved to a .283 average and 30 extra-base hits in 122 games. He joined the Boston Braves at the end of the season, took over the starting shortstop position, and hit .209 in 26 games. In 1913, he played 143 games, hitting .247 with 68 walks and 68 runs scored, while putting up strong defense, which would get even better the next season. Maranville finished third in the MVP voting in 1913, and then ended up second in the voting in 1914, when he hit .246 in 156 games, with 74 runs scored, 33 extra-base hits, 78 RBIs and 28 steals. His 4.2 WAR that year rated as the best in the league, and he led all shortstops in putouts, assists and double plays. The “Miracle Braves” won the World Series that year and Maranville hit .308 with three RBIs in the four-game sweep. It was a team that went 69-82 in 1913, then improved to 94-59 in 1914.
In 1915, Maranville hit .244 in 149 games. He finished with a same amount of doubles (23), triples (six) and walks (45) as the previous season, while also posting a matching .632 OPS, which wasn’t that bad considering that it was still the deadball era. Maranville played 155 games in 1916, putting up a .235 average, 79 runs, 50 walks, 13 triples, and a career high 32 stolen bases. He batted .260 in 1917, with 19 doubles, 13 triples, 27 steals and 69 runs scored in 142 games. He was in the Naval Reserves in 1918, but actually got to play 11 games with the Braves in July during a two-week furlough. He returned full-time to baseball in 1919 and he hit .267 in 131 games, with 44 runs scored and 43 RBIs. In 1920, Maranville batted .266 in 134 games, with 48 runs scored, 19 doubles, 15 triples and 14 stolen bases.
Rabbit (real first name was Walter) had already played nine seasons before he joined the Pirates in 1921, coming over from the Boston Braves in a trade for three players and cash. He was very strong on defense and had good speed, but he wasn’t much of a hitter during the deadball era. He carried a .251 average into the 1921 season and his career high for runs was just 79, while he topped 50 RBIs just once in his first nine years. The trade to the Pirates, a better overall team that the Braves, helped Maranville set new career highs right away in runs scored (90), hits (180) and batting average with a .294 mark, plus he also drove in 70 runs during that first year. It would get even better in 1922 when he topped his previous season’s average by one point while also scoring a career high 115 runs and collecting 198 hits. He also set single season Major League records at the time for at-bats with 672 and plate appearances with 747. Rabbit slacked on the offense side in 1923, but his defense was strong as he led NL shortstops in assists, putouts and fielding percentage. He batted .277 that year with 78 runs scored in 141 games. In 1924 he drove in 71 runs while also setting career highs with 33 doubles and 20 triples. He batted .266 and scored 62 runs in 152 games that season, which led to a seventh place finish in the MVP voting. Following the season, the Pirates traded him along with Wilbur Cooper (the Pirates all-time win leader) and Charlie Grimm to the Chicago Cubs for Al Niehaus, Vic Aldridge and George Grantham. Maranville hit .283 with 245 RBIs and 345 runs scored in 601 games with the Pirates.
In his first season in Chicago, Maranville missed the start of the season with an ankle injury and never really recovered. He hit .233 in 75 games, with a .602 OPS. He managed the Cubs in the middle of the season for 53 games, posting a 23-30 record. He was taken off of waivers by the Brooklyn Dodgers, who saw him hit .235 in 78 games before he was released in August of 1926. He began 1927 in the minors with Rochester of the International League, but he worked his way back to the majors by hitting .298 with 36 extra-base hits in 135 games. He joined the St Louis Cardinals in September for nine games, then played with them throughout the 1928 season, hitting .240 with 25 extra-base hits in 112 games. His defense helped him to a tenth place finish in the MVP voting. The Cardinals lost in the World Series to the New York Yankees, but he batted .308 in the postseason. Maranville was sold to the Boston Braves after the season and he hit .284 in 1929, with 87 runs scored, 36 extra-base hits and 55 RBIs in 146 games. That helped earn him a 15th place finish in the MVP voting. In 1930, he batted .281 in 142 games, with 85 runs scored and a .711 OPS, which was his highest since the 1922 season in Pittsburgh. In 1931, Rabbit batted .260 in 145 games, with 69 runs scored. He had another tenth place finish in the MVP voting. His offense dropped even more during the next two seasons, but he still got mild MVP support due to the defense. He hit .235 in 149 games in 1932, with 67 runs scored and a .579 OPS. In his final full season in the majors in 1933, he batted .218 in 143 games, with 46 runs scored, 38 RBIs and a .539 OPS.
