Six former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date. Before we get into former players, current Pirates player Michael Chavis turns 27 today.
Melky Cabrera, outfielder for the 2019 Pirates. He signed with the New York Yankees at 17 years old as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic. After playing in the Dominican Summer League in 2002, he came to the U.S. in 2003 and played in the short-season New York-Penn League, where he batted .283 with 34 runs, 14 extra-base hits, 31 RBIs and 13 steals in 67 games for Staten Island. The next year he split the season between Low-A Battle Creek of the Midwest League and High-A Tampa of the Florida State League, hitting .304 with 50 extra-base hits in 127 games between both stops, with a much higher average at the lower level. Cabrera spent most of the 2005 season in Double-A with Trenton of the Eastern League, but he also played in Triple-A with Columbus of the International League for 26 games, and then the majors for six games. He had a .275 average, 35 extra-base hits and a .733 OPS in 106 games for Trenton, and a .675 OPS for Columbus. He went 4-for-19 with four singles with the Yankees. After a great start to the 2006 season in Columbus, slashing .385/.430/.566 in 31 games, he joined the Yankees in early May and hit .280 in 130 games, with 75 runs, 35 extra-base hits, 50 RBIs and 56 walks, leading to a .752 OPS.
Cabrera spent the entire 2007 season in the majors and batted .273 with 66 runs, 40 extra-base hits, 73 RBIs and a .718 OPS in 150 games. The 2008 season saw a drop in his production, with a .249 average and a .641 OPS in 129 games. He had just 21 extra-base hits and drove in 37 runs. The Yankees won the World Series in 2009 and he hit .274 with 66 runs, 28 doubles, 13 homers, 68 RBIs and a .752 OPS in 154 games. During his career he really struggled in the postseason, but he had a great ALCS in 2009, batting .391/.462/.478 in 28 plate appearances over six games. The Yankees traded him to the Atlanta Braves after the season. He struggled in his only year with the Braves, batting .255 with 50 runs, 27 doubles, four homers and 42 RBIs in 147 games. He also went 0-for-8 in the playoffs. Cabrera signed with the Kansas City Royals in 2011 and batted .305, while setting career highs with 102 runs scored, 44 doubles, 18 homers, 87 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. His .809 OPS was a high to that point. He was traded to the San Francisco Giants after the season and he was an All-Star in 2012 when he finished with a .346 batting average in 113 games. However, his season ended early due to a 50-game PED suspension. He had 80 runs, 60 RBIs and a career best .906 OPS.
Cabrera signed a two-year free agent deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. After finishing off his suspension to start the season, he hit .279, with 39 runs, 20 extra-base hits, 30 RBIs and a .682 OPS in 88 games in 2013. In 2014, he batted.301 in 139 games, with 81 runs, 35 doubles, 16 homers, 73 RBIs and an .808 OPS. Cabrera signed with the Chicago White Sox in 2015 and played a career high 158 games. He batted .273 with 70 runs, 36 doubles, 12 homers, 77 RBIs and a .709 OPS that season. He hit .296 in 2016, with 70 runs, 42 doubles, 14 homers, 86 RBIs and an .800 OPS in 151 games. The 2017 season was split between the White Sox and Royals. Cabrera batted .285 between both stops, with 78 runs, 30 doubles, 17 homers and 85 RBIs in 156 games. He played for the Cleveland Indians in 2018, where he hit .280 with 28 runs, 17 doubles, six homers and 39 RBIs in 78 games. He signed with the Pirates as a minor league free agent in 2019 and made the team out of Spring Training. Playing in his 15th season in the majors, he hit .280/.313/.399 in 133 games, with 43 runs, 22 doubles, seven homers and 47 RBIs. Cabrera left via free agency after the season and signed with the New York Mets in June of 2020, but never played due to the shortened season. He has played winter ball in each of the last two off-seasons, but has not played during the regular season. In his big league career, he hit .285/.334/.417 hitter in 1,887 games, with 895 runs scored, 383 doubles, 144 homers and 854 RBIs.
