Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates players were born on this date, including a Hall of Famer and a star pitcher for the 1909 World Series winning team.
Bill Mazeroski, second baseman for the 1956-72 Pirates. On October 13,1960, Mazeroski hit his famous World Series winning, walk-off homer. Not only was it the greatest single moment in Pittsburgh Pirates history, it ranks up there as the single greatest moment in baseball history. He is considered by many to be the greatest fielding second baseman in baseball history, as well as one of the overall best defensive players ever. His list of accomplishments is long. Two World Series rings, eight Gold Glove awards, ten All-Star selections and a Hall of Fame plaque in 2001. He played seventeen seasons and 2,163 games in Pittsburgh, making his Major League debut on July 7, 1956 and playing his last regular season game on October 4, 1972.
In the field, he earned those eight Gold Gloves by leading the National League in assists nine times, putouts six times, fielding range ten times and fielding percentage three times. Career he ranks fifth in assists at second base with 6,685 and seventh in put outs (4,974). In the modern metrics category called Total Zone Runs, which was devised to determine just how valuable a player was on defense at their position, Mazeroski ranked first overall among second baseman. In defensive WAR, he ranks first among all players who put on a Pirates uniform
Among Pittsburgh Pirates hitting categories, Mazeroski ranks fifth in games played behind Honus Wagner, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Max Carey. He is sixth in both at-bats and plate appearances, going to the plate a total of 8,379 times. His 2,016 hits ranks eighth all-time in team history, trailing seven Hall of Famers. Maz has the eighth most total bases (2,848), eighth most doubles (294), tenth most homers (138) and sixth most RBIs with 853. Only eight Pirates have reached base more times than Mazeroski in a Pirates uniform, and all eight went on to make the Hall of Fame.
Before making his Major League debut, Mazeroski spent three seasons in the minors, playing a total of 308 games. He played for two teams, the Williamsport Grays of the Class-A Eastern League in 1954-55 and the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League in 1955-56, considered to be one step from the majors. In 1954 at 17 years old, he batted .235 in 93 games, with 35 runs, 17 extra-base hits, 28 RBIs and a .624 OPS. He played 114 games with Williamsport in 1955, hitting .293, with 68 runs, 13 doubles, seven triples, 11 homers, 65 RBIs and a .793 OPS. He played 21 games that season with Hollywood, where he hit .170/.204/.234, with four runs, a homer and three RBIs. Before being called up for his Pirates debut as a 19-year-old, he batted .306 in 80 games for Hollywood, with 47 runs, 12 doubles, nine homers and 36 RBIs. Mazeroski was brought up to replace Spook Jacobs in the lineup, just 11 games after the Pirates had traded for the 30-year-old second baseman. Mazeroski would hold onto that second base job full-time until 1969 when he started to miss some time and play less frequently, playing just 273 games over his final four seasons combined. He hit .243 in 81 games as a rookie, with 30 runs, eight doubles, three homers and 14 RBIs. He put up a .981 fielding percentage that year.
In his first full season in the majors in 1957, Maz batted .283 with 59 runs, 42 extra-base hits, 54 RBIs and a .725 OPS in 148 games. He set a season high in batting average that year, as well as a high with 27 doubles. He was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner by 21 years old in 1958, when he hit .275 with 69 runs, 24 doubles, six triples, 19 homers, 68 RBIs and a career best .747 OPS. He also had his highest MVP finish that season, ending up eighth in the voting. That home run total ended up being his career high for a season. His 2.9 dWAR was the best in the league, and he led the league in assists and range factor. In 1959, he hit .241 with 50 runs, 15 doubles, seven homers and 59 RBIs in 135 games. He saw a 126 point drop in his OPS, but still played in both All-Star games that year, something that went on in the majors during the 1959-62 seasons when they played two mid-season classics. During his magical 1960 season, he batted .273 with 21 doubles, five triples, 11 homers, 64 RBIs and 58 runs scored, while setting a high with 40 walks. He led the league in double plays, assists, putouts, range factor and fielding percentage. He played in both All-Star games and won his second Gold Glove. Besides his all-time moment to end the series, Mazeroski had a strong overall postseason, hitting .320 with two doubles and two homers. He followed up his heroics with a .265 average, 21 doubles, 13 homers, 59 RBIs and a career high 71 runs scored in 1961. He didn’t make the All-Star team that year, but he won a third Gold Glove award, while leading the league in double plays, putouts, assists and range factor.
