One event and seven former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, including one with an extremely significant event in team history.
On this date in 1988, Willie Stargell was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot. He was named on 352 of the 427 ballots, while a total of least 321 (75%) votes were necessary for election. Stargell was the only player voted in that year, but five others on the ballot eventually got in, one of them being Bill Mazeroski, who finished seventh with 33.5% of the votes. Stargell played 21 seasons in a Pittsburgh Pirates uniform, the only team he played for during his career. He was a .282 career hitter with 475 homers and 1,540 RBIs. In Pirates history he ranks third in games played, fifth in runs, seventh in hits, fourth in doubles and first in RBIs, homers and walks.
Bill Madlock, third baseman for the 1979-85 Pirates. He was a four-time National League batting champ, winning two of those titles before joining the Pirates. He would win his third batting title with a .341 mark in 1981, and then pick up his fourth title when he had a .323 average two years later. Madlock was a .305 hitter in 1,806 games over his 15-year career, with 163 homers and 174 steals. He batted .375 with five walks during the 1979 World Series. He is the only Hall of Fame-eligible player with four batting titles who isn’t in the Hall. Madlock turns 72 today.
Madlock was originally drafted in the 11th round of the 1969 draft by the St Louis Cardinals out of high school at 18 years old. He wouldn’t sign until the next season when the Washington Senators took him in the fifth round of the January draft, after he attended Southeastern Illinois College. Madlock remained with the franchise through their move to Texas, before the Rangers traded him to the Chicago Cubs in 1973 as part of a package to acquire Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins. Madlock debuted in pro ball with Geneva of the New York-Penn League in 1970, where he had a .269 average, with 44 runs, six homers, 29 RBIs, 16 steals and a .738 OPS in 66 games. He jumped to Pittsfield of the Double-A Eastern League in 1971, where he hit just .234 in 112 games, with 62 runs, 14 doubles, ten homers, 37 RBIs, 12 steals, 53 walks and a .701 OPS. He split the 1972 season between Pittsfield and Triple-A Denver of the American Association, combining to hit .292 in 68 games, with 36 runs, 24 extra-base hits and 35 RBIs. He missed a little time in 1971 and 1972 due to military commitments. He spent the 1973 season with Spokane of the Pacific Coast League, as the Rangers changed their Triple-A affiliate from Denver. Madlock hit .338 in 123 games that year, with 119 runs, 22 doubles, 22 homers, 90 RBIs, 17 steals, 56 walks and a .952 OPS.
Madlock debuted with the Rangers in early September of 1973, and he hit .351/.412/.533 in 21 games, with 16 runs, nine extra-base hits and five RBIs. After the trade to the Cubs, he batted .313 in 128 games in 1974, earning him a third place finish in the Rookie of the Year voting. He scored 65 runs that year, while collecting 21 doubles, nine homers and 54 RBIs, on his way to an .815 OPS. There was no sophomore slump for Madlock. He followed up that strong rookie season by winning back-to-back batting titles over the next two years. Madlock hit .354 in 1975, with 77 runs, 29 doubles, seven homers, 64 RBIs and an .881 OPS in 130 games. He made his first All-Star appearance that year, and he finished 12th in the NL MVP voting. He hit .339 during the 1976 season to pick up his second batting title. He finished sixth in MVP voting, though he didn’t make the All-Star team. Madlock had 36 doubles, 15 homers, 84 RBIs, 56 walks and a .912 OPS, which were all career best marks up to that point. Despite the three-year run of success, the Cubs moved on from him over the 1976-77 off-season, when they were able to acquire perennial All-Star outfielder Bobby Murcer. Madlock was traded to the San Francisco Giants just prior to the start of Spring Training in 1977.
