Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, including a Hall of Famer.
Freddie Lindstrom, outfielder for the 1933-34 Pirates. He was a star third baseman for the New York Giants for nine years before coming to the Pirates. A bad back caused him to switch to the outfield in 1931 and he remained there for the rest of his career. While in Pittsburgh, they had an entire outfield that would go on to the Hall of Fame, with Lindstrom and the Waner brothers. At 18 years old in 1924, he hit .333 during the World Series. He retired from baseball as a player at age 30 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1976.
Lindstrom debuted in pro ball at 16 years old in 1922. He played 18 games that year and hit .304 for Toledo of the Double-A American Association. In his only full season in the minors (1923), he hit .270 with 29 extra-base hits in 147 games for Toledo. The Giants purchased his contract after the season and brought him to the majors at 18 years old. Lindstrom saw very little playing time during the season, getting just 88 plate appearances in 52 games. He batted .253 with a .630 OPS. The Giants lost the World Series to the Washington Nationals, but he had ten hits, three walks and four RBIs in the series. In 1925, he started 91 games at third base and hit .287 with 43 runs scored, 31 extra-base hits and 33 RBIs. He set a career best with 12 triples. The next season he was a full-time starter throughout the season, hitting .302 in 140 games, with 90 runs scored, 37 extra-base hits and 73 RBIs. That led to a ninth place finish in the MVP voting. He batted .306 in 1927, with 107 runs scored, 51 extra-base hits and 58 RBIs. During the 1928 season, he led the National League with 231 hits and finished second in the MVP voting after hitting .358 with 62 extra-base hits, 107 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. That year was his best on defense, with a 1.5 dWAR, which ranked eighth among all NL players.
Lindstrom had a solid 1929 season that gets lost between his two big years. That season he hit .319 in 130 games, with 99 runs scored, 44 extra-base hits and 91 RBIs. He had 39 doubles, seven triples and 22 homers, setting his career high in both doubles (tied) and homers. Lindstrom had his best season in 1930, though so did a lot of players due to a league-wide jump in offense. He batted .379 that season and drove in 106 runs, while scoring a career high 127 runs. From 1926-30, he averaged 105 runs scored per season. Ankle and back injuries limited him to 78 games in 1931, though he was still able to put up a .300 average. In 1932, he moved to center field and hit .271 in 144 games, with 83 runs scored, 26 doubles, 15 homers and 92 RBIs. The Pirates acquired Lindstrom in a three-team deal with the Giants and Philadelphia Phillies on December 12, 1932, which included a total of five players.
Lindstrom hit .310 during the 1933 season in 138 games, with 70 runs scored, 39 doubles, ten triples, five homers and 55 RBIs. He dropped down to a .290 average in 97 games in 1934, finishing with 59 runs scored and 49 RBIs. Lindstrom missed time early with a finger injury that season, then missed more time in July with a broken finger. He was hitting .340 on July 12th, but he batted just .257 over the final 56 games of the regular season. After his two seasons in Pittsburgh, he was sent to the Chicago Cubs on November 22, 1934 in another five-player deal, with three players returning to the Pirates. Lindstrom lasted one year in Chicago, but he helped the to the World Series. He hit .275 in 90 games, with 62 RBIs and 49 runs scored. That year he batted .200 in the World Series against the Detroit Tigers. He was released by the Cubs in January of 1936 and signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers, where he hit .264 in 26 games. He was dealing with knee problems in 1935 and then another leg injury in May of 1936 caused he to retire as a player on May 19th. He batted .302 in 235 games with the Pirates and he was a .311 career hitter over 1,438 games. He had 895 runs scored, 301 doubles, 103 homers and 779 RBIs. He finished his career with three seasons of managing in the minors. Lindstrom’s son Charlie Lindstrom made it to the majors with the 1958 Chicago White Sox.
