Nine former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date.
Adrian Brown, outfielder for the 1997-2002 Pirates. As a low draft pick (48th round in 1992) out of high school, he moved slowly through the minors, not making it to Double-A until the middle of his fifth season in pro ball. Brown started off in the Gulf Coast League in 1992 at 18 years old, where he hit .256 in 39 games, with 11 runs, four extra-base hits, 12 RBIs and eight steals, while finishing with no homers and no walks in 123 plate appearances. He moved up to Lethbridge of the Pioneer League in 1993, on loan to an independent team, where he batted .266 in 69 games, with 47 runs, 24 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs, 22 steals and a .723 OPS. He played for Low-A Augusta of the South Atlantic League in 1994, hitting .260 in 79 games, with 41 runs, 17 doubles, 18 RBIs, 19 steals and a .623 OPS. Brown split the 1995 season between Augusta and Lynchburg of the High-A Carolina League. He hit .275 in 130 games, with 94 runs, 31 extra-base hits, 45 RBIs, 36 steals (in 56 attempts) and a .704 OPS, with significantly better results at the lower level. The 1996 season was split between Lynchburg and Double-A Carolina of the Southern League. He did well at both levels, but he was slightly better at the lower level. He combined to hit .306 in 136 games, with 87 runs, 33 extra-base hits, 50 RBIs, a .755 OPS and 45 steals in 65 attempts. Brown batted .303 with an .816 OPS in 37 games with Carolina in early 1997, then spent the rest of the year split between Calgary of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, and his first chance at the majors.
The Pirates called up Brown briefly in late May of 1997, but he struggled and was returned to the minors until September. He batted .190/.273/.252 in 48 games during his rookie season, with 17 runs, six doubles, one homer, ten RBIs and eight stolen bases. He hit .319 in 62 games with Calgary that year, finishing with 53 runs, 20 steals and a .762 OPS. Brown returned to Triple-A (affiliate moved to Nashville of the Pacific Coast League) until August of 1998, putting up a .289 average, with 58 runs, 20 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs, 25 steals and a .735 OPS. He then hit .283/.323/.322 in 41 games with the Pirates, helping him earn a job for the next season. He was on the Opening Day roster in 1999, but began the year slowly by hitting .178 through 24 games. He then spent a month down in Nashville before coming back to finish the year. He had a .321 average and an .844 OPS over 17 games with Nashville. Brown batted .270 in 116 games for the Pirates that season, finishing with 34 runs, five doubles, four homers, 17 RBIs, five steals and a .727 OPS. Brown had his best season in the majors in 2000, hitting .315 in 104 games, with 64 runs scored, 18 doubles, 28 RBIs, 13 stolen bases and an .805 OPS. He seemed primed to have a big season in 2001, but an injured shoulder caused him to miss all but eight MLB games and 15 rehab games in the minors. He hit .194/.265/.290 in 34 plate appearances for the Pirates that year.
Brown hit .337/.409/.435 in 51 games with Nashville in 2002, but his slash line was just .216/.284/.298 in 91 games with the Pirates that year. He scored 36 runs and stole 22 bases during his short time in Nashville, then finished with 20 runs and ten steals with the Pirates. Brown was release at the end of the 2002 season. He signed four weeks later with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as a free agent. Just five weeks later, the Boston Red Sox selected him in the Rule 5 draft. He didn’t stick with the Red Sox, getting returned to Tampa on March 23, 2003, before ending up back with Boston after the Devil Rays released him just a few days later. Brown saw time in the majors with the 2003 Red Sox, the 2004 Kansas City Royals and 2006 Texas Rangers after he left Pittsburgh. He went 3-for-15 in nine games for Boston, with two runs, an RBI, two steals and a walk. That year was mostly spent with Pawtucket of the Triple-A International League, where he batted .282 in 122 games, with 81 runs, 21 extra-base hits, 32 RBIs, 34 steals and a .706 OPS. He went 3-for-11, with three singles in five games for the 2004 Royals. He spent the majority of that year with Omaha of the Pacific Coast League, hitting .266 in 114 games, with 69 runs, 31 extra-base hits, 51 RBIs, 28 steals, 57 walks and a .730 OPS. All of 2005 was spent in Omaha, where he finished with a .273 average, 103 runs, 28 doubles, eight triples, nine homers, 49 RBIs, 33 steals, 74 walks and a .763 OPS in 139 games.
Brown had a .194/.231/.222 slash line in 40 plate appearances over 25 games with the 2006 Rangers. He played 36 games that year with Oklahoma City of the Pacific Coast League, where he had a .295 average and a .748 OPS. He spent a total of 15 years in pro ball, and played in the minors during every seasons, playing a total of 1,141 minor league games and 447 in the majors. If you combined all of his pro stats, he had over 1,500 hits, with 917 runs scored and 371 stolen bases. He was a .258 hitter in the majors, which included a .261 mark during his time in Pittsburgh. He played 409 games with the Pirates, collecting 158 runs, 43 doubles, 11 homers, 83 RBIs and 42 steals. He had just 67 big league plate appearances after he left Pittsburgh.