Mazeroski batted .271 with 55 runs, 24 doubles, nine triples, 14 homers and 81 RBIs in 159 games in 1962, while playing in both All-Star games. He led the league in double plays, range factor, assists and putouts. In 1963, he had a rough year at the plate, with a 104-point drop in his OPS, down to a .629 mark. He batted .245 with 43 runs, 22 doubles, eight homers and 52 RBIs in 142 games. Despite the offensive struggles, he was still an All-Star and Gold Glove winner that year. He led the league in double plays, assists and range factor. His 3.3 dWAR is his career best for a season. In 1964, Mazeroski hit .268 with 66 runs, 22 doubles, eight triples, ten homers, 64 RBIs and a .681 OPS in 162 games. He added another All-Star game and Gold Glove to his resume, while leading the league in double plays and assists. He played just 130 games in 1965 due to a Spring Training foot injury. He batted .271 with 52 runs, 17 doubles, six homers, 54 RBIs and a .641 OPS that season. He missed the All-Star selection that year due to his late start, but he still picked up the Gold Glove award. He led the league in double plays, range factor and fielding percentage,
Mazeroski led the National League in games played in 1966 and 1967, when he played all 325 games for the Pirates (they played 163 in 1967). He set a personal best with 82 RBIs in 1966, to go along with a .266 average, 22 doubles, seven triples, 16 homers and a .694 OPS. He also turned 161 double plays, which is a still-standing MLB record for a season by a second baseman. Besides double plays, he led the league in assists, putouts, range factor and fielding percentage. He received mild MVP support, finishing 23rd in the voting. In 1967, he hit .261 with 62 runs, 37 extra-base hits, 77 RBIs and a .644 OPS. He led the league in assists, putouts, double plays and range factor.
Mazeroski saw a drop in his production in 1968, though that was going on all around baseball. He hit .251 with 36 runs, 18 doubles, three homers and 42 RBIs in 143 games that year, leading to a .616 OPS that was his lowest mark since his rookie season. The offense continued to drop and his playing time was limited over the last four seasons, partially due to injuries. Mazeroski hit .229/.298/.308 in 67 games in 1969, missing most of the second half due to a hamstring injury. In 1970, he batted .229 again, while putting up a .607 OPS in 112 games that was one point higher than the previous season. He improved to a .254 average in 70 games in 1971 when the Pirates won their fourth World Series title. Despite the 25-point jump in average, his OPS dropped to a .599 mark. In his final season in the majors, Mazeroski was a bench player in 1972, getting a late start to his season due to a back injury. He hit .188/.217/.250 in 72 plate appearances over 34 games. The Pirates made the playoffs three straight times (1970-72), but he went just 2-for-6 with two walks in that stretch. After retiring as a player, he was named as the third base coach for the Pirates in 1973, a job he also later held with the Seattle Mariners. Mazeroski turns 86 today.
Lefty Leifield, pitcher for the 1905-12 Pirates. Before making it to the majors with the Pirates, Albert “Lefty” Leifield was a workhorse pitcher for Des Moines of the Western League. He pitched 616 innings between the 1904-05 seasons, finishing his second year with a 26-9, 2.11 record in 39 games, after posting a 16-17 record in 313 innings in 1904. He made his debut with the Pirates on September 3, 1905, two days before his 22nd birthday, throwing a three-hit shutout in the second game of a doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs. By the time the season ended, he had compiled a 5-2, 2.89 record in 56 innings, giving him 31 wins on the season. He became a regular in the Pirates rotation the next season, a spot he would hold for six straight years. During that 1906 season, Leifield went 18-13 with a 1.87 ERA in 31 starts and six relief appearances, with 24 complete games to his credit. He record that season actually looks like he had some tough luck behind him, as teammate Sam Leever went 22-7 with a 2.42 ERA. On September 26, 1906, Lefty threw the first no-hitter in team history, a six-inning contest called due to darkness, during the second game of a doubleheader. It’s not currently recognized as an official no-hitter, but it was at the time. He finished the season with eight shutouts, which is tied for the second highest total in team history for a season.
