Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, including one of the best outfielders in franchise history.
Max Carey, Hall of Fame center fielder for the Pirates from 1910 until 1926. Carey debuted at the end of the 1910 season for two games, and then was a regular in the lineup for the next 16 seasons. He led the National League in stolen bases ten times from 1913 until 1925. He led the league in runs in 1913, in triples in 1914 and 1923, and walks in 1918 and 1922. In 1922 he scored 140 runs, which is the fifth highest total in team history. Carey finished his career with 738 stolen bases which still ranks as the ninth highest total all-time. He had a career .285 average with 1,545 runs scored, 2,665 hits and 1,040 walks. Among Pirates all-time records he ranks fourth in games played with 2,178, fourth in runs with 1,414, tied with Pie Traynor for fourth in hits with 2,416, fifth in doubles, sixth in triples, second in walks to Willie Stargell and first in stolen bases with 688. He has the fourth most putouts as an outfielder all-time and seventh most assists. He led NL center fielders in putouts seven times and assists five times. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1961.
Carey had a short minor league career, playing 48 games for South Bend of the Central League in 1909 at 19 years old, followed by another 96 games for South Bend in 1910. He batted just .158 during his first pro season, then nearly doubled his average in 1910. He was still attending college at the time, which limited his playing time during those first two seasons. Despite a brief minor league career, the Pirates obtained his rights on August 15, 1910, though he was allowed to finish the season with his minor league club before reporting to Pittsburgh. After seeing him for just two games in 1910, Carey earned a big league starting spot in 1911 and put together a solid performance for a 21-year-old rookie in 129 games. He hit .258 with 30 extra-base hits, 77 runs and 27 steals, while posting a .712 OPS that was above league average in the middle of the deadball era. He really took off in 1912, batting .302 with 114 runs scored, 36 extra-base hits, 68 RBIs, 61 walks and 45 stolen bases.
Carey won his first stolen base crown in 1913, swiping 61 bags. He also led the National League that year with 99 runs scored and 692 plate appearances. He batted .277 in 154 games, with 38 extra-base hits, 49 RBIs and 55 walks. In 1914, he hit .243 in a league leading 156 games, with 76 runs scored, 25 doubles, a league leading 17 triples, 38 steals and 59 walks. That was followed up by a .254 average in 140 games in 1915. He had 76 runs, 26 doubles, 57 walks and a league leading 36 steals. Carey’s speed and defense helped him excel during the deadball era when hitting numbers were at an all-time low. A good example was his 1916 season in which he hit .264 with 41 extra-base hits and 59 walks in 154 games. Carey stole a league leading 63 bases and he scored 90 runs, which ranked him second in the league. His .711 OPS doesn’t look like much that year, but he actually put up 5.1 WAR. He mostly played left field during his first five full seasons in the majors, but he switched to center field during that 1916 season.
Carey’s best season (according to WAR) came in 1917, which was a rough year in Pittsburgh, as the club finished 51-103. He put up 5.2 WAR, thanks in part to a .296 average, 34 extra-base hits, 51 RBIs, 58 walks, 46 steals and 82 runs scored. His .746 OPS was the tenth best in the league that season. The 1918 season was shortened a month due to the war, but Carey led the league with 58 steals and 62 walks. He hit .274 in 126 games, with 70 runs scored and 48 RBIs. He also lost some playing time during the 1919 season due to surgery on his arm for an abscess, which took a while to heal. He managed to put up a .307 average and 41 runs scored in 66 games that year, but his RBI total (nine all season) and stolen bases (18) took a hit that year right in the middle of his career. Carey returned healthy in 1920 and put together a solid run of seasons over six years as the deadball era came to an end. The streak began with a .289 average in 130 games in 1920, with 74 runs scored, 59 walks and a league leading 52 stolen bases. In 1921, he batted .309 in 140 games, with 85 runs, 34 doubles, 56 RBIs, 37 steals and 70 walks.