Andrew Lambo, OF/1B for the 2013-15 Pirates. He was a fourth round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2007 at 18 years old out of high school in California. He started off on fire in the Gulf Coast League that year, hitting .343 in 54 games, with 21 extra-base hits and a .960 OPS. The next year he spent most of the season in Low-A Great Lakes of the Midwest League, but he finished up in Double-A, playing eight games for Jacksonville of the Southern League. Combined, he hit .295 with 65 runs, 35 doubles, 19 homers, 81 RBIs and an .833 OPS in 131 games. Lambo batted .313/.356/.433 in 17 games in the Arizona Fall League after the season, then spent 2009 in Double-A with Chattanooga of the Southern League. There he hit .256 with 70 runs, 39 doubles, 11 homers, 61 RBIs and a .717 OPS in 130 games. He reported to the AFL for a second straight fall that year and batted .330/.365/.484 in 21 games. Through the first four months of the 2010 season, he was back in Chattanooga, where he put up a .271 average and a .745 OPS in 47 games. Lambo was acquired by the Pirates from the Dodgers on July 31, 2010, along with James MacDonald, in a deal for veteran reliever Octavio Dotel. Lambo finished the 2010 season in Double-A Altoona of the Eastern League, putting up a .705 OPS in 26 games, then went to the AFL for a third straight season, where he hit .274 with eight doubles, four homers and 23 RBIs in 28 games.
Lambo spent part of 2011 in Triple-A Indianapolis of the International League, where he struggled mightily, while spending half of the season back in Altoona. He had a .782 OPS in 69 games with Altoona that year, and a .549 mark in 60 games with Indianapolis. He missed most of the 2012 season due to a wrist injury, which limited him to 35 games and a .312/.401/.504 slash line, splitting his time between the GCL Pirates (nine games) and Altoona. Lambo began 2013 back in Altoona, but he tore through the league in 58 games, then did the same with Indianapolis, combining to hit .282 with 67 runs, 24 doubles, 32 homers, 99 RBIs and a .922 OPS in 120 games, with similar results at each level. He debuted in the majors with the Pirates in August of 2013 and hit .233/.303/.400 with one homer in 18 games. Lambo struggled through winter ball in Venezuela, hitting .228 with no homers in 27 games. He missed more time in 2014 with a thumb injury, which limited him to 69 minor league games, including rehab appearances at the lower levels. He batted .328 with 32 extra-base hits and a .952 OPS in 61 games with Indianapolis. Despite the missed time, injuries on the big league roster got him to the big leagues sooner, as did learning to play first base during the season. He hit .256/.256/.359 in 21 games with the Pirates, though he made just six starts and five were in the outfield.
Lambo made the Opening Day roster in 2015, but he was limited to 20 big league games due to a left foot injury. He hit .191/.232/.298 in 98 plate appearances for the Pirates over three seasons, which includes him going 1-for-25 during the 2015 season. He was lost via waivers to the Oakland A’s in November of 2015 and recorded just one more Major League at-bat, which came in 2016. The rest of that season was spent with Nashville of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, where he had a 705 OPS in 56 games. He returned to Nashville for a brief time in 2017, but the majority of his season was spent in independent ball with Bridgeport of the Atlantic League. Lambo missed significant time during his career due to a major wrist injury, a suspension and he battled cancer while in Oakland. He retired from baseball after the 2017 season.
