Ten former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, including a Hall of Famer. There’s also a pair of transactions of note from the 1949 season.
Fred Clarke, player manager for the 1900-1915 Pirates. He is in the Hall of Fame as a left fielder, but he could just as easily be in as a manager. He was already a star before joining the Pirates in 1900. He hit .334 in his first six seasons with the Louisville Colonels, the last three years as the manager. Clarke then hit .299 over 1,479 games with the Pirates, four times leading them to a National League title and once to a World Series title. He scored 1,622 runs during his career and hit 220 triples, which ranks seventh all-time. As a manager, he had a 1,602-1,181 record in 19 years.
Clarke began his pro career in 1893 at 20 years old, playing 20 games for St Joseph of the Western Association, where he hit .346 with 21 runs, seven doubles, two homers and eight steals. He played 35 games that season for Montgomery of the Class-B Southern Association and hit .306 with 21 runs, five doubles and five triples. He was with Savannah of the Southern Association in 1894 until his big league debut on June 30th with Louisville. In 54 games with Savannah, he hit .311 with 60 runs, 16 extra-base hits and 21 steals. In Louisville in 1894, he hit .274 with 55 runs, 25 extra-base hits, 48 RBIs, 26 steals and a .758 OPS in 76 games. It wasn’t that strong of a debut, considering that 1894 was a huge season for offense in baseball due to the new pitching rules created in 1893. Pitchers had trouble adjusting to the new distance and delivery limitations until 1896 when offense returned to normal standards. Clarke had strong first full season in the majors, batting .347 in 132 games in 1895. He had 96 runs, 30 extra-base hits, 82 RBIs, 40 steals and and .821 OPS. In 1896, he hit .325 in 131 games, with 42 extra-base hits, including 18 triples. He also had 96 runs, 79 RBIs, 34 steals and an .868 OPS.
In 1897, Clarke put up a career best .390 average. He finished second in the batting race that year because Hall of Famer Willie Keeler had a mind-blowing .424 average, which is what happens when you “hit them were they ain’t”. Clarke had 49 extra-base hits, a career best 59 steals and he scored a career high 122 runs (which he would soon tie) in 130 games in 1897. His .992 OPS was the second best in the league. He saw a major drop-off in 1898, yet he still batted .307 with 116 runs, 38 extra-base hits, 47 RBIs, 40 steals and a .774 OPS in 149 games. During his final season in Louisville, he hit .340 with 122 runs scored, a career high 206 hits, 70 RBIs, 49 steals and an .836 OPS in 149 games. After the 1899 season, Louisville traded all of their best players to Pittsburgh as part of a deal that also included cash and owner Barney Dreyfuss leaving his Louisville ownership to take over control of the Pirates. Clarke was in the deal, along with Honus Wagner, Rube Waddell, Deacon Phillippe and Tommy Leach. It’s usually listed as a 12-for-4 deal with the Pirates getting the 12 players, but the initial deal was 5-for-14, with the Pirates eventually getting control of more players once Louisville folded as a franchise.
In his first year as the player-manager for Pittsburgh, Clarke hit .276 in 106 games, with 84 runs scored, 30 extra-base hits, 32 RBIs and 21 steals. It was a disappointing debut considering his previous success. The Pirates won the National League pennant in 1901 and Clarke hit .324 with 118 runs, 45 extra-base hits, 60 RBIs, 23 steals and an .856 OPS in 129 games. It was their first pennant in 20 years as a franchise. In 1902, the Pirates had their best season in team history, finishing with a 103-36 record. They even faltered at the end of that year due to numerous injuries, including Clarke, who missed nine games in the final few weeks. He hit .316 with 103 runs, 27 doubles, 14 triples, 53 RBIs and 29 steals in 113 games. His .850 OPS was second best in the league. The Pirates played in the first World Series in 1903 and Clarke helped them get there by hitting .351 with 88 runs and 70 RBIs in 104 games. He led the league with 32 doubles (career high), a .532 slugging percentage and a .946 OPS. He lost out on the batting title that year by four points to Honus Wagner. Clarke hit .265 in the postseason, with two RBIs and three runs scored in eight games.
In 1904, Clarke hit .306/.367/410 with 51 runs and 25 RBIs in 72 games, missing 2 1/2 months due to a leg injury suffered in July. He was healthy in 1905 when he .299 with 95 runs, 35 extra-base hits (including 15 triples), 51 RBIs and a .770 OPS in 141 games. His .309 average in 1906 was the seventh best in the league, and he led the league with 13 triples, despite being slightly limited to 118 games. He finished with 69 runs, 28 extra-base hits, 39 RBIs, 18 steals and a .784 OPS. The 1907 season was a down year for offense during the deadball era, as evident by his eighth place finish in the batting race with a .289 average. Clarke played 148 games that year, with 97 runs scored, 59 RBIs, 68 walks and 37 steals, which was his high during his time in Pittsburgh. His .772 OPS was fourth best in the league. In 1908, he batted .265 with 83 runs, 18 doubles, 15 triples, 53 RBIs, 24 steals, 65 walks and a .712 OPS in 151 games. The Pirates won the World Series in 1909 and Clarke played a career high of 152 games that season. He batted .287, which was ninth best in the league. He scored 97 runs, drove in 68 runs, stole 31 bases and he led the league with 80 walks. His .756 OPS was eighth best in the league. He hit just .211 in the World Series, but his hits were timely and big, with seven RBIs and seven runs scored.