In 1922, Carey had an .868 OPS, which was the second best of his career and helped lead to 5.1 WAR. His 140 runs scored that season was a career high, as was his 207 hits and ten homers. He batted .329 with 50 extra-base hits and league leading totals of 51 steals and 80 walks (also a career high). He was thrown out stealing just two times all year. That total of 140 runs is the fifth highest single season mark in team history. In 1923, Carey batted .308 in 153 games, with 120 runs scored, 32 doubles, a career high/league leading 19 triples, 63 RBIs, 73 walks and his eighth stolen base crown, with 51 steals. In 1924, Carey received mild MVP support for hitting .297 in 149 games, with 113 runs, 47 extra-base hits, 55 RBIs, 58 walks (just 17 strikeouts) and his ninth stolen base crown (49 steals).
In 1925, Carey set career bests by hitting .343 and putting up a .909 OPS, while collecting his tenth stolen base title (46 steals). He had 109 runs scored, a career best 39 doubles, 13 triples and 66 walks. He led the league with 683 plate appearances, while striking out just 19 times all year. Carey then batted .458 during the 1925 World Series, with four doubles, three steals and six runs scored. However, the 1926 Pirates had a lot of issues, both on and off the field and Carey got caught up in the drama, which eventually led to him being put on waivers in August after everything came to a boil. It was part of the ABC affair, which saw the Pirates part ways with three of their veteran players on the same day, which did not go over well with fans. The very quick explanation is that the players didn’t like Fred Clarke sitting on the bench as a second manager giving different information than Hall of Fame manager Bill McKechnie, which led to major issues. The team took a secret vote to talk about the removal of Clarke, but the votes came out and the players thought to be at the forefront due to their veteran status, Babe Adams, Carson Bigbee and Max Carey, all took the brunt of the punishment. The letters of their last name led to all three being let go and the name “ABC Affair”. At the time of his departure, Carey was batting just .222 in 86 games, with ten steals and 46 runs scored.
Carey remained in the majors for three more full seasons after leaving Pittsburgh, playing his final 298 games for the Brooklyn Robins, who picked him up on waivers on August 13, 1926. Over the final seven weeks of the 1926 season, he hit .260 in 27 games, with 18 runs scored. In 1927, he batted .266 in 144 games, with 70 runs scored, 30 doubles, ten triples, 54 RBIs, 32 steals and 64 walks, which earned him mild MVP support. He played 108 games in 1928, hitting .247 with 18 steals and 41 runs scored. He was seldom used in his final season and didn’t make a single start after May 13th. He lasted through the end of the year though, and finished with a .304 average, albeit in 19 games. He took up managing after his playing career was over, and led the Brooklyn Dodgers for two seasons (1932-33), finishing with a 146-161 record. He also put in four years of managing at the minor league level.
Warren Morris, second baseman for the 1999-2001 Pirates. He was a fifth round draft pick of the Texas Rangers in 1996 out of LSU. He didn’t sign until late in the summer and made his pro debut in 1997. He started pro ball in High-A and finished the season in Triple-A, skipping right over the Double-A level, though he would spend the entire following season in Double-A, split between the Rangers and Pirates. Morris hit .300 in 136 games during his first season, with 81 runs, 28 doubles, nine triples, 13 homers, 78 RBIs, 16 steals and 65 walks. He was acquired from the Rangers along with Todd Van Poppel in exchange for Esteban Loaiza on July 17, 1998. Morris hit .331 with 19 homers, 17 stolen bases and 103 RBIs in 1998 to earn the Pirates starting second base job in 1999. He managed to bat .331 with the Rangers (Tulsa of the Texas League) before the trade and .331 in 44 games with the Pirates (Carolina of the Southern League) after the deal. He played 147 games during his rookie season in 1999, hitting .288 with 15 homers, 73 RBIs and 65 runs scored, earning a third place finish in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. He had a sophomore slump in 2000, hitting .259 with only three homers and 43 RBIs, despite getting 25 more plate appearances than the previous season. He performed even worse in 2001 and spent nearly half the season in the minors, where he put up an .804 OPS in 57 games for Triple-A Nashville of the Pacific Coast League. Morris hit .204 in 48 games that season for the Pirates, then was released during Spring Training in 2002. He batted .267 with 139 runs, 20 homers and 127 RBIs in 339 games for the Pirates over three seasons.
