Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including one who went on to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. We also have a doubleheader of note from the 1969 season. We start with a star pitcher for the 1909 World Series champs.
Howie Camnitz, pitcher for the 1904 and 1906-13 Pirates. Camnitz debuted in the majors with the Pirates in 1904 after two seasons of minor league ball. He debuted in Class-D ball in 1902 and played briefly for two teams in the Cotton States League (no stats available), seeing time with Greenville and Natchez. At 21 years old in 1903, he went 26-7 in 37 games for the Vicksburg Hill Billies of the Cotton States League. He wasn’t ready for the big leagues and lasted just ten games (two starts) in 1904 before being sent to the minors. He went 1-4, 4.22 in 49 innings that year for the Pirates. The league ERA was 2.73 at the time, so he was well below average in that category. Camnitz went 14-5 in 19 games for Springfield of the Class-B Three-I League in 1904, then posted a 17-17, 3.00 record in 300 innings for the 1905 Toledo Mud Hens of the Class-A American Association, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. He was with the Mud Hens again in 1906 and had a 22-17, 3.11 record in 342 innings, before rejoining the Pirates for two late September games. He gave up two runs over nine innings in those outings, and he was in the majors for good at that point.
Camnitz went 13-8, 2.15 in 180 innings in 1907 for the Pirates and didn’t allow a single home run all season. On August 23rd during the second game of a doubleheader, he pitched a five-inning no-hitter over the New York Giants in a game that was agreed to be shortened prior to the start of the contest. He made 19 starts that year and 12 relief appearances, finishing with 15 complete games and four shutouts. He was even better the next season, going 16-9, 1.56 in 236.2 innings, finishing fourth in the league in ERA. He made 26 starts and 12 relief appearances, throwing 17 complete games and three shutouts. He had 118 strikeouts, which ranked seventh in the National League. It was the first of five straight seasons in which he finished among the top ten in strikeouts. As great as that year was for Camnitz, his best season was still yet to come. The Pirates won the World Series in 1909 and he was a huge part of getting them there. He went 25-6, 1.62 in 283 innings, finishing fourth in ERA again and second in the league in wins, while leading the league in winning percentage. He had 133 strikeouts, seventh most in the league. He threw 20 complete games, had six shutouts and even saved three games (not a stat at the time), while making 11 relief appearances. He got hit hard in the World Series, giving up six runs in 3.1 innings, but the Pirates were still able to win in seven games.
For the next three seasons, Camnitz saw a much higher ERA, though he was still a solid pitcher at his worst. He went 12-13, 3.22 in 260 innings in 1910, completing 16 of his 31 starts, while pitching seven times in relief. He had 120 strikeouts, which ranked sixth in the league, his best finish in that category. He then bounced back with two 20+ win seasons, throwing a total of 544.1 innings during that time. He was 20-15, 3.13 in 267.2 innings in 1911, when he made 33 starts and seven relief appearances. He tossed 18 complete games and picked up a career high 139 strikeouts, which ranked him seventh in the league. Camnitz had a 22-12, 2.83 in 276.2 innings in 1912. He finished fifth in the league in wins and his 121 strikeouts ranked tenth in the league. He set a career high with 22 complete games, which was good for eighth in the league.
Camnitz pitched poorly in 1913, going 6-17, 3.74 in 192.1 innings before he was dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies late in the season for a mediocre return. He finished the year by going 3-3, 3.67 in 49 innings. Combined he finished with 20 losses and career highs with 100 earned runs and 107 walks. He threw 241.1 innings over 27 starts and 18 relief appearances. He spent his final two years pitching back in Pittsburgh in the newly-formed Federal League before retiring. He went 14-19, 3.23 in 262 innings in 1914, completing 20 of his 34 starts. Camnitz then pitched his final 20 big league innings during the first month of the 1915 season and he posted a 4.50 ERA. He was released due to poor conditioning and an altercation at a hotel, which ended his pro baseball career. He had a 116-84, 2.63 record in 1,754.1 innings with the Pirates. He completed 119 of his 196 starts with the Pirates, finishing with 19 shutouts. He also pitched 81 times in relief. Camnitz ranks eighth in team history in ERA, tenth in WHIP (1.17), 12th in wins, 13th in innings pitched and 17th in strikeouts. He’s also 14th in complete games and 12th in shutouts. His actual first name was Samuel, but he went by Howie/Howard. His brother Harry Camnitz was briefly a member of the 1909 Pirates. They are one of 26 groups of relatives to play for the Pirates.