Madlock saw his batting average drop while with the Giants, though he still topped the .300 mark each full season. He played 140 games in 1977, hitting for a .302 average, with 70 runs, 28 doubles, 12 homers, 46 RBIs and a .785 OPS, which was 127 points lower than his mark with the 1976 Cubs. He hit .309 in 122 games during the 1978 season, with 76 runs, 26 doubles, 15 homers, 16 steals, 48 walks and an .859 OPS. He was batting just .261/.309/.398 in 69 games for the 1979 Giants, when he was acquired by the Pirates in a six-player deal on June 28, 1979. Madlock immediately hit with the Pirates, finishing the rest of the season with a .328 average, 48 runs, 27 extra-base hits, 44 RBIs and 21 stolen bases in 85 games. He finished the year with 32 steals, the only time he topped 20 in a season. He batted .250 with a homer in the NLCS, before his strong performance in the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles.
Madlock had a bit of a rough go during the 1980 season, finishing with a .277 average and a .739 OPS in 137 games. He had 62 runs, 22 doubles, ten homers, 53 RBIs, 16 steals and a .740 OPS. He bounced back with his third batting title during the strike-shortened 1981 season. He led the league with his .341 average, to go along with 35 runs, 23 doubles, six homers, 45 RBIs, 18 steals and a .907 OPS. He made his second All-Star appearance that year, and he got some mild MVP support, finishing 17th in the voting. He would get MVP votes during each of the 1981-83 seasons. Madlock batted .319 in 154 games during the 1982 season, finishing with career highs of 92 runs, 19 homers and 95 RBIs, as well as 33 doubles, 18 steals and an .856 OPS. He finished 11th in the MVP voting that season. He made his third All-Star appearance during the 1983 season, when he won the batting title with a .323 average. He had 68 runs scored, 21 doubles, 12 homers, 68 RBIs, 49 walks and an .830 OPS, leading to an eighth place finish in the MVP race. Madlock slumped badly in 1984, dropping down to a .620 OPS in 103 games. He finished the year with a .253 average, 20 extra-base hits and 44 RBIs. He wasn’t doing much better in 1985, when the Pirates decided to trade him to the Los Angeles Dodgers for RJ Reynolds, Sid Bream and Cecil Espy. Madlock flipped a switch with his new team, reminiscent of his 1979 time with the Pirates. Before the deal, he was hitting .251/.323/.388 in 110 games, with 23 doubles and 11 homers. In 34 games with the 1985 Dodgers, he put up a .360 average, with 20 runs and 15 RBIs. He then batted .333 during the six-game playoff loss to the St Louis Cardinals.
Madlock had a solid season with the 1986 Dodgers, hitting .280 in 111 games, with 17 doubles, ten homers, 60 RBIs and a .739 OPS. He started off 1987 poorly, then he was released in late May with a .180/.265/.344 slash line in 21 games. He finished the year with the Detroit Tigers, when he batted .279 in 87 games, with 56 runs, 17 doubles, 14 homers, 50 RBIs and an .811 OPS. He reached the 2,000 hit mark late in his time with the Tigers. Madlock spent his final season of pro ball (1988) playing in Japan, where he had a .263 average and a .782 OPS in 123 games. He had a .297 average in 801 games for Pittsburgh, with 392 runs, 155 doubles, 68 homers, and 390 RBIs. He had 82 steals and more walks (275) than strikeouts (206). During his big league career, he batted .305 in 1,806 games, with 920 runs, 2,008 hits, 348 doubles, 163 homers, 880 RBIs and 174 steals.
Ivan Nova, pitcher for the 2016-18 Pirates. He was originally signed at 17 years old by the Yankees as an international amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2004. He debuted in pro ball in 2006 in the Gulf Coast League, where he went 3-0, 2.72 in 43 innings, with seven walks and 36 strikeouts. Nova moved up to Low-A Charleston of the South Atlantic League in 2007, where he went 6-8, 4.98 in 21 starts and 99.1 innings pitched. He went 8-13, 4.36, with 109 strikeouts over 148.2 innings in 2008, while playing for Tampa in the pitcher-friendly High-A Florida State League. The Yankees briefly lost him in the 2008-09 off-season in the Rule 5 draft to the San Diego Padres, but he was returned before making his big league debut. Nova spent the 2009 season making 12 starts with Double-A Trenton of the Eastern League and 12 more for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre of the International League. He went 6-8, 3.86, with 90 strikeouts in 139.1 innings that year, with an ERA that nearly doubled in Triple-A. He put up great results that 2009-10 off-season in the Dominican, with a 1.05 ERA in 25.2 innings, then improved greatly with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2010, going 12-3, 2.86 in 145 innings, with 115 strikeouts.