Morris signed as a free agent with the Minnesota Twins just two days after being released by the Pirates. He played in four big league games that season before being traded in mid-June to the St Louis Cardinals, who then lost him on waivers to the Boston Red Sox just five weeks later. He played 99 games at Triple-A that year while seeing at least 27 games for all three teams, but his brief time with the Twins was his only big league action that year. He became a free agent after the 2002 season and signed with the Detroit Tigers. After starting the year with Triple-A Toledo of the International League before getting promoted in early June, he batted .272 with 37 runs, 37 RBIs and 21 extra-base hits in 97 games for Detroit in 2003. Despite the solid performance, he still ended up playing his final big league game that year. Part of the reason he saw so much time is that the Tigers went 43-119 that year. Morris re-signed with the Tigers for 2004, then spent the entire year in Triple-A, while the big league club improved an amazing 29 games in the standings. He played one more year of minor league ball before retiring, spending time in the Milwaukee Brewers and Cleveland Indians system in 2005. In addition to finishing with a .267 average with the Pirates, he also finished as a career .267 hitter in 440 big league games.
Jermaine Allensworth, outfielder for the 1996-98 Pirates. He was a first round draft pick of the Pirates in 1993, taken 34th overall out of Purdue University. Allensworth was originally drafted by the California Angels in the 15th round out of high school in 1990, but chose the college route instead. He hit well that first season in short-season A-ball with the Pirates, batting .308 with 44 runs, 21 extra-base hits and 18 steals in 67 games. He was moved to Double-A Carolina of the Southern League during the following season, but struggled with the big jump in levels, posting a .241 average and a .656 OPS in 118 games. After being successful in 86% of his steals in 1993, he went 16-for-30 in 1994. He hit better at Carolina in 1995, posting a .723 OPS in 56 games, and then made it to Triple-A (Calgary of the Pacific Coast League) by mid-season, where he put up an .849 OPS in 51 games. Allensworth broke out in 1996 at Triple-A, hitting .330 with 25 steals and 77 runs scored in just 95 games, which earned him a promotion to the big leagues in late July. He hit .262 with 11 steals and 31 RBIs in 61 games for the Pirates that season.
Allensworth started the 1997 season in the majors and was playing center field everyday until a broken hand in May cost him six weeks of the season. He would hit .255 with 55 runs, 43 RBIs and 14 steals in 108 games that year, posting much better results before the injury. The 1998 season saw him hit .309 and put up an .801 OPS through 69 games before the Pirates traded him to the Kansas City Royals for minor league pitcher named Manuel Bernal. It seemed like a one-sided deal, but it ended up being perfect timing. Allensworth would be shipped to the New York Mets before the season was over and he finished his MLB career there in 1999. After the trade from the Pirates, he compiled -0.4 WAR in a total of 104 games. He had just 0.3 WAR during his time in Pittsburgh, though he put up 1.6 WAR during the first half of the 1998 season. He hit .205 with no homers and a .600 OPS in 30 games with the Royals, then finished the 1998 season with a .204 average and a .597 OPS in 34 games with the Mets. He batted .219 in 40 games with the 1999 Mets, playing his last game on May 29th, before finishing the year at Triple-A. He was out of the majors by 1999, though he played pro ball until 2008. The Mets traded him to the Boston Red Sox after the 1999 season, but he never played for Boston, getting released in the middle of Spring Training. He didn’t play in 2000, then saw time in the Detroit Tigers and Atlanta Braves systems in 2001-02, got released during Spring Training in 2003, before spending his final five years (2004-08) playing independent ball in the Northern League. Allensworth hit .272 with ten homers, 33 steals and 98 RBIs in 238 games with the Pirates.
Lloyd McClendon, utility player for the 1990-94 Pirates, then managed the team from 2001 until 2005. The Pirates acquired him late in the 1990 season from the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later. It was his fourth season in the majors and he was hitting just .159 at the time of the trade. McClendon worked his way through the minors the hard way, getting drafted in the eighth round by the New York Mets in 1980 out of Valparaiso University. He didn’t debut in the majors until seven years later at 28 years old, though the Mets traded him five years earlier to the Cincinnati Reds as part of the package to acquire Tom Seaver in 1982. McClendon debuted in pro ball in short-season ball, spending most of 1980 with Little Falls of the New York-Penn League. He hit .288 in 54 games, with 37 walks and 16 extra-base hits. He moved up to Lynchburg of the Class-A Carolina League in 1981 and stayed there for two season. That first year he hit .251 in 103 games, with 25 extra-base hits, 57 RBIs and 60 walks. In 1982, McClendon hit .273 in 108 games, with 25 doubles, 18 homers, 78 RBIs and 55 walks. Most of his time was spent at catcher during his first three seasons, but he added more time at third base and first base as time went along.