Clarke hit .263 in 1910, with 57 runs, 34 extra-base hits, 63 RBIs and a .723 OPS in 123 games. He had a solid 1911 season, but at 38 years old he was entering his final days as a regular player. He batted .324 with 73 runs, 43 extra-base hits, 49 RBIs and a .900 OPS in 110 games. He didn’t play at all in 1912, then saw sporadic at-bats over the next three seasons, once taking over in left field for a short time in 1913 while the Pirates were desperate for outfielders. He played two games each during the 1914-15 seasons, sticking to his managerial duties during that time. Clarke often scouted players in-season during his career, so he wasn’t always around for all of those managerial wins (and losses) credited to him. He finished up as a player with a .312 average in 2,246 games, with 1,622 runs, 2,678 hits, 361 doubles, 220 triples, 67 homers, 1,015 RBIs and 509 steals, as well as 875 walks, compared to 511 strikeouts. During his 16 years as a manager of the Pirates, he had four first place finishes, five second place finishes, and he finished in the top half of the division in each of his first 14 seasons, which was a big deal back then when the top four teams each received player shares of a bonus pool at the end of the season. His brother Josh Clarke played five seasons in the majors. His brother-in-law Chick Fraser played 14 seasons in the majors, then became a scout for the Pirates. Fred Clarke was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1945.
Bob Skinner, outfielder for the Pirates in 1954, then again in 1956-63. The Pirates signed Skinner three years before he made his big league debut. He played junior college ball for one year before signing with Pittsburgh at 19 years old in 1951. He played over two levels in 1951, including a .472 average and 19 extra-base hits in 29 games for Mayfield of the Class-D Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee League. The rest of the year was spent with Waco of the Big State League, where he hit .283 with 34 extra-base hits in 98 games. Skinner then spent the next two years in the Marines during the Korean War. When he returned, he played well enough in Spring Training in 1954 to make the Pirates, hitting .249 with 67 runs, 32 extra-base hits, 46 RBIs and a .686 OPS in 132 games as a rookie. Despite the full-time play, he spent 1955 in the minors, where he hit .346 with 62 runs, 38 extra-base hits, 62 RBIs, 58 walks and a .976 OPS in 86 games for New Orleans of the Triple-A American Association. A broken wrist on a slide ended his season in July. Skinner returned to the Pirates in 1956 and began to see more time later in the season, playing all four corner spots, with most of his time in left field and at first base. He batted just .202 with 29 runs, 29 RBIs and a .609 OPS in 113 games, but the experience helped him out the next year.
At 25 years old in 1957, Skinner batted .305 with 58 runs, 12 doubles, 13 homers, 45 RBIs and an .838 OPS in 126 games, seeing a large majority of his time in left field, which was his main position through the 1963 season. That was followed by his first All-Star season in 1958, when he hit .321, with 33 doubles, nine triples, 13 homers, 70 RBIs, an .879 OPS and a career best 93 runs scored in 144 games. He received mild MVP support, finishing 15th in the voting In 1959, Skinner batted .280 with 78 runs, 18 doubles, 13 homers, 61 RBIs, 67 walks and a .756 OPS in 143 games. He would set career highs with 33 doubles and 86 RBIs during the 1960 season, helping the Pirates to the World Series, where they won their third title. He was an All-Star that season (they played two All-Star games that year), batting .273 in 145 games, with 83 runs, 15 homers, 59 walks and a .771 OPS . He played just two games in the World Series, going 1-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. In 1961, Skinner batted .268 in 119 games, with 61 runs scored, 26 extra-base hits, 42 RBIs, 51 walks and a .718 OPS. He then he batted .302 and slugged a career high 20 homers in 1962. He had 87 runs, 29 doubles, seven triples, 75 RBIs and set highs with 76 walks and an .899 OPS. He received mild MVP support that year, finishing 22nd in the voting.
The Pirates traded Skinner to the Cincinnati Reds during the early part of the 1963 season for Jerry Lynch. It was a well-timed deal for the Pirates, as he clearly fell off at that point. He hit .259 in 106 games, with 43 runs scored, 25 extra- base hits, 25 RBIs and a .715 OPS that season, with slightly better results with the Pirates. In 1964, he started playing more right field, while splitting the season between the Reds and St Louis Cardinals. He hit .254 in 80 games, with a .680 OPS in 192 plate appearances. He had 16 runs, eight doubles, four homers and 21 RBIs. Skinner had a nice season off the bench for the 1965 Cardinals, hitting .309/.360/.493 in a limited role, getting 164 plate appearances in 80 games. He was done as a player by the next year, seeing all 49 games played that year in a pinch-hitting role, without any time in the outfield. He hit .156/.208/.244 with one homer during that 1966 season.
Skinner was a manager for the Philadelphia Phillies for the final 107 games of the 1968 season, and the first 108 games of the 1969 season. He also had one game as the manager for the 1977 San Diego Padres. He compiled a 93-123 record during that time. Besides managing after his playing days, he also had numerous coaching spots, with the highlight being the batting coach for the 1979 Pirates, when they won their fifth World Series title. Skinner hit .280, with 574 runs, 173 doubles, 52 triples, 90 homers and 462 RBIs in 1,100 games with the Pirates. He played a total of 12 years in the majors, finishing with a .277 average, 642 runs, 197 doubles, 58 triples, 103 homers and 531 RBIs in 1,381 games. His son Joel Skinner played nine years in the big leagues. Bob Skinner turns 91 today and is among the oldest living former Pirates.
