We have seven players born on this date, including three players who went to the postseason with the Pirates.
Nik Turley, pitcher for 2020 Pirates. He was a 50th round draft pick in 2008 by the New York Yankees at 18 years old. Turley is a distant relative of Bob Turley, who starred for the Yankees on the mound in the 1950’s-60s, winning the MLB Cy Young award in 1958 before they gave out the award to the separate leagues. The younger Turley started out in the Gulf Coast League in late 2008, allowing one run in eight innings of work. He was back in the GCL in 2009, posting a 2.82 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 54.1 innings over ten starts and one relief appearance. That was followed by 3.86 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 72.1 innings of short-season ball in 2010, which included three games back in the GCL, and 12 starts for Staten Island of the New York-Penn League. He finally made it to full-season ball in 2011, making 15 starts in Low-A Charleston of the South Atlantic League and two more in High-A with Tampa of the Florida State League. He had a combined 4-6, 2.81 record that season in 89.2 innings, with 87 strikeouts. In 2012, Turley went 9-5, 2.89 in 21 starts and two relief appearances, with 116 strikeouts in 112 innings with Tampa. He received one start in Double-A that year with Trenton of the Eastern League and he allowed three runs in five innings. The 2013 season had a similar theme to the previous year. He spent the season with Trenton, then made one start in Triple-A with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre of the International League. He combined to go 11-8, 3.79 in 145 innings, with 141 strikeouts. Turley missed some time in 2014, as he was limited to 65 innings due to two separate trips to the disabled list. He had a 4.62 ERA, with 43 walks and 44 strikeouts in 60.1 innings with Scranton/WB that season. He became a free agent after the season and signed with the San Francisco Giants.
Turley was injured early in 2015, which led to a rehab start with San Jose of the High-A California League, before joining Triple-A Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League for 19 starts. He went 7-8, 4.56, with 85 strikeouts in 102.2 innings with Sacramento. In November of 2015, he signed a minor league deal with the Chicago White Sox. He was released in Spring Training and ended up splitting the season between Double-A (Portland of the Eastern League) with the Boston Red Sox and a stint in independent ball. Turley had a 4.29 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 35.2 innings with Portland, and he had a 2.02 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 49 innings with Somerset of the Atlantic League. He played winter ball in the Dominican after the season, posting a 4.11 ERA in 15.1 innings over five starts, while also signing a free agent deal with the Minnesota Twins right after the 2016 season ended. Turley jumped between Double-A Chattanooga of the Southern League and Triple-A Rochester of the International League for the Twins until June when he got a chance to pitch in the majors. He also saw a brief stint in August and then again in September. Those three chances amounted to an 11.21 ERA in 17.2 innings over three starts and seven relief appearances.
The Pirates claimed Turley off of waivers in November of 2017, and two months later he was suspended by MLB for 80 games due to PEDs. While he was pitching at Pirate City to get ready for the season, he suffered an elbow injury that ended his season in June. Due to the timing of his surgery, he missed the entire 2019 season as well. During the shortened 2020 season, he joined the Pirates on Opening Day in late July and pitched in 25 of the 60 games, going 0-3, 4.98 in 21.2 innings, with 20 strikeouts. In January of 2021, he was traded to the Oakland A’s for cash considerations. Two months later he was claimed off of waivers by the Chicago White Sox. He spent the 2021 season in Triple-A with Charlotte, going 1-4, 5.02 in 43 appearances, with 60 strikeouts in 43 innings. Turley signed to play in Japan in 2022, where he has posted a 2.65 ERA in 34 innings over 40 appearances. His big league time has amounted to a 0-5, 7.78 record in 39.1 innings over 35 games.