Al Pedrique, shortstop for the 1987-88 Pirates. He was signed by the New York Mets in 1978 as an amateur free agent out of Venezuela at 17 years old. He started out in the short-season New York-Penn League that year and hit .222 with a .559 OPS in 20 games with Little Falls. He spent time back with Little Falls the next year and didn’t do any better, posting a .228 average and a .552 OPS in 33 games. He also saw 19 games in A-Ball that season with Lynchburg of the Carolina League and basically hit the same, with a .224 average and a .535 OPS. In 1980, Pedrique played the entire year with Lynchburg, where he hit .246 in 105 games, with a .567 OPS. His game was all about defense, as he didn’t hit for any power, or average, or draw walks, or steal bases. He moved through the lower levels of the minors quickly, but then stalled out after reaching Double-A at 20 years old. For a time, it looked like he wouldn’t get past Double-A, spending four seasons there (1981-84) with the Jackson Mets of the Texas League. He played 100+ games every year and his results were much the same as his first three seasons in pro ball. During the 1981-83 seasons, he had an OPS of .556 in 1981, .546 in 1982 and .585 in 1983. Pedrique had a total of 34 extra-base hits (two homers), 19 steals (in 30 attempts) and 79 walks in 338 games during that stretch.
The 1984 season was when things first clicked at the plate for Pedrique. That year he batted .285, with a .721 OPS in 109 games, putting up highs over his first seven seasons of 47 runs, 15 doubles, five triples and 37 walks. He finally made it to Triple-A in 1985, and spent two full years there before making the 1987 Mets roster. In his first season with Tidewater of the International League, he hit .252 in 110 games, with 39 runs, 21 extra-base hits, 24 RBIs and a .644 OPS. He saw a slight uptick in offense in 1986, hitting for a much higher average (.293) in 112 games, though the jump in his OPS was smaller, going up 32 points to a .676 mark. He had 49 runs, 15 extra-base hits and 41 RBIs. In five games with the 1987 Mets, one as a starter, Pedrique went 0-for-6 at the plate, with a walk and run scored. He went back to the minors in early May, but he was only there for ten games. The Pirates acquired Pedrique, along with outfielder Scott Little, on May 29, 1987 in exchange for veteran infielder Bill Almon. Pedrique joined Pittsburgh the next day and was soon a regular in the lineup, making 68 starts at shortstop over the rest of the season. He played solid defense and hit .301 with 23 runs, 12 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs and a .712 OPS in 88 games for the Pirates that year.
In 1988, Pedrique began the year as the Pirates starting shortstop, but he was struggling at the plate and was soon benched, then sent to the minors in early June. He returned in August, seeing plenty of action at first, but soon took a bench role when his bat failed to come around. By September he was seldom used. He batted just .180 in 50 games, with seven runs, five doubles, four RBIs and a .452 OPS. With Buffalo of the Triple-A American Association that year, he hit .307 with 17 extra-base hits, 22 RBIs and a .758 OPS. Pedrique was released in November of 1988 and he signed with the Detroit Tigers two weeks later. He played 31 games for the 1989 Tigers, in what ended up being his last stint in the majors. He put up a .472 OPS in 71 plate appearances and somehow scored just one run. His Triple-A numbers with Toledo of the International League weren’t much better that year, hitting .207/.277/.267 in 56 games. He played pro ball until 1994, finishing with 1,436 games played in the minors. He played in the Oakland A’s system in 1990, rejoined the Mets in 1991, then went to the Kansas City Royals in 1992, before finishing off with the expansion Florida Marlins in 1993-94. His best season over that five-year stretch was 1993 with Edmonton of the Pacific Coast League, when he put up a .305 average and a .740 OPS in 121 games. After retiring as a player, he has managed during 16 seasons, mostly in the minors. His only Major League experience came with the 2004 Arizona Diamondbacks, who went 22-61 under him and 51-111 on the season. Pedrique hit .247 in 174 big league games, with 32 runs, 18 doubles, one homer and 36 RBIs.