Kevin Kramer, infielder for the 2018-19 Pirates. He was originally drafted in the 25th round in 2011 out of high school by the Cleveland Indians. He decided to attend UCLA, where he moved up to a second round pick pick of the Pirates in 2015. He split his first season in pro ball between Morgantown of the short-season New York-Penn League and West Virginia of the Low-A South Atlantic League, combining to hit .291 with 43 runs, 13 extra-base hits, 20 RBIs, 12 steals and a .741 OPS in 58 games. He moved up to Bradenton of the High-A Florida State League in 2016, where he hit .277 with 56 runs, 29 doubles, four homers, 57 RBIs, 48 walks and a .730 OPS in 118 games. In 2017, Kramer moved up to Double-A Altoona of the Eastern League and got off to an outstanding start until a hand injury from a hit-by-pitch put him out of action for two months. He hit .297 with 31 runs, 26 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs and an .880 OPS in 53 games that season for Altoona, while also playing four rehab games at the lower levels. He went to the Arizona Fall League after the season and hit .200/.296/.317 with two homers in 16 games.
Kramer went to Triple-A Indianapolis of the International League for the 2018 season. He batted .311 with 73 runs, 35 doubles, 15 homers, 59 RBIs, 13 steals and an .856 OPS in 129 games. He got his first call to the majors that September and hit .135 in 21 games, with a .310 OPS and 20 strikeouts in 40 plate appearances. In 2019, he batted .260 with 30 doubles, ten homers and a .752 OPS in 113 games with Indianapolis, while hitting .167/.260/.191 in 22 games with the Pirates. Kramer was injured during the shortened 2020 season and never appeared in a game. He then spent the 2021 season split between the Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers in Triple-A, playing 51 games with Indianapolis and 23 with Nashville. The Pirates traded him on July 4th and the Brewers released him on August 17th. He batted a combined .207/.332/.302 in 74 games that season. Kramer did not play during the 2022 season. His big league stats show a .152/.222/.165 slash line in 43 games.
Phil Gosselin, infielder for the 2017 Pirates. He was a fifth round draft pick of the Atlanta Braves in 2010 out of the University of Virginia. He spent most of his debut season in Low-A with Rome of the South Atlantic League, where he hit .294 with 26 runs, 14 extra-base hits, 24 RBIs and a .767 OPS in 57 games. He finished the season with Myrtle Beach of the High-A Carolina League, where he hit .154/.154/.269 in six games. After that brief stint in High-A to end the 2010 season, he spent all of 2011 back at the level with Lynchburg of the Carolina League. Gosselin hit .264 with 60 runs, 36 extra-base hits, 63 RBIs and a .716 OPS in 115 games. In 2012, he moved up to Double-A, playing for Mississippi of the Southern League. He batted .242 with 55 runs, 29 extra-base hits, 46 RBIs and a .637 OPS in 128 games, which caused him to repeat the level at the start of 2013. Gosselin had an odd 2013 season, which was split evenly in the minors between Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett of the International League, with mediocre results at both levels, but he still earned a trip to the majors. He had a .254 average and a .617 OPS in 117 minor league games that season, and he played four late-season games with the Braves, going 2-for-6 with a walk. The next year he tore up Gwinnett in 96 games, hitting .344 with 58 runs, 39 extra-base hits, 31 RBIs and an .866 OPS, which led to an extended stint with the Braves. Gosselin hit .266/.304/.320 in 42 games for Atlanta that year, finishing with 17 runs, four doubles, one homer and three RBIs in 136 plate appearances.
Gosselin was traded mid-season in 2015 to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a salary dump trade for Bronson Arroyo and pitching prospect Touki Toussaint. Gosselin batted .311/.373/.500, with three homers and 15 RBIs in 44 games that season between both stops, getting into 20 games with Atlanta and 24 with Arizona. He played 122 games during the 2016 season for the Diamondbacks, getting a total of 240 plate appearances. He hit .277 with 26 runs scored, 12 doubles, two homers and 13 RBIs that season, compiling a .692 OPS. Gosselin was acquired by the Pirates right before Spring Training of 2017 in a trade with the Diamondbacks for minor league pitcher Frank Duncan. Gosselin hit .150/.190/.175 in 42 plate appearances over 28 games for the 2017 Pirates, seeing most of his time at second base and off of the bench. Gosselin spent part of the season in Triple-A Indianapolis of the International League while with the Pirates, putting up a .640 OPS in 63 games. He was lost via waivers to the Texas Rangers in August of 2017. He had just eight at-bats over 12 games in the final two months with Texas, while also seeing some Triple-A time.