Don Slaught, catcher for the 1990-95 Pirates. He was a 20th round draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers out of UCLA in 1979, but didn’t sign until the Kansas City Royals selected him in the seventh round in 1980. He debuted in pro ball in the Class-A Florida State League, hitting .261 with nine doubles, two homers and 16 RBIs in 50 games with Fort Myers. In his first full season of pro ball, Slaught split the year between Double-A Jacksonville of the Southern League and Triple-A Omaha of the American Association, combining to hit .329 with 55 runs, 35 extra-base hits, 52 RBIs and an .830 OPS in 118 games. He split the 1982 season between Omaha and the majors, putting up a .675 OPS in 53 minor league games, while hitting .278/.331/.409 with 14 runs, three homers and eight RBIs in 43 games for the Royals. In 1983, he spent the entire season in the majors, hitting .312 with 21 runs, 13 doubles, no homers and 28 RBIs in 83 games. That was followed by a .264 average, 48 runs, 35 extra-base hits (27 doubles) and 42 RBIs in 124 games in 1984. His .676 OPS that year with 47 points lower than the previous season. On January 18, 1985, he was part of a four-team trade that involved six players, with Slaught going to the Texas Rangers in the deal.
Slaught hit .280 with 34 runs, 17 doubles, eight homers, 35 RBIs and a .753 OPS in 102 games in 1985. The next year he hit .264, with a career high 13 homers, along with 39 runs, 17 doubles, 46 RBIs and a .757 OPS, while playing in 95 games. He played 95 games in 1987 as well, hitting just .224/.298/.405 with 25 runs, 15 doubles, eight homers and 16 RBIs. Right after the season ended, the Rangers traded him to the New York Yankees. In his first season in New York, Slaught hit .283 with 33 runs, 25 doubles, nine homers, 43 RBIs and a .785 OPS in 97 games. During the 1989 season, Slaught hit .251 with 34 runs, 21 doubles, five homers and 38 RBIs in 117 games, which ended up being his second highest games played total during his 16-year career. On December 4, 1989, the Pirates acquired Slaught from the Yankees in exchange for pitchers Jeff Robinson and Willie Smith. Prior to joining Pittsburgh, Slaught played eight years in the majors, hitting a combined .269 with 50 homers and 256 RBIs in 756 games. He was a solid catcher, slightly below average in throwing out runners, and early on he had some error troubles, leading American League catchers in 1988 with 11 miscues. During the Pirates three years of National League East pennants, Slaught was the righty in the lefty-righty platoon behind the plate with Mike Lavalliere. His batting average during his Pirates years was much better than they hoped for, as he compiled a .305 mark in his six seasons in Pittsburgh. Slaught started 179 games during the 1990-92 run of pennants, while also getting into another 47 games behind the plate from off the bench.
In his first season in Pittsburgh, Slaught hit .300 in 84 games, with 27 runs, 25 extra-base hits and 29 RBIs in 230 at-bats. His .832 OPS was a career best to that point, though he would soon top that mark. He went just 1-for-11 in the playoffs that year. In 1991, he hit .295 with 19 runs, 19 extra-base hits and 29 RBIs in 220 at-bats over 77 games. He went 4-for-17 in the playoffs, with four singles, no runs, one walk and one RBI. In 1992, Slaught batted a career best .345 in 87 games, with 26 runs, 24 extra-base hits and 37 RBIs. His .866 OPS was his career best. He finally had playoff success as well, hitting .333 with five runs and five RBIs. When the Pirates got rid of Lavalliere in 1993, Slaught became the everyday catcher and hit .300 with 34 runs, 19 doubles, ten homers, a .795 OPS and a career high 55 RBIs in 116 games. During the strike-shortened 1994 season, he batted .288 with 21 runs, seven doubles, two homers and 21 RBIs in 76 games. He missed most of 1995 with shoulder and hamstring injuries that limited him to a .304 average and a .718 OPS in 123 plate appearances over 35 games. He was allowed to leave via free agency after the season. Slaught played two more seasons in the majors before retiring. He split the 1996 season between the Chicago White Sox and California Angels, combining to hit .313/.355/.428 in 76 games, with much better results (and more time) with the Angels. He lasted just 20 games as a bench player with the 1997 San Diego Padres before being released in late May, going 0-for-20 with five walks and two runs scored in that time. With the Pirates he hit .305 in 475 games, with 21 homers and 184 RBIs. In his 16-year career, he hit .283 with 415 runs, 235 doubles, 77 homers and 476 RBIs in 1,327 games. He caught 1,237 games. He’s rated with a career 19.4 WAR, with 10.3 coming during his time in Pittsburgh.