Humberto Cota, catcher for the 2001-07 Pirates. He was originally signed as an amateur free agent out of Mexico by the Atlanta Braves in December of 1995, then got released 13 months later without playing a game in their system. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays picked him up as a minor league free agent in early 1997. He debuted in pro ball in the Gulf Coast League that year at 18 years old. He hit .241 in 44 games, with 14 runs, nine extra-base hits, 20 RBIs and a .679 OPS. He also went 2-for-9 with two RBIs in three games for Hudson Valley of the short-season New York-Penn League. The 1998 season was spent with Princeton of the short-season Appalachian League, where he hit .310 in 67 games, with 48 runs, 13 doubles, 15 homers, 61 RBIs and a .978 OPS. Cota spent the first three months of the 1999 season with Charleston of the Low-A South Atlantic League, hitting .280 in 85 games, with 42 runs, 31 extra-base hits, 61 RBIs and a .748 OPS. The Rays traded him to the Pirates on July 23, 1999 in the Joe Oliver/Jose Guillen deal. The Pirates needed catching help after Jason Kendall broke his ankle on July 4th, three weeks before the trade. Oliver was the big league replacement, while Cota remained in Low-A ball with Hickory of the South Atlantic League, where he had a .271 average, with 28 runs, 15 extra-base hits, 20 RBIs and a .794 OPS in 36 games after the deal. The Pirates skipped him to Double-A Altoona of the Eastern League in 2000, where he hit .261 in 112 games, with 49 runs, 20 doubles, eight homers, 44 RBIs and a .665 OPS. He moved up to Triple-A Nashville of the Pacific Coast League in 2001, where he had a big season at 22 years old. He put up a .297 average, with 61 runs, 22 doubles, 14 homers, 72 RBIs and an .829 OPS in 111 games, which led to his first taste of the majors.
Cota was a September call-up each of his first two seasons in the majors, playing a total of 14 games those years. He went 2-for-9 in seven games for the 2001 Pirates, with two singles and an RBI. Cota repeated Triple-A in 2002, hitting .267 in 118 games for Nashville, with 51 runs, 27 doubles, nine homers, 54 RBIs and a .727 OPS. He batted .294/.333/.353 during his brief big league trial that year, getting 18 plate appearances in seven games. Cota was back in Nashville at the start of 2003, where he saw a drop in his offense, but he got a better shot at the majors that year. Despite putting up a .205 average and a .654 OPS in 62 games for Nashville in 2003, he ended up playing with the Pirates from late July until mid-August. He played just ten games during that time and he 17 plate appearances. He went 4-for-16, with a double and an RBI. At this time, there were some concerns about his future with the team. He shut himself down for the season in late August due to injury concerns with his left hand, which previous had surgery. Medical results showed no damage, so the Pirates suspended him without pay. He also had no minor league options remaining at that point, so he needed to make the Opening Day roster in 2004.
Cota spent that 2004 season as the backup to Jason Kendall, receiving very little playing time throughout the season, but it was still his first full season in the majors. He hit .227/.271/.500 in 70 plate appearances over 36 games, with ten runs, five homers and eight RBIs. When Kendall was traded in the 2004-05 off-season, Cota took over his spot. He then had his best year in the majors, playing 93 games in 2005, while hitting .242 in 297 at-bats, with 29 runs, 20 doubles, seven homers, 43 RBIs and a .673 OPS. Rookie Ronny Paulino emerged in 2006, hitting .310 in 129 games, which led to him taking over the regular catcher spot. Cota batted .190/.248/.200 in 110 plate appearances over 38 games, while serving as Paulino’s backup. Cota played briefly for the Pirates in 2007, before being granted free agency at the end of the season. He played four games in April, one in late May, then split the year between Triple-A Indianapolis of the International League, and even some time in Mexico. He went 4-for-14, with a double and three RBIs for the Pirates. He also had a .678 OPS in 30 games with Indianapolis, and an .878 OPS over 51 games in Mexico.
Cota was signed by the Washington Nationals after being released by the Pirates, but they cut ties with him during Spring Training in 2008. He ended up playing in Triple-A for the Colorado Rockies in 2008, hitting .319/.343/.493 over 37 games with Colorado Springs of the Pacific Coast League, then spent most of the rest of his career playing in Mexico. The only time he spent elsewhere was seven games in Double-A for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013, though he was also a member of the Cincinnati Reds organization for a short time. He played pro ball until 2016 without making the majors again. Cota had a 1.012 OPS in 47 games over winter ball in Mexico during the 2008-09 off-season. He played summer and winter in Mexico in 2009, putting up an .850 OPS in 64 games during the summer, and a .951 OPS in 65 games during the winter. His 2010 summer/winter had similar overall results in Mexico, with slightly more playing time in the summer. Between both seasons, he had a .302 average in 137 games, with 71 runs, 26 doubles, 17 homers, 92 RBIs and an .860 OPS. He played even more in the summer in 2011, giving him a total of 147 games between the two seasons. He combined to post a .315 average, with 80 runs, 33 doubles, 21 homers, 90 RBIs, 84 walks and a .905 OPS.