An injury knocked Maranville out for the 1934 season, then he struggled at 43 years old in 1935, hitting .149 in his last 23 big league games. He played A-Ball in 1936 as the player-manager for Elmira of the New York-Penn League, where he put up a .323 average in 123 games. He continued to manage in the minors for another four seasons and even saw a handful of games at 47 years old in 1939. He finished his big league career with a .258 average in 2,670 games, with 1,256 runs scored, 380 doubles, 177 triples, 28 homers, 884 RBIs and 291 stolen bases. He ranks 36th all-time in games played and he’s 19th all-time in triples.
Jason Grilli, pitcher for the 2011-14 Pirates. He played 15 years in the majors from 2000 until 2017, spending four of those seasons in Pittsburgh, where he had an ERA under 3.00 in each of his first three seasons. Grilli was originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the 24th round in 1994. He made the right decision to head to college and three years later the San Francisco Giants made him the fourth overall pick in the entire 1997 draft. He debuted in pro ball in 1998 and made 21 starts in Double-A and eight in Triple-A during that first season. Grilli went 9-13, 4.14 in 165.1 innings, with 137 strikeouts, with better results at the lower level. In 1999, he made 19 starts for Triple-A Fresno of the Pacific Coast League before he was traded to the Florida Marlins in late July for Livan Hernandez. Grilli had a 5.54 ERA in 100.1 innings before the deal, and a 7.68 ERA in 41 innings with Calgary of the PCL after the deal. He was with Calgary for eight starts in 2000 and he made one start with the Marlins on May 11th, giving up four runs on 11 hits in 6.2 innings in his big league debut. He missed the rest of the time due to elbow problems, which limited him to 95.1 innings as a starter in 2001 and cost him all of 2002 when he had Tommy John surgery. In those 2001 starts were five starts and one relief appearance with the Marlins, in which he had a 6.08 ERA in 26.2 innings.
In 2003, Grilli split the season between seven starts in High-A and 12 in Triple-A, with the former being rehab work from his TJ surgery. After the season, the Chicago White Sox took him as a Rule 5 pick. Grilli had a 7.40 ERA in eight starts with the White Sox, but a majority of the season was spent in Triple-A, where he went 9-9, 4.83 in 152.2 innings over 25 starts. He was released by Chicago in 2005 and signed with the Detroit Tigers. Grilli had a 4.09 ERA in 28 starts for Triple-A Toledo of the International League in 2005, when pitching 16 innings over three games with the Tigers. He switched to relief in 2006 and finally lasted a full season in the majors. He went 2-3, 4.21 in 62 innings over 51 games that year. In 2007, Grilli went 5-3, 5.20 in 79.2 innings over 57 appearances. He began 2008 with the Tigers, but he was traded to the Colorado Rockies on April 30th after just nine appearances. He combined to go 3-3, 3.00 in 75 innings over 60 games. In June of 2009, the Rockies sold him to the Texas Rangers. He went 2-3, 5.32 in 45.1 innings over 52 games, with slightly better results after the trade.
A knee injury caused Grilli to miss all of 2010. He was with the Philadelphia Phillies in the minors in 2011 when he was released in July. He signed the next day with the Pirates and he was around until being traded in June of 2014 to the Los Angeles Angels for Ernesto Frieri. In 2011 with the Pirates, Grilli went 2-1, 2.48 in 32.2 innings over 28 appearances. In 2012, he had a 1-6, 2.91 record in 58.2 innings over 64 appearances. He had just three saves total in his first two seasons with the Pirates, then took over the role in 2013. That year he was an All-Star for the only time in his career. He had a 2.70 ERA in 50 innings over 54 games, with 33 saves. Prior to his deal to the Angels in 2014, Grilli had a 4.87 ERA in 22 outings, with 11 saves. After the trade, he posted a 3.48 ERA in 33.2 innings and 40 appearances. He became a free agent after the season and signed with the Atlanta Braves, where he had a 2.94 ERA in 33.2 innings, with 24 saves in 36 games. He started 2016 with the Braves, but he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays on May 31st after posting a 5.29 ERA in 21 games. With Toronto, he had a 3.64 ERA in 42 innings over 46 appearances. He pitched 46 games in 2017, split between the Blue Jays and Texas Rangers, who acquired him in a July 2nd trade. In what ended up being his final season, he had a 6.30 ERA in 40 innings.