Chris Stratton, pitcher for the 2019-22 Pirates. He was a first round pick (20th overall) in 2012 by the San Francisco Giants out of Mississippi State. He spent that first season of pro ball with Salem-Keizer of the short-season Northwest League, where he had a 2.76 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 16.1 innings. In 2013, he spent the season with Low-A Augusta of the South Atlantic League, going 9-3, 3.27 with 123 strikeouts in 132 innings over 22 starts. Stratton split the 2014 season between High-A San Jose of the California League and Double-A Richmond of the Eastern League, combining for a 8-9, 4.78 record, with 120 strikeouts in 122.1 innings. He had much better results at the higher level, though a majority of the season was spent with San Jose. In 2015, he made nine starts for Richmond and 17 for Sacramento of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He had similar results at both levels, combining for a 5-10, 3.95 record, with 111 strikeouts in 148 innings. Stratton played for Sacramento for a large majority of the 2016 season, where he went 12-6, 3.87 with 103 strikeouts in 125.2 innings. In late May/early June, he had seven relief appearances with the Giants, allowing four runs in ten innings. After the season, he attended the Arizona Fall League, where he went 2-2, 3.12 in 26 innings, with 21 strikeouts.
In 2017, Stratton split the season fairly evenly between Sacramento and the Giants. His minor league time resulted in a 4-5, 5.11 record in 79.1 innings. His big league time saw him make ten starts and three relief appearances, going 4-4, 3.68 in 58.2 innings. He had four starts for Sacramento in 2018, then spent the rest of the season with the Giants, where he had a 10-10, 5.09 record in 26 starts and two relief outings, picking up a career high 112 strikeouts in 145 innings. Stratton was traded to the Los Angeles Angels late in Spring Training in 2019. After putting up an 8.59 ERA and 18 walks in 29.1 innings, he was purchased by the Pirates on May 11, 2019. He spent some brief time with Triple-A Indianapolis of the International League, but the rest of the year saw him go 1-1, 3.66 in 28 relief appearances for the Pirates, with 47 strikeouts in 46.1 innings. During the shortened 2020 season, Stratton went 2-1, 3.90 in 27 games, picking up 39 strikeouts in 30 innings. In 2021, he had a 7-1, 3.63 record, eight saves and 86 strikeouts in 79.1 innings over 68 games. He struggled for the 2022 Pirates, going 5-4, 5.09 in 40.2 innings and 40 games pitched. On August 2, 2022, he was traded to the St Louis Cardinals in a four-player deal. As of this writing, he allowed two runs on seven hits in 3.2 innings with the Cardinals. In his seven-year career through early August 2022, he is 31-23, 4.61 in 443.1 innings. He has 42 starts in 221 appearances.
Drew Hutchison, pitcher for the 2016 Pirates. He was drafted in the 15th round out of high school in 2009 by the Toronto Blue Jays and it took just three years for him to make the majors. Despite the quick path to the big leagues, he never found success. He debuted in pro ball in 2010, splitting the season between Auburn of the short-season New York-Penn League and Low-A Lansing of the Midwest League. Hutchison went 2-3, 2.49 in 15 starts between both stops, finishing with 63 strikeouts in 68.2 innings. The next year was split between three levels, starting back in Lansing, moving up to Dunedin of the High-A Florida State League, and finishing in Double-A with New Hampshire of the Eastern League. He had success at every level, combining to go 14-5, 2.53 in 149.1 innings, with 171 strikeouts. In 2012, he made three starts in New Hampshire (2.16 ERA in 16.2 innings) and 11 in the majors. He went 5-3, 4.60 in 58.2 innings with the Blue Jays, but his season ended early due to an elbow injury that turned into Tommy John surgery in August. That limited him in 2013 to 35.1 innings of rehab in the minors over three levels, though he attended the Arizona Fall League as well, where he had a 3.32 ERA in 21.2 innings over six starts. Hutchison made 32 starts for the 2014 Blue Jays, going 11-13, 4.48 in 184.2 innings, with 184 strikeouts. He had a 13-5 record in 2015, but it came with a 5.57 ERA in 150.1 innings. Through early 2016, he had split the season between the Blue Jays and Triple-A Buffalo of the International League, posting a 4.97 ERA in 12.2 innings with Toronto, while making 18 starts in the minors, where he was 6-5, 3.26, with 110 strikeouts in 102 innings.