Nova’s first big league game came in May of 2010, but a majority of his time that year in the majors came later in the year. He pitched a total of 42 innings for the 2010 Yankees over seven starts and three relief appearances. He had a 4.50 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP. He moved into their rotation for almost all of 2011, and remained there until his trade to the Pirates five years later. He went 16-4, 3.70 in 165.1 innings in 2011, which led to a fourth place finish in the Rookie of the Year voting. Nova compiled a 12-8, 5.02 record in 28 starts during the 2012 season, with a career high 153 strikeouts in 170.1 innings. His best season according to WAR was 2013 when he went 9-6, 3.10, with 116 strikeouts in 139.1 innings, which led to 3.4 WAR. He had Tommy John surgery after struggling (8.27 ERA) through four starts in 2014. Due to the timing of the injury/surgery, he missed the start of 2015, and needed three rehab appearances before returning to the majors. He went 6-11, 5.07 in 94 innings over 17 starts for the 2015 Yankees, getting decisions in every outing that year. He was acquired by the Pirates from the New York Yankees at the 2016 trade deadline for Tito Polo and Stephen Tarpley. At the time of the deal, Nova had a 7-6, 4.90 record in 97.1 innings over 15 starts and six relief outings.
Nova went 5-2, 3.06 in 64.2 innings over 11 starts for the Pirates in 2016, then became a free agent after the season. Before the calendar flipped to 2017, the Pirates re-signed him to a three-year deal. He went 11-14, 4.14, with a 1.28 WHIP and 131 strikeouts in a career high 187 innings during the 2017 season. He made 31 starts that year, and his two complete games led the league (seriously). That was followed up by a 9-9, 4.19 record in 161 innings over 29 starts in 2018. He matched his 1.28 WHIP from the previous season, and he finished with 114 strikeouts. The Pirates traded Nova to the Chicago White Sox during the 2018-19 off-season for minor league pitcher Yoldi Rosario. Nova went 11-12, 4.72 in 187 innings over 34 starts during his only season in Chicago, matching his 114 strikeouts from the previous season. He led the American League in both starts and hit allowed (225). Nova signed with the Detroit Tigers for the shortened 2020 season and had four rough starts, going 1-1, 8.53 in 19 innings. He became a free agent after the season and did not sign for 2021, though he did participate in winter ball in the Dominican over the 2021-22 off-season. In December of 2021, he signed to play in Korea, where he went 3-4, 6.50 in 12 starts. Nova had a 3.76 ERA over seven starts in the Dominican winter league during the 2022-23 off-season. He has a 90-77, 4.38 record in 1,347.2 innings over 227 starts and 13 relief appearances in 11 seasons in the majors. In 2 1/2 seasons with the Pirates, he went 25-25, 3.99 in 71 starts. He threw five complete games and one shutout for Pittsburgh, compiling 412.2 innings. Nova has thrown a total of three shutouts in his career, with two coming in 2013, and one while he was with the Pirates on May 29, 2017 against the Miami Marlins.
Rich Loiselle, relief pitcher who spent his entire big league career with the Pirates, playing for the team from 1996 until 2001. He was a 38th round draft pick in 1991 by the San Diego Padres at 19 years old, coming out of Odessa College in Texas. He played that 1991 season in the rookie level Arizona League, where he had 3.52 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 61.1 innings over 12 starts. Loiselle spent the 1992 season in Low-A with Charleston of the South Atlantic League. He went 4-8, 3.71 in 97 innings over 19 starts, with 64 strikeouts and a 1.39 WHIP. The next season was split between Waterloo of the Class-A Midwest League, and Rancho Cucamonga of the High-A California League. He combined to go 6-13, 5.01, with 100 strikeouts and a 1.60 WHIP in 142 innings over 24 starts, with much better results at the lower level, though the California League was known for offense. Loiselle spent the entire 1994 season with Rancho Cucamonga, going 9-10, 3.96 in 156.2 innings over 27 starts, with 120 strikeouts.