Cota had an even summer/winter split in 2012, though he performed much better during the summer. He played 109 games that year, finishing with a .282 average, 50 runs, 18 doubles, ten homers, 36 RBIs and an .806 OPS. He played for Mobile of the Double-A Southern League during the 2013 season, though that amounted to a .158 OPS in seven games, as he failed to collect a hit. He did poorly in the winter as well, with a .177 average in 25 games. Cota put up a .239 average and a .718 OPS in 75 games in Mexico during the 2014 season. His winter was once again rough, with a .190 average and a .574 OPS in 27 games. He played for three different teams in Mexico during the 2015 season, finishing with a .208/.323/.335 slash line in 66 games. He played for three teams during the summer of 2016, and saw his final winter action as well. The winter time went poorly again, with a .100 average in 18 games. His summer results were odd, with a .583 OPS in 26 games with Laguna, a .714 OPS in 20 games with Monterrey, and a .909 OPS in 26 games with Reynosa. Cota played 196 games over his seven seasons in Pittsburgh, putting up a .233 average, with 48 runs, 25 doubles, 12 homers and 61 RBIs. He played a total of 1,828 games in pro ball, finishing with 197 homers and 938 RBIs.
Juan Pizarro, pitcher for the 1967-68 and 1974 Pirates. After signing with the Milwaukee Braves as a 19-year-old amateur free agent out of Puerto Rico in 1956, Pizarro debuted in the majors just one year later. That’s because his first season in pro ball was dominating, while playing with Jacksonville of the Class-A South Atlantic League. He went 23-6, 1.77 in 274 innings, with 318 strikeouts. The next highest strikeout total in the league was 139 that year. He was in the majors for all of 1957 except for five starts with Wichita of the Triple-A American Association, where he went 4-0, 4.25 in 36 innings. He debuted with the Braves in May, making ten starts and 14 relief appearances that year. He went 5-6, 4.62 in 99.1 innings. The 1958 season was split between the Braves and Wichita. He went 9-10, 2.84 in 165 innings for Wichita, where he picked up 158 strikeouts. Pizarro went 6-4, 2.70, with 84 strikeouts in 96.2 innings for the Braves, with ten starts and six relief appearances. He played briefly for Louisville of the American Association in 1959, going 4-1, 1.07, with 50 strikeouts in 42 innings over five starts. He spent the rest of that year with Milwaukee, where he had a 6-2, 3.77 record and 126 strikeouts in 133.2 innings, with 14 starts and 15 relief outings. The 1960 season was his first full year in the majors. He went 6-7, 4.55 in 114.2 innings, with 17 starts and four relief appearances. He had 88 strikeouts and a 1.54 WHIP.
Pizarro put in four seasons with the Braves, going 23-19, 3.93 in 444.1 innings. Following the 1960 season, he was traded twice on the same day, going to the Cincinnati Reds first, before being flipped to the Chicago White Sox. It turned out to be a great move for his career. From 1961 until 1964, Pizarro was selected to two All-Star teams and won 61 games for the White Sox, picking up at least 12 wins each season. He had immediate success, going 14-7, 3.05 in 194.2 innings in 1961, with a career high of 188 strikeouts, which ranked fourth in the American League. He also set a personal best with 12 complete games. Pizarro went 12-14, 3.81 in 203.1 innings during the 1962 season, finishing with 173 strikeouts, which once again ranked fourth in the league. He had the highest strikeout rate during both the 1961 and 1962 seasons. His best season was 1963 (though 1964 wasn’t far behind) when he went 16-8, 2.39 in 214.2 innings, with 163 strikeouts. Pizarro had ten complete games, three shutouts and a 1.12 WHIP. He made his first of two straight All-Star appearances that year. He had a 19-9, 2.56 record in a career high 239 innings during the 1964 season. He had 162 strikeouts, a 1.04 WHIP, and he set a personal best with four shutouts. He finished 19th in the MVP voting that year, the only time he received MVP support. He was a holdout before the 1965 season, then things did not go well for him that year. He saw limited use due to poor results early, but a late July start turned his season around, when he allowed one run over eight innings. He had a 7.20 ERA before the start, and 5-1, 2.44 record in his final 11 starts of the year. He finished with a 6-3, 3.43 record in 97 innings.