In 1983, McClendon moved up to Double-A (Waterbury of the Eastern League) with the Reds. He hit .263 in 123 games, with 19 doubles, 15 homers and 57 RBIs. In 1984, he split the season between Double-A Vermont of the Eastern League (new affiliate of the Reds) and Triple-A Wichita of the American Association. McClendon hit .285 in 108 games, with 29 doubles, 13 homers, 55 RBIs and 49 walks, putting up slightly better results at the higher level. The Reds moved their Triple-A affiliate to Denver of the American Association in 1985 and McClendon hit .277 with 18 doubles, 16 homers, 79 RBIs and 51 walks in 114 games. In 1986, he batted .259 in 132 games, with 30 doubles, 24 homers, 88 RBIs and 70 walks. The Reds switched their Triple-A affiliate to Nashville of the American Association and McClendon spent some time there, but most of the year was spent on the big league bench, where he batted .208 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 77 plate appearances over 42 games. He saw more playing time in 1988 with Cincinnati, but still had a limited role, batting 157 times in 72 games. He hit .219 with 14 RBIs and a .615 OPS that season.
McClendon hit .215 in 117 games with the Reds before being dealt to the Cubs after the 1988 season. In 1989, he batted .286, with 47 runs, 12 doubles, 12 homers and 40 RBIs, while playing a career high 92 games. However, he hit a rough patch at the plate before joining the Pirates on September 7, 1990, and saw Triple-A time during the season. The Pirates acquired him for minor league pitcher Mike Pomeranz, who never made the majors. In 49 games with the 1990 Cubs, McClendon hit .159 and had a .469 OPS. After the trade, he was a part-time player, used as a corner outfielder, first baseman, pinch-hitter and emergency catcher during his four full season with the Pirates. He finished the 1990 season by going 1-for-3 in four games. In 1991 he hit .288 with seven homers and 24 RBIs in 163 at-bats , pinch-hitting 40 times that season, while making a total of 32 starts spread over four positions. He had an .826 OPS that season. McClendon hit .253 with three homers and 20 RBIs in 84 games during the 1992 regular season, but in the playoffs he went 8-for-11 with four walks and four RBIs. He made 45 starts that year in right field. His average dropped the next two seasons before the Pirates allowed him to leave via free agency in October of 1994. He played 88 games in 1993, which was his high with the Pirates, but he hit just .221 with two homers and 19 RBIs. In the strike-shortened 1994 season, he batted .239 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 97 plate appearances over 51 games. McClendon signed with the Cleveland Indians and finished his playing career in Triple-A in 1995. He batted .251 with 312 games in Pittsburgh, with 17 homers and 77 RBIs. He was a .244 career hitter in 520 big league games, with 150 runs, 35 homers and 154 RBIs.
McClendon was named as the Pirates manager for the 2001 season, his first big league managerial experience. He was a hitting coach prior to that promotion. He lost 100 games during that first season, then finished between 72-75 wins in each of the next three years. He was let go near the end of the 2005 season, with the team sitting at a 55-81 record through early September. He had a 336-446 record during his managerial tenure with the Pirates, finishing as high as fourth place twice. McClendon managed the 2014 Seattle Mariners to a winning record (87-75) and a third place finish, then dropped below .500 in his second season there, putting up a 76-86 record. He took over managing the Detroit Tigers during the final eight games of the 2020 season. He had also worked as a bullpen coach, bench coach and hitting coach and minor league manager since leaving the Pirates.