Gosselin signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2019, and he was a valuable utility player for them during the 2020 season, after mostly seeing bench time in 2019. He hit .262/.294/.308 in 44 games in 2019, getting just 68 plate appearances. Half of his season was spent with Lehigh Valley of the Triple-A International League, where he had a .901 OPS in 78 games. During the shortened 2020 season, he hit .250/.324/.402 with three homers, 12 RBIs and 14 runs scored in 39 games. Gosselin signed with the Los Angeles Angels in February of 2021 and played 104 games, hitting .264 with 40 runs, 14 doubles, seven homers and 47 RBIs, which are career highs in each of the four latter categories. He signed as a free agent with the Braves in 2022 and hit .261/.292/.261 in 24 plate appearances in the majors, while also seeing time at Triple-A Gwinnett. The Braves put Gosselin on waivers in July and he was picked up by the Angels. In 23 games with Los Angeles, he had an .098/.132/.137 slash line in 53 plate appearances, before he was released at the end of August. As of this writing, he is a .254 career hitter in 497 games, with 137 runs scored, 49 doubles, 17 homers and 103 RBIs. He has made big league starts at six different positions, all around the infield and both corner outfield spots.
Alex Ramirez, outfielder for the 2000 Pirates. He signed with the Cleveland Indians in July of 1991 at 16 years old out of Venezuela. He played his first season (1992) in the Dominican Summer League, then jumped to the U.S. in 1993, where he hit .270 with 44 runs, 14 doubles, 13 homers, 58 RBIs and an .824 OPS in 64 games with Burlington of the short-season Appalachian League. He also played three games with Kinston of the High-A Carolina League, going 2-for-12 with an RBI. Ramirez spent the 1994 season in the Low-A South Atlantic League, where he hit .258 with 64 runs, 23 doubles, 18 homers, 57 RBIs and a .727 OPS in 125 games for Columbus. In 1995, he spent most of the season in the High-A California League with Bakersfield, while getting a 33-game stint in Double-A with Canton-Akron of the Eastern League to end the season. He combined to hit .304 with 71 runs, 45 extra-base hits, 63 RBIs and a .775 OPS in 131 games, showing much better results at the lower level. In 1996, Ramirez spent the entire season with Canton-Akron, where he batted .329 with 28 doubles, 12 triples, 14 homers, 85 RBIs, 18 steals and an .865 OPS in 131 games. He moved up to Triple-A Buffalo of the American Association in 1997. He hit .286 with 59 runs, 38 extra-base hits, 44 RBIs and a .778 OPS in 119 games in 1997. He repeated the level in 1998, batting .299 with 94 runs, 21 doubles, eight triples, 34 homers, 103 RBIs and an .890 OPS in 121 games. Ramirez got a three-game trial with the Indians that season, going 1-for-8 with a single and run scored.
Ramirez split the 1999 season between Triple-A and the majors, posting an .847 OPS in 75 games at Buffalo, followed by an .801 OPS in 48 games for the Indians, which included a .299 average, 11 runs, six doubles, three homers and 18 RBIs. He split the 2000 season fairly evenly between the Indians and Pirates. Before the trade that brought him to Pittsburgh, he hit .286 with five homers and a .798 OPS in 41 games. He hit .209 with 13 runs, 11 extra-base hits, 18 RBIs and a .637 OPS in 43 games after joining the Pirates. Just 25 years old at the time, the Pirates gave him the starting right field job after he joined the team, but he lost that spot in September, making just one start over the final 17 games. It would be his last MLB experience, but far from the end of his career. His overall time with the Pirates was very brief. The Cleveland trade happened on July 28, 2000 and he was sold to Yakult (Japan) on November 1, 2000.
Ramirez played in Japan for 13 seasons, where he was a star player right away. From 2003 until 2010, he had eight straight seasons with 103+ RBIs. He hit 29 homers and put up an .816 OPS during the 2001 season. In 2002, he had a .295 average, with 25 doubles, 24 homers and 92 RBIs. The next season saw him hit .333 in 140 games, with 105 runs, 34 doubles, 40 homers and 124 RBIs. In 2004, he hit .305 in 129 games, with 30 doubles, 31 homers and 110 RBIs. Ramirez put up a .282 average in 2005, with 19 doubles, 32 homers and 104 RBIs. In 2006, he had a .267 average in 146 games, with 28 doubles, 26 homers and 112 RBIs. That was followed up by a .343 average in 144 games in 2007, with 80 runs, 41 doubles, 29 homers and 122 RBIs. He set a personal best with a .990 OPS in 2008, hitting .319 with 28 doubles, 45 homers and 125 RBIs. Ramirez hit .322 in 144 games in 2009, with 35 doubles, 31 homers and 103 RBIs. In 2010, he set career highs with 49 homers and 129 RBIs, while putting up a .304 average and a .951 OPS. In 2011, he batted .279 in 137 games, with 23 homers, 73 RBIs and a .775 OPS. Ramirez batted .300 with 19 homers and 76 RBIs in 2012. His final season saw him put up a .608 OPS in 82 games. In pro ball, he hit a total of 505 homers between 1993 and 2013 (his 1992 stats aren’t available). Besides the impressive amount of homers as a pro, Ramirez also finished with 3,017 hits and 1,796 RBIs. He also managed for five seasons after retiring. In his three seasons in the majors, he had a .259 average in 135 games, with 38 runs, 17 doubles, 12 homers and 48 RBIs.