Loiselle remained with the Padres through the middle of 1995, posting a 3.55 ERA in 13 starts for Double-A Memphis of the Southern League, followed by a 7.24 ERA in 27.1 innings for Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League. He was traded to the Houston Astros near the end of the season and pitched 10.1 innings for their Triple-A team in Tuscon of the Pacific Coast League. Between all three stops that season, he went 8-5, 4.33, with 68 strikeouts in 116.1 innings. He spent a year and four days in the Houston organization before the Pirates picked him up in a trade on July 23, 1996, in exchange for veteran pitcher Danny Darwin. Loiselle at the time of the deal had a 3.47 ERA in 98.2 innings over 16 starts with Double-A Jackson of the Texas League, as well as a 2.43 ERA in 33.1 innings over five starts with Tuscon. He was strictly a starter as he was coming up through the minors, but he didn’t last long in that role with the Pirates. He reported to Triple-A Calgary of the Pacific Coast League after the trade, where he had a 4.09 ERA in 50.2 innings over eight starts. He made his MLB debut that September, and in five games (three starts) he had a 3.05 ERA in 20.2 innings. Between all four stops that year, he threw over 200 innings. He made his only three big league starts that season.
Loiselle moved to the bullpen for good during the 1997 season. He became the Pirates closer by May, saving 29 games, while posting a 3.10 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 72.2 innings over 72 outings. He had another 19 saves in 1998, finishing with a 3.44 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 55 innings and 54 appearances. His stats dropped off in the second half of that season, and he was removed from the closer role. He went on the disabled list in late July with what was called a lower back strain, but he spent most of that missed time in Nashville of the Pacific Coast League, where he regained some lost velocity from earlier in the season. Loiselle pitched 13 games in 1999 before injuring his elbow in a game on May 7th, which cost him the rest of the season. At the time he had a 5.28 ERA in 15.1 innings. The Pirates tried to rehab an elbow injury, but they eventually decided in early July to have surgery.
Loiselle returned to the Pirates in late May of 2000. He posted a 5.10 ERA in 42.1 innings over 40 games. He missed time in the middle of the season due to a shoulder injury, which required rehab work. Including his early season rehab work as he recovered from elbow surgery, he ended up pitching a total of 18 minor league games that year. He struggled again in 2001, and began shuttling between Nashville and Pittsburgh, finishing with an 11.50 ERA in 18 Major League games. He didn’t do much better with Nashville, posting a 6.15 ERA in 33.2 innings, with more walks (23) than strikeouts (18). He became a free agent after the season and signed with the St Louis Cardinals, though he was released during Spring Training of 2002. He signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2003, but never appeared in a game for them at any level. His final game with the Pirates on October 6, 2001 was also his final game as a pro. Loiselle had a career 9-18, 4.38 record in 224 innings over 202 games, while picking up 49 saves.
Bobby Crosby, infielder for the 2010 Pirates. He was a first round draft pick out of Cal State in 2001, taken 25th overall by the A’s. He was originally drafted in the 34th round out of high school three years earlier by the Los Angeles Angels, but he chose the college route and it paid off. Crosby was the American League Rookie of the Year in 2004, spending seven seasons in Oakland before joining the Pirates. He played just 11 games in the minors during his signing year, starting in High-A ball with Modesto of the California League, where he hit .395 in 38 at-bats. He finished the 2002 season in Double-A, splitting the year between Modesto and Midland of the Double-A Texas League. Crosby hit .295 in 132 games, with 78 runs, 33 doubles, nine homers, 69 RBIs, 14 steals, 52 walks and a .789 OPS. He hit .309 in 2003, with 32 doubles, 22 homers, 90 RBIs, 63 walks, 24 stolen bases and a .939 OPS in 127 games for Sacramento of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. That performance resulted in a September call-up to the A’s. He played 11 games for the 2003 A’s, and failed to get a hit in 12 at-bats during his first big league trial. That poor start was not a sign of things to come. Crosby hit just .239 as a rookie in 2004, but he won the Rookie of the Year award thanks to putting up 70 runs, 34 doubles, 22 homers, 64 RBIs, 58 walks and a .745 OPS, to go along with providing above average defense. He did better the next season at the plate, but it also marked a stretch of him being unable to play a full season. From 2005 until 2007, he topped out at 96 games played in a season. Crosby had an .802 OPS in 2005, but it dropped to .636 in 2006 and then down to .619 in 2007.