In 1907, Lefty won 20 games for the only time in his career. He made 33 starts and seven relief appearances, throwing a total of 286 innings. He had a 20-16, 2.33 record, 24 complete games and six shutouts. He struck out 112 batters that season, which was his career high, though he had two seasons of 111 strikeouts. Leifield seemed to have tough luck follow him with the Pirates, especially in 1908, when he had a 15-14 record. His ERA was 2.10 for the season and the Pirates won 98 games that year. Teammate Nick Maddox went 23-8 with a 2.28 ERA, while Sam Leever was 15-7 with an identical 2.10 ERA. Leifield threw 218.2 innings that year, with 18 complete games and five shutouts. The Pirates won their first World Series title in 1909 and Leifield was again a strong presence in the rotation, going 19-8, 2.37 in 26 starts and six relief appearances, throwing 201.2 innings. Pittsburgh had a ton of pitching depth start season, so they were able to give the better pitchers more rest than in previous years. In the World Series, Lefty started game four and was hit hard in his four innings, allowing five runs and taking the loss. It was his only appearance of the seven-game series.
Leifield had a 15-13, 2.64 record in 218.1 innings in 1910, making 30 starts and ten relief appearances. He completed 13 games and threw three shutouts. Leifield was asked to step up in the rotation in 1911, setting career highs in starts (37), games pitched (42), complete games (26) and innings pitched (318), all of those being team highs that season. The Pirates relied heavily on Babe Adams and Howie Camnitz as well, with the three pitchers accounting for 107 of the team’s 155 starts. Lefty finished the year 16-16, 2.63, in another season in which he was hurt by run support. Camnitz went 20-15, 3.13 that same year. Part of the problem with Leifield’s win/loss record over the years, was the fact he seemed to match up against the other team’s best pitcher a lot. Included in those match-ups over the years, was a total of 17 starts from 1906-11 against Christy Mathewson, the best National League pitcher of that time and a noted Pirates killer, even during Pittsburgh’s best years.
The extra workload in 1911 seemed to take an effect on Leifield, who started off slowly during the 1912 season. He was traded to the Chicago Cubs, along with Tommy Leach, on May 30, 1912 in exchange for pitcher King Cole and outfielder Solly Hofman. Leifield had a 1-2, 4.18 record in 23.1 innings prior to the deal, and he went 7-2, 2.42 in 70.2 innings over 13 games for Chicago after the deal. In 1913, he started off poorly, then was sold to the minor leagues after a 5.48 ERA in 21.1 innings. He briefly retired instead of reporting to his new team. Leifield would return to baseball a short time later, going on to play two years for San Francisco of the Double-A Pacific Coast League, then three years for St Paul of the Double-A American Association, with Double-A being the highest level of the minors at the time. He had a 13-8 record in 160.1 innings with San Francisco in 1913. In 1914, Leifield went 21-19, 2.22 in 356.2 innings. He moved on to St Paul in 1915, when he went 17-14, 2.41 in 273 innings. The next year saw him put up a 19-14, 2.81 record in 263 innings. His final season at St Paul saw him go 3-11, 2.71 in 103 innings.
In 1918, Leifield returned to the major leagues with the St Louis Browns. He pitched well in limited use during the 1918-19 seasons, then was used just four times during the entire 1920 season. He had a 2.55 ERA in 67 innings over six starts and nine relief appearances in 1918, a season shortened due to the war. He pitched a little more in 1919, going 6-4, 2.93 in 92 innings, with nine starts and ten relief appearances. His appearances in 1920 were spread out throughout the season, pitching once in May, July, August and September. Lefty became a coach in the majors for some years before retiring from baseball. He finished his career with a 124-97, 2.47 record in 1,838 innings over 296 games, 216 as a starter. He had 138 complete games and 32 shutouts. With the Pirates, he went 109-84 with a 2.38 ERA in 1,578 innings, throwing a total of 28 shutouts. His ERA ranks third in team history, trailing two teammates from those 1907-09 teams, Nick Maddox and Vic Willis. His shutout total ranks fifth in Pirates history.