Pizarro moved to a swing role in 1966, making nine starts and 25 relief appearances. He went 8-6, 3.74 in 88.2 innings, dropping down to 42 strikeouts that year. The Pirates acquired Pizarro as part of the ill-fated Wilbur Wood deal in November of 1966. Pizarro provided the Pirates with some value as a veteran who can be used in any role, but Wood went on to become a perennial 20-game winner in Chicago. In his three seasons with the Pirates, Pizarro went 10-12, 3.55 in 69 games (11 starts). Most of those stats came during the 1967 season, when he pitched 107 innings over 50 games, including nine starts. He was 8-10, 3.95 that year, with 96 strikeouts and a 1.41 WHIP. He picked up a career high nine saves that year. Pizarro was sold to the Boston Red Sox in the middle of the 1968 season, after posting a 3.27 ERA in 11 innings over 12 appearances through late June. He was used often after the deal, compiling 107.2 innings over the final three months, finishing with a 6-8, 3.59 record. He pitched for three different teams during the 1969 season, playing six games in Boston, followed by 48 appearances for the Cleveland Indians, before finishing up with three relief appearances for the Oakland A’s. Despite all of the moving around, he had a 3.35 ERA and seven saves in 99.1 innings. He finished with 58 walks and 52 strikeouts that year. Pizarro was released by Oakland on May 15, 1970, then signed with the California Angels that same day. He got traded to the Chicago Cubs before ever playing a big league game for California, despite posting a 9-0, 3.24 record in 89 innings as a starter in Triple-A with Hawaii of the Pacific Coast League. He would remain in Chicago until being sold to the Houston Astros during the 1973 season. His big league time in 1970 consisted of 12 games with the Cubs, in which he had a 4.60 ERA in 15.2 innings. He also made five starts with Iowa of the Triple-A American Association that season.
Pizarro went 7-6, 3.46 in 101.1 innings for the 1971 Cubs, making 14 starts and two relief appearances. He had six complete games and three shutouts. Half of his season was spent with Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League, where he went 9-6, 3.61, with 116 strikeouts in 127 innings over 17 starts. He saw limited work in 1972, going 4-5, 3.94 in 59.1 innings, while never pitching in more than four games in any month. His time with the Cubs in 1973 was limited to two relief appearances, in which he allowed five runs over four innings. Pizarro had a 3.89 ERA in 180.1 innings with the Cubs, switching between starting and relieving, while shuffling between the minors and majors. He struggled in his brief time in Houston during the second half of 1973, posting a 6.56 ERA in 23.1 innings. He also made nine starts that season back in Wichita for the first time in 15 years. He went 6-1, 3.52, with 68 strikeouts in 69 innings. He was signed by the Pirates as a free agent in 1974 to help with a pennant push. After signing in late August, he went 1-1, 1.88 in 24 innings, then pitched shutout ball in his only playoff appearance. Pizarro started the 1974 season in the Mexican League, making 20 dominant starts for Cordoba, where he went 13-6, 1.57 in 161 innings, with 158 strikeouts, 15 complete games and nine shutouts. He returned there for his final two seasons of pro ball, going 14-7, 1.98 over 191 innings in 1975, followed by an 11-8, 2.64 record over 143 innings in 1976. During his pro career, he picked up 243 wins and threw over 3,500 innings total. He played 18 years in the majors, compiling a 131-105, 3.43 record in 488 games, 245 as a starter, while throwing 2,034.1 innings. He threw 79 complete games, tossed 17 shutouts and he had 28 saves. He racked up 1,522 strikeouts during his big league time. He passed away in 2021, shortly after his 84th birthday.
Felipe Montemayor, outfielder for the 1953 and 1955 Pirates. The Pirates purchased him in 1951 for $20,000 from Mexicali of the Class-C Sunset League in Mexico. At the time, he had three years of pro ball in Mexico. He debuted at 20 years old in 1948, playing his first two seasons with Monterrey of the Mexican League (no stats available). He hit .319 in 1950, with 30 doubles, 13 triples and 20 homers in 122 games for Mexicali. Montemayor spent parts of two seasons in the majors with the Pirates, and five seasons with their New Orleans affiliate in the Double-A Southern Association. With New Orleans in 1951, he hit .277 in 144 games, with 84 runs, 37 extra-base hits, 60 RBIs, 93 walks and a .795 OPS. That was followed in 1952 by a .282 average in 123 games for New Orleans, with 15 doubles, 13 triples and 11 homers. He made the Pirates Opening Day roster in 1953, but did not spend the entire season in the majors. He saw some starts early in center field, but by late April he was on the bench, playing his final game with the team that season on June 9th. He finished with a .109 average, including a 1-for-30 stretch during his final 21 games. Montemayor had five runs, four doubles, two RBIs and four walks, giving him a .391 OPS. He went to New Orleans immediately after his game on June 9th, and remained there for the rest of the 1953 season. He hit just .236 in 76 games for New Orleans, although he put up an .861 OPS, thanks to 31 extra-base hits (16 homers) and 43 walks. He also had 55 runs and 50 RBIs during his brief time.