In his career, Grilli played for nine different big league clubs and threw 684.2 innings over 595 appearances, with all but 16 of those games coming in relief. He went 34-47, 4.22 with 79 saves in the majors. He went 3-11, 3.01 in 161.2 innings over 168 appearances with the Pirates, picking up 47 saves. He pitched in the playoffs during four different years, including 2013 with the Pirates, and he didn’t allow a single run in 16 appearances. His father Steve Grilli was a Major League reliever for four seasons.
Kyle McPherson, pitcher for the 2012 Pirates. He was a 14th round draft pick in 2007 out of the University of Mobile by the Pirates. He debuted in the Gulf Coast League and spent part of his first season in the New York-Penn League with State College. He had a 4-3, 3.41 record in 66 innings. He returned to the NYPL in 2008 and made seven starts and eight relief appearances, posting a 1-3, 4.37 record in 55.2 innings. McPherson began the 2009 season in Low-A with West Virginia of the South Atlantic League, going 5-2, 4.94 in 51 innings. He then went back to State College for a third stint and made 13 starts, going 4-3, 2.99 in 75.1 innings. Almost the entire 2010 season was spent with West Virginia, where he went 9-9, 3.59 in 117.1 innings, with 124 strikeouts. McPherson was a surprise 40-man roster addition after the 2010 season, then his stats showed a strong improvement in 2011 to back up that addition. He split that year between Bradenton of the High-A Florida State League and Altoona of the Double-A Eastern League, going 12-6, 2.96 in 161 innings, with 142 strikeouts.
McPherson began 2012 in Altoona and ended in Pittsburgh, with a short stint in Triple-A in between. He had a 3.22 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 67 innings between Altoona and Indianapolis of the International League. The Pirates called him up in late August and he did well to finish out the season. He had an 0-2, 2.73 record in 26.1 innings over ten appearances (three starts) with the Pirates. His career was derailed by injuries and that one season in Pittsburgh ended up being his only big league season. After a very poor one-game stint in the Dominican winter league over the 2012-13 off-season, he made just two starts in Triple-A in 2013 before Tommy John surgery ended his season early. The Pirates tried rehab first (which didn’t work), so his surgery happened three months after his final game and that delay cost him all of the 2014 season as well. The Pirates let McPherson go after the 2014 season and he signed a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays, where he pitched a total of 40 innings in the minors over the 2015-16 seasons, seeing time at four difference levels, while compiling a 9.00 ERA. His last pro experience was in April of 2016.
JR House, catcher for the 2003-04 Pirates. He was a fifth round draft pick of the Pirates out of high school in 1999. House developed into one of the top prospects in baseball during the 2001-02 seasons when Baseball America ranked him 21st (2001) and 41st overall. Injuries derailed him at that point and he played a total of 76 games during the 2002-03 seasons, including one game for the Pirates. His pro career began in the Gulf Coast League, but he saw time in the New York-Penn League and Low-A Hickory of the South Atlantic League before the season was over. He hit .313 with 24 extra-base hits and 36 RBIs in 63 games. House spent the 2000 season with Hickory, where he hit .348 in 110 games, with 29 doubles, 23 homers and 90 RBIs. The Pirates skipped him up to Double-A Altoona of the Eastern League in 2001, and he responded to the push by hitting .258 with 25 doubles, 11 homers and a .722 OPS in 112 games. It was then that the injuries kicked in and he played 50 games total at Altoona in 2002-03, along with 25 rehab games in the Gulf Coast League. The Pirates used him as a pinch-hitter in the 161st game of the 2003 season, then he reported to the Arizona Fall League.
House spent most of 2004 in the minors, joining the Pirates for five games split between a July stint and a September stint. He hit .288 with 21 doubles and 15 homers in 92 games with Nashville of the Pacific Coast League that season, and he played in the Arizona Fall League for a second time that off-season. House ended up needing another major surgery (rotator cuff) and it cost him all of 2005. He was a star football player in high school and decided to go to college to play football at West Virginia, which ended up being a one-year experiment. The Pirates released him at that time and he resumed his baseball career in 2006. He went 2-for-10 at the plate in his six games with the Pirates.