Jason Martin, outfielder for the 2019-20 Pirates. He was an eighth round pick of the Houston Astros out of high school in 2013. Martin debuted in pro ball in the Gulf Coast League at 17 years old, where he hit .251 with 35 runs, eight doubles, no homers, 17 RBIs and 11 steals in 50 games. He split the 2014 season between two short-season clubs, Greeneville of the Appalachian League and Tri-City of the New York-Penn League, hitting .257 with 39 runs, 14 doubles, seven triples, one homer, 23 RBIs, a .772 OPS and 13 steals in 63 games. He moved up to Low-A Quad City of the Midwest League in 2015, where he batted .270 with 65 runs, 12 doubles, seven triples, eight homers, 57 RBIs and a .743 OPS in 105 games. He stole 14 bases, but that came with 15 caught stealing. In 2016, he moved up to Lancaster of the High-A California League, which was a very hitter-friendly park/league. Martin hit .270 with 74 runs, 22 doubles, seven triples, 23 homers, 75 RBIs, 55 walks and an .890 OPS in 110 games. He played in the Arizona Fall League after the season and hit .194/.375/.290 in 11 games. He started 2017 in High-A (Astros affiliate moved to Buies Creek of the Carolina League), then spent a little more than half of the season in Double-A Corpus Christi of the Texas League, putting up similar results at each level. Martin combined to hit .278 with 72 runs, 35 doubles, 18 homers, 66 RBIs and an .819 OPS in 125 games. After the season, he was one of four players sent to the Pirates in the Gerrit Cole trade.
In 2018, Martin played 68 games for Double-A Altoona of the Eastern League and 59 for Triple-A Indianapolis of the International League, with significantly better results at the lower level. He had a .326 average, 27 extra-base hits and a .913 OPS in Altoona, and a .211 average, 12 extra-base hits and a .589 OPS after his promotion. In 2019, Martin played 101 games with Indianapolis, where the new baseballs were leading to a huge jump in offense. He hit .259 with 47 runs, 38 extra-base hits, 50 RBIs and a .731 OPS in 101 games. He was with the Pirates at the start of the seasons due to injuries, came back for a brief stop in June, then rejoined the team in September. His season was cut short due to a shoulder injury suffered while sliding into home plate in his first game back. In 20 games with the Pirates that year, he hit .250/.325/.306 with no homers and two RBIs. He played seven games for the Pirates during the shortened 2020 season and failed to get a hit in nine at-bats, though he had two walks and two runs scored. Martin was let go in November of 2020 and he signed a deal with the Texas Rangers. He spent a majority of the 2021 season in the majors, hitting .208/.248/.354 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 58 games, while putting up a .930 OPS in 38 games with Triple-A Round Rock. He was let go after the season and signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Through late August, he has spent the entire season with Oklahoma of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, hitting .285 in 106 games, with 85 runs, 19 doubles, 27 homers and 90 RBIs. His three partial seasons in the majors show a .206 average in 85 games, with 21 runs, five doubles, six homers and 19 RBIs.
Pablo Reyes, utility fielder for the 2018-19 Pirates. He signed as an amateur international free agent out of the Dominican Republic at 18 years old in 2012. Reyes spent two seasons in the Dominican Summer League despite strong stats in his first time through the league. He hit .284 with 33 runs, 18 doubles, 18 steals and a 23:12 BB/SO ratio in 59 games in 2012. The next year he batted .304 with 27 runs, 16 extra-base hits, 15 steals and 23 walks in 52 games. He moved up to Bristol of the short-season Appalachian League in 2014, where he hit .272 with 30 runs and 12 extra-base hits in 46 games, putting up a .733 OPS. He was in Low-A in 2015, hitting .268 with 61 runs, 24 doubles, 12 homers, 60 RBIs and 27 steals in 108 games for West Virginia of the South Atlantic League. In 2016, Reyes spent the season in Bradenton of the Florida State League, where he had a platoon role early on, in a move that was hard to explain at the time. He ended up hitting .265 with 41 runs, 26 extra-base hits, 45 RBIs and a .727 OPS in 89 games, while playing in a pitcher-friendly league. After hitting .333 in 21 games of winter ball in the Dominican that off-season, he went to Double-A Altoona of the Eastern League in 2017, where he hit .274 with 62 runs, 34 extra-base hits, 50 RBIs, 21 steals and 51 walks in 115 games. He mostly played shortstop early in his career, switched more to second base in 2014, then started playing more outfield along with 2B/SS in 2017.