Brian Meadows, pitcher for 2002-05 Pirates. He was a third round draft pick out of high school in 1994 by the Florida Marlins. He went to the Gulf Coast League that year, where he went 3-0, 1.95 in 37 innings. In 1995, he played for Kane County in the Low-A Midwest League, going 9-9, 4.22 in 147 innings over 26 games. He moved up to High-A in 1996, playing for Brevard County of the Florida State League. Meadows went 8-7, 3.58 in 146 innings, though he had a surprisingly low 69 strikeouts. He made four starts for Double-A Portland of the Eastern League that year, then spent the entire 1997 season at the level, going 9-7, 4.61 in 29 starts, with 115 strikeouts in 175.2 innings. Meadows jumped right to the majors from Double-A in 1998 and made 31 starts as a rookie. He had an 11-13, 5.21 record in 174.1 innings. That was followed by a similar 1999 season that saw him go 11-15, 5.60 in 31 starts, with 178.1 innings pitched. His low strikeout rate carried to the majors, finishing the year with 3.6 strikeouts per nine innings. He was traded to the San Diego Padres in November of 1999. Meadows made 32 starts in 2000, splitting the seasons between the Padres (22 starts) and Kansas City Royals, who acquired him at the trade deadline. He combined to go 13-10, 5.13 in a career high 196.1 innings, with 79 strikeouts.
Meadows remained in Kansas City for 2001, though he had a 6.97 ERA in ten starts. He was granted free agency after the season and signed with the Minnesota Twins. Meadows was cut at the end of Spring Training in 2002, then signed with the Pirates just two days later. He was a starter during his first season in Pittsburgh, then moved to relief after a Triple-A stint in 2003. He would end up making a total of 160 relief appearances for the Pirates. Despite a 1-6 record in 2002, he had a respectable 3.88 ERA in 62.2 innings over 11 starts. He had a 4.72 ERA in 2003, throwing 76.2 innings over seven starts and 27 relief appearances. He was full-time relief in 2004 and responded with his best season, posting a 3.58 ERA in 78 innings over 68 appearances. He saw his ERA rise exactly one full run in similar work in 2005, throwing 74.2 innings in 65 games. The Pirates parted ways at the end of the season, letting him go via free agency on October 28, 2005. He was signed and cut by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the spring of 2006, then finished his big league career with the 2006 Tampa Bay Devil Rays, where he had a 3-6, 5.17 record in 69.2 innings over 53 games. He picked up ten saves in his career and eight came during his final season. Meadows went 8-12, 4.20 in 291.2 innings in Pittsburgh. He pitched a total of nine years in the majors, going 47-62, 5.05 in 960.2 innings over 122 starts and 214 relief appearances.
Bill Almon, utility fielder for the 1985-87 Pirates. He spent 15 years in the majors after being drafted first overall in the 1974 draft out of Brown University by the San Diego Padres. The Padres originally drafted him in the 11th round in 1971, but he chose the college route, which paid off well. He played just 39 minor league games before making his big league debut in September of 1974. The first overall pick seemed to be warranted in his first taste of the majors, as he hit .316 in 16 games, debuting just three months after he was drafted. However, he didn’t stick in the majors until 1977. Almon hit just .228 with a .586 OPS in 144 games for Hawaii of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 1975. He played six games with the Padres in September. In 1976, he hit .291 in 129 games with Hawaii, with 67 runs scored and 21 steals. That led to 14 games with the Padres in September. He batted .246 in 57 at-bats. Almon was in the majors for all of 1977. He put up a .639 OPS,a .261 average and 20 steals in 155 games as the everyday shortstop. His 75 runs scored, 11 triples, 37 walks and 160 hits that season were all career highs. In 1978, he moved to third base for most of the year and hit .252 in 138 games, with 39 runs scored, 21 RBIs, 17 steals and a .616 OPS. In 1979, Almon batted .227 in 100 games and saw most of his time at second base.
Almon split 1980 with the Montreal Expos and New York Mets, playing just 66 games total. He had a .193 average and a .498 OPS. He moved on to the Chicago White Sox for 1981-82 and Oakland A’s in 1983-84 before joining the Pirates as a free agent signing. In Chicago, he had his best season during the strike-shortened 1981 campaign. He batted .301 in 103 games, with 46 runs scored, 16 steals and 41 RBIs. That led to a 19th place finish in the MVP voting. In 1982, Almon had a .256 average and 40 runs scored in 111 games. He became a free agent after the season and signed a two-year deal with the A’s. In Oakland, he began to play a utility role, which would carry over to Pittsburgh. In 143 games in 1983, he played seven different positions and hit .266 with 45 runs scored, while setting career highs with 29 doubles, 63 RBIs and 26 steals. In 1984, he played seven positions again and hit .223 in 106 games. He signed with the Pirates on the day before Opening Day (April 9th opener) in 1985.