House spent most of 2006-11 in the minors, but he saw four games for the 2006 Houston Astros, 19 games for the 2007 Baltimore Orioles, then back in Houston for his final three big league games in 2008. He put up outstanding numbers in the minors in 2006 while splitting his time between the Double-A and Triple-A affiliates of the Astros. He combined to hit .345 in 128 games, with 38 doubles, 15 homers and 105 RBIs. In his brief big league trial in late August, he went 0-for-9 at the plate. He became a free agent after the season and signed with the Orioles, who called him up from Triple-A in mid-August after he hit .298 with 32 doubles and 11 homers in 110 games. In his 19 games, he batted .211 with three RBIs coming on three solo homers. House struggled in winter ball in the Dominican over the 2007-08 off-season, then signed a free agent deal with the Astros. He hit .306 with 25 doubles and 18 homers in Triple-A in 2008, then got called up for three games in August. House put up a .650 OPS in 127 games at Triple-A for the Kansas City Royals in 2009, then split the 2010 season between Triple-A with the New York Mets and a stint in independent ball. After playing in both the Dominican and Venezuelan leagues that winter, he finished his pro career in independent ball in 2011. After retiring as a player, he managed for four seasons in the minors for the Arizona Diamondbacks and was hired by the Cincinnati Reds in 2019 to be their third base coach.
Roberto Hernandez, pitcher for the 2006 Pirates. He played a total of 17 seasons in the majors, pitching 1,010 games. He recorded 326 saves, which ranks as the 18th most in big league history. He was an All-Star with the Chicago White Sox in 1996 and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1999. Hernandez was a first round draft pick (16th overall) by the California Angels in 1986 out of the University of South Carolina Aiken. It’s a school that has produced 38 draft picks, but the other 37 players have produced a combined -0.5 WAR in the majors. It took him five years to make the majors and he was with the White Sox by that time.
Hernandez debuted in pro ball in the short-season Northwest League, where he had a 4.58 ERA in 55 innings over ten starts. In 1987, he played A-Ball for Quad City of the Midwest League, but only appeared in seven games. The next season was split between Quad City (24 starts) and Midland of the Double-A Texas League (three starts). He combined to go 9-12, 3.41 in 177 innings over 27 starts. Hernandez was traded to the White Sox in August of 1989 and he finished the year back in A-Ball, despite seeing more Double-A time earlier that year. He went 4-12, 5.50 in 131 innings for three teams that year, with his best results coming after the trade. In 1990, Hernandez made 17 starts in Double-A and had a 3.67 ERA in 108 innings. He also made 11 starts in Triple-A for Vancouver of the Pacific Coast League, where he had a 2.84 ERA in 79.1 innings. He missed time in the 1991 season, but still made it to the majors by the end of the year after making five rehab starts and seven starts in Triple-A. In nine games, he had a 7.80 ERA in 15 innings.
Hernandez made three starts in 1991 for the White Sox, then never started again in the majors. In his first full season in 1992, he had a 7-3, 1.65 ERA with 12 saves in 43 games and 71 innings pitched. In 1993, he was 3-4, 2.29 in 78.2 innings over 70 outings, while recording 38 saves. His numbers slipped during the strike-shortened 1994 season. Hernandez finished 4-4, 4.91 with 14 saves in 47.2 innings over 45 games. The next year he had a 3-7, 3.92 record in 59.2 innings, with 32 saves and 60 games pitched. During his All-Star season in 1996, he went 6-5, 1.91 in 84.2 innings over 72 games. He had 85 strikeouts and 38 saves. That performance led to a sixth-place finish in the Cy Young voting. Hernandez was with the White Sox until 1997, then started skipping around the majors. From late 1997 until he joined the Pirates in 2006, he played for the San Francisco Giants, Devil Rays, Kansas City Royals, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets.