Crosby hit .276 in 84 games in 2005, with 66 runs, 25 doubles, nine homers and 38 RBIs. That season saw him suffer a hand injury in Spring Training, followed by a rib fracture just a few games into the season. An Ankle injury in August landed him on the disabled list for three weeks. The next year saw him hit .229 in 96 games, with 42 runs, 12 doubles, nine homers and 40 RBIs. A back injury limited him to four games over the final 57 games of the season. He hit .226 over 93 games in 2007, with 40 runs, 16 doubles, eight homers, 31 RBIs and a career high ten steals. A fractured left hand ended his season on July 24th that year. He finally played a full season in 2008, though the hitting stats didn’t recover to 2004-05 standards. Crosby batted .237 in 145 games that season, with 66 runs scored, seven homers and 61 RBIs. He collected a career high 39 doubles, but he finished with a .645 OPS. After batting .223/.295/.357 with six homers and 29 RBIs in 97 games in a utility role in 2009, the A’s let him go via free agency. He became a free agent on November 5th and signed with the Pirates five weeks later.
Crosby played half of a season for the Pirates before being dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a five-player/cash deal on July 31, 2010. He hit .224 for the Pirates, with nine runs, eight doubles, one homer, 11 RBIs and a .596 OPS before the trade. He got starts at all four infield spots, seeing his most time at shortstop. He hit .167/.214/.333 in nine games with Arizona, before being released 24 days after the trade. Crosby finished his big league career with Arizona in 2010, but he attempted a comeback in 2013 with the Milwaukee Brewers, which ended with him being released during Spring Training. In his eight-year big league career, he hit .236/.304/.372 in 747 games, with 329 runs, 146 doubles, 62 homers, 276 RBIs and 34 steals. His father Ed Crosby played six seasons in the majors with three different teams during the 1970s.
Ed Stevens, first baseman for the 1948-50 Pirates. Known as “Big Ed”, he signed his first pro contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1941 when he was 16 years old. He hit .271 in 117 games that year, with 24 doubles, six triples and 13 homers in Class-D ball (lowest level at the time), playing with Big Spring of the West Texas-New Mexico League. He remained in Class-D ball in 1942, and had a huge season, batting .330 in 110 games, with 28 doubles, 12 triples and 16 homers. Part of the year was spent in the same league with a team from Lamesa, while he also played 46 games for Johnstown of the Pennsylvania State League. He managed to avoid service during WWII, but an injury cost him the entire 1943 season. He was skipped to Montreal of the Double-A International League (highest level at the time) when he returned in 1944, which was a huge jump at the time. He did well that year, batting .271 in 153 games, with 77 runs, 37 doubles, 16 homers, 102 RBIs, 80 walks and an .807 OPS. Stevens repeated the level to start the 1945 season, before he got promoted to the majors in July. He hit .309 with Montreal, collecting 64 runs, 19 doubles, 19 homers, 95 RBIs, 72 walks and a .943 OPS in 110 games. He made it to the Dodgers by age 20, hitting .274 during his rookie season, with 29 runs, 21 extra-base hits, 29 RBIs, 32 walks and an .809 OPS. Stevens played 103 games for the Dodgers in 1946, putting up a .242 average, with 34 runs, 13 doubles, seven triples, ten homers, 60 RBIs and a .729 OPS.