Almon did well in limited time in 1985, hitting .270 in 88 games, while seeing most of his time at shortstop and left field. His .744 OPS that year was his best over a full season in the majors. He saw a significant drop in his average over the next two seasons, hitting .219 in 102 games in 1986, though his seven homers tied his career high. He also drove in 27 runs in his 230 plate appearances. Almon was traded to the New York Mets on May 29, 1987 for Scott Little and Al Pedrique. He was hitting .200 in 19 games (20 at-bats) before the trade. Afterwards, he hit .241 in 62 plate appearances over 49 games. He started eight games all season. Almon finished up his pro career with a brief stint for the 1988 Philadelphia Phillies, where he hit .115 in 20 games. He played seven positions during his time with the Pirates, seeing time everywhere except pitcher and catcher. In 209 games in Pittsburgh, he was a .246 hitter with 13 homers and 57 RBIs. Almon hit .254, with 390 runs, 36 homers, 296 RBIs and 128 steals over 1,236 career games.
Darryl Patterson, pitcher for the 1974 Pirates. The Los Angeles Dodgers signed him as an amateur free agent in 1964, a year before the current amateur draft system started. He went 1-6, 6.60 in 60 innings, with a 42:57 BB/SO ratio, for Santa Barbara of the Class-A California League. The Dodgers lost him after the season in the First Year draft to the Detroit Tigers. It took him four years to make the majors, debuting with the Tigers in April of 1968. Patterson cut his ERA in half in 1965, going 8-13, 3.30 in 161 innings, with 132 strikeouts. He played in the Fall Instructional League after the season, posting a 3.72 ERA in 29 innings. In 1966, he went 8-8, 4.78 in 128 innings, with 117 strikeouts. He played fall ball in 1966 and had a 5.12 ERA in 51 innings. Patterson went 9-12, 3.23 in 156 innings for Toledo of the Triple-A International League. He debuted in the majors by posting a 2.12 ERA and seven saves in 68 innings over 38 appearances for the World Series winning Detroit Tigers in 1968. He pitched twice in the postseason and threw three shutout innings. Patterson had to spend the start of the 1969 season with the Army Reserves. He returned in June and pitched 18 games, posting 2.82 ERA in 22.1 innings, but he had to spend another month with the Army before the season ended.
Patterson had a 7-1, 4.85 record in 78 innings over 43 appearances for the 1970 Tigers. Despite that record, he finished his career with an 11-9 record over five seasons in the majors. He split the 1971 season between the Tigers, Oakland A’s and St Louis Cardinals, posting a 4.97 ERA in 41.2 innings total. He was traded to the A’s on May 22nd, and he was sold to the Cardinals on June 25th. The A’s got Patterson back in late October and he spent 1972 in the minors. He joined the Pirates system in April of 1973 as a minor league free agent, and spent the year at Triple-A, where he had a 3.07 ERA in 82 innings. He was also in Triple-A to start 1974, but he was called up on June 14th to replace young Kent Tekulve on the roster when he was sent back to the minors. In mid-July, the Pirates and Cincinnati Reds had a brawl and Patterson received bite wounds from Reds pitcher Pedro Borbon. Patterson was sent down for a time in August, but returned to the Pirates on September 5th and he made one appearance during his final month in the majors. In 21 innings over 14 relief appearances with the Pirates, he had a 7.29 ERA. He finished his career in the minors in 1975 with the Pirates, posting a 6.00 ERA in ten appearances with Charleston of the Triple-A International League. Patterson went 11-9, 4.09 with 11 saves in 231 innings over 142 games in five big league seasons.
Billy Clingman, third baseman for the 1895 Pirates. Prior to joining the Pirates, he had eight games of big league experience early in his career. He played seven games for the Cincinnati Reds in 1890 and one game for Cincinnati of the American Association in 1891. That 1890 season was his first year in pro ball at 20 years old. He joined Cincinnati in September after playing with Mansfield of the Tri-State League. In addition to his one game with Cincinnati, a team referred to as the Kelly’s Killers, named after manager King Kelly, Clingman also saw time with Jamestown of the New York-Penn League and Terre Haute of the Northwestern League. He played briefly in Class-A ball with Indianapolis of the Western League in 1892, but the majority of that season, as well as the entire 1893 season, was spent with Memphis of the Class-B Southern Association. Clingman hit .277 with 25 steals in 78 games for Memphis in 1892. He followed that up by hitting .310 with 84 runs scored and 30 doubles in 94 games in 1893. Prior to the start of the 1895 season, the Pirates picked up Clingman in the Rule 5 Draft from the Milwaukee Brewers of the Western League. He hit .332 in 1894 with Milwaukee, collecting 40 extra base hits, 32 stolen bases and he scored 128 runs in 126 games. That was a huge year for offense all around baseball, but those were still above average numbers.