Hutchison was still just 26 years old when the Pirates acquired him at the trading deadline in July of 2016 season as a salary dump deal that involved Francisco Liriano, Reese McGuire and Harold Ramirez. The Pirates included two prospects so they could get rid of the high salary of Liriano. After posting a 4.50 ERA in 36 innings with Indianapolis of the International League, Hutchison joined the Pirates in September and made one start and five relief appearances. He had a 5.56 ERA in 11.1 innings. He spent the entire 2017 season in Indianapolis, going 9-9, 3.56 in 159.1 innings. He became a free agent at the end of the season and signed a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. He pitched briefly in the majors for the Phillies and Texas Rangers in 2018, going 2-2, 6.75 in 42.2 innings between both stops, while posting a 2.14 ERA in 42 innings with Oklahoma of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League (affiliate of the Rangers). He pitched in the minors in 2019 with three different organizations, the Los Angeles Angels, Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees. Hutchison combined for an 11-6, 5.28 record, with 133 strikeouts in 131.1 innings. He played independent ball with Milwaukee of the American Association during the shortened 2020 season. In 2021, he’s pitched most of the season in the minors for the Detroit Tigers with Triple-A Toledo of the International League, putting up an 8-3, 3.77 record, with 89 strikeouts in 88.1 innings over 19 starts. He was in the majors for two starts and seven relief appearances that season, going 3-1, 2.11 in 21.1 innings. He remained with the Tigers in 2022, where he had a 1-5, 4.37 record in 55.2 innings over eight starts and ten relief appearances through early August. Hutchison has a 36-29, 4.91 record in 537.1 innings in the majors through early August of 2022.
Doug Bair, pitcher for the Pirates in 1976, then again in 1989-90. He was a second round draft pick of the Pirates in 1971 out of Bowling Green University. He reached Triple-A by 1972, but didn’t make it to the majors until September of 1976. He pitched poorly his first year in Salem of the Class-A Carolina league, posting a 5.90 ERA and 26 walks in 29 innings over six starts, but he still made it up to Double-A Waterbury of the Eastern League for an outing, which ended up being seven shutout innings. Bair was back in Salem in 1977, going 15-7, 2.85 in 180 innings, with 186 strikeouts. That year he also made one start with Triple-A Charleston of the International League and allowed three runs in four innings. In 1973, he went 7-11, 4.39 for Charleston. After striking out more than a batter per inning in 1972, he had 94 strikeouts in 158 innings in 1973. In 1974, he had a 7-16, 4.08 record in 170 innings over 26 starts, with 91 walks and 117 strikeouts. That was followed in 1975 by a 9-12, 3.02 record in 167 innings, with 58 walks and 113 strikeouts. He made 26 starts for the third straight season. Bair switched to full-time relief in 1976, going 7-10, 3.17 in 45 games and 122 innings pitched, with 108 strikeouts, which led to a late season call-up to the majors. He made a total of 79 starts and 45 relief appearances for Charleston before he played his first Major league game on September 13, 1976. In four relief appearances for the Pirates that year, he allowed four runs in 6.1 innings. On March 15, 1977, the Pirates and Oakland A’s hooked up on a nine-player deal, with Bair and five other players going to Oakland, for a package that included Phil Garner.