With all of the talent returning to the majors from the war effort by 1947, Stevens spent nearly the entire season back in Montreal (then a Triple-A team), where he hit .290 in 133 games, with 89 runs, 22 doubles, 27 homers, 108 RBIs, 82 walks and a .937 OPS. He played just five games all year for the Dodgers, seeing one game in April and four in September. He went 2-for-13 with a double and a walk. The Pirates purchased Stevens from the Dodgers in November of 1947. He would play 128 games for Pittsburgh in 1948, hitting .254 that year, with 47 runs, 19 doubles, ten homers, 69 RBIs and a .710 OPS, while leading all National League first baseman in fielding percentage. Stevens was with the Pirates all year in 1949, though he played just 67 games. He had a .262 average, with 22 runs, ten doubles, four homers and 32 RBIs. His OPS was just three points lower than in 1948, though he did a better job of getting on base in 1949, albeit with lower power numbers. Stevens then spent most of the following year in the minors with Indianapolis of the Triple-A American Association, getting a brief September call-up, which would end up being his last appearance in the majors. He batted .196/.260/.239 in 50 plate appearances over 17 games for the 1950 Pirates, while putting up a .263 average and a .747 OPS in 61 games that year for Indianapolis. Stevens went to Spring Training with the 1951 Pirates, but he was optioned to Indianapolis on March 21st, officially ending his time with the club. He batted .261 in 152 games for Indianapolis in 1951, finishing with 55 runs, 22 doubles, seven triples, 12 homers, 91 RBIs and a .707 OPS.
Stevens played minor league ball until 1961, hitting over 250 homers during his 16-year career. He also drove in nearly 1,200 runs in pro ball, while playing a total of 2,240 games. The 1952-56 seasons were spent with Toronto of the International League. He put up big numbers in 1952, hitting .278 in 155 games, with 87 runs, 31 doubles, seven triples, 26 homers, 113 RBIs and an .865 OPS. He batted .281 in 1953, with 82 runs, 20 doubles, 19 homers, 92 RBIs and an .816 OPS in 151 games. Stevens hit .292 in 155 games during the 1954 season, finishing with 99 runs, 24 doubles, 27 homers, 113 RBIs, 85 walks and an .886 OPS. He had a .275 average and a .751 OPS over 66 games in 1955. He had a .247 average in 1956, collecting 65 runs, 12 doubles, 21 homers and 73 RBIs in 140 games. After leaving Toronto, he played with six teams over his final four seasons. The 1957 season was split between Charleston of the American Association and Rochester of the International League. He hit .240 that year in 145 games, with 71 runs, 25 doubles, 28 homers, 70 RBIs and a .770 OPS.
Stevens played the entire 1958 season with Rochester, hitting .263 in 123 games, with 54 runs, 23 doubles, 14 homers and 47 RBIs. He split 1959 between Dallas of the American Association, and Atlanta and Chattanooga of the Double-A Southern Association. He batted .239 in 77 games that year, with 28 runs, 17 doubles, five homers and 32 RBIs. He played his final 17 games with Mobile of the Southern Association in 1961, putting up a .273 average and an .801 OPS during that limited time. Stevens batted .253 for the Pirates, with 71 runs, 31 doubles, 14 homers and 104 RBIs in 212 games. He hit .252/.330/.424 in 163 games with the Dodgers, and he finished with a .252 career average. He became a full-time scout after his playing career ended.
Tom Kinslow, catcher for the 1895 Pirates. He had played in the majors as early as 1886, but he got his first real chance in 1890 when the Player’s League was formed. He debuted in pro ball in the majors at 20 years old. His big league career started with him playing five games total over the 1886-87 seasons for two different teams. He saw three games with the 1886 Washington Nationals of the National League and two games with the New York Metropolitans of the American Association in 1887. He went 2-for-8 with an RBI for Washington, and 0-for-6 with New York. Kinslow spent the rest of the 1887 season with the Allentown Peanut Eaters of the Pennsylvania State League, where he hit .377 in 36 games, with 45 runs, seven doubles and three steals. He caught for London of the International Association in 1888, where he batted .200 in 81 games, with 46 runs, 12 doubles, six triples and 16 steals. London moved to the International League in 1889. Kinslow remained with the club, hitting .343 that year, with 45 runs, 21 extra-base hits and nine steals in 72 games. That performance led to him getting a job with the Brooklyn Ward’s Wonders of the Player’s League, where he hit .264 in 64 games, with 30 runs, 21 extra-base hits, 46 RBIs and a .708 OPS. When the league ceased operations after one season, he followed his manager (Hall of Famer John Ward) from the Player’s League to the National League, staying in the same city to play for the Brooklyn Grooms.