Dave Roberts, pitcher for the 1979-80 Pirates. He had a 13-year career in the majors that saw him go 103-125, 3.78 in 277 starts and 168 relief appearances, throwing a total of 2,099 innings. Before reaching the Pirates, he was already in the middle of his 11th season and had made the conversion to a relief role. Roberts was part of an important trade in Pirates history. He came to the Pirates, along with Bill Madlock, from the San Francisco Giants on June 28, 1979. It was a six-player deal with three players going each way. Not only did Madlock help with the World Series run, Roberts went 5-2, 3.26 in 38.2 innings over 21 appearances (three starts). He appeared in one playoff game, allowing a walk to the only batter he faced in the NLCS.
While it is true that Roberts didn’t pitch for the Pirates until 1979, he was actually a member of the organization twice before that. He was originally signed by the Philadelphia Phillies, who lost him on waivers to the Pirates in 1964. In 1966, he was taken by the Kansas City Athletics in the Rule 5 draft, then returned to Pittsburgh in 1967, right before Opening Day. The Pirates then lost him to the San Diego Padres in the 1968 Expansion draft, and that’s where he made his Major League debut during the 1969 season. He debuted in pro ball at 18 years old in 1963, going 9-3, 1.79 in 126 innings for Spartanburg in the Class-A Western Carolinas League. He made it to Double-A Asheville of the Southern League for half of the 1964 season with the Pirates, combining with his A-Ball stats with Kinston of the Carolina League that year to go 8-10, 3.96 in 159 innings, with 153 strikeouts. In 1965 he pitched 132 innings in Asheville and made four starts in Triple-A with Columbus of the International League. The Double-A time (2.93 ERA) went much better than the Triple-A time (10.13 ERA). He went 9-10, 3.71 in 148 innings, with 123 strikeouts that season.
In 1966, Roberts pitched the entire year in Asheville, going 14-5, 2.61, with 157 strikeouts in 190 innings over 26 starts and five relief outings, throwing 14 complete games and four shutouts. He had elbow surgery in 1967 and pitched just 62 innings, though he had a 5-1, 2.18 record with Columbus when he was healthy that year. Roberts surprisingly didn’t get a chance with the 1968 Pirates after going 18-5, 3.17 in 193 innings at Columbus. He completed 14 of his 27 starts, throwing four shutouts. After going to the Padres in 1969, he was sent to Double-A, but he still made his big league debut that July. With Elmira of the Eastern League, he had a 7-5, 3.50 record in 121 innings over 15 starts. In five starts and 17 relief appearances with the Padres, he had a 4.81 ERA in 48.2 innings. He spent all of 1970 in the majors, with 21 starts and 22 relief outings. He had an 8-14, 3.81 record in 181.2 innings. In 1971, Roberts had an outstanding 2.10 ERA in 269.2 innings over 34 starts and three relief outings. He had 14 complete games, two shutouts, picked up a career high 135 strikeouts and he led the league with the lowest home run percentage, giving up 0.3 per nine innings. However, the Padres finished 61-100, which led to a 14-17 record for him. He finished sixth in the Cy Young voting and received mild MVP support, finishing 24th in the voting. In December of 1971, he was traded to the Houston Astros for three players.