Wil Cordero, left fielder for the 2000 Pirates. Prior to playing one partial season in Pittsburgh, he spent four years with the Montreal Expos, two years with the Boston Red Sox, one year with the Chicago White Sox and one season with the Cleveland Indians. Cordero signed as an international free agent with the Expos in May of 1988 out of Puerto Rico at 16 years old. He debuted that year in the short-season New York-Penn League, which was an extremely advanced placement for his age. He hit .258 with 18 runs, three doubles, two homers, 22 RBIs and a .628 OPS in 52 games that season with Jamestown. In 1989, he started in the Class-A Florida State League with West Palm Beach, but he was in Double-A Jacksonville of the Southern League by the end of the season at 17 years old. He batted .259 with 46 runs, 30 extra-base hits, 46 RBIs, 45 walks and a .717 OPS in 117 games between the two stops, putting up better results at the lower level. In 1990, Cordero spent the entire season in Jacksonville, hitting .234 with 63 runs, 18 doubles, seven homers, 40 RBIs and 56 walks in 131 games, with a devilishly average .666 OPS. He jumped up to Indianapolis of the Triple-A American Association in 1991, where he batted .261 with 48 runs, 16 doubles, 11 homers, 52 RBIs and a .734 OPS in 98 games. He had a .314 average and an .850 OPS in 52 games in 1992 at Indianapolis before joining the Expos in July for his big league debut. That rookie season saw him hit .302 with 17 runs, four homers, two homers and eight RBIs in 45 games, leading to a .750 OPS.
In 1993, Cordero was the starting shortstop for the Expos. He finished the previous season just under the maximum limit for Rookie of the Year eligibility, which allowed him to finish seventh in the voting in 1993. He hit .248 with 56 runs, 32 doubles, ten homers, 58 RBIs, 12 steals and a .695 OPS in 138 games. He was an All-Star and Silver Slugger winner for the only time in his career during the strike-shortened 1994 season. Cordero hit .294 with 65 runs scored, 30 doubles, 15 homers, 63 RBIs, 16 steals and an .853 OPS in 110 games. The next year saw him hit .286 with a career high 35 doubles. He also had 64 runs, ten homers, 49 RBIs and a .761 OPS in 131 games. He was traded to the Red Sox in January of 1996 and he moved to second base. In his first season in Boston, he hit .288 with 29 runs, 14 doubles, three homers and 37 RBIs in 59 games. He had his leg broken on May 20th that year and didn’t return until late August. He was healthy in 1997 and hit .281 in 140 games with the Red Sox, setting career highs with 82 runs, 18 homers and 72 RBIs. He was released at the end of the season and signed with the White Sox for 1998, where he batted .267 with 58 runs scored, 18 doubles, 13 homers and 49 RBIs in 96 games, during his only season with the team. Cordero left via free agency and signed with the Indians. He batted .299/.364/.500 in 54 games with Cleveland in 1999, missing three full months due to a broken wrist mid-season. He became a free agent after the season.
Cordero signed with the Pirates in December of 1999, and he was traded during the 2000 season, so his total time with the club was brief. He batted .282 with 46 runs, 24 doubles, 16 homers, 51 RBIs and an .842 OPS in 89 games with the Pirates before being traded to the Indians for Alex Ramirez (see player above). After the deal, he hit .264 with no homers and a .675 OPS in 38 games to finish out the 2000 season. He was a utility player during the 2001 season for the Indians, hitting .250 with 30 runs, 11 doubles, four homers, 21 RBIs and a .656 OPS in 89 games. The Indians released him after six games in 2002 and he signed with the Expos for the remainder of the season. In 72 games that year, he hit .267 with 22 runs, nine doubles, six homers and 30 RBIs. Cordero saw regular playing time with the Expos in 2003, hitting .278 with 57 runs, 27 doubles, 16 homers, 71 RBIs and an .803 OPS in 130 games. He played with the Florida Marlins in 2004 and struggled, hitting just .197/.250/.288 in 27 games. For his final season in the majors, he returned to the Montreal franchise, except they had moved to Washington by then. He hit .118/.161/.157 with no homers and two RBIs in 28 games for the Nationals. Cordero played 1,247 games over 14 seasons in the majors, finishing with a .273 average, 587 runs, 261 doubles, 122 homers and 566 RBIs. He saw extensive time at left field, first base and shortstop during his career, but all of his time in Pittsburgh was in left field.
Manny Martinez, outfielder for the 1998 Pirates. The Pirates were one of four teams he played for during his three-year career in the majors. Martinez signed with the Oakland A’s as an international free agent out of the Dominican in 1988 at 17 years old. His first two seasons were spent in the Dominican Summer League (no stats are available). He jumped to the U.S. in 1990 and played in the short-season Northwest League, where he hit .246 with 36 runs, two homers and a .597 OPS in 66 games for Southern Oregon. In 1991, Martinez moved up to Modesto of the High-A California League for the first of two seasons with that club. He hit .271 with 73 runs, 32 doubles, three homers, 55 RBIs and a .689 OPS in 125 games in 1991, stealing 29 bases, though he was caught 19 times. In 1992, he batted .253 with 70 runs scored, 33 extra-base hits, 45 RBIs and 17 steals (in 30 attempts) in 121 games. His .667 OPS was 22 points lower than the previous year. Martinez began 1993 back in the California League (affiliate moved to San Bernardino) and did so well that he finished the year with 20 games in Triple-A with Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League. He combined to hit .320 with 97 runs, 28 doubles, 12 homers, 58 RBIs and an .833 OPS in 129 games. He had 30 steals, but he was caught 24 times. He spent the 1994 season with Tacoma , where he hit .256 with 76 runs, 39 extra-base hits, 60 RBIs and a .674 OPS in 137 games. Any chance for a late-season call-up to the majors that year ended with the mid-August strike that ended the season early and spilled into the start of 1995.