Hernandez had a 2.44 ERA and 27 saves before being sent to the Giants in a nine-player deal. He had 2.48 ERA in 32.2 innings after the deal. In 1998, he signed with the Devil Rays as a free agent. He went 2-6, 4.04 with 26 saves in 71.1 innings during his first season in Tampa Bay. He was an All-Star in 1999 and finished tenth in the Cy Young voting after going 2-3, 3.07 in 73.1 innings, with a career high 43 saves. In 2000, he went 4-7, 3.19 with 32 saves in 73.1 innings over 68 games. In January of 2001, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals in a three-team deal that included seven players. With the Royals in 2001, he went 5-6, 4.12 with 28 saves in 67.2 innings over 63 games. In 2002, he had a 1-3, 4.33 record with 26 saves. It was his last season in a full-time closer role. Hernandez became a free agent at the end of the year and signed with the Braves. He went 5-3, 4.35 in 60 innings over 66 games in 2003. He signed with the Phillies as a free agent in 2004 and had a 4.76 ERA in 56.2 innings over 63 appearances. He signed with the Mets after the season and had an 8-6, 2.58 record in 69.2 innings and 67 games.
The Pirates signed him as a free agent in December of 2005, and he posted a 2.93 ERA in 43 innings over 46 appearances before being traded mid-season to the Mets for Xavier Nady. He had a 3.48 ERA in 22 appearances after the trade. Hernandez split his final big league season (2007) between the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers, giving him ten teams total during his career. He struggled with both teams that last year at 42 years old, posting a 6.23 ERA with the Indians and a 6.64 ERA with the Dodgers. He finished his big league career by going 67-71, 3.45 in 1,071.1 innings. Through 2021, he ranks 19th all-time in saves.
Rey Quinones, shortstop for 1989 Pirates. He was originally signed at 18 years old in 1982 by the Boston Red Sox as an amateur free agent out of Puerto Rico. He debuted in 1983 with Elmira of the short-season New York-Penn League, where he hit .295 with 12 homers and 55 RBIs in 67 games. In 1984, he moved up to Winston-Salem of the Carolina League, where he batted .279 in 132 games, with 30 doubles, six triples, 11 homers, 69 RBIs and 14 steals. Quinones then jumped to New Britain of the Eastern League in 1985 and hit .257 with 33 extra-base hits, 67 runs, 50 RBIs and 73 walks in 134 games. He was up in Triple-A in 1986, playing for Providence of the International League, but he made it to the majors in mid-May after posting a .759 OPS in 24 games. Quinones played 62 games with the Red Sox in 1986 before being traded mid-season to the Seattle Mariners. He combined to hit .218 with 19 extra-base hits, 32 runs scored and 22 RBIs in 98 games that year. The majority of his big league time came in Seattle, where he played 318 games over the 1986-89 seasons, including a total of 275 games during the 1987-88 seasons.
Quinones had a solid 1987 season as Seattle’s starting shortstop, hitting .276 in 135 games, with 55 runs scored, 18 doubles, 12 homers and 56 RBIs. The 1988 season was his best in the majors. He played 140 games that year, hitting .248, with 63 runs scored, 30 doubles, 12 homers and 52 RBIs. After leading all American League shortstops in errors in 1987, he posted a 1.2 dWAR mark in 1988. Despite that success, he had just one season left in the majors and his pro career was nearly done as well. Quinones played seven games for the Mariners in 1989 before he joined the Pirates on April 21, 1989 in a five-player deal that didn’t work out well for either team. He hit .209 with three homers and 29 RBIs in 71 games in Pittsburgh. He was released on July 22, 1989. He played winter ball that year, but his only other pro experience came during the 1999 season in independent ball when he played 37 games for the Atlantic City Surf of the Atlantic League. He said in late 1989 that he had offers to play in Triple-A, but he turned them all down because he believed he was a Major League player. The Pirates cut ties with him because his reputation as a player who didn’t give full effort was bad for the clubhouse. In four seasons in the majors, he hit .243 over 451 games, with 173 runs scored and 159 RBIs. Despite stealing 14 bases in 19 attempts during his first full season of pro ball, he stole a total of 14 bases in 33 attempts during his other seven seasons combined.
