Six former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date including the first player in Major League history to accomplish two very rare feats.
Trevor Cahill, pitcher for the 2021 Pirates. He was selected in the second round of the 2006 draft by the Oakland A’s out of high school. He debuted in the short-season Arizona League, where he had a 3.00 ERA in nine innings over four starts. In 2007, Cahill played for Kane County of the Low-A Midwest League, where he went 11-4, 2.73 in 105.1 innings, with 117 strikeouts. The next season saw him go 11-5, 2.61 in 124.1 innings, with 136 strikeouts, while splitting the season between Stockton of the High-A California League and Midland of the Double-A Texas League. Going into the 2009 season, Baseball America rated him as the #11 prospect in all of baseball. That year he went right to the majors and had a 10-13, 4.63 record in 178.2 innings over 32 starts. After averaging more than one strikeout per inning in the minors, he had just 90 strikeouts that year. He made two starts in Triple-A in 2010, but the rest of the season was spent in the majors, where he had a very impressive season, going 18-8, 2.97 in 196.2 innings over 30 starts. He was an All-Star for the only time in his career, and he finished ninth in the Cy Young voting. In 2011, Cahill had a 12-14, 4.16 record in a career high 207.2 innings, with 147 strikeouts. He was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in December of 2011. In his first year in Arizona, he went 13-12, 3.78 in 32 starts, which was the last time he made more than 25 starts in a season. He tossed 200 innings that year and he had a career high 156 strikeouts.
In 2013, Cahill went 8-10, 3.99 in 146.2 innings. In his last season in Arizona in 2014, he made 17 starts and 15 relief appearances, going 3-12, 5.61 in 110.2 innings. He had 105 strikeouts, giving him a career best (at the time) 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings. In 2015, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves right before Opening Day, though he was released in June and signed with the Chicago Cubs in August. He had a 7.52 ERA in 26.1 innings with the Braves, then improved to 2.12 in 11 relief appearances with Chicago. With the 2016 Cubs, Cahill went 4-4, 2.74 in 65.2 innings over 50 games, with 66 strikeouts. He signed as a free agent with the San Diego Padres for 2017, then got shipped to the Kansas City Royals at the trade deadline. He had a 3.69 ERA in 11 starts with San Diego, followed by an 8.22 ERA in 23 innings with the Royals. In 2018, Cahill was a starter back with the A’s, going 7-4, 3.76 in 110 innings over 20 starts and one relief outing. He played for the Los Angeles Angels in 2019, making 11 starts and 26 relief appearances. He went 4-9, 5.98 in 102.1 innings. During the shortened 2020 season, Cahill had a 1-2, 3.24 record in 25 innings, with 31 strikeouts. He made six starts and five relief outings. He signed as a free agent with the Pirates on March 22, 2021, but a calf injury and then a broken foot, limited him to eight starts and a relief outing. He went 1-5, 6.57 in 37 innings. Cahill became a free agent at the end of the season. Through 13 seasons, he has an 86-99, 4.26 record in 1,507.2 innings over 23 starts and 128 relief appearances.
Johnny Ray, second baseman for the 1981-87 Pirates. He was originally a 12th round draft pick of the Houston Astros in 1979 out of the University of Arkansas, who came to the Pirates in an August 31, 1981 trade that sent Phil Garner to Houston. Ray split the 1979 season between the Gulf Coast League Astros and Daytona Beach of the Class-A Florida State League. He hit .311 in 37 games for the GCL Astros, finishing with a .902 OPS and an incredible 32:4 BB/SO ratio. He didn’t do so well at the higher level, batting .221 with a .676 OPS in 24 games. He had a strong 1980 season in Double-A with Columbus of the Southern League, hitting .324 with 48 extra-base hits, 59 walks and 86 runs scored in 138 games. He moved up to Triple-A Tuscon of the Pacific Coast League in 1981 and remained there until joining the Pirates. At the time of the trade, he was hitting .349 with 50 doubles, 111 runs scored and 19 stolen bases in 131 games. Ray immediately took over the second base job after joining the Pirates and hit .245 with 11 doubles in 31 games. He started every game during his first full season in the majors in 1982, leading the league in games played, while hitting .281 with 79 runs scored, 30 doubles, seven triples, seven homers, 63 RBIs and 16 stolen bases. That led to a second place finish in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. Ray batted .283 in 1983 and led the league with 38 doubles, which helped him win the Silver Slugger award. He also had 68 runs, 53 RBIs and 18 steals in 151 games. He followed that up by hitting a league leading 38 again in 1984, while also posting a career high .312 batting average, along with 75 runs and 67 RBIs. His .789 OPS that year was his career best. The Pirates were bad in 1985 and Ray saw a slight dip in his production, though he managed to drive in 70 runs, which was his career high up to that point. He batted .274 with 67 runs, 33 doubles and 13 stolen bases.