Mickey Keliher, first baseman for the 1911-12 Pirates, who was born on the same day as Max Carey. Keliher began his pro career in 1910 with Portsmouth/Petersburg of the Class-C Virginia League, hitting .225 in 25 games. The following year he broke out for Petersburg of the Virginia League, hitting .323 in 122 games which earned him a September look with the Pirates. The Pirates purchased his contract on August 21, 1911 under the advisement of scout Howard Earle. At the same time, the Pirates also purchased his teammate Everett Booe, who would play briefly for the 1913 Pirates. The price for Keliher was $2,000, while the Pirates paid $1,500 for Booe with an option to return him if he didn’t make the grade. Both players were allowed to finish their minor league season before joining the Pirates. Keliher was said to be a strong hitter, with speed and defense, but he was lacking experience, so he would take some time to reach his potential. He did not make a great impression on paper in his only three games during his September trial, going 0-for-7 with five strikeouts and an error. Keliher started one game in his big league career, coming on September 29, 1911 in a 7-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Keliher was with the Pirates early in 1912 after earning a spot during Spring Training, but the only playing time he received during the regular season was two pinch-running appearances on May 3rd and May 9th. He stayed with the team for nearly another month before being sold on option to Montreal of the International League on June 7th. Not even four weeks later, he was back with the Pirates when Montreal decided they had no use of his services, partially due to missed time with an illness. Keliher returned to the Pirates and worked out with the team for about two weeks before he was released on option to Wichita of the Class-A Western League. Fred Clarke said at the time that he believed that Keliher would make a fine first baseman within a few years with added experience, comparing him to a young Hal Chase, which was a big compliment at the time. Keliher was back with Petersburg by the end of the year and then he moved on to Hartford of the Class-B Eastern Association for the 1913-14 seasons. He spent a total of 16 seasons over an 18-year span, playing in the minors, never getting another chance at the majors. He made national baseball news on June 14, 1915 with Worcester of the New England League by playing an entire game without a single chance at first base, which was said to have been done just one before in pro ball. He was a player-manager his last three seasons in the minors. He hit .313 in his last season in 1929, then passed away in September of 1930 at age 40 due to injuries suffered in an auto accident. His minor league stats are incomplete, but he had at least 1,954 hits in 1,731 games.
Silver King, pitcher for the 1891 Pirates. He was a big-time signing for the Pirates/Alleghenys, who had just finished 23-113 during the dreadful 1890 season when they lost almost all of their best players to the newly-formed Player’s League. With the Player’s League folding after the 1890 season (the only year in the league’s existence), almost all of those players in the PL returned to their original teams. King was one of the handful of players who didn’t, choosing to sign with the Pirates instead for a $5,000 contract. The off-season had a lot of stories about him signing and possibly not signing with Pittsburgh, but he finally ended up debuting in the eighth game of the season. He was a star player, who by age 22 had already won 143 Major League games.
King debuted in the majors in late September of 1886 at 18 years old, playing in the National League for the Kansas City Cowboys. He had just debuted in pro ball that same year with St Joseph of the Western League, which turned out to be his only minor league experience. After going 1-3 in five starts with Kansas City at the end of the 1886 season, he moved on to the St Louis Browns of the American Association in 1887 and had a huge season. He went 32-12, 3.78 in 390 innings, helping them to a first place finish and a World Series appearance against the Detroit Wolverines of the National League. The two teams played 15 postseason games that year and King made four starts. He had a 2.03 ERA, though it came with a 1-3 record. He was even better the next season, posting one of the best pitching seasons ever. King won 45 games, which led the American Association. He also led the league with 64 starts, 64 complete games, six shutouts, 584.2 innings, an 0.87 WHIP and a 1.63 ERA. He also picked up 258 strikeouts (second most in the league), the only time he topped the 200-strikeout mark in a season, though he finished in the top ten in strikeouts six times in his career. St Louis went back to the World Series against the New York Giants and he went 1-3 in five starts, despite a 2.31 ERA. King’s 14.7 WAR that season is the tenth best mark in baseball history for pitchers.