In his first season in Houston, Roberts went 12-7, though his ERA ballooned to 4.50 in 192 innings over 28 starts and seven relief appearances. He completed just seven games, though he tossed three shutouts. He rebounded in 1973 with a 17-11, 2.85 record in 249.1 innings. He threw six shutouts that season and completed 12 of his 36 starts. His 119 strikeouts that year ended up being his second highest total for a season. The next year he went 10-12, 3.40 in 204 innings, while allowing just six homers all year, once again leading the league in home run rate. In 1975, he dropped down to an 8-14, 4.27 record in 198.1 innings over 27 starts and five relief appearances. After the season, he was traded to the Detroit Tigers in a seven-player deal, with also included two-time Pirates catcher Milt May going to Detroit. For the 1976 Tigers, Roberts went 16-17, 4.00 in 252 innings. He completed a career high 18 games in 36 starts that year and threw four shutouts. Despite the workload, he had just 79 strikeouts that season. Roberts never reached 200 innings in a season again. He was sold to the Chicago Cubs late in 1977. He combined for a 5-11, 4.59 record in 182.1 innings over 28 starts and 11 relief appearances, with much better results in his limited time in Chicago. The Tigers used him strictly as a starter that year (22 games), but the Cubs used him more often out of the bullpen and it seemed to work out well, for at least one season.
Roberts made 20 starts and 15 relief appearances for the Cubs in 1978, going 6-8, 5.25 in 142.1 innings. After the season, he signed with the San Francisco Giants as a free agent, where he had a 2.57 ERA in 42 innings before joining the Pirates for their run at their fifth World Series title. While Roberts had solid stats with the Pirates as noted above, he did much better as a reliever. In his three starts, two of which came in late July and one at the end of the season, he gave up 12 runs in ten innings. As a reliever, he had a 2.03 ERA in 26.2 innings. He began the 1980 season with the Pirates, though he was sold to the Seattle Mariners after just two appearances. After leaving Pittsburgh, he went 2-3, 4.37 in 80.1 innings over 37 games (four starts) for the 1980 Mariners. He signed as a free agent with the New York Mets and was with the team until May of 1981, posting a 9.39 ERA in 15.1 innings. He then pitched briefly in the minors for the Giants before retiring. Roberts finished off his 13-year big league career with a 103-125, 3.78 record in 2,099 innings over 277 starts and 168 relief appearances. He had 77 complete games, 20 shutouts and 15 saves.
Jackie Hernandez, shortstop for the 1971-73 Pirates. He was a light-hitting, error-prone shortstop for nine seasons in the majors, but during the 1971 postseason, he started ten of 11 playoff games, helping the Pirates to their fourth World Series title. Hernandez, who was born in Cuba, began pro ball in 1961 at 20 years old, playing at Class-D Dubuque of the Midwest League, an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. He hit .274 with 58 runs, 25 extra-base hits and 43 RBIs in 108 games that season. He moved up to the Class-B Carolina League in 1962, where he hit just .221 with 22 extra-base hits and a .600 OPS in 125 games with Burlington. Despite the poor numbers, he moved up two levels to the Double-A Eastern League in 1963, where he spent two seasons with Charleston. Hernandez hit .235 with 49 runs, 29 extra-base hits, 47 RBIs and 23 steals in 133 games in 1963, followed by a .260 average, 59 runs, 21 extra-base hits and 48 RBIs in 1964, when he went 27-for-28 in steals. His OPS went from .646 to .686 in that second season. The next year was split between two teams in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League (Seattle and Portland), where he hit .229 with 43 runs, 17 doubles, five homers, 39 RBIs and 24 steals in 133 games. He made his big league debut that season with the California Angels, who signed him as a free agent mid-season. Hernandez played six late season games for the Angels in 1965, going 2-for-6 with a double and stolen base, then played 58 games for them during the 1966 season, yet he batted just 27 times all year and he had one hit. He finished with an anemic .043/.080/.043 slash line. He was used 37 times as a pinch-runner that season, though he stayed on for defense in many of those games.