Martinez reached minor league free agency at the end of the 1994 season and signed with the Chicago Cubs, where he batted .290 with 63 runs, 33 extra-base hits, 49 RBIs and a .760 OPS in 122 games at Triple-A Iowa of the American Association. He became a free agent again at the end of 1995 and signed with the Seattle Mariners. He played briefly for both the Mariners and Philadelphia Phillies in 1996, seeing time in the minors and majors with both clubs. He got into 22 big league games total, batting .226/.293/.377 in 59 plate appearances. In the minors he had a .294 average and a .734 OPS in 83 games, seeing time back in Tacoma (Mariners) and Lehigh Valley of the Triple-A International League. Martinez signed with the Pirates after the 1996 season and spent 1997 in Triple-A, where he hit .331 with 78 runs, 34 doubles, 16 homers, 66 RBIs, 17 steals and a .910 OPS in 109 games with Calgary of the Pacific Coast League. He played just 22 games in Triple-A (Nashville of the PCL) in 1998, and spent the rest of the season in the majors with the Pirates. Martinez hit .250 in 73 games, with 21 runs, 11 doubles, six homers, 24 RBIs and a .724 OPS during his time in Pittsburgh. The Pirates lost him on waivers to the Montreal Expos in December of 1998. He played 137 games during the 1999 season in the majors, batting .245 with 48 runs, 21 extra-base hits, 26 RBIs, 19 stolen bases and a .621 OPS. After that, he played another nine seasons of pro ball without seeing big league time. His final big league stats show a .245 average in 232 games, with 74 runs, 25 doubles, 12 triples, eight homers, 53 RBIs and 23 steals.
Martinez was back in Triple-A Calgary for the Florida Marlins during the 2000 season, which ended up being his last year in affiliated ball. He batted .266 in 126 games that season, with 57 runs, 19 doubles, nine homers, 54 RBIs, 20 steals and a .708 OPS. Martinez played in Korea (2001-03), Mexico (2004-08) and in independent ball (2005). He had an .846 OPS in 128 games in 2001, connecting on 27 doubles and 25 homers, while driving in 96 runs. In 2002, he hit .279 in 109 games, with 19 doubles, 15 homers and 69 RBIs. In 2003, he had a .273 average in 131 games, with 70 runs, 29 doubles, 17 homers and 70 RBIs. Martinez stole a total of 77 bases during his time in Korea. His 2004 stats in Mexico are unavailable, but he had a big season in 2005, hitting .329 in 105 games, with 74 runs, 27 doubles, 22 homers and 83 RBIs. He also had a .762 OPS in ten games with Long Island of the Atlantic League. In 2006, he hit .348 with 32 doubles, 15 homers, 84 RBIs, 26 steals and a .986 OPS in 102 games in Mexico. He played winter ball that season and the next in the Dominican. In 2007, Martinez hit .286 in 104 games in Mexico, with 30 extra-base hits, 63 RBIs, 21 steals and a .772 OPS. In 2008, he batted .289 in 98 games, with 28 extra-base hits, 52 RBIs, 14 steals and a .778 OPS. In his 19 seasons of pro ball, he had over 2,100 hits, 1,200+ runs and 1,000+ RBIs. He has managed for four seasons in the Dominican Summer League for the New York Mets, including the 2022 season.
Jack Lamabe, pitcher for the 1962 Pirates. As a 19-year-old in 1956, he spent his first year of pro ball in the Philadelphia Phillies system, posting a 2.75 ERA in 85 innings for Wilson of the Class-B Carolina League. Despite the success, he had 48 walks and 39 strikeouts. He then signed with the Pirates in early 1957. Lamabe actually spent time with the Phillies in the majors at the end of 1956, though he didn’t play. After the season, commissioner Ford Frick declared him to be a free agent, and the Pirates quickly signed him. It was said that he violated a major league college baseball rule in signing with the Phillies. He apparently signed a deal on completion of his sophomore year at the University of Vermont, which wasn’t allowed at the time. Despite being a big deal at the time, plus the fact that he joined the Phillies late in 1956, it still took five seasons before he made it to Pittsburgh. Lamabe did well during his first season with the Pirates with Class-A Lincoln of the Western League, where he had a 13-7, 3.18 record in 167 innings, with 86 walks and 125 strikeouts. The next year was spent just one step away from the majors with Salt Lake City of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He went 5-7, 6.70 in 86 innings over 12 starts and nine relief appearances, putting up a rough 64:30 BB/SO ratio. In 1959, Lamabe spent most of the year back in A-Ball, going 5-15, 3.95 in 130 innings in the South Atlantic League with Columbus/Gastonia. He had four rough games with Denver of the Triple-A American Association that season, allowing 15 runs in 11 innings.