Kinslow hit .237 over 61 games in 1891, with 22 runs, six extra-base hits (all doubles), 33 RBIs and a .529 OPS. He had a solid season at the plate in 1892, batting .305 in 66 games, with 37 runs, 19 extra-base hits (11 triples), 40 RBIs and a career best .785 OPS. He hit .244 over 78 games in 1893, with 38 runs, 16 extra-base hits, 45 RBIs and a .605 OPS. After a down year at the plate, he returned to form in 1894 to put up very similar numbers to 1892. It was a huge year for offense in baseball, but it was still a nice bounce back season because that offensive explosion started in 1893, then peaked in 1894. He had a .305 average during that 1894 season, with 39 runs, 13 extra-base hits, 41 RBIs and a .770 OPS. Those games played totals from that five-year run appear to be small, but many catchers during that era only worked with certain pitchers, which in turn gave them a chance to rest from the grueling work behind the plate in the 1890s, when the equipment paled in comparison to what is in use today. The best athletes/hitters among catchers back then usually saw work at other positions often to keep them in the lineup.
In January of 1895, the Pirates traded pitcher Ad Gumbert to Brooklyn in exchange for Kinslow. The trade didn’t work out well for either team. Gumbert had two losing seasons in Brooklyn, and Kinslow lasted just 19 games in Pittsburgh, in which he hit .226/.250/.258 in 67 plate appearances. He also gave up 33 steals (in 44 attempts) over his 18 games caught. At the time of the trade, Pirates manager Connie Mack said that he considered Kinslow to be the best catcher in the league, and he would be needed with the young pitching staff for the Pirates. However, Kinslow got off to a slow start and then Mack started catching more often. On June 28, 1895, Kinslow was released unconditionally, which was odd for the time because most teams would release a player on ten days notice, then get some type of return for the player, even if it was a sale to a minor league team. He played two more seasons in the majors, seeing a combined 25 games for three different teams. He played eight games for Louisville in 1896, three games with the Washington Senators in 1898 (not the same franchise as his earlier Washington time), and 14 games for the 1898 St Louis Browns. He had a .668 OPS in eight games with Louisville. He joined the team in early June, and was supposed to stay the entire year, but they let him go five weeks later. He signed to play with Columbus of the Class-A Western League in 1897, but he didn’t play that season. He went 1-for-9 with a single in his three games with Washington, then had a .668 OPS in his 14 games with St Louis. Kinslow played for eight teams total in three different Major Leagues during his ten seasons in the majors. He was a .266 hitter in 380 games, with 186 runs scored, 40 doubles, 29 triples, 12 homers and 222 RBIs. He had two seasons in which he collected more triples than doubles.