King had another big year in 1889, going 35-16, 3.14 in 458 innings, with 53 starts, 47 complete games and 188 strikeouts, which ranked fifth in the league. He then became the all-time ERA leader in Player’s League history with his 2.69 mark, and his 13.2 WAR is the 17th best mark all-time among pitchers. He went 30-22 in 461 innings in 1890, leading the league in games started (56) and shutouts (four). Pittsburgh did not get the kind of production from him they had hoped for, but he wasn’t as bad as things seemed. He had a 14-29 record in his only season with the team. That led the National League in losses, though it came with a 3.11 ERA in 384.1 innings. The Pirates released him just before the season ended. He won 22 games in 1892 for the New York Giants, but when the pitching distance was changed in 1893 to the current distance they still use today, King had a tough time adjusting. He was a sidearm pitcher with a lot of deception in his delivery, who almost exclusively threw fastballs. He saw his ERA nearly double in one season, going 8-10, 6.08 in 154 innings in 1893 after posting a 3.29 ERA in 410.1 innings in 1892. His results were split that year, with an 8.63 ERA in seven starts with the Giants, followed by a 4.89 ERA in 15 starts and two relief appearances with the Cincinnati Reds. The latter work actually wasn’t bad for the year, with the league posting an average ERA of 4.66 that season.
King would end up winning just 24 Major League games after the age of 24. He retired during the 1894-95 seasons because he made more money outside of baseball. He returned for the 1896-97 seasons with the Washington Senators and he went 16-16, 4.45 in 299.1 innings over two seasons, with somewhat similar results each year. He finished up his career at 29 years old with a 203-152, 3.18 record in 3,180.2 innings over 370 starts and 27 relief appearances. He threw 328 complete games and he had 19 shutouts.
Bill Niles, third baseman for the 1895 Pirates. He was a light-hitting third baseman who started his minor league career in 1888 and bounced around the minors before getting his only shot in the majors at age 28. Stats at missing from his early years, which started at 21 years old with Logansport of the Indiana State League. In 1889, he played for Hamilton and Dayton of the Tri-State League. The next year he bounced around a bit, playing for three teams in two leagues, including a second stint with Dayton. He also played part of that season with Meadville of the New York-Penn League, where he spent the 1891 season and hit .287 in 73 games, with 29 extra-base hits and 13 steals. Niles played for Birmingham of the Class-B Southern League during the 1892-93 seasons (the team moved to Pensacola during the latter season). He hit just .191 in 98 games in 1892, collecting 18 extra-base hits, while stealing 15 bases. He improved slightly in 1893, batting .221 in 90 games, with 22 extra-base hits. Offense was up around all of baseball in 1894 due to new pitching rules that favored the hitters. Despite the baseball-wide improvements in offense, Niles took an even bigger step than most people while playing for Kansas City of the Western League. He batted .338 in 124 games, with 125 runs, 32 doubles, 14 triples and 16 homers, which led to his one big league chance. The Pirates took him in the Rule 5 draft from Kansas City in September of 1894.
Niles went through Spring Training competing for the third base job with Billy Clingman. Niles lost out in the battle, but he played well enough that he won a backup job. He was used for the first time on May 13th, then sent out to the minors on loan, where he played for Franklin of the Iron and Oil League. He was recalled by the Pirates on July 20th to take the place of an injured Clingman at third base. On August 7, 1895 he was released, with manager Connie Mack saying that they had no playing time to offer him now that Clingman was healthy again and utility player Frank Genins was playing well. The Pirates also signed pitcher Jake Hewitt that same day they released Niles, after Hewitt did well in a trial appearance for the Pirates during the previous day. The Pirates still held on to Niles’ rights after agreeing to send him to Milwaukee of the Western League on August 10th. Releases back then came with ten days notice in which a team still held the rights of a player before they were given their unconditional release. Niles was still on the Pirates reserved list after the 1895 season ended, one of 15 players they held the rights to on October 14th when the list was released. However, he wasn’t on the list anymore early in 1896. Niles posted a .930 fielding percentage during his short time in the majors, which was 58 points above league average for third baseman at the time. The Pirates used him in 11 games in 1895 and he hit .216 with five walks and two steals. He returned to the minors for good after his release and played until 1901. The 1896 season was spent with Grand Rapids of the Western League. He held out for more money in 1897 and ended up playing semi-pro ball instead, then played for Springfield (1898) and Wheeling (1899) of the Interstate League, Sioux City of the Western League (1900), followed by time spent with three different teams during the 1901 season.