Lamabe spent most of 1960 with Savannah of the South Atlantic League, posting a 15-10, 3.50 record in 195.1 innings, with 145 strikeouts. He also threw four scoreless innings with Columbus of the Triple-A International League that year. He remained in Columbus for 1961, where he pitched mostly in relief, going 3-4, 2.88, with 72 strikeouts in 78 innings over 36 appearances. The following spring he made the Pirates Opening Day roster. He had a 2.88 ERA over 78 innings in his only season with the Pirates, matching his ERA and innings pitched from the previous season (he also allowed ten unearned runs each season). He went 3-1 in 46 appearances, with two saves. In the off-season, he was traded with Dick Stuart to the Boston Red Sox. Lamabe ended up playing seven years in the majors, seeing time with seven different teams.
Lamabe had a nice first season in Boston, going 7-4, 3.15 in 151.1 innings, which were almost all in relief. He pitched 65 times that season, with two starts. He made 25 starts and 14 relief appearances in 1964. He had a 9-13, 5.89 record in a career high 177.1 innings that year, with 109 strikeouts, which was also a career best. He split the 1965 season between Boston and the Houston Astros, while also seeing time back in the minors. Lamabe combined for an 0-5, 6.87 record in 38 innings in the majors that year. The 1966 season was spent with the Chicago White Sox. He made 17 starts and 17 relief appearances, posting a 7-9, 3.93 record in 121.1 innings. He played for the White Sox, New York Mets and St Louis Cardinals in 1967, combining for a 3-7, 3.29 record in 79.1 innings over three starts and 36 relief outings. His final season in the majors was spent with the Chicago Cubs, where he had a 4.30 ERA in 60.2 innings over 42 appearances. His career numbers show a 33-41, 4.24 record and 16 saves in 711 innings, with 49 starts and 236 relief appearances. He had seven complete games, three shutouts and 16 saves. His pro career ended in 1969 with one final year in the minors, finishing up in the Montreal Expos system during their first season. Lamabe was traded three times from mid-1967 until the end of his career, and all of them involved former/future Pirates players in return, with pitchers Al Jackson and Pete Mikkelsen included in the first two trades, and the deal that sent him to the Expos is 1969 was a swap for Paul Popovich, infielder for the 1974-75 Pirates.
Frank Kalin, outfielder for the 1940 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball at 20 years old in 1938, splitting the season between two Class-D teams. His stats are available that year from his time with McKeesport of the Pennsylvania State Association, where he hit .346 with 38 extra-base hits in 81 games. He also played for Mount Airy of the Bi-State League that season. The Pirates selected his contract under a working agreement and added him to the 40-man roster in August of 1938. He spent the 1939 season playing for Gadsden of the Class-B Southeastern League, hitting .316 with 59 extra-base hits in 137 games. Kalin actually had a better season for Gadsden in 1939, but the 1940 season earned him a shot at the majors. That year he hit .320 with 27 doubles, nine triples and nine homers in 135 games. He was actually optioned to Albany of the Eastern League prior to the season, which would have been a bump in competition, but he ended up back in Gadsden. The Pirates brought him to the majors at the end of the 1940 season and he debuted on September 25th. His big league career consisted of an 0-for-3 in three games for the Pirates (he had two walks and an RBI) and an 0-for-4 in four pinch-hitting appearances for the 1943 Chicago White Sox. He failed to make the Pirates out of Spring Training in 1941, and ended up hitting .295/.328/.404 in 94 games for St Paul of the Double-A American Association, which was the highest level of the minors at the time.
On January 30, 1942, Kalin was sold to Hollywood of the Double-A Pacific Coast League as partial payment for outfielder Johnny Barrett. Kalin hit .304 during that 1942 season, with 62 runs, 22 doubles, 11 triples, 13 homers and 79 RBIs in 127 games. He was sold to the White Sox on September 28, 1942 and made the team out of Spring Training in 1943. His brief time with the White Sox ended on May 12, 1943 when the Army came calling. He served nearly three full years in the military, then played out his pro career in the minors for another nine seasons, spending most of that time with the Pirates affiliates in Hollywood (1946) and Indianapolis of the American Association (1947-52). He had a strong first season back in 1946, hitting .311 in 121 games, with 32 extra-base hits and 60 RBIs. The Pirates purchased his contract from Hollywood on August 30, 1946 and he attended Spring Training with the 1947 Pirates before being released to Indianapolis on April 5, 1947. Kalin hit .311 in 85 games with Indianapolis in 1947, posting an .880 OPS. He played just 46 games in 1948, missing time due to an ankle injury early in the year, but he had a .325 average and a .973 OPS. He hit .307 in 113 games in 1949, with 18 doubles, 13 homers, 80 RBIs and an .857 OPS. In 1950, Kalin batted .294 in 85 games, with 13 doubles, 14 homers, 51 RBIs and a .929 OPS. In 1951, he hit .294 in 111 games, with 20 doubles, 18 homers, 89 RBIs and an .836 OPS. He batted just .207 in 21 games with Indianapolis in 1952 before switching teams. His final 2 1/2 seasons were spent with San Francisco of the Pacific Coast League, where he hit .294/.373/.493 in 110 games to finish out the 1952 season. He then had a .293 average and an .898 OPS in 116 games in 1953, followed by his final eight pro games in 1954.