Bair would pitch for Oakland, and six other Major League teams, before returning to the Pirates in June of 1989 at the age of thirty-nine. He spent part of 1977 back in Triple-A (San Jose of the Pacific Coast League), but still made 45 appearances with the A’s, going 4-6, 3.46 in 83.1 innings, with eight saves. In 1978, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds a month before the season started. Bair went 7-6, 1.97 in a career high 101.1 innings over 70 games. He also set career highs with 28 saves and 91 strikeouts. His ERA more than doubled the next year, as he went 11-7, 4.29 in 94.1 innings over 65 games, with 16 saves. In 1980, Bair was 3-6, 4.24 in 85 innings over 60 appearances, picking up six saves. He split the strike-shortened 1981 season between the Reds and St Louis Cardinals, finishing the year with a 5.10 ERA in 35 appearances, with one save and 54.2 innings pitched. The Cardinals won the World Series in 1982 and he had a major bounce back season, going 5-3, 2.55 with eight saves in 91.2 innings over 63 outings. He pitched three games in the World Series, allowing two runs in two innings.
Bair was traded again during the 1983 season, which led to another World Series ring. Between the Cardinals and Detroit Tigers that season, he went 8-4, 3.59, with five saves in 85.1 innings over 53 games. The Tigers won it all in 1984 and he went 5-3, 3.75 in 93.2 innings over 47 appearances. He faced just one batter in the postseason, but managed to record two outs. Bair ran into a rough patch in 1985 and finished the year back with the Cardinals for his final two appearances. In 51 innings over 23 appearances, he posted a 6.00 ERA. He made three of his five career big league starts that season. He pitched with the Oakland A’s in 1986, putting up a 3.00 ERA, four saves and 40 strikeouts in 45 innings over 31 games. The 1987 season was spent with the Philadelphia Phillies, though he was in Triple-A with Maine of the International League for most of the year. He had a 5.93 ERA in 11 outings with the Phillies that season, throwing a total of 13.2 innings.
Bair spent most of 1988 in Triple-A Syracuse of the International League with the Toronto Blue Jays. He made ten big league appearances, posting a 4.05 ERA in 13.1 innings, while posting a 2.34 ERA and 14 saves in 65.1 innings for Syracuse. He was with Syracuse to start 1989, when the Pirates purchased his contract on June 16th. At the time he had an 0.72 ERA in 25 innings. He pitched 44 games for Pittsburgh over the final 3 1/2 months of the 1989 season, going 2-3, 2.27, with one save in 67.1 innings. Bair split the 1990 season between Pittsburgh and Triple-A Buffalo of the American Association, getting into 22 games for the Pirates spread throughout the season. He had a 4.81 ERA in 24.1 innings with the Pirates that year. He would pitch two more years in the minors before retiring, playing for the Triple-A affiliates of the Tigers, Blue Jays and California Angels. He finished his Major League career with a 55-43, 3.63 record in 584 games. Bair pitched 909.1 innings and he recorded 81 saves.
Lyle Bigbee, pitcher for the 1921 Pirates. For 11 seasons, Carson Bigbee was an outfielder for the Pirates, playing 1,147 games in a Pittsburgh uniform. In the middle of that stretch, the Pirates gave his older brother a shot at the end of the 1921 season. They are one of 26 groups of relatives to play for the Pirates. Lyle Bigbee pitched 12 games for the Philadelphia A’s in 1920, while also seeing some time as an outfielder and pinch-hitter. The problem was that he didn’t have success anywhere that season, batting .187/.282/.253 in 86 plate appearances, along with an 8.00 ERA in 45 innings and below average defense. He went to Spring Training with the A’s in 1921, but a hand injury kept him from pitching and he was released via waivers on April 16, 1921. Bigbee pitched for Newark of the International League that 1921 season, where he went 9-6, 2.60 in 121 innings. His time in Newark ended when he punched the president of the Newark club, which earned him a suspension. On July 25, 1921, he was sold to the Pirates and told to report the next day. It took him a little bit of time to actually appear in a game after he arrived. He made five relief appearances for Pittsburgh in 1921, debuting on August 24th during a doubleheader. He pitched well in those five games, giving up one run on four hits and four walks in eight innings. When he wasn’t pitching in games, he was being used as a batting practice pitcher. He was signed for 1922, but didn’t attending Spring Training with the club. He was supposed to get in shape on the west coast, however a deal made to help him out fell through and he ended up doing nothing until the Pirates released him outright to Milwaukee of the American Association on April 3, 1922.