Dorn Taylor, pitcher for the 1987 and 1989 Pirates. He signed with the Pirates as an amateur free agent in 1981 at 22 years old, and he ended up playing nine seasons in their farm system, while also spending parts of two years in the majors. He put up strong numbers throughout his minor league career, with a 74-60, 2.95 record in 245 games, 169 of those coming as a starter. Taylor debuted in the minors with Greenwood of the Class-A South Atlantic League in 1982, where he went 9-8, 2.30 in 164.2 innings, with 133 strikeouts. Those were strong numbers, but he ended up back there in 1983, when he had a 7.90 ERA over 35.1 innings in a partial season with Alexandria of the Carolina League, which was considered to be Advanced-A ball. Taylor pitched in relief that year in Alexandria, and started in Greenwood, where he went 6-3, 3.53 in 81.2 innings over 12 starts. Between both stops, he had 101 strikeouts in 117 innings. He spent the entire 1984 season in the Carolina League (affiliate switched to Prince William), where he went 11-5, 3.40 with 148 strikeouts in 161.2 innings over 25 starts. Taylor moved up to Nashua of the Double-A Eastern League in 1985 and he went 6-9, 4.31 in 112.2 innings, making 17 starts and nine relief appearances. He had 57 walks and 64 strikeouts that year. He moved to relief in Nashua in 1986 and did great in that role, with a 1.58 ERA, nine saves and 57 strikeouts in 62.2 innings. He moved up to Hawaii of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League that year and had a 2.01 ERA in five starts, with 29 strikeouts in 31.1 innings.
Taylor made it to the majors for the first time at the end of April in 1987, making eight starts and six relief appearances for the Pirates that year. He went 2-3, 5.74 in 53.1 innings during his first big league stint. In early July he went on the 15-day disabled list, though he was pitching at Double-A (Harrisburg of the Eastern League) on a rehab assignment before the 15 days were up. After his rehab, the Pirates sent him to Triple-A Vancouver of the PCL, where he finished the season by posting a 2.65 ERA in 57.2 innings. Taylor spent all of 1988 back in Triple-A (Pirates switched affiliates to Buffalo of the American Association), where he went 10-8, 2.14 in 22 starts and 139 innings. He had just 65 strikeouts that year. He made the 1989 Opening Day roster for the Pirates, but he was back in Buffalo after just three games in relief. He remained in the minors until September, then saw action in six more games in relief with the Pirates, all one-inning outings. He had a 5.06 ERA in 10.2 innings with the 1989 Pirates, while going 10-8, 2.58 in 170.2 innings over 25 starts in Buffalo that season
Taylor’s final season with the Pirates was 1990, when he finished with a 14-6, 2.91 record in 195 innings over 30 games for Buffalo. He was traded to the Baltimore Orioles on September 5, 1990 as the player to be named later in the June 25, 1990 deal that saw the Pirates acquire pitcher Jay Tibbs. Taylor pitched four games for Baltimore that season, giving up three runs in 3.2 innings, then he never played pro ball again. He was released just a few days after the season ended. The Pirates said that Taylor’s minor league success wouldn’t translate to the majors because he relied heavily on off-speed pitches and batters chasing the ball out of the zone. His big league career saw him go 3-5, 5.45 in 67.2 innings over eight starts and 19 relief appearances.
Woody Jensen, left fielder for the 1931-39 Pirates. The lefty hitting/throwing outfielder spent his entire 738 game Major League career with the Pirates. He began pro ball in 1927 after playing college ball at Western Washington University, one of just four Major League players to attended that school. He split his first season between two vastly different levels of play, seeing time with Class-C Pocatello of the Utah-Idaho League, as well as time in the Double-A Pacific Coast League, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. He batted .305 with 17 extra-base hits in 88 games that year. Jensen did the same exact split in 1928, this time hitting .312 with 52 extra-base hits in 161 games, with much better stats with Pocatello, where he had a .335 average and a .480 slugging percentage in 114 games. The next year saw him spend the season in the Class-A Western League, where his full season stats are incomplete, as he split 89 games between Wichita and Topeka. His stats from 1930 with Wichita are available and he hit .354 in 139 games, with 115 runs scored, 41 doubles, 19 triples, 14 homers and 114 RBIs. The Pirates acquired him in a four-for-two player swap with Wichita, with catcher Jack Mealey also joining the Pirates, though he played 20 years in the minors without a big league game. The biggest name the Pirates gave up in the deal was infielder Pep Young, though he was still three years away from making his big league debut at the time. They also sent Howdy Groskloss and pitchers Clay Mahaffey and Bernie Walter to Wichita.