For the 1895 Pirates, Clingman hit .256 in 107 games, with no homers, 45 RBIs and a career high 69 runs scored. His defense at third base was slightly above average that year, though later in his career he was known more for his strong glove. In 1897 he led all National League third baseman in fielding percentage, and four years later he led all American League shortstops in the same category, while also leading in assists. Clingman was dealt to the Louisville Colonels on May 2, 1896 for catcher Eddie Boyle and outfielder Joe Wright. He was actually with the Pirates for the first 11 games of the 1896 season, but he failed to get into a game. Clingman still had seven more seasons ahead of him in the majors after the trade, including four seasons in Louisville (1896-99), and one year each with the 1900 Chicago Orphans (Cubs), the 1901 Washington Senators and the 1903 Cleveland Naps (Indians). After the trade in 1896, he hit .234 with 57 runs scored, 37 RBIs, 19 steals and 57 walks in 121 games. He batted .228 in 115 games in 1897, with 61 runs scored and 47 RBIs. In 1898, Clingman played a career high 154 games. He led the league with 60 strikeouts, but he improved to a .257 average, with 65 runs scored, 50 RBIs and 51 walks. During the 1899 season, he batted .263 and scored 68 runs in 110 games.
After the 1899 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired most of the Louisville roster, first in a trade made on December 8th, then after Louisville folded, the Pirates got their remaining players. Clingman wasn’t part of either group though, he was sold to Chicago on December 13th along with teammate Charlie Dexter. He batted just .208 in 47 games at shortstop during his lone season with Chicago. He was released in August of 1900 and finished the season with Kansas City of the American League (minor league at the time), after he was claimed via waivers. The manager of Kansas City was Jim Manning, who managed the Washington Senators during the 1901 season. He signed Clingman for the 1901 season, which got him back to the majors. He batted .242 with 66 runs scored and 55 RBIs in 137 games with Washington that season. He was back in the minors in 1902, where he hit .308 for Milwaukee of the American Association. Clingman played for the Cleveland Naps at the start of 1903, hitting .281 in 21 games, before finishing the year with Columbus of the American Association. He would end up playing minor league ball for three more seasons, mostly spent with Toledo of the American Association. In his ten seasons in the majors, he hit .245 in 820 games, with 413 runs scored, 302 RBIs and 98 steals. He finished with 303 walks and 303 strikeouts.
Alex Beam, pitcher for the 1889 Alleghenys. His big league playing career started on May 25, 1889 and ended four days later. Beam only pitched twice for the Alleghenys due to major control issues. In two complete game starts, he is credited with walking a total of 15 batters (disputed number, see below) while recording just one strikeout. Beam was a strong pitcher from the area and the Alleghenys scooped him up so Hall of Fame manager Harry Wright couldn’t pick him up for his own Philadelphia Phillies team. He was just 19 years old at the time, so there was much more potential beyond what he was already offering as a pitcher, which makes it a little surprising that his big league career was so short. Exactly two weeks before his pro debut, he played for a local team called the Greensburgs and it was said that he had 24 strikeouts and allowed one hit. Beam’s big league debut was a successful 3-1 win over the last place Washington Nationals. He won despite issuing nine walks (some sources say eight walks) and only picking up one strikeout. His second start was a double failure for the young pitcher. He faced Harry Wright’s club and got battered, losing 15-4. He’s credited with nine walks in this game and 17 walks total by most sources from the day. Not only was that his last game with Pittsburgh, it also left a bad impression with Wright. It was said in multiple reports that he threw a lot of off-speed pitches early, but after the Phillies put up 11 runs, he looked much better throwing only fastballs. He had great success in his first game with what was then called a “drop ball”, but is known as a sinker now.