Bigbee played three more seasons before retiring, never making it back to the majors. Both Carson and Lyle began their pro careers in the northwest in 1916. At 22 years old for most of the 1916 season, Lyle had a 2.29 ERA in eight relief appearances for Portland of the Double-A Pacific Coast League, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. He moved down two levels to Spokane of the Class-B Northwestern League in 1917, where he had a 7-9 record in 134 innings over 18 games. His ERA isn’t available, but it’s known that he allowed 6.31 runs per nine innings. He was working a shipyard job in 1918 and pitching that season for a semi-pro team, despite suffering a hand injury that cost him part of the middle finger on his right (pitching) hand. Late in the year he was drafted into the Army, but the war ended a short time later and he pitched for Seattle of the Pacific Coast League in 1919, going 11-13, 4.58 in 218 innings. Bigbee was also a star football player, though that came back to hurt his baseball career when a broken shoulder in late 1922 led to him pitching just 20 more games in his career. He went 11-11, 4.94 for Milwaukee in 1922, while batting .357 in 84 at-bats. After the football injury, he had a 2-3 record in 91 innings over 19 games in a 1923 season split between Milwaukee and Louisville of the American Association. His final pro time came in 1924 with Los Angeles of the Pacific Coast League, where he’s credited with the win and eight innings pitched in his only game.
Harry Swacina, first baseman for the 1907-08 Pirates. He played seven years in the minors before getting his first chance at the big leagues with the 1907 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball at 19 years old in 1901, playing for three different teams in the Class-B Southern Association, Memphis, New Orleans and Chattanooga. Full stats aren’t available, but he’s credited with a .333 average and 21 extra-base hits in 89 games that season. He spent the 1902 season with Memphis, hitting .262 with 11 extra-base hits in 106 games. In 1903, he moved to Colorado Springs of the Class-A Western League, where he hit .282 with 29 extra-base hits in 113 games. He was back in Class-B in 1904, spending three seasons playing for Decatur of the Three-I League. Stats are limited from the league, but we know that Swacina hit .304 in 121 games in 1904. That was followed by a .258 average in 90 games in 1905, then a .309 average in 117 games in 1906. Swacina hit .292 with 21 doubles and three triples in 123 games for Peoria of the Three-I League in 1907, which is what got him finally noticed by the Pirates. He was purchased for a reported $3,000 price tag and was called Peoria’s best all around baseball player ever. He joined the Pirates in September and ended up playing the last 26 games of the season at first base. He hit .200 with nine runs, two extra-base hits, ten RBIs and a .472 OPS, showing a good glove at first base with just one error. He was with the Pirates for the early part of 1908, getting into 53 games, and while the defense was good at first base, his hitting remained weak. Swacina batted .216/.238/.261 with 13 RBIs and just seven runs scored.
Despite the low average and lack of power, the move to release Swacina was not a popular one among fans and the press, who were getting tired of the revolving door of first baseman the Pirates had in recent years. They claimed that manager Fred Clarke and owner Barney Dreyfuss had a grudge against Swacina because he held out that year for more money. In August he was benched for what was called “dumb playing”, which apparently excited the fans, but didn’t help the team. The rest of the National League apparently agreed with the Pirates, because he cleared waivers, and on August 7th he was released outright to Louisville of the Class-A American Association, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. He finished the year batting .258 with seven extra-base hits in 26 games for Louisville. In 1909, Swacina split the season between Rock Island of the Class-B Three-I League and Harrisburg of the Class-B Tri-State League. He combined to hit .240 with 19 doubles and three triples in 106 games. The 1910-11 seasons were spent with Mobile of the Class-A Southern Association. He batted .314 with 28 extra-base hits in 138 games in 1910, followed by a .294 average and 33 extra-base hits in 128 games in 1911. In 1912, Swacina played his first of two seasons with Newark of the Double-A (new level created in 1912) International League. He batted .317 in 151 games that year, with 35 doubles, 15 triples and one homer. In 1913, he hit .325 in 141 games, with 64 runs, 21 doubles, seven triples, one homer, 18 stolen bases and a .741 OPS.