Montemayor spent the entire 1954 season in New Orleans, where he returned to form at the plate, batting .309 in 137 games, with 96 runs, 30 doubles, six triples, 24 homers, 92 RBIs, 66 walks and a .937 OPS. That led to another Opening Day spot in 1955, though he had similar results to 1953, seeing more playing time earlier in the year, before getting optioned to Charleston of the Triple-A American Association on June 21st, which ended his big league time. He started 36 of the 64 games he played for Pittsburgh over two seasons, seeing time at all three outfield positions, as well as pinch-hitting often. Montemayor batted .173/.296/.287 during that time, with 15 runs, two homers and ten RBIs in 150 at-bats. He actually played much better during his second stint, posting a .211 average and a .689 OPS in 36 games, compared to the .391 OPS mark he had during the 1953 season. His two home runs came on the same day, during both games of a doubleheader against the St Louis Cardinals on May 1, 1955. He actually homered in an earlier game, only to have his first big league round tripper washed away by rain in the third inning of a game that was ultimately rained out before it became official.
On October 17, 1955, the Pirates traded Montemayor (and cash) to the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League for outfielder Bobby Del Greco. The Stars had a working agreement with the Pirates at the time. Just prior to the start of the 1956 season, the Hollywood returned him to the Mexican League in a deal with the Mexico City Tigers on April 11, 1956. That season in a league that was considered to be Double-A level of play, Montemayor hit .300 in 117 games, with 86 runs, 55 extra-base hits, 84 RBIs, 93 walks and a .999 OPS. He saw time back in the U.S. during the 1958-60 seasons, but most of his career after 1955 was spent back in his home country. He had a .976 OPS over 426 plate appearances for Mexico City in 1957. He struggled in his first season back in the U.S. in 1958 with St Paul of the Triple-A American Association, hitting .212 in 132 games, with 55 runs, 32 extra-base hits, 41 RBIs and a .726 OPS. The next two years were spent in the Double-A Texas League with Victoria in 1959, and San Antonio in 1960. He also saw time in Mexico during each of those seasons. He did well in 30 games in Victoria, with a .318 average and an .815 OPS. Montemayor had a .265 average over 80 games in Mexico that year, with 30 extra-base hits and 56 RBIs. He hit .247 in 88 games with San Antonio in 1960, finishing with 47 runs, 25 extra-base hits, 44 RBIs and an .830 OPS. He did even better in his limited time in Mexico that year, putting up a 1.038 OPS in 28 games.
Montemayor spent 1961-68 in Mexico, where he played for five different teams during that time. He hit .299 over 109 games in 1961, with 72 runs, 42 extra-base hits and 70 RBIs. He had a .267 average over 128 games in 1962, with 89 runs, 15 doubles, 19 homers, 57 RBIs, 88 walks and an .861 OPS. His 1963-64 seasons have no stats available other than games played. He got into 97 games for Reynosa in 1963, and 26 games for Monterrey in 1964. Montemayor hit .297 in 123 games for Monterrey in 1965, with 68 runs, 17 doubles, 26 homers, 73 RBIs, 82 walks and a .951 OPS. He hit .252 over 66 games in 1966, with 23 runs, 11 extra-base hits, 32 RBIs and an .800 OPS. His final two seasons only have games played available for stats. He played for Campeche those years, getting into 99 games in 1967, and 16 games in 1968. He played a total of 21 seasons in the minors, seeing his final action at 40 years old in 1968. Most of the stats in Mexico, where he spent 14 seasons, are unavailable at this time, so his records are incomplete. He turns 95 years old today. He’s the fourth oldest former Pirates player at this time, recently dropping back a spot when it was learned last year that Roman Mejias was actually five years older than he claimed.
Bill Steinecke, catcher for the 1931 Pirates. His entire big league career consisted of four mid-September games off the bench for the 1931 Pirates. While his big league career was extremely brief, his pro baseball career was not. Steinecke played 23 seasons in the minors, getting into over 1,886 games total (one year of stats is missing). He debuted in pro ball in 1925 at 18 years old with Rock Island of the Class-D Mississippi Valley League. He has no stats available from that season. He was still attending school at the time, first in high school, then at DePaul, before rejoining the Mississippi Valley League in the summer of 1927 with Waterloo, where he hit .321 in 48 games, with 18 extra-base hits. He played almost all of 1928 with Waterloo, where he batted .311 in 109 games, with 31 doubles, 11 triples and seven homers. He saw some brief time that year with Seattle of the Double-A Pacific Coast League (highest level of the minors at the time), where he would spend the entire 1929 season. Steinecke batted .317 in 94 games during the 1929 season, with 11 doubles, two triples and five homers. He struggled with a .148 average in 17 games with Beaumont of the Class-A Texas League in 1930, then spent the rest of the year with Binghamton of the Class-B New York-Penn League, where he batted .307 in 83 games, with 27 extra-base hits. he hit .361 for Binghamton in 1931, with 41 doubles, seven triples and seven homers in 137 games. He was 24 years old when he purchased by the Pirates from Binghamton on August 29, 1931. He was allowed to remain with his minor league team until the Pirates requested him to report to Forbes Field on September 11th.