After a brief stint with Altoona to start the 2018 season, Reyes spent the rest of the year with Triple-A Indianapolis of the International League. He hit .289 with 52 runs, 32 extra-base hits, a .776 OPS and 13 steals in 110 games with Indianapolis. He was set to become a minor league free agent at the end of the season, but the Pirates added him to the active big league roster in September, and he hit .293/.349/.483 with three homers in 18 games. He played 51 games for Indianapolis in 2019, but a majority of the season was spent in Pittsburgh in a utility role, playing all three outfield spots, as well as second base, shortstop and third base. He struggled as a bench player, hitting .203/.274/.322 with 18 runs, seven doubles, two homers and 19 RBIs in 71 games. Reyes was suspended for the entire 2020 season due to a positive PED test. The Pirates released him after the season and he signed a free agent deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. He split the season between Triple-A and the majors, hitting .256 with five doubles, one homer, three RBIs and a .692 OPS in 87 plate appearances over 53 games with the Brewers, seeing almost all of his time at third base. Reyes has spent most of 2022 in Triple-A for the Brewers, spending five games in the majors in June, before rejoining the team in late August. Through late August of 2022, he is a career .238 hitter in 148 games, with 40 runs, 14 doubles, six homers and 29 RBIs. He has played six seasons of winter ball in the Dominican.
Rod Barajas, catcher for the 2012 Pirates. He spent the final season of his 14-year career with the Pirates, where he hit .206/.283/.343 in 104 games, with 29 runs, 11 doubles, 11 homers and 31 RBIs. Barajas signed a one-year deal as a free agent with the Pirates shortly after the 2011 World Series ended. He started 98 games behind the plate for the Pirates, split the catching duties with Michael McKenry. Barajas signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks after the 2012 season, but he was released during Spring Training, which ended his career.
Barajas was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Cerritos College in 1996 at 21 years old by the Diamondbacks, and he spent the first five seasons of his big league career in Arizona. The Diamondbacks shared affiliates with other teams in 1996, which was two years before they played their first Major League game as a franchise. He began his pro career playing for Lethbridge of the short-season Pioneer League in 1996, where he hit .337 with 47 runs, nine doubles, ten homers, 50 RBIs and a .973 OPS in 51 games. He also spent time with Visalia of the High-A California League, an affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, where he batted .162/.244/.203 in 27 games. The next year was spent at High Desert of the California League. That was a huge park for offense. Barajas hit .266 with 24 runs, 11 doubles, seven homers and 30 RBIs in 57 games in 1997. He repeated the level with High Desert in 1998 and hit .303 with 67 runs, 26 doubles, 23 homers and 81 RBIs in 113 games. He went to Double-A El Paso of the Texas League in 1999 and hit .318 with 77 runs, 41 doubles, 14 homers, 95 RBIs and an .842 OPS in 127 games. He got his first taste of the majors in late September and hit .250/.294/.500 with a homer in five games. The 2000 season had a similar split, with a full season in Triple-A, plus five more big league games. He struggled in Tuscon of the Pacific Coast League that year, posting a .633 OPS that was well below league average. In 110 games, he had a .226 average, with 25 doubles and 13 homers. In his brief time with Arizona that year, he went 3-for-13 with a homer and three RBIs.
Barajas split 2001 evenly between Tuscon and the majors. He had a .321 average and a .934 OPS in 45 games in minors. He hit just .160/.191/.274, with nine runs, three doubles, three homers and nine RBIs in 51 games for the Diamondbacks, though they won the World Series and he homered in game five, which was the only game in which he batted during the entire postseason. In 2002, he spent nearly the entire season in the majors, where he batted .234 with 12 runs, ten doubles, three homers and 23 RBIs in 70 games. He finally had a full season in the majors in 2003 and hit .218 with 19 runs, 15 doubles, three homers and 28 RBIs in 80 games. Barajas became a free agent after the season and signed with the Texas Rangers, where he put up much better stats, albeit in a better park for hitters. He batted .249 with 50 runs, a career high 26 doubles, 15 homers and 58 RBIs in 108 games in 2004, showing a 136-point increase in his OPS over the previous season. That was followed up by a .254 average, with 53 runs, 24 doubles, 21 homers, 60 RBIs and a .778 OPS in 120 games in 2005. He set career highs in runs, homers and OPS that season. In his final season in Texas, Barajas hit .256 with 49 runs, 20 doubles, 11 homers, 41 RBIs and a .708 OPS in 97 games.