Hernandez was traded to the Minnesota Twins in 1967 and spent most of the year in the minors with Denver of the Pacific Coast League, coming up for 30 plate appearances over 29 games. He hit .269 with a .627 OPS in 112 games with Denver, and he had a .143/.143/.143 slash line with the Twins. He saw more big league time in 1968, though he had very little success. He had a .693 OPS in 51 games with Denver that year, and he hit .176/.218/.221 with 13 runs, three doubles, two homers and 17 RBIs in 83 games for the Twins. He made 66 starts at shortstop that year. The expansion Kansas City Royals drafted him after the 1968 season and he saw regular action for the first time in his career. Hernandez played 145 games in 1969, hitting .222/.278/.282 with 54 runs, 20 extra-base hits, 40 RBIs, 17 steals, and he led the entire American League in errors. In 1970, he hit .231 in 83 games, with 14 runs, seven extra-base hits, ten RBIs and a .563 OPS. On December 2, 1970, the Pirates acquired Hernandez from the Royals in a six-player deal, with three players going each way.
For the 1971 Pirates, Hernandez started 65 games at shortstop and occasionally played third base. He hit .206/.257/.300 with 30 runs, 13 extra-base hits and 26 RBIs in 88 regular season games, then he hit .226 (seven singles in 31 at-bats) with two RBIs in the postseason. As his batting average sank to .188 in 1972, his playing time also diminished to 186 plate appearances in 72 games. He had a .483 OPS and committed 22 errors at shortstop in 68 games that year. Hernandez made just 22 starts in 1973, batting .247/.286/.315 in 78 plate appearances in 57 games over the course of the season. On January 31, 1974, he was dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for catcher Mike Ryan. Hernandez ended up being released by the Phillies without playing a game. He was re-signed by the Pirates in April, but he spent the entire 1974 season at Triple-A with Charleston of the International League. He hit .199 in 115 games that year, with 35 runs, 33 RBIs and a .566 OPS. He played the next two years in the Mexican League before retiring, posting a .655 OPS in 131 games in 1975, and a .618 OPS in 136 games in 1976. For the Pirates, he hit .205 in 214 games, with 50 runs, 25 extra-base hits and 48 RBIs. Despite stealing 17 bases in 1969 with the Royals, he never stole a base with the Pirates getting caught in his only two attempts. He was a career .208 hitter, with 37 doubles, nine triples, 12 homers, 121 RBIs and 153 runs scored in 618 games over nine big league seasons. Hernandez was a career -3.9 WAR player (0.9 dWAR), but his only positive season came at the right time, when he put up 0.5 WAR for the 1971 Pirates.
Glenn Spencer, pitcher for the 1928 and 1930-32 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball at 20 years old in 1926 with Binghamton of the Class-B New York-Penn League, getting into six games. The next year in Binghamton he went 10-8, 3.27 in 168 innings. The Pirates purchased his contract, along with his catcher Paul O’Malley, on July 25th. Both were allowed to finish the season with Binghamton and then join the Pirates during Spring Training in 1928. Spencer made his big league debut on Opening Day in 1928, coming into a 12-5 game in the sixth inning, giving up two unearned runs in 2.2 innings. The Pirates had injuries to two of their better pitchers, Lee Meadows and Carmen Hill, so a spot opened up for Spencer. He pitched just four times prior to the return of Meadows in late June, all in relief, throwing a total of 5.2 innings. He finished that season pitching for Columbia in the Class-B South Atlantic League, going 11-10, 3.40 in 159 innings, then was moved to Wichita of the Class-A Western League to get more experience the next year. Spencer responded with a 24-win season (nine losses), while throwing 252 innings. In 1930, he was back with the Pirates, getting occasional starts, but most pitching in relief, closing out 22 games. He pitched 41 times, 30 in relief, going 8-9, 5.40 in 156.2 innings. The ERA sounds extremely high, but it was a booming year for offense in baseball. The Pirates as a team finished with a 5.24 ERA.