Steinecke’s first big league game came on September 16th, when he came in to pinch-hit in the seventh inning, then remained in to catch the final two innings. He pinch-hit in his other three contests over the next eight days, going 0-for-4 at the plate in his four games. The Pirates released him outright to Fort Worth of the Texas League on December 8, 1931, ending his brief time in Pittsburgh. The news shocked some because the Pirates apparently paid a heavy price to acquire him. Steinecke’s 1932 season was a crazy one, as he started in A-Ball and ended up back in the Class-D Mississippi Valley League (with Davenport) at one point, playing for four teams that year. He did poorly in Fort Worth, batting .190 in 31 games, but he ended up with a .288 average and 36 extra-base hits in 125 games over the full season. He also played for Omaha of the Class-A Western League and returned to Binghamton for a time, where he hit .333 in 46 games. Steinecke also did well in Omaha, hitting .339 in 17 games. He rebounded a bit in 1933, but his only time above A-Ball after leaving the Pirates was in 1945 when many players were off in war service. During the 1933-34 seasons, he played for Scranton of the Class-A New York-Penn League, where he had a .309 average and 33 extra-base hits in 119 games in 1933, followed by a .319 average and 35 extra-base hits in 83 games in 1934. He played semi-pro ball during the 1935 season, getting a high salary to be the team’s player-manager. After one year out of pro ball, he was back in the New York-Penn League in 1936, where he hit .349 in 132 games for Williamsport, with 95 runs, 48 extra-base hits, 110 RBIs and an .888 OPS.
Despite that success in 1936, 12 of Steinecke’s final 13 seasons were spent playing in Class-B ball or lower. He split 69 games between Savannah and Jacksonville of the Class- B South Atlantic League in 1937, putting up a .280 average, 32 runs, 13 extra-base hits and 43 RBIs. He played for Concord of the independent Carolina League in 1938 (no stats available). He was back with Jacksonville for two games in 1939, but he spent the majority of the season with Portsmouth of the Class-B Piedmont League, where he had a .198 average in 36 games. Steinecke played for both Portsmouth and Jacksonville in 1940, along with Tarboro of the Class-D Coastal Plain League. Between all three stops, he had a .304 average in 88 games, with 18 extra-base hits. He was back in Portsmouth for the next four seasons. He hit .249 over 113 games in 1941, with 21 doubles and six triples. He batted .224 in 66 games during the 1942 season. He had four extra-base hits that year, all doubles. He hit .225 in 1943, with 24 runs, 15 extra-base hits, 25 RBIs and a .579 OPS in 81 games. Steinecke hit .294 over 86 games during his final season with Portsmouth, finishing with 35 runs, 20 extra-base hits, 45 RBIs and an .808 OPS.
Steinecke’s 1945 season saw him play Double-A, which was still the highest level of the minors at the time. He hit .292 in 88 games for two different teams, seeing time with Kansas City of the American Association and Newark of the International League. Steinecke played in the Class-D Florida State League in 1946 and 1947, playing the first year with St Augustine, and the second year with DeLand. He hit .304 over 90 games in 1946, with 38 runs, 14 extra-base hits, 35 RBIs and a .779 OPS. He had a .258 average over 84 games in 1947, with 31 runs, 16 extra-base hits, 14 RBIs and a .691 OPS. He was a player-manager for Suffolk of the Class-D Virginia League in 1948, then just a manager during the 1949 season. He hit .305 over 53 games in 1948, finishing with an .844 OPS. Steinecke played his final game at 43 years old in 1950, when he hit .167 in 27 games for Leesburg of the Florida State League. He fell just short of a .300 career average, collecting 1,791 hits in 6,006 minor league at-bats, though that’s missing his first season, as well as 1938. He nearly matched his playing days as a manager, spending 22 years at the helm of various minor league teams between 1937 and 1964. His first season as a manager was for Savannah of the South Atlantic League, which was considered a Pirates affiliate at the time. Steinecke’s longest stretch in any one spot was four years when he was at the helm of the McCook Braves from 1956 until 1959.
Charlie Jackson, outfielder for the 1917 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball at 19 years old in 1913, playing his first three seasons with Bloomington of the Class-B Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League (referred to as the Three-I League). He hit .248 in 1913, with 13 doubles, nine triples and three homers in 122 games. Jackson hit .255 in 88 games during the 1914 season, with 50 runs scored, 14 extra-base hits and 17 steals. He had a bit of a breakout in 1915, which got him his first (very brief) big league shot. He batted .312 in 112 games that year, with 18 doubles, eight triples and six homers. Jackson’s only other big league experience besides his one season with the Pirates, was an August pinch-hit at-bat for the 1915 Chicago White Sox, which ended in a strikeout. He joined the team on August 18th, pinch-hit on August 20th, then was sent back to Bloomington by August 28th. The reason they gave up on him so quick is because on August 21st, they acquired another outfielder named Jackson, this one going by the nickname Shoeless Joe. Charlie Jackson played the 1916 season with Los Angeles of the Double-A Pacific Coast League, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. He struggled with his team, finishing with a .184 average and a .216 slugging percentage in 52 games, with four extra-base hits (all doubles).