Scott Loucks, outfielder for the 1985 Pirates. He was born in Alaska, one of just 12 big league players from the state, and just six have been position players. When he debuted in the majors in 1980, he was just the third player from the state in baseball history. Loucks was a fifth round draft pick out of college (Southeastern Oklahoma State) by the Houston Astros in 1977. It took him just three years to make the majors, though he never played a full season during any of his five years at the big league level. He debuted in pro ball with the Astros affiliate in the Gulf Coast League, where he batted .268 in 46 games, with 41 runs scored and 17 stolen bases. In 1978, Loucks played 43 games with Daytona Beach of the Class-A Florida State League, and 76 games with Columbus of the Double-A Southern League. He struggled with both teams, combining to hit .197 in 119 games, with 59 runs scored, 47 steals and 80 walks. He had a brief stint with Columbus in 1979, but the rest of the year was spent back with Daytona Beach, where he hit .246 with 77 walks, 46 steals and 80 runs scored in 108 games. He played 137 games with Columbus in 1980, hitting .243 with 75 walks, 53 steals and 90 runs scored. He also hit ten home runs that year, after hitting six total during his first three seasons combined. Loucks was a September call-up by the Astros in 1980 and played eight games without making a start.
Loucks had a similar experience in 1981, coming up in September for ten games after hitting .271 with 35 steals and 60 runs in 88 games with Triple-A Tuscon of the Pacific Coast League. On the final day of the season, he got his first career big league start and picked up three hits. His best big league season was 1982, when he came up in late April and stayed until mid-June, then returned in September. Loucks started six of the final nine games that season, marking his most playing time over any short stretch. He batted .224 in 44 games for the Astros that year. In 1983 he was a September recall and played just seven games after having his best minor league season. Loucks hit .287 in 138 games for Tuscon, with 107 runs scored, 33 doubles, 13 triples, eight homers, 71 steals and 66 walks. He went 3-for-14 with the Astros that season. He split the 1984 season in Triple-A for the Astros and Montreal Expos, without making a big league appearance. His average dropped down to .223 in 84 games that year, and he stole just 12 bases. He then joined the Pirates as a free agent signing on March 1, 1985. Most of his time was spent in Triple-A, other than four straight late May games. He was called up on May 24th and sent down on May 30th when the Pirates acquired infielder Johnnie LeMaster. Loucks went 2-for-7 during his brief time with the Pirates. He batted .282 with a .786 OPS in 91 games for Hawaii of the PCL that season. He did not play pro ball after the 1985 season. He went to Spring Training in 1986, but a sore right arm due to bone spurs kept him out of action and required surgery in early April, which was deemed to be season-ending, but it actually ended his career when he retired in July. His final big league stats show a .263 average in 73 games, with 15 runs scored, four doubles, four RBIs and seven steals. He stole 359 bases in the minors.
Bob Long, pitcher for the 1981 Pirates. He was selected in the 17th round of the 1976 draft by the Pirates out of Shorter University in Georgia. It’s a school that has produced 15 draft picks over the years, but Long is the only player from that group to make the majors. While he was a full-time starter during his first season in the minors, he pitched mostly in relief over the next four years. In his pro debut in 1976, the 21-year-old Long went 3-5, 4.10 in 68 innings over 11 starts for Niagara Falls of the short-season New York-Penn League. He moved up to Charleston of the Class-A Western Carolinas League in 1977 and had a 6-4, 3.39 record in 85 innings over nine starts and eight relief appearances. The next year was spent with Salem of the Class-A Carolina League, where he went 8-4, 2.81 in 93 innings over 33 games, with just two starts. Long was with Double-A Buffalo of the Eastern League in 1979. He had a 4-10, 3.42 record and ten saves in 92 innings over 44 games, all of them coming in relief. He moved up to Triple-A Portland of the Pacific Coast League in 1980 and posted a 4-4, 4.26 record and five saves in 93 innings over 33 games. Long was moved back to starting in 1981 and he went 15-3, 2.98 in 157 innings with Portland, which earned him a September trial with the Pirates. He had a 1-2, 5.95 record in three starts and two relief outings during his only season in Pittsburgh.
Long struggled in 1982 back with Portland, going 5-13, 5.78 in 157.1 innings, with 18 starts and 13 relief appearances. The Pirates released him after the season and he signed with the Chicago White Sox, though they released him just three weeks later. He signed in May of 1983 with the Seattle Mariners and spent his slightly abbreviated season in Double-A, where he had a 3.33 ERA and 12 saves in 48.2 innings over 33 appearances. He was in Triple-A with Salt Lake City of the PCL in 1984, where he went 6-3, 5.16 in 90.2 innings over 50 appearances, picking up ten saves. Seattle’s Triple-A affiliate switched to Calgary of the PCL in 1985 and Long was strong there early on, compiling a 2.10 ERA in 34.1 innings. His only other big league experience outside of Pittsburgh was 28 relief appearances for the 1985 Mariners after he got called up in June and stayed for the rest of the season. He had a 3.76 ERA in 38.1 innings during his second big league stint. Long was released shortly after the 1985 season ended, and he spent the next two seasons in the minors before retiring, playing at both Double-A and Triple-A each year for the Atlanta Braves in 1986 and the Baltimore Orioles in 1987.