In 1986, Ray topped the .300 batting mark for the second time (.301) and drove in 78 runs, his high while with the Pirates. He matched his 1985 totals in three categories with 67 runs, 33 doubles and seven homers. He also walked 58 times, which was a career high. During the 1987 season he was traded to the California Angels on August 29th, almost exactly six years after he was acquired. His .686 OPS through 123 games was his lowest while with Pittsburgh and the return for the Pirates in the deal reflected his lower production. The Pirates received back Miguel Garcia, a pitcher who played briefly in the majors for parts of three seasons with the Pirates. They also got a power hitting minor leaguer named Bill Merrifield, who played just three minor league games after the trade before he was released. During Ray’s five full seasons in Pittsburgh, he played at least 151 games each year, hit 30 or more doubles every season and scored at least 67 runs. He finished his time in Pittsburgh with a .286 average in 931 games, hitting 202 doubles and 37 homers, while adding 391 RBIs and 414 runs scored. Ray would go to California and do great in his brief time after the trade in 1987. He hit .346 in 30 games, with 16 runs, 11 doubles and 15 triples. He made his only All-Star appearance in 1988, hitting .306 in 153 games, with 75 runs,42 doubles (career high), seven triples, six homers and a career best 83 RBIs. He signed to stay in California and played two more years for the Angels before finishing his career in the Japan Central League. Ray had a .289 average in 134 games in 1989, though it came with just 24 extra-base hits, resulting in a .685 OPS. He put up similar production in 105 games in 1990, with a .277 average and a .679 OPS, though he showed a little more power and drew fewer walks than the previous season. He hit .299 in his first season in Japan, then dropped to a .190 average in 1992, which was his final season of pro ball. Over his ten-year big league career, he hit .290 in 1,353 games, with 294 doubles, 594 RBIs, 604 runs and 80 stolen bases. Ray had some strong years on defense early in his career, three times finishing among the top ten dWAR players in the National League. In 1983, he had the third best mark with his 2.8 dWAR.
Nick Strincevich, pitcher for the Pirates in 1941-42 and then again from 1944-48. He began his minor league career in 1935 when he was signed by the New York Yankees, and he didn’t make his big league debut until 1940, after the Boston Bees took him in the Rule 5 draft. His career didn’t get off to a good start in pro ball, with 20 walks over 18 innings in 1935 at 20 years old in Class-C ball with Akron of the Middle Atlantic League. He moved down to Class-D ball with Butler of the Pennsylvania State League in 1936, and he went 10-8, 3.94 in 153 innings, while walking just 58 batters. He jumped over a level in 1937 to play for Norfolk of the Class-B Piedmont League, where he had an 11-8 record and threw 177 innings. His ERA isn’t available for that year, but he allowed 5.08 runs per nine innings. Strincevich moved to the upper levels in 1938, pitching for Newark of the Double-A International League, where he went 11-4, 4.32 in 102 innings over nine starts and 21 relief appearances. He struggled with the same club in 1939, posting a 7.20 ERA in 40 innings, then spent part of the year in the Double-A Pacific Coast League with Sacramento, where he had a 3.86 ERA in 56 innings, which led to his first big league shot. Strincevich only had one full season in Boston and it did not go well, as he moved between starting and the bullpen. In 128.2 innings as a rookie, he went 4-8, 5.53 in 14 starts and 18 relief appearances, with more walks (63) than strikeouts (54).