Beam was supposed to pitch for the Alleghenys on June 5th, but the game was rained out, which was once again double bad for him, because he not only didn’t get to prove himself, he also had numerous friends and family in attendance to watch the game. It was said that he would pitch the first five innings, then another young pitcher named Al Krumm would pitch the rest of the game, so that the local fans could see both pitchers in action. The Alleghenys went on a three-city road trip the next day and he wasn’t with the team (it was common practice to leave some players behind due to travel costs). He stayed behind and practiced with Krumm, and a 17-year-old pitcher named Andy Dunning. All three were being coached by Pete Conway, a 30-game winner in 1888, who was injured at the time. Before Beam could see another opportunity with the Alleghenys, he was released by the team on June 25th, exactly one month after his debut.
Beam debuted in pro ball in the majors, and he only pitched minor league ball until 1892, with his pro career ending at 22 years old. His minor league stats are all incomplete. Before joining Pittsburgh when he signed a deal on May 21st (four days before his debut), the local papers called him a young phenom discovered by Pittsburgh president William Nimick, who “enjoys an enviable reputation among the Western Pennsylvania League clubs”. Just one day earlier, the same papers were reporting that the two sides were too far apart on salary demands and the Alleghenys would look elsewhere for a pitcher. Beam wanted a guarantee of $1,200 for the rest of the season, while the Alleghenys offered him contracts that called for $100 per month and $200 per month if he turned out to be good. He was originally said to be signing with Pittsburgh on May 17th, but he had to wait until his dad returned home from business so he could get his consent first. While they were waiting for his dad, he pitched a game on May 18th in front of members of the Alleghenys, which satisfied those in attendance. After his time with the Alleghenys, he went to pitch for Burlington of the Central Interstate League, but he returned home in August after his arm gave out. He saw time with a minor league team in Altoona in 1890, doing more work in the outfield than in the pitcher’s box. In 1891, he played for Bay City of the Northwestern League. During his final season, he played for Lead City of the Black Hills League and Green Bay of the Wisconsin-Michigan League. He was small for a pitcher by today’s standards, standing in at 5’9″, 155 pounds.
Henry Youngman, infielder for the 1890 Alleghenys. The 1890 Pittsburgh club was the worst in team history and it isn’t even close. They went 23-113, and used numerous players for a short time to get through the season. It was during a time when teams regularly used 15-20 players over a full season, but the Alleghenys used 46 players that year. Youngman had a decent minor league career between 1888 and 1899, but his brief time in the majors was unsuccessful. In 13 games split between third base and second base, he hit .128 and made 16 errors. Not surprisingly, that was his only chance in the majors. Perhaps the most surprising part was his big league debut, in which he had two hits and his defense at third base was praised. The team actually expected good things from him after a strong showing in Spring Training. Youngman made the 1890 Opening Day roster and his final game came on May 23rd. Local papers speculated about his release in early May, saying that team president J. Palmer O’Neil was looking for a regular shortstop and Youngman would likely be the man to go when that happened. The Alleghenys actually cut star infielder Fred Dunlap first and it was noted that his salary of $3,500 was too much, while Youngman was doing comparable work for $1,050 for the season. Youngman was one of three players released by the Alleghenys on June 1st after they completed a 33-day road trip.
Almost no stats are available from Youngman’s minor league time, but there is a paper trail of where he played. He was born in Germany in 1865 and he was found playing semi-pro ball near Pittsburgh in 1885-86 for a team from Homestead, Pa. His pro debut came with Danville of the Central Interstate League in 1888, where he was teammates with Pete Daniels and Fred Roat, who both joined Youngman on the 1890 Alleghenys Opening Day roster. Danville moved to the Illinois-Indiana League in 1889 and he was there as a teammate of Roat. Youngman played for two different minor league teams in Pennsylvania in 1890 after being released by Pittsburgh. He spent the 1891 season in Oakland of the California League, then played for Homestead again in 1892. In 1893-94, he played for Altoona of the Pennsylvania State League, while also seeing time in the same league in 1894 with Lancaster. He hit .288 with 94 runs, 32 steals and 27 extra-base hits in 97 games during that 1893 season. In 1895, Youngman played for Titusville of the Class-C Iron and Oil League. He had an offer to play for a team from Bradford, Pa. (one of the towns he played at in 1890), but decided against playing ball that season. He returned in 1897 to play his final three years in pro ball (1897-99) for Dayton of the Class-B Interstate League. He was still found playing for Homestead in 1902, and two years later, an article from the Pittsburgh Press said that he was doing some managing, before become the police chief in Homestead.