Lee Howard, lefty pitcher for the 1946-47 Pirates. Before his big league stint with the Pirates, Howard missed three years (1943-45) due to serving in the Navy during WWII. He had very little pro experience before joining the war effort at 19 years old, but the Pirates were very high on the young player. He was discovered by Pirates scout Hollis Thurston, who started following Howard when he was 14 years old, and got him to join the Pirates on a tryout out of high school during Spring Training in 1942. The interest part about that time spent following him before he signed was that Howard reportedly “hadn’t pitch more than five games in his life” before pro ball. He pitched 154 innings for Hutchison of the Class-C Western Association in his first taste of pro ball in 1942, putting up a 10-8 record (ERA isn’t available). The Pirates purchased his contract on March 15, 1943 from their Harrisburg affiliate, even though he was already in the military at the time. He returned in 1946 to pitch for York of the Class-B Interstate League, where he went 9-7, 3.52 in 143 innings, before being called up by the Pirates on September 10th. He went to Spring Training with the Pirates that year, but he was an early cut. He made two starts and one relief appearance for the Pirates that year, debuting as a starter 12 days after he joined the team. He allowed two runs over five innings in that first game, then faced three batters in relief two days later. On September 29th, he took the tough loss when he allowed one run over eight innings.
Howard spent most of 1947 with Selma of the Class-B Southeastern League, where he went 13-6, 3.00 in 165 innings. In late September, he played his final two big league games for the Pirates. Both appearances that year were during one-sided losses, though he gave up just one run in 2.1 innings during those games. The season ended on September 28th and that same day Howard was released to Indianapolis of the American Association. He played until 1949 before retiring, but he never made it back to the majors. He struggled a bit in 1948 with New Orleans of the Double-A Southern Association, going 2-8, 5.74 in 94 innings over 35 appearances. He had 60 walks and 27 strikeouts that year. In his final season, he dropped down two levels to Spokane of the Western International League, where he went 5-4, 6.14 in 88 innings. When he passed away in 2018 at age 94, he was one of the oldest living former Pirates player. He had the nickname Lefty for obvious reasons.
Charlie Hastings, pitcher for the 1896-98 Pirates. He began his pro career and his Major League career with the 1893 Cleveland Spiders, going 4-5, 4.70 in 92 innings over 15 games, nine of those coming as a starter. He was a pitch-to-contact guy, striking out just 14 guys in his first shot at the majors. He then spent the next two seasons in the minors, struggling in 1894 (7-20, 5.21) for two Western League clubs, before turning it around in 1895 when he won 28 games and had a 3.53 ERA in 342 innings for the Kansas City Blues of the Western League. That led to his next shot at the majors. In his three seasons with the Pirates, Hastings was used sparingly each year, getting occasional starts and seeing some relief work. The Pirates had star pitchers Pink Hawley, Frank Killen and Jesse Tannehill receiving most of the starts during his three seasons. Hastings got 36 total starts and 16 relief appearances for Pittsburgh, going a combined 14-24, 4.51 in 379.1 innings. He had a 5-10, 5.88 record in 1896, with 19 strikeouts in 104 innings pitched. He was sent back to the minors mid-season, playing for Minneapolis of the Western League, before returning to the Pirates in July after a successful run of starts. He improved 5-4, 4.58 in 118 innings in 1897, and his strikeout rate doubled, giving him 42 strikeouts on the season. In his final season in Pittsburgh, Hastings had his best big league season, though it didn’t show in his record. He went 4-10, 3.41 in 137.1 innings, with 12 complete games in 13 starts. On February 25, 1899, Hastings was among five players sold to the Kansas City of the Western League, ending his time with the Pirates.