The Pirates acquired Strincevich during the following May in an even swap for Hall of Famer Lloyd Waner, who was on the downside of his career. Prior to the trade, he pitched three times in relief for Boston, allowing five runs in 3.1 innings. Strincevich spent most of his first three seasons with the Pirates in the minors, pitching a total of 19 Major League games before getting his big break in 1944 when many of the best players were serving in the military during WWII. He had a 5.23 ERA in 31 innings for the 1941 Pirates, while also spending time with Milwaukee of the Double-A American Association. He did well in limited time with the 1942 Pirates, posting a 2.82 ERA in 22.1 innings, but most of the year was spent in the minors with Toronto of the International League, where he had a 2.40 ERA in 199 innings. That was followed up by a strong season with Toronto in 1943, when he went 15-7, 2.47 in 233 innings, yet he didn’t see any time with the Pirates that year. During the 1944 season with the Pirates, Strincevich went 14-7, 3.08 in 190 innings over 26 starts and 14 relief appearances. He had a 16-10, 3.31 record in 1945, while setting a career high with 228.1 innings pitched. He made 29 starts that year and completed 18 games. He posted a decent 3.58 ERA in 1946 (league average was 3.41), but the Pirates were a bad team and his record suffered, going 10-15 in 176 innings over 22 starts and ten relief appearances. Strincevich would throw three shutouts that season, two more than he threw during the rest of his big league career. After all of the players were back from the war effort, he was used out of the bullpen in 1947 and 1948, before the Pirates sold him mid-season to the Philadelphia Phillies. He went 1-6, 5.26 in 89 innings in 1947, spread over seven starts and 25 relief appearances. Before heading to the Phillies in 1948, he had an 8.31 ERA in three appearances. With the Phillies, he posted a 9.18 ERA in 16.2 innings, which finished his Major League career. He pitched two more years in the minors back with Toronto before retiring from baseball. With the Pirates in seven seasons, he went 42-40, 3.64 in 88 starts and 74 relief appearances, throwing a total of 741 innings.
Lefty Webb, pitcher for the 1910 Pirates. He played four seasons in the minors prior to being drafted by the Pirates on September 1, 1909 in the Rule 5 draft. At 21 years old in 1906, he played for Newark of the Class-C Ohio-Pennsylvania League, where he had a 6-6 record in 14 games. He also pitched one game for Dallas of the Class-D Texas League that season. In 1907, he spent the year with Newark and Mattoon of the Class-D Eastern Illinois League. Webb won 20 games in 1908 for the Newark Newks of the Class-D Ohio State League. That year he pitched 280 innings and had 176 strikeouts. His ERA isn’t available, but he’s credited with allowed 3.12 runs per nine innings. He played the 1909 season for Grand Rapids of the Central League, where he had an 11-16 record, pitching 252 innings in 33 games. He allowed an average of 3.07 runs per nine innings. The 1910 season was his only year in the majors and he was used sparingly by the Pirates throughout the season. He made three starts and four relief appearances, pitching a total of 27 innings. He had a 2-1, 5.67 record. He debuted on May 23rd and played his final big league game on August 5th. His debut was one scoreless inning at the end of a one-sided loss. The next day he was released to New Britain of the Class-B Connecticut State League, though the Pirates were able to repurchase him during the season if they wanted him back. They did just that a mere 20 days later and he pitched six games over the next eight weeks. It was said that his time with New Britain was cut short because his old Grand Rapids team objected to him being in the minors with another team without their consent.
In his first game after returning to the Pirates, Webb threw a complete game in a 6-1 road win over the St Louis Cardinals. He beat St Louis again four days later at Forbes Field, with another complete game. His season took a turn for the worse on July 11th when he gave up six runs in 2.1 innings against the Philadelphia Phillies. He had just one mop-up appearance after that point. The 25-year-old Webb would end up pitching ten games in the minors that season for Grand Rapids after the Pirates released him back to his old team on August 20th. After returning to Grand Rapids, he went 5-4 in 80 innings, with 2.25 runs allowed per nine innings. He played another four years in the minors before retiring, seeing time with four different clubs, including three Central League teams. Webb had a 7-17 record and pitched 186 innings for Indianapolis of the Class-A American Association in 1911, his highest level of minor league competition. He missed the end of that season due to typhoid fever. The next three years were spent in the Central League with one season each for Springfield (1912), Dayton (1913) and back in Grand Rapids to finish in 1914, averaging 180 innings during that time. His real first name was Cleon.