Spencer would pitch the fourth most innings on the team in both 1930 and 1931, throwing a total of 186.2 innings during that 1931 season. That year he made 18 starts and 20 relief appearances, going 11-12, 3.42, for a team that finished four games under the .500 mark. His numbers slipped the next season, down to a 4.97 ERA in 137.2 innings over 13 starts and 26 relief appearances, and the Pirates moved him in the off-season. On December 12, 1932, he was sent to the New York Giants as part of a five-player/three-team deal, which also involved the Philadelphia Phillies. In return, the Pirates got back Hall of Fame 3B/OF Freddie Lindstrom. Spencer ended up pitching just 17 games (three starts) for the Giants in 1933, posting a 5.13 ERA in 47.1 innings. He was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in November of 1933 for long-time Pirates infielder George Grantham. Spencer would be traded to the St Louis Cardinals two months later. His Major League career was over at that point, but he pitched another eight seasons of minor league ball before retiring. He saw time with eight different teams over those final eight seasons, despite spending three full years in Williamsport. With the Pirates, he was 23-29, 4.48 in 486.2 innings over 122 appearances, 42 as a starter. He had 21 complete games, two shutouts and eight saves.
Spencer split the 1934 season between Columbus of the Double-A American Association (highest level of the minors at the time) and Houston of the Class-A Texas League. He had an 8-8, 4.82 record in 153 innings, with much better results at the lower level. In 1935, he played for Dallas of the Texas League, St Paul of the American Association and Rochester of the Double-A International League, combining to go 11-13, 4.19 in 191 innings, with his best results once again coming at the lower level in the Texas League. Spencer spent the entire 1936 season with St Paul, going 9-8, 5.46 in 140 innings. He was with Williamsport for the 1937-39 seasons, the first year in the Class-A New York-Penn League and the last two in the Class-A Eastern League. He went 10-6, 3.72 in 138 innings in 1937, followed by a 12-11, 4.18 record in 181 innings in 1938. He didn’t see much action in 1939, going 3-2, 4.80 in 45 innings. In 1940, Spencer played his first of two seasons in the Class-C Canadian-American League. He went 9-8, 4.50 in 136 innings for Oswego that year, then finished his pro career with a 9-10, 5.74 record in 163 innings with Pittsfield in 1941. He won a total of 140 games in pro ball.
Frank Moore, pitcher for the 1905 Pirates. At 6’4″ back in 1905, Moore was referred to as “the Giant”, yet had the usual nickname of Peggy, which was used often by his local hometown papers throughout his baseball career. He pitched just once for the Pirates, coming into the game on June 14, 1905 with Pittsburgh down 5-0 in the sixth inning. The opposing pitcher was Hall of Famer (and future Pirates at the time) Vic Willis. Moore was recruited out of Ohio by the Pirates oft-injured catcher Harry Smith, who was scouting for the Pirates while recovering from an arm injury. The 28-year-old Moore had minimal minor league experience prior to Smith seeing him pitch, playing one game for Waco of the Class-D Texas League in 1902. He asked for a tryout with the Pirates and showed up to Forbes Field with Smith to workout in front of manager Fred Clarke and owner Barney Dreyfuss just two days before his big league debut. Moore told the local press after his first day that he had a minor league job lined up, but he wanted to see what he could do in the majors first and all he was asking for was a chance to show his stuff.
When Moore went in to make his one appearance, it marked another unusual occurrence. Homer Hillebrand went behind the plate to catch at the same time. Hillebrand was a lefty, making one of his three Major League appearances at the position. Moore ended up pitching the last three innings of the game and looked good, allowing two hits, no runs, no walks and he struck out a batter, yet he never pitched in the majors again. Eight days after his only big league game, he was sent back home, with manager Fred Clarke saying he thinks that Moore needs more minor league experience first before he’s ready for the majors. He spent the rest of the season playing semi-pro ball in Ohio. He ended up playing pro ball until 1912, the last year as a player/manager, before retiring as a player. He went on to manage for two more seasons after his playing career ended. He played for three different teams in three different leagues in 1906, seeing time with Greenville of the Texas League, Duluth of the Class-C Northern-Copper Country League and St Paul of the Class-A American Association, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. The only pitching stat available for that year is his 9-7 record in 16 games for Greenville.