Johnny Riddle, catcher for the 1948 Pirates. He played just ten games with the Pirates in the last of his seven years in the majors. He has a bit of a footnote in team history, as his younger brother Elmer Riddle was a pitcher for the 1948-49 Pirates. They are one of 26 groups of relatives to play for the Pirates. Despite spending the whole season together, with Johnny as a seldom-used third-string catcher, they were the battery for just two batters all year and both opposing batters ended up hitting home runs. Johnny Riddle played his seven big league seasons over a 19-year time span. He debuted in pro ball at 21 years old in 1927, playing 22 games of Class-D ball with Sanford of the Florida State League, where he had a .286 average and 11 extra-base hits. He moved up quickly, splitting the 1928 season between 48 games in the Class-B Three-I League with Quincy, and 11 games for Double-A Indianapolis of the American Association, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. He batted .276 with 14 extra-base hits in 59 games. In 1929, he spent the year in Indianapolis, hitting .271 with nine doubles and a homer in 60 games. Most of the 1930 season was spent in Indianapolis, where he hit .359 with 11 extra-base hits in 41 games. Riddle debuted in the majors 1930 with the Chicago White Sox, hitting .241/.290/.328 in 25 games. He didn’t play in the majors again until 1937.
Riddle returned to Indianapolis and stayed there until his next big league trial. He played at least 82 games every season from 1931 through 1937 with Indianapolis, hitting .283 or better each year. He batted .292 in 116 games in 1931, with 26 extra-base hits. In 1932, he batted .283 in 109 games, with 26 doubles and three homers. In 89 games in 1933, Riddle hit .291 with 24 doubles and a homer. He played 87 games in 1934, batting .294 with 30 extra-base hits. The 1935 season saw him bat .326 in 82 games, with 24 extra-base hits. He played 115 games in 1936, finishing with a .325 average, 64 runs, 30 extra-base hits, 73 RBIs and a .764 OPS. Just when it looked like he was a career lifer in the minors, he made it back for the first seven in seven seasons in 1937, splitting that year between the Washington Senators at the start of the season and Boston Bees (Braves) at the end of the season. In between he played 104 games for Indianapolis, hitting .328 with 23 extra-base hits and 65 RBIs. Riddle combined to play just ten games between those two stops in the majors and had a .532 OPS, but he kept that big league job over the winter.
Riddle spent a majority of 1938 as a backup with the Bees, hitting .281/.328/.298 in 19 games (14 starts). He returned to the minors in August, going to Kansas City of the American Association, where he spent all of 1939 and 1940. He hit .250/.339/.308 in 20 games to finish out the 1938 season, then batted .234 with 16 extra-base hits in 100 games in 1939. In 1940, he had a .280 average in 111 games, with 20 extra-base hits. Riddle then played for the Cincinnati Reds in 1941 in a seldom used bench role, making four starts and getting ten at-bats all season in ten games. He played for Birmingham of the Southern Association for the 1942-44 seasons, starting with a .264 average and 13 extra-base hits (12 doubles) in 95 games in 1942. That was followed by a .284 average in 92 games in 1943, collecting five extra-base hits all year, all of them doubles. In 1944, Riddle batted .330 in 93 games, with 15 extra-base hits, once again only collecting doubles. He rejoined the Reds in September of 1944 and stayed there through the end of the 1945 season. Riddle played one game off of the bench in 1944 without an at-bat, and then he batted .178/.245/.178 in 23 games for the 1945 Reds.
At 40 years old in 1946, Riddle was back in Indianapolis for two more seasons. He hit .279 in 1946, with 16 doubles, three homers and 42 RBIs in 73 games. In 1947, he hit .338 in 79 games, with nine doubles, four homers and 24 RBIs. He signed with the Pirates as a bullpen coach in 1948, but he got into action on June 20th and ended up playing ten games, hitting .200/.250/.200 in 17 plate appearances. He was added to the roster as a backup when an injury to catcher Clyde Kluttz had the Pirates down to one healthy catcher. Riddle spent a total of 19 seasons in the minors (22 years in pro ball), hitting .297 in 1,552 games. He batted .238 with 18 runs, four doubles, one triple, no homers and 11 RBIs in 98 big league games. He was teammates with his brother in each of his last four seasons in the majors.
On this date in 1949, the Pirates released 42-year-old pitcher Rip Sewell, ending his big league career. In 12 seasons with the Pirates, he posted a 143-97, 3.43 record in 2,108.2 innings. He was elected to four All-Star games during that time. He is tied for seventh in team history in wins, ranks seventh in innings pitched, tenth in complete games and tenth in shutouts. Sewell went 6-1, 3.91 in six starts and 22 relief appearances in 1949, throwing a total of 76 innings. He was going to become a coach with the Pirates in 1948, but felt good in the spring and ended up pitching two more seasons. At the same time of his release, they also announced that he had a coaching position in the system.
The Pirates also released veteran outfielder Dixie Walker that same day. He was a great player just like Sewell, except Walker spent the majority of his career elsewhere. He played for the 1948-49 Pirates to end his big league time, combining to hit .306 in 217 games, with 65 runs, 23 doubles, three homers and 72 RBIs during his time in Pittsburgh. He was a career .306 hitter in 1,905 games, who was elected to five All-Star games. Walker and Sewell have a rare baseball family connection. Each of them came from a family with four big league players.
As a side note, both of these transactions are listed as happening on October 1st online, but both players were released the day after the Pirates wrapped up their season on October 2nd.