Swacina returned to the majors in 1914, joining the Federal League, a new formed Major League that year that lasted two seasons. With the Baltimore Terrapins in 1914, he led the league with 158 games played and 617 at-bats. He batted .280 with 26 doubles, eight triples, 90 RBIs, 15 steals and 70 runs scored. In 1915, he hit .246 in 85 games, with 15 extra-base hits, 38 RBIs and 24 runs scored. When the Federal League folded after the 1915 season, it helped mark the end of Swacina’s Major League career, though he was released shortly before the season ended. He remained in baseball another eight years as a player, hitting .290 over 2,126 minor league games. His big league stats show a .256 average in 322 games, with 110 runs scored, 46 doubles, 11 triples, 151 RBIs and one homer, which he hit in his final season.
Swacina moved around a lot during his final eight seasons of pro ball, though he also went back to familiar places. He struggled in 1916, hitting .232 with 11 extra-base hits in 127 games back with Mobile. He then played one game back in New Orleans in 1917, which is his only known pro time from that season. The 1918 season was split between Nashville of the Southern Association and a return to Chattanooga of the same league. Swacina dropped down to Shreveport of the Class-B Texas League in 1919, where he hit .287 with 12 extra-base hits (all doubles) in 119 games. He dropped down another level in 1920, playing for Columbia of the Class-C South Atlantic League, where he batted .315 with 27 extra-base hits in 117 games. That league was reclassified as Class-B in 1921 and Swacina spent part of the season back in the SAL with Charleston, while also playing with Lakeland of the Class-C Florida State League. He ended up batting .307 in both stops, playing a total of 127 games. He went 1-for-17 with Augusta of the SAL in 1922, while spending the rest of the year with Rocky Mount of the Class-B Virginia League, where he hit .279 with 26 extra-base hits in 92 games. He wrapped things up in 1923 with his fourth SAL team (Greenville) for seven games and a .282 average and 19 doubles in 68 games for Jackson of the Class-D Cotton States League. Swacina was a player/manager with Mobile in 1911 and Lakeland in 1921.
Ned Hanlon, Alleghenys/Pirates outfielder/manager in 1889 and 1891. He was a speedy defensive center fielder, who racked up steals and was often among the league leaders in walks during a 13-year career in the majors. Hanlon is more famous for his career as a manager though, his ticket to the Hall of Fame nearly sixty years after he passed away. Back before the modern World Series began in 1903, the champion of baseball was the winner of the National League pennant, and Hanlon led the Baltimore Orioles to three straight titles (1894-96). Then after two straight strong, but disappointing second place finishes, he led the Brooklyn Superbas (1899-1900) to two straight NL titles, a string snapped by the Pirates, who would go on to win three straight times. He won 1,313 games as a manager.