Moore spent the 1907 season with the Coffeyville Glassblowers of the Class-D Oklahoma-Arkansas-Kansas League, where the only stats available are his .160 average and 36 games played. He then spent the last five years of his playing career with teams in Ohio, which was his home state. He was in the Class-D Ohio State League during the entire time, playing two seasons for Newark (1908-09), two for Portsmouth (1910-11), before finishing with the Marion/Ironton team in 1912. He had an 18-13 record in 280 innings in 1908. His ERA isn’t available, but it’s known that he allowed 2.51 runs per nine innings. He went 10-13 in 25 games in 1909. Moore had a 23-11 record in 1910, with a .235 average and seven doubles in 44 games. In 1911, he posted a 21-11 record and he batted .315 with nine doubles, four triples and four homers. He was a member of Sioux City of the Class-A Western League to begin the 1912 season, but he was released at the end of April and returned to the Ohio State League for his final season as a player, though he was mostly managing. It was said that typhoid fever over the off-season caused him to lose some pitching ability and settle into the managerial role that year. Salary demands cost him his managerial job with Ironton and he moved on to Maysville of the Blue Grass League, which transferred to the Ohio State League during that 1913 season.
Steve Brodie, center fielder for the 1897-98 Pirates. He was a strong defender in center field and he had some big seasons on offense for the powerhouse Baltimore Orioles teams of the 1890’s. Brodie debuted in pro ball at 18 years old in 1887, hitting .323 with 52 runs and 28 extra-base hits in 78 games, while splitting time between Altoona of the Pennsylvania State League (48 games) and Canton of the Ohio State League (30 games). He moved on to Wheeling of the Tri-State League in 1888 (no stats available), and then Hamilton of the International League in 1889, where he hit .302 with 87 runs, 17 doubles, 21 triples and 50 steals in 111 games. He debuted in the majors at 21 years old in 1890 with the Boston Beaneaters, where he hit .296 as a rookie, with 77 runs, 19 doubles, nine triples, 67 RBIs, 29 steals, 66 walks and a .755 OPS in 132 games. His average dropped down to .260 in 1891, but he had 84 runs, 78 RBIs, 25 steals and 63 walks in 133 games. Brodie moved on to the St Louis Browns in 1892, where he hit .254 with 85 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 60 RBIs, 28 steals and a .638 OPS in 154 games. During the 1893 season he was sold to the Baltimore Orioles, which changed his career path. He was doing well at the time with a .318 average and a .775 OPS in 107 games, but did even better with the Orioles. Brodie finished the season with a .325 average, 89 runs, 23 doubles, ten triples, 98 RBIs, 49 steals and an .800 OPS in 132 games.
Baltimore won the National League pennant three years in a row (1894-96) and Brodie averaged 106 runs scored and 111 RBIs during those seasons. On defense, he led all outfielder in fielding percentage once and had the second best percentage five times (twice finishing third as well). The 1894 season was a huge year for offense in baseball due to pitchers trying to adjust to the new rules/distance for the pitching rubber. Brodie’s 1893 stats were actually better than the 1894 numbers when compared to the league average, but he hit .366 with 134 runs scored, 25 doubles, 11 triples, 113 RBIs, 42 steals and an .863 OPS in 1894. Offense began to drop down immediately in 1895, but he didn’t see that drop. He hit .348 with 85 runs, 27 doubles, ten triples, 134 RBIs, 35 steals and an .843 OPS in 131 games that year. His drop came in 1896, though he still put up solid stats with a .297 average, 98 runs, 32 extra-base hits, 87 RBIs, 25 steals and a .751 OPS in 132 games.