Henry Yaik, catcher/outfielder for the 1888 Alleghenys. He had three years of semi-pro ball and two seasons of minor league experience before making his Major League debut with Pittsburgh on October 3, 1888. He debuted in pro ball in 1887 with Mansfield of the Ohio State League, where he batted .253 in 75 games, with seven doubles, one triple and no homers. He spent the bulk of the 1888 season playing for Wheeling of the Tri-State League, where he was teammates with Sam Nicholl, who would debut with the Alleghenys two days after Yaik. The Wheeling club ended their season on September 26th and both players signed with the Alleghenys right after the game. His time with Pittsburgh was short, especially when just looking at games. He debuted on October 3rd, and by October 4th his big league career was over. Yaik would have played more, but a finger injury in his second game put him on the sidelines for the final eight games of the season. He signed a contract for 1889, but his release was announced on December 30, 1888 in an official press release from the league. However, seven days earlier it was announced that he had signed with Detroit of the International League for the 1889 season, after they were trying to get his services from Pittsburgh. The Alleghenys sold him to Detroit on December 19th for a price that one local paper estimated to be “no more than $200 or $300 because he cost Pittsburgh nothing”. During his brief big league career, he caught one game, played left field in the other and made three errors in each game (one source gave him just one error as a catcher). Yaik went 2-for-6 at the plate with a walk and a run batted in. Yaik joined Pittsburgh on September 27th and he was one of just 12 players they had available at the time, after they let Jake Beckley and Fred Dunlap return home early.
While he played for Detroit in 1889, he also saw time that year with Grand Rapids of the Michigan State League and Davenport of the Central Interstate League. In 1890, he was the catcher for Cy Young with Canton of the Tri-State League during Young’s only season in the minors. Yaik played pro ball as late as 1895, although there are no records of him playing in the minors from 1891 until 1894. A search for his name came up empty during that time for pro teams, though he was playing semi-pro ball with a team from Windsor, Ontario in May of 1891, and also indoor baseball in Detroit in November of 1894. It appears that he was playing in the Detroit area during that stretch, as he was also found later in 1891 and earlier in 1894. He saw brief time with Detroit of the Western League and Ottumwa of the Eastern Iowa League in 1895, playing a total of 16 games. He is one of four lefty throwing catchers in Pirates history. It’s interesting to note that while now his birth date in listed as March 1, 1864, an 1888 bio for him lists it as February 29, 1863 and specifically mentions that he was born on a leap year. If you know anything about leap years, you know that 1863 didn’t have one, but there was one in 1864, so the year could have been off by one. Part of his scouting report after leaving Pittsburgh said that he was very fast down the first base line and he didn’t drink.
Paul Hines, outfielder for the 1890 Alleghenys. He didn’t have much of a career with Pittsburgh, hitting just .182 in 31 games, but Hines accomplish two feats that are very rare in baseball history and he was the first to accomplish both of them. He began his career in 1872 at the age of 17, playing in the National Association, the first recognized Major League. In 1878, he not only became the first player to ever turn an unassisted triple play but he also became the first Triple Crown winner in baseball history.
The triple play has been disputed due to different stories from the players involved. Hines was playing center field and caught a liner with men on second and third base. The runners were off on the play and Hines, who was playing shallow, continued running in on the play and tagged third base. Under the rules of the time, if the runner from second had passed third already and not retouched it yet while returning to second base, the fielder could just tag the base to retire both him and the other runner. Hines threw to second base anyway and that is where the dispute takes place. Some of the players involved said the runner was on his way back to second base so the throw was necessary, while others claimed Hines got to third base before he came back. It would be hard to imagine that Hines was able to get to third base from center field and he didn’t either pass the runner coming back and tag him, or if he wasn’t able to tag him, he would’ve still had enough time to keep running to third base then turn and make the throw to get the runner going back to second base. Because of the dispute between those involved, some sources list Neal Ball of the Cleveland Naps in 1909 as the first player to turn an unassisted triple play, but based on common sense, Hines seems to be the rightful owner of that distinction.
In 1878 home runs were not a common occurrence and RBIs weren’t even an official stat, so when he won the triple crown in 1878 no one knew about it. There was also a problem with his stats that kept him from ever knowing he won the batting crown that year. The player who finished behind him batting, Abner Dalrymple (first batter in Pirates National League history) was awarded the title because stats accumulated in tie games weren’t counted in the overall stats back then. It wasn’t until many years later that research uncovered the error and Hines was awarded the batting title. Hines also won the 1879 batting title without knowing due to Cap Anson being credited with hits from a few games twice that put his average higher than Hines at the time.