Barajas signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies for 2007 and batted just .230 with four homers in 48 games, though he had a solid .745 OPS thanks to 21 walks and eight doubles in 147 plate appearances. He then signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, where he hit .249 with 44 runs, 23 doubles, 11 homers and 49 RBIs in 104 games in 2008. In a career high 125 games in 2009, Barajas hit .226 with 43 runs, 19 doubles, 19 homers and a career high 70 RBIs. He signed a free agent deal with the New York Mets for 2010 and hit .225/.263/.414 with 12 homers and 34 RBIs in 74 games before being sold to the Los Angeles Dodgers in late August. In 25 games with the Dodgers that year, Barajas hit .297 with five homers, 13 RBIs and a .939 OPS. He was with the Dodgers during the 2011 season before joining the Pirates. He hit .230 with 29 runs, 13 doubles, 16 homers and 47 RBIs in 98 games that year. He was a career .235 hitter in 1,114 games, with 396 runs, 187 doubles, 136 homers and 480 RBIs. He hit one career triple, which came in 2004 at Yankees Stadium. He was considered to be above average defensively, though he never led the league in any categories on defense. He threw out 28% of runners attempting to steal, just below the 29% league average during his career. He briefly managed the San Diego Padres at the end of the 2019 season, leading them to a 1-7 record.
Chris Green, lefty pitcher for the 1984 Pirates. He was taken in the fourth round of the 1979 amateur draft by the Pirates out of high school in California at 18 years old. He debuted that year in the Gulf Coast League, where he had a 6.19 ERA in 32 innings, with 40 walks and 31 strikeouts. In 1980, he was in A-Ball, playing for Shelby of the South Atlantic League, where he had a 6-7, 4.26 record in 95 innings. After walking 1.25 batters per inning in 1979, he issued just 28 walks in 1980. Green started to look like a prospect in 1981, going 15-7, 3.08 in 184 innings over 27 starts for Greenwood of the South Atlantic League. He threw nine complete games and struck out 128 batters. The next year he split the season between Advanced-A Alexandria of the Carolina League and Double-A Buffalo of the Eastern, and looked even better than the previous season. He had a combined 16-6, 2.91 record in 27 starts, striking out 166 batters in 185.2 innings. While the results were strong, Green had his share of control troubles during those 1981-82 seasons, walking a total of 171 batters, with nearly identical walk rates each season. His stats really slipped off the next season, opening the year in Triple-A Hawaii of the Pacific Coast League, before being sent down to Double-A Lynn of the Eastern League, where he was used as a closer for part of the year. Green went 0-9, 5.24 in 77.1 innings with Hawaii in 1983, making 12 starts and one relief appearance before being sent down. He went 5-6, 3.98 in 74.2 innings with Lynn, making nine starts and 14 relief appearances, with six saves.
Green was used strictly in relief in 1984, making 13 appearances with Hawaii, posting a 5.94 ERA in 16.2 innings pitched. Before he pitched a Triple-A game though, he was called up to the Pirates to replace an injured Rod Scurry. Green spent just over a month on the Pirates roster, yet he appeared in just three games, throwing a total of 2.1 innings. He was recalled in early August and this time he got into just one game over the rest of the season. He was not with the Pirates in September, getting sent down just prior to the rosters expanding. He allowed two runs in three innings for the Pirates. Green spent one more season at Triple-A for the Pirates, going 3-6, 4.24, with 91 strikeouts in 97.2 innings with Hawaii. He made 11 starts, 24 relief appearances, and he picked up six saves. He moved on to the California Angels system in 1986, pitching that year for Edmonton of the Pacific Coast League. He went 4-5, 4.38 with 14 saves in 63.2 innings over 46 relief appearances. He then spent the 1987 season with the Baltimore Orioles organization, pitching nine games for Rochester of the Triple-A International League and 12 games with Charlotte of the Double-A Southern League. He had a 2.91 ERA in 43.1 innings that year. He never played in the majors again, ending his big league career with those four appearances and two runs allowed in three innings.