Ed Swartwood, outfielder/first baseman for the 1882-84 Pittsburgh Alleghenys and 1892 Pirates. He played independent ball from 1878 until 1881, when purely by chance he got to play an MLB game at 22 years old with the Buffalo Bisons of the National League. Swartwood’s team (Akron) played an exhibition game against Buffalo on an off-day and won 9-4. Hall of Famer Pud Galvin made the start against Akron and Swartwood finished with two hits. After the game, two Bisons players had to leave the team for personal reasons, one being Galvin, who had to attend to his sick wife. Buffalo sent a telegraph back to Akron and picked up Swartwood and teammate Blondie Purcell for the day to play against Cleveland. Swartwood went 1-for-3 with a walk in his only game, while Purcell ended up sticking with Buffalo for the rest of the season. Swartwood rejoined his minor league team after that one big league game, but it took an increase in salary for him not to sign with Buffalo for the remainder of the season. The American Association was formed for the 1882 season as a rival Major League to the National League. Swartwood played throughout the winter in the south with a team from Louisville called the Eclipse, and in mid-November it was announced that he would sign with Pittsburgh for the upcoming season. He hit .331 that first year with Pittsburgh in 77 games. He finished with 87 runs, 33 extra-base hits and an .861 OPS. That run total, along with his 18 doubles, led the American Association during the league’s inaugural 80-game schedule. He’s best known now as being the first batter in Pittsburgh Pirates franchise history, batting lead-off on Opening Day (May 2, 1882). The American Association schedule expanded to 98 games during the following year and Swartwood would lead the league with 147 hits, an .869 OPS and a .357 average, winning the first batting title in franchise history. He scored 86 runs and had 35 extra-base hits in 94 games.
After hitting .288 in 1884, with 77 runs, 25 extra-base hits and a .731 OPS in 102 games, the Alleghenys sold Swartwood to the Brooklyn Grays. The move was made necessary by the fact that Swartwood had said he was going to sign with a National League team, so Pittsburgh was forced to sell/trade him or risk losing him for nothing. Despite the fact that Brooklyn was an American Association team, Swartwood remained in the league and played for the Grays for three seasons. He never quite approaching his 1882-83 numbers, hitting .268 in 312 games over those three seasons. He batted .266 in 99 games in 1885, with 80 runs, 17 extra-base hits, 49 RBIs and a .665 OPS. His best season with Brooklyn was 1886, when he led the league with 70 walks, and he scored 95 runs. He batted .280 in 122 games that year, with 26 extra-base hits, 58 RBIs, 37 steals and a .746 OPS. Swartwood hit .253 in 91 games during the 1887 season, with 72 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 54 RBIs, 29 steals and a .687 OPS. After the 1887 season, Swartwood played two seasons in the minors with a team from Hamilton (Ontario), first in the International Association in 1888, then in the International League in 1889. He batted .297 in 109 games in 1888, with 81 runs, 25 doubles, eight triples and 73 steals. That was followed by a .283 average in 1889, with 69 runs, 34 extra-base hits and 36 steals in 105 games.
He reappeared in the majors in 1890, playing in the American Association when the league’s talent was watered down due to the Player’s League being a third Major League in existence. Despite hitting .327 in 1890, with 106 runs, 37 extra-base hits, 64 RBIs, 80 walks and an .887 OPS for the Toledo Maumees, he was back in the minors for 1891 after the Player’s League ceased operations. Part of the reason for the return to the minors was that the Toledo franchise lasted just one year. Swartwood spent the 1891 season with Sioux City of the Western League, where he hit .286 in 111 games, with 94 runs, 38 extra-base hits and 38 steals. He then started the 1892 season with the Pirates. Sioux City’s manager was Al Buckenberger, who became the manager of the Pirates during the winter of 1891-92. He signed Swartwood in November of 1891 to join him in Pittsburgh. Their time together didn’t last long in the majors. Swartwood hit .238 in 13 games, with eight runs, 13 walks and a .680 OPS, before the Pirates released him on May 26th to help cut team expenses. He went back to the minors and played there until the end of the 1893 season, but an arm injury (suffered while with the Pirates) and illness limited his effectiveness during that time.
Swartwood played 94 games for Rochester of the Eastern League after being let go by the Pirates. He also played six games that year with Providence of the Eastern League. He hit .307 that year, with 77 runs, 26 extra-base hits and 27 steals. He finished up with Providence in 1893, batting .314 in 39 games, with 40 runs, 17 extra-base hits and 18 steals. Swartwood umpired off and on in the minors for the next ten years before retiring from baseball. He was a .322 hitters in 286 games with the Alleghenys/Pirates. In 725 big league games, he finished with a .300 average, 608 runs, 120 doubles, 63 triples and 14 homers. His full RBI and stolen base records are unavailable. His actual first name was Cyrus, but he went by his middle name.