Jensen was with the Pirates on the bench to start the 1931 season. After five appearances over the first month, he was sent to Newark of the Double-A International League, where he hit .333 with 13 extra-base hits in 51 games, before rejoining Pittsburgh in July. That rookie season, Jensen hit .243 with 43 runs scored, 12 extra-base hits and 17 RBIs in 73 games. He made the Pirates Opening Day roster again the next year, though just like the previous season, he was sent back to Newark in May after going 0-for-5 in seven games. He hit .345 with 32 extra-base hits in 118 games in the minors, but didn’t play for the Pirates again until the following season. Jensen would be a backup outfielder for the 1933 Pirates, and for good reason. Their outfield that season had three Hall of Famers starting, Paul and Lloyd Waner, as well as Freddie Lindstrom. Jensen held his own when he played though, batting .296 with just two strikeouts in 210 plate appearances. He had a .692 OPS, with 29 runs, ten extra-base hits and 15 RBIs. With the same HOF outfield still intact for 1934, Jensen had the same backup role, and his filled it well. He hit .290 in 88 games, although those stats come with an asterisks due to his extremely low total of four walks in 294 plate appearances, which led to a .304 OBP. He scored 34 runs, while finishing with 17 extra-base hits and 27 RBIs.
With the trade of Lindstrom in the 1934-35 off-season, Jensen stepped into the starting spot in 1935 and hit .324 in 143 games with 203 hits, out-hitting both Waner brothers that year. He scored 97 runs and drove in a career high 62 RBIs, while collecting 28 doubles, seven triples and eight homers. His .773 OPS that year was a career high. In 1936, Jensen played a career high 153 games, leading the National League in at-bats and plate appearances. He had 54 extra-base hits, 58 RBIs, and he scored a career high 98 runs. He fell just short of his second straight 200-hit season, finishing with 197, which ranked sixth in the NL. Jensen had the highest fielding percentage among NL left fielders in 1935, but then he led the position in errors in each of the next two years. In 1937, he began to see a decline in his playing time, and by 1938 he was again in the backup role with the emergence of left fielder Johnny Rizzo, who set the Pirates single season home run record that year. Jensen played 124 games in 1937, hitting .279 with 37 extra-base hits, 45 RBIs and 77 runs scored. He was down to 68 games in 1938, and just 18 of those games were starts. He batted .200/.213/.232 in 129 plate appearances, and had just one walk and three strikeouts all year. He played just 12 games for the Pirates in 1939 before they sold him to the New York Giants in June. He was immediately sent to Jersey City of the International League and never returned to the majors, retiring 2 1/2 years later.
Jensen batted .299 with 23 extra-base hits in 90 games for Jersey City in 1939. He remained there in 1940, batting .252 in 129 games, with 29 extra-base hits. His final season of pro ball was spent with Montreal of the International League in 1941, where he hit .295 in 141 games, with 58 runs, 33 doubles, eight homers and 74 RBIs. He ended up playing semi-pro ball for Boeing in 1942, serving as the athletic director for the plant. Jensen hit .285 in 738 games with the Pirates, driving in 235 RBIs and scoring 392 runs. He had 114 doubles, 37 triples and 26 homers. He put the ball in play as much as any player at the time, drawing only 69 walks and striking out an even 100 times in 2,869 plate appearances. His 696 at-bats during the 1936 season was a Major League record until 1969 when the Pirates Matty Alou recorded 698 at-bats. Alou had the benefit of the expanded schedule, which went into effect during the 1961 season. Jensen’s real first name was Forrest (hence the Woody nickname). His middle name is a unique name in baseball history. It was Docenus.