Hines finished his career with a .302 batting average, with 1,217 runs, 855 RBIs and 2,133 hits in 1,658 games. His career game totals were cut short due to smaller schedules back in the day. He started in the majors at age 17, but his team didn’t play a 100 game schedule until his 13th season in the majors. With a full schedule, he would’ve likely been a Hall of Famer by now had he played the same amount of seasons (20) he ended up playing. He led the league in doubles three times during his career, once led in hits and twice led in total bases. He had 11 seasons batting over .300 and one year where he finished with a .299 average. Hines played every position at least once during his career, but a large majority of his work came as a center fielder.
In 1872 for the Washington Nationals of the National Association, he hit .224 with nine runs, a double and five RBIs in 11 games. In 1873, he played for the Washington Blue Legs, still in the National Association, but a different team. The club went 8-31 on the season and Hines hit .331 with 33 runs and 29 RBIs, while playing in all 39 games. In 1874, he moved to the Chicago White Stockings for the final two years of the National Association. He batted .295 in 59 games in 1874, with 47 runs and 34 RBIs. In 1875, he hit .328 in 68 games, with 45 runs, 18 extra-base hits and 36 RBIs. The National League was formed in 1876 and the Chicago White Stockings were one of the original eight teams, and one of just two still in existence (Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves). Hines remained with the team and hit .331 in 64 games, with 62 runs, 59 RBIs and a league leading 21 doubles. He slipped down to .280 in 1877, with 44 runs, 18 extra-base hits and 23 RBIs in 60 games. During his Triple Crown season in 1878, Hines played his first of eight straight seasons with the Providence Grays. He batted .358 with four homers and 50 RBIs in 62 games. He also led the league in slugging, OPS and total bases. In 1879, he won his second batting crown with a .357 average in 85 games. He led the league with 409 at-bats and 146 hits, while adding 25 doubles, ten triples and 52 RBIs.
In 1880, Hines hit .307 in 85 games, with 64 runs, 25 extra-base hits and 35 RBIs. In 80 games in 1881, he batted .285 with 65 runs, a league leading 27 doubles, and 31 RBIs. In 1882, he hit .309 in 84 games, with 73 runs, 28 doubles, ten triples, four homers and 34 RBIs. The schedule expanded a bit in 1883 and Hines played a career high (up to that point) 97 games that year, hitting .299 with 32 doubles, 45 RBIs and a career high 94 runs. He would match that run total in 1884, though the schedule expanded again, and he played 114 games. He hit .302 with 94 runs, a career high/league leading 36 doubles, ten triples, 41 RBIs and 44 walks, which was more walks than he had in his previous three seasons combined. In 1885, Hines hit .270 in 98 games, with 63 runs, 25 extra-base hits and 35 RBIs. He moved on to the Washington Nationals in 1886, and remained there for two seasons. With more games in 1886, he batted .312 with 80 runs, 30 doubles, eight triples, nine homers, 56 RBIs, 21 steals and 35 walks in 121 games. In 1887, Hines hit .308 in 123 games, with 83 runs, 32 doubles, five triples, and career highs of ten homers, 72 RBIs and 46 steals. Over the off-season, he was traded to the Indianapolis Hoosiers, where he spent the next two years before joining the Alleghenys. During the 1888 season, he batted .281 in a career high 133 games, with 84 runs, 33 extra-base hits, 58 RBIs and 31 steals. In 1889, Hines hit .305 in 121 games, with 77 runs, 27 doubles, six homers, 72 RBIs, 34 steals and a career high 49 walks.
During his time in Pittsburgh, he was brought in to play first base and he joined the club during the middle of Spring Training, getting a $2,800 salary. He went right into the lineup before he was ready to face live pitching according to the papers, though that didn’t stop him from collecting three hits on the day he arrived at camp. A week later he had a five-hit game, raising expectations for the veteran. He lowered those expectations a bit days later with four errors in one game. Hines batted third and play first base in the season opener. He started the season so poorly that he was sent home after two weeks. The Alleghenys released him days later, only to rescind that release after they suffered some injuries. He played outfield after returning, but the batting average never returned and they released him on June 13th. He finished the year with the Boston Beaneaters of the National League, hitting .264 with 48 RBIs in 69 games. He then finished his big league career with the Washington Statesmen of the American Association in 1891, where he hit .282 in 54 games, with 25 runs and 31 RBIs. Hines remained in pro ball though, playing his final minor league game in 1896 at 41 years old, serving his final two seasons as a player-manager for Burlington of the Western Association.