Prior to joining the Pirates, Jackson hit .313 with 17 doubles and four triples in 297 at-bats during the first four months of the 1917 season for Spokane of the Class-B Northwestern League. The league disbanded in early August, and the Pirates purchased him from Spokane, just before he arrived at Forbes Field on August 6th. Jackson was leading the league in runs scored at the time according to reports. The local papers noted that a case of malaria caused him to miss Spring Training in 1917. A search of newspapers from earlier in the year said that he was traded from Los Angeles to Spokane in April because he was holding out for more money, then he did the same for a short time with Spokane, with no mention of an illness. His nickname at the time according to the paper, was “Stonehead”. He played 41 games for the 1917 Pirates, splitting his time between left field and right field. Jackson hit .240/.303/.298 for the Pirates, with three doubles, two triples and four steals. He managed to collect just one RBI in 134 plate appearances. The 1917 Pirates were a bad group, going 51-103 that season. It was also the deadball era, and they scored just 464 runs all year. They were slightly better in Jackson’s 30 starts, posting an 11-19 record. Jackson got on base 41 times, yet he scored just seven times. In fact, two of those runs came in his first two at-bats with the team on August 9th, when he tripled and singled while batting in the lead-off spot. Jackson was sure-handed during his time with the Pirates, committing one error. He didn’t play enough to qualify for league leaders, but his .986 fielding percentage was two points higher than the National League leader (Dode Paskert) for all outfielders.
Jackson was sold to Minneapolis of the Double-A American Association on April 23, 1918 after not showing up to the team during Spring Training, ending his time with the Pirates. It was originally noted that he was turned back to Spokane just days before that sale, but he informed his former team that he could be joining the Army any day and it wouldn’t be worthwhile to report. Jackson played three seasons (two partial) with Minneapolis and had no success at the highest level of the minors at the time, hitting .220 with 27 extra-base hits in 704 at-bats. The 1918 season was shortened due to the war, but he didn’t even last that long. He played 22 games that season, hitting .186/.263/.198 in 96 plate appearances, before joining the Army in early June. Jackson hit just .155 in 21 games for Minneapolis in 1919. He spent part of the 1919 season with St Joseph of the Class-A Western League, where he batted .355 in 70 games, with 26 extra-base hits. He finished up with Minneapolis in 1920, hitting .236 in 147 games, with 15 doubles, four triples and four homers. He played a total of eight seasons in the minors (1913-20), hitting .268 in 2,601 at-bats. That average is a bit strange based on how he got to that mark. Jackson had full seasons in which he hit .309, .312 and .313, as well as seasons in which he batted .184, .186 and .236.
Jackson played in an outlaw league in Wyoming in 1921, instead of playing for St Joseph of the Western League, after Minneapolis tried to trade him. That earned him a suspension from baseball, which was upheld when he tried to return to pro ball in 1922. He instead played semi-pro ball in Wisconsin that season. While Jackson was out of baseball at that point, his younger brother Jesse signed a contract for 1923 to play for the same Bloomington team that Charlie Jackson debuted with ten years earlier. It appears that the younger Jackson lasted just one year in pro ball, while Charlie played semi-pro ball in Wisconsin until at least 1926.
Spike Shannon, outfielder for the 1908 Pirates. He was a native of Pittsburgh, who spent his first six seasons of pro ball in the minors, starting at age 20 in 1898. He batted .338 in brief time that year with Charleston of the Class-B Southern Association, then didn’t approach that average again until the 1902 season. He also played briefly with Richmond of the Class-B Atlantic League in 1898 (no stats available), then played 80 games for Richmond in 1899, when the league reclassified to Class-A that year, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. He hit .229 that year, with 52 runs, nine extra-base hits and 24 steals. Shannon also saw time with Syracuse of the Class-A Eastern League in 1899, where he hit .232 in 33 games, with 17 runs, five doubles and ten steals. He saw time with four teams in three leagues during the 1900 season, including a stint with Syracuse and two teams in the Atlantic League, Jersey City and the Philadelphia/Harrisburg franchise. He other stop was at the lowest level of the minors with Meriden of the Class-F Connecticut State League (stats aren’t available for any team that season). Shannon played for Indianapolis of the Class-A Western Association in 1901, where he hit .277 in 66 games, with 14 extra-base hits. He also saw time with St Paul of the Class-A Western League (no stats available), then stayed in town for the next two seasons, though in a different league. While playing for St Paul of the independent American Association in 1901, he hit .344 in 120 games, with ten doubles, seven triples and no homers. He returned to St Paul in 1903, which was then a Class-A level, where he hit .308 in 135 games, with 132 runs, 19 doubles, seven triples and 41 steals.