Walter Barbare, infielder for the 1919-20 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball in 1912 at 20 years old, playing in his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina, where he was in the Class-D Carolina Association. He batted just .230 in 114 games that season. He remained in Class-D ball in 1913, playing for Asheville of the North Carolina State League, where he hit .273 with 30 extra-base hits in 116 games. Barbare moved up three levels to New Orleans of the Class-A Southern Association in 1914, and he hit .296 with 66 runs, 36 doubles, six triples, three homers and 47 steals in 150 games. In mid-September he joined the Cleveland Indians, where he spent three seasons (1914-16), getting into a total of 105 games, with a .214 average and no homers over that time. His debut was much stronger than the rest, with a .308 average and a .769 OPS in 15 games. That average dropped down to .191 in 77 games in 1915, when he had 15 runs, four extra-base hits and 11 RBIs. He held the starting third base job from Opening Day through early June, then again for most of July, before settling into a bench role. Barbare then he played just 13 games for the Indians in 1916, joining the club in mid-September after spending the rest of the season back in the Southern Association with Little Rock. He hit .246 with 15 extra-base hits in 122 games for Little Rock, then batted .229/.289/.250 over a two-week stretch as the starting third baseman for the Indians.
Barbare spent all of 1917, and most of 1918 in the minors, seeing three weeks of action in July of 1918 with the Boston Red Sox, where he hit .172 in 13 games. Most of the 1917 season was spent back in New Orleans, where he hit .246 with 26 extra-base hits in 123 games. He also played 21 games with Milwaukee of the Double-A American Association (highest level of the minors at the time), hitting .163 with four doubles. Around his time in Boston in 1918, he hit .318 in 118 minor league games, splitting time between New Orleans (70 games) and Jersey City of the Double-A International League (48 games). The Pirates picked him up in the Rule 5 draft in late September of 1918 and gave him extended work at third base in 1919, getting 77 starts. Barbare responded with a .273 average, along with 34 runs, 16 extra-base hits and 34 RBIs in 85 games. He saw time at SS/2B/3B in 1920, hitting .274 in 57 games. His runs (nine) and RBI (12) totals that year were especially low for a player with 199 plate appearances and a decent average. He had five doubles and two triples. His season didn’t start that year until mid-June due to a broken jaw after getting beaned in Spring Training.
On January 23, 1921, the Pirates traded Barbare, Billy Southworth (Hall of Famer manager, who was a player at that time) and Fred Nicholson, plus cash, to the Boston Braves in exchange for Hall of Fame shortstop Rabbit Maranville. Barbare had a big first season in Boston, hitting .302 in 134 games, with 66 runs, 24 doubles, seven triples and 49 RBIs. His average fell off to .231 in 106 games (with a .537 OPS) in 1922, and by 1923 he was in the minors for his final three seasons of pro ball. Barbare’s online stats show him playing with Greenville in 1921-22, but that was actually his younger brother Gus Barbare. Walter Barbare had a strong 1923 season with Toledo of the Double-A American Association, hitting .288 with 51 extra-base hits in 161 games. He batted .319 for Memphis of the Class-A Southern Association in 1924, then hit .315 in 51 games for Memphis in 1925, before moving on to Knoxville of the Class-B South Atlantic League as a player/manager. That was his last year as a player and his first of four seasons as a minor league manager. He then went on to umpire before retiring from baseball. In his eight years in the majors, he hit .260 with 52 doubles, 21 triples, one homer, 156 RBIs and 173 runs scored in exactly 500 games. That one homer came September 11, 1919, with the Pirates against Lee Meadows of the Philadelphia Phillies, who won 19 games during the 1925 and 1927 seasons, leading the Pirates to the World Series both year. Barbare’s homer was an inside-the-park homer.