Jimmy Knowles, first baseman for the 1884 Pittsburgh Alleghenys. His pro career began at a late age, debuting at 26 years old with Pottsville of the Interstate Association, where he batted .282 in 71 games, with 58 runs and 16 extra-base hits. That was enough to get him a big league shot the next season, with him even receiving advanced money from the Alleghenys in October of 1883 on his 1884 salary. He wasn’t the Opening Day first baseman for the Alleghenys on May 1, 1884, but one day later he would take over the position for 46 games, before moving on to the Brooklyn Atlantics to finish the season. Knowles hit .231 for Pittsburgh in 189 plate appearances, scoring 19 runs, while drawing just five walks, leaving him with a .259 OBP. He had 12 extra-base hits, which included seven triples and five doubles. His stats were very similar over 41 games with Brooklyn that year, hitting .235 with 19 runs scored and just three walks, leading to a .556 OPS that was 39 points lower than his mark with Pittsburgh. On August 20th, he took part in a triple play, the ninth in American Association history. The 1884 season was watered down as far as talent went. The Union Association was formed that year, giving baseball three Major Leagues at the time, while the American Association expanded to 12 teams from eight the previous year. Basically, Major League baseball went from 16 teams (eight National League, eight AA) to 28 over the off-season, so it made room for a lot of players who weren’t Major League ready. It was just a one-year experiment though, and things returned to normal the next season.
Knowles was one of those players who returned to the minors in 1885, playing the year for the Washington Nationals of the Eastern League, where he hit .302 in 95 games, with 72 runs and 28 extra-base hits. The Nationals joined the National League in 1886 and he remained with the team. The team was greatly over-matched all season, finishing with one of the worst records ever at 28-92, getting outscored by nearly 350 runs. Knowles hit .212/.238/.318, with 43 runs, 30 extra-base hits, 35 RBIs and 20 stolen bases in 115 games, finishing with the sixth highest strikeout total in the league. He also committed the most errors in the league among all positions. He seemed to get jobs in the big leagues due more to needs of teams, rather than his own ability. In 1887 he played for New York of the American Association, a team that went 44-89 on the season. He hit .250/.262/.300 with six RBIs, six steals and 12 runs scored in 16 games. He also played for Rochester of the International Association that year, though stats are unavailable. In 1888, Knowles played for Jersey City of the Central League (no stats), then followed that by splitting 1889 between Rochester of the International League and Jersey City of the Atlantic Association. He hit .253 with 32 runs, 16 extra-base hits and 15 steals in 44 games with Rochester.
After two years in the minors, Knowles reappeared in the majors in 1890, playing for Rochester of the American Association, staying with the same team as the previous season, they were just elevated to Major League status. The 1890 season was much like the 1884 season. There were three Major Leagues with the formation of the Player’s League, and the American Association was the worst of the leagues. Proof of that is evident when looking at Knowles’ stats for the season. He played 123 games, hitting .281 with 84 RBIs and 83 runs scored, adding 55 stolen bases and 59 walks. He had a .728 OPS that was 151 points higher than his second best season in the majors. It was far and away his best year, yet when the PL ended after one year, he was back to the minors in 1891 playing for Buffalo of the Eastern League, where he hit .281 with 77 steals and he scored 115 runs in 125 games. He played 16 more big league games in 1892, playing third base for the New York Giants. He hit .153/.231/.170 and made ten errors during his late season trial. It ended up being his last season in the majors, leaving him with a .241 average and .618 OPS in 357 Major League games. Knowles also played that year with Elmira, Providence and Albany of the Eastern League.
In 1893, Knowles batted .348 with 125 runs and 12 extra-base hits in 28 games with Albany. That’s his only known action that year and he has no pro stats in 1894, when he sat out the season because no one would give him the salary he requested. He returned as the player-manager for the Atlanta Crackers of the Class-B Southern Association in 1895 and stayed there two seasons. The 1895 stats aren’t available, but his 1896 record shows a .359 average in 73 games, with 67 runs, 29 extra-base hits and 25 steals. His only pro record after that performance was seven mid-season games for Norfolk of the Class-B Atlantic League in 1897.