Shannon was a singles hitter in the minors, with just one home run to his credit over those five seasons that had stats available. He didn’t crack 20 extra-base hits in a season until his final year with St Paul. Spike (his real first name was William) was a September 1903 Rule 5 draft by the St Louis Cardinals. He became their starting right fielder in 1904, when he hit .280/.349/.318 in 134 games that rookie season, while playing outstanding defense, leading all National League outfielders in fielding percentage. He scored 84 runs, stole 34 bases, walked 50 times and he even hit an inside-the-park homer off of Hall of Fame pitcher Vic Willis, who would become his teammate four years later in Pittsburgh. Shannon saw a slight drop in his offense in 1905, but he once again led all NL outfielders in fielding percentage, though modern metrics say that he was -0.5 dWAR that season. He batted .268 in 140 games, with 73 runs scored, 16 doubles, three triples, 41 RBIs, 27 steals, 47 walks and a .635 OPS. The Cardinals traded him mid-season in 1906 to the New York Giants. He was hitting .258/.337/.272 through 80 games at the time. Shannon would lead the league in both games played (156) and plate appearances (685) that year, yet he had just a .275 slugging percentage, due to a .256 average and ten extra-base hits all year (nine doubles and one triple). He was still productive during the deadball era, with 78 runs, 50 RBIs, 33 steals and 70 walks. He hit .265 for the 1907 Giants, with 18 extra-base hits, 33 RBIs, 82 walks and 33 steals, while leading the league in plate appearances (685), runs scored (104) and times on base (245). His .671 OPS was a career high, so a major drop-off in production during 1908 was unexpected.
Shannon hit .224 in 77 games for the 1908 Giants, before being picked up by the Pirates on July 22nd off waivers. The Pirates only wanted him as a pinch-hitter according to manager Fred Clarke, who said that he would be well worth the $1,500 waiver price and his salary if he came through with some big hits for the team off of the bench. In 32 games for Pittsburgh that season, he hit .197/.250/.228, with ten runs scored, 12 RBIs and five stolen bases, in what would end up being his last time in the majors. He was seeing limited time, accumulating just eight at-bats during his first 31 days with the team (July 22nd-August 21st), before getting regular playing time for the next 3 1/2 weeks. In mid-September, he was replaced in center field by Roy Thomas, then sat for the next nine games. Shannon then got to play out the season in right field after Chief Wilson got hurt. He finished with a .215 average and a .537 OPS in 109 games that season. He spent the next three seasons playing for Kansas City of the Class-A American Association after agreeing to a sale to the team on December 17, 1908. That sale ended up finishing his big league career.
Shannon hit .210 over 162 games in 1909, with 81 runs, 17 extra-base hits and 31 steals. He hit .247 in 169 games in 1910, with 12 doubles, six triples and two homers. His final season with Kansas City saw him hit .216 in 52 games, with three doubles and one triple. He retired in 1912, saying his legs were no good for running anymore, but he then spent the 1913 season as a player/manager for low-level Virginia of the Northern League. He hit .236 that year in 63 games, with all nine of his extra-base hits being doubles. That was his final season as a player, though he stayed in baseball by becoming an umpire. Shannon was a .259 hitter in 694 Major League games, with 383 runs and 183 RBIs. He had 145 stolen bases and collected 67 extra-base hits, including three homers. He homered just six times in his pro career (not including the missing stats), which lasted at least 1,603 games.
John Fox, pitcher for the 1884 Alleghenys. He came to the majors in 1881, playing pitcher, first base and outfield for the Boston Red Stockings of the National League. He went 6-8, 3.33 in 124.1 innings, with 12 complete games over 16 starts and one relief appearance. He hit .178 in 30 games total, with eight runs and four RBIs. He had 21 singles and no walks, giving him an identical .178 mark in slugging percentage and on base percentage as well. After not playing in the majors in 1882, Fox played for the 1883 Baltimore Orioles of the American Association. He went 6-13, 4.03 in 165.1 innings, completing 18 of his 19 starts, while also pitching once in relief. He hit .152/.188/.185, with 12 runs and three doubles in 23 games, usually batting in the lead-off spot. He joined the Alleghenys in 1884, where he was their Opening Day starter. His time with the team didn’t last long. Fox started seven of the first 28 games of the season, going 1-6, 5.64 in 59 innings. He dropped a 9-2 decision to Philadelphia in the season opener, then lost two games to the New York Metropolitans in the second series of the season. His lone win came on May 12th in a 9-6 victory at home over Brooklyn. Exactly one week later in Brooklyn, he was handed an 11-6 loss. Fox then lost 10-1 five days later to Philadelphia, then went 16 days before his final game with the Alleghenys on June 9th, which he lost 9-3 at home against St Louis. After his final game, it was announced that he was suspended indefinitely due to drinking. The team said that every one of his losses was due to drunkenness, and that was after the team gave him a $500 bonus if he wouldn’t drink during the season. During his time in Pittsburgh, Fox batted .240/.240/.320 in eight games, which included a brief stint at shortstop in one contest.
After playing in the minor leagues in 1885, Fox finished his big league career with one start for the 1886 Washington Nationals. His final big league record stood at 13-28, 4.16 in 356.2 innings, with 43 starts and 38 complete games. He put together a .176 batting average in 238 at-bats. Very little is known about his minor league time