As a player, Hanlon debuted at 19 years old in 1877, playing for Fall River of the New England League. The next year he was with Rochester of the International Association. In 1879, he moved on to Albany of the National Association. There are no stats available for his first two years, but we know that Hanlon hit .315 in 47 games with Albany. That led to him joining the Cleveland Blues of the National League in 1880. As a rookie, he hit .246 in 73 games, with 30 runs, ten doubles, three triples, 32 RBIs and a .578 OPS. He played mostly left field as a rookie, then moved to center field in 1881, when he played with the Detroit Wolverines. In his second season, he hit .279 with 63 runs, 24 extra-base hits, 28 RBIs and a .724 OPS in 76 games. The next year his average slipped to .231 and his walk rate dropped as well, leading to a .644 OPS, but he still managed to score 68 runs in 82 games. He showed a little more power as well, resulting in 18 doubles, six triples, five homers and 38 RBIs. Baseball expanded the schedules a bit in 1883, and then slowly added more games after that point. Hanlon played 100 games that season, hitting .242 with 40 RBIs and 65 runs scored. His OPS dropped to .590 because he had just 16 extra-base hits (one homer). In 1884, he played 114 games and hit .264 with 86 runs and 39 RBIs. He matched his extra-base hit total from 1882 exactly, with 18 doubles, six triples and five homers, except he had 103 more at-bats during the 1884 season. He had a strong 1885 season, hitting a career best .302, with 93 runs scored, 27 extra-base hits, 47 walks and a .761 OPS.
Hanlon batted just .235 in 1886, but it came with 105 runs, 60 RBIs, 50 stolen bases and 57 walks, while leading the NL with 126 games played. Besides the low average, he had just 16 extra-base hits, leading to a .610 OPS that was 151 points lower than the previous season. He hit .274 with 79 runs scored in 118 games in 1887, while setting career highs with 69 RBIs and 69 steals, helping the Wolverines to a National League title. In his final season in Detroit (1888), he batted .266 in 109 games, with 64 runs scored, 19 extra-base hits, 39 RBIs, 38 steals and a .641 OPS. Detroit folded after the season and Hanlon was sold to the Pittsburgh Alleghenys in November of 1888. He was initially dissatisfied with the deal until he received $500 of the purchase price. He arrived a bit late to the team during Spring Training of 1889, but he played 116 games that year, hitting .239 with 81 runs scored, 26 extra-base hits, 37 RBIs and 53 steals. Hanlon took over as the team manager mid-season in 1889 and went 26-18. He was one of many players who jumped to the Player’s League in 1890, where hit .272 with 107 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 45 RBIs, 81 walks and 65 steals for the Pittsburgh Burghers, while guiding the team to a disappointing 60-68 record.
Hanlon returned to the helm of the Alleghenys/Pirates in 1891 and was 31-47 before being replaced. As a batter that year, he hit .266 with 12 doubles, eight triples, 60 RBIs, 54 steals and 87 runs in 119 games. During his time with the Alleghenys, he hit .252 with 107 stolen bases, 168 runs scored and 97 RBIs in 235 games. He was injured early in 1892 and Pittsburgh released him on May 5th so he could sign on the manage the Baltimore Orioles. He played his final big league games later that season, hitting .163/.217/.233 in 11 games. In his 13-year career, he hit .259 in 1,270 games, with 931 runs scored, 159 doubles, 79 triples, 30 homers, 518 RBIs and 329 steals, though stolen base totals aren’t available for his first six seasons. He put up 18.1 WAR as a player according to modern metrics, though his defense rates below average, which dropped down his overall numbers.
Hanlon has a spot in the history of the Pirates team name throughout the years. Most sites say that the Pirates adopted their current name in 1891, but that wasn’t true. The team itself adopted the name during Spring Training of 1895 and the name didn’t become official until much later. In fact, they even dropped the name entirely during the 1898 season and became known as the Patriots. When Hanlon was managing the team in 1891, local media began calling the team the Hanlons quite often. The “Pirates” name was mostly used by the media in a few National League cities, so you would mostly see it when the local papers were wired game recaps from those cities. When the team played at home during his managerial stint, the “Hanlons” name was used more often than not. So it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Pittsburgh Hanlons was the correct team name at the time. Other teams have taken their names from a person with the team, including the Brooklyn Robins (manager Wilbert Robinson), Cleveland Naps (Nap Lajoie), or Boston Doves (last name of owners was Dovey) to name a few.
On this date in 1969, the Pirates hosted the Cincinnati Reds in a doubleheader at Forbes Field. Rookie Al Oliver had a big day, homering in game one, before hitting a walk-off homer in game two. Here’s the link to the Game Rewind article, which recaps both games from that day, highlighting the heroics from Scoop.