On November 11, 1896, the Pirates acquired Brodie from the Orioles, along with third baseman Jim Donnelly, for Jake Stenzel, and three other players. In Stenzel, the Pirates were giving up the player with the highest batting average and highest OBP in team history. The local papers didn’t like the deal, saying that Stenzel was better than the other two players combined, so there was no need to include anything else. The only area that Brodie got the advantage from the papers was in his defense. While that defense was as strong as ever in Pittsburgh (leading the National League in fielding in 1897), Brodie’s offense left something to be desired, at least compared to his career stats. In 142 games with the 1897 Pirates, he hit .283 with 47 runs, 21 extra-base hits, 74 RBIs, 11 steals and a .740 OPS. Mid-season there were reports that his arm gave out and his throwing was poor. He had 209 assists during his career, which ranks 43rd all-time. The Pirates released Brodie on June 11, 1898, despite the fact he wasn’t doing poorly at the time, hitting .263/.303/.295 in 42 games. The reason was due to finances. Cuts had to be made to team spending, and Brodie, along with third-string catcher Morgan Murphy, were both released outright. The Pirates went with a smaller roster and he was free to sign with any other team.
Brodie ended up signing back with Baltimore, where he hit .306/.346/.378 in 23 games in 1898, then batted .309 with 82 runs, 26 doubles and 87 RBIs in 137 games in 1899, which was the last year of the Baltimore NL franchise. He played for Chicago of the American League in 1900, which was a Class-A minor league at the time. He batted .262 with 41 runs and nine extra-base hits in 64 games that year. When Baltimore became a Major League city again in 1901 in the American League, Brodie reappeared in the majors, playing two more seasons. He batted .310 with 41 runs, 14 extra-base hits, 41 RBIs and a .767 OPS in 83 games for Baltimore in 1901. That club was the first season of the New York Yankees franchise, even though the Yankees claim to be a new club in 1903. The franchise transferred locations in 1903 and even kept some of the old players. Brodie then moved on to the New York Giants in 1902, where he hit .281 in 110 games in 1902, with 37 runs, 42 RBIs and a .657 OPS. His 12-year big league career was over at that point, but his minor league career lasted another eight seasons before finally retiring in 1910. He was a .303 big league hitter in 1,438 games, with 886 runs, 191 doubles, 89 triples, 25 homers, 900 RBIs and 289 stolen bases. He set a record with 727 consecutive games played, which stood into the 20th century. While he is known now as Steve, his first name was Walter and it was used often during his playing days.
Brodie is one of the examples of how hard it is for defensive metrics to rate 19th century players. He was highly regarded for his defense during his day, but somehow he has a career -3.9 dWAR, with only two seasons in which he was slightly above average. That doesn’t line up with any scouting report from that era.
After Brodie returned to the minors in 1903, he played for 11 teams in seven season, including one partial year as a player/manager. Stats are hard to find during this time because he wasn’t always at the upper levels of the minors. Brodie played for Baltimore and Montreal of the Class-A Eastern League in 1903, batting .255 in 103 games. In 1904, he played for 50 games split between Troy and Binghamton of the Class-B New York State League, while also seeing time with Lebanon of the independent Tri-State League. He spent the entire 1905 season with Providence of the Eastern League, hitting .270 in 134 games, with 15 extra-base hits. Brodie played for Providence in 1906, as well as Newark of the Eastern League. He hit .284 in 112 games, with 14 doubles and four triples. He played at three different levels in 1907, seeing time with Class-A Birmingham of the Southern Association, Class-B Trenton of the Tri-State League, and Class-C Roanoke of the Virginia League. He combined to hit .289 in 91 games, with his best results coming at the lowest level. Brodie played 51 games in the Virginia League in 1908 split between Portsmouth and Norfolk. Brodie played for Wilmington of the Eastern Carolina League in 1909, hitting .256 in 80 games. He was a coach at Princeton in 1910, then he played briefly for Newark of the Eastern League that same year to finish out his career.