Hastings first start with the Pirates was an interesting one. On May 20, 1896, the Pirates played Brooklyn in Pittsburgh. Hastings wasn’t doing well in the first three innings, allowing two runs each frame. He was replaced for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the third and that is when things got interesting. It began to rain hard and the Pirates manager Connie Mack told his team to go easy in the field, hoping that the game would be called before it was official and would have to be replayed from the start the following time the two teams met (It was a getaway day for Brooklyn, while Pirates took on the Philadelphia Phillies the next day). So the Pirates replacement pitcher, Jot Goar came in and started lobbing the ball over the plate, Brooklyn caught on and tried to make outs of their own to make sure the game reached five innings but the Pirates anticipated the game being called as the weather got worse. It was never called much to the Pirates dismay, because the weather cleared up, leaving the Pirates in a 17-0 hole after five innings. When they realized the game was going to be official they began to play hard again. The Brooklyn pitcher, Bert Abbey, was told not to strain his arm though and with the score out of hand, he began lobbing the ball over the plate, allowing the Pirates to score six runs in the last two innings for a 25-6 final.
After his time with Pittsburgh ended, Hastings returned to the minors in 1899, where he played pro ball until 1904, before retiring. He returned to Kansas City in the Western League in 1899, but before he was done, he would play for a total of seven teams in his final six seasons, which included him seeing time with Buffalo of the Eastern League during three straight seasons (1899-1901). Hastings was a solid big league hitter, batting .233 during both the 1897 and 1898 seasons. His only career homer came against a pitcher named Charlie Brown, who made four career starts with the 1897 Cleveland Spiders, and it was an inside-the-park homer.
Joe Battin, third baseman for the 1882-84 Pittsburgh Alleghenys. During the first season of Major League Baseball in 1871, he was the youngest player in the National Association. Battin played a total of ten seasons in the majors over a 20-year time-frame. His big league career ended in 1890, but his pro career wrapped up in 1894 at 40 years old. Besides the National League and the National Association, he also saw time in the Union Association and the American Association, making him one of the few players to play in four different Major Leagues. He was 17 years old when he played for the Cleveland Forest Citys on August 11, 1871. He played just that one game in right field. Two years later, he played one game in center field for the Philadelphia Athletics of the National Association. He was signed by the Athletics for the 1874 season in September of 1873, and was referred to as the “young player of Easton”. During that 1874 season, he mostly played second base and hit .230 in 51 games, with 40 runs scored and 27 RBIs. He joined the St Louis Brown Stockings in 1875 and hit .250 with 33 RBIs and 31 runs scored in 67 games during the final season of the National Association.
In 1876 for the St Louis Brown Stockings of the newly-formed National League, Battin batted .300, which set a career high. In 64 games, he had 46 RBIs and 34 runs scored. Playing for St Louis again in 1877, he batted .199 in 57 games, then didn’t play in the majors again until his time in Pittsburgh. He played minor league ball for five different teams during the 1878-79 seasons, then played two seasons in Philadelphia 1881-82, before joining the Alleghenys in their first season of existence. There appears to be no record of him playing in 1880. In July of 1882, it was said that he would likely take an umpiring job in 1883, but a month later he was in the Alleghenys lineup at third base and impressed defensively. He batted .211 in 34 games to finish out the 1882 season. Battin led the league in games played with 98 in 1883. He hit .214 with 16 extra-base hits and 41 runs scored. In 1884, he hit .177 in 43 games for the Alleghenys, the first of three teams he played for that season. He actually played with Pittsburgh again that season when Chicago’s Union Association team transferred to Pittsburgh to end the season, sort of. The Pittsburgh club only lasted a short time, playing their last game on September 18th, four weeks before the season ended. Battin finished the year with the Baltimore club of the Union Association, which was the last club that Pittsburgh played that year. He hit just .148 in 35 Union Association games. During both the 1883 and 1884 seasons, two of the worst years in franchise history, Battin managed the team for 13 games each year. He hit .205 in 175 games during his time in Pittsburgh with the Alleghenys.
Battin was a player-manager in the minors during the 1885-86 seasons, but he moved around a lot before he got one final shot in the majors. In 1890, he was with Syracuse of the American Association for 29 games and he posted a .210 average. He played for Syracuse during the 1887-91 seasons in four different leagues. Battin finished his ten-year big league career with a .225 average, 228 runs scored, 51 doubles, 25 triples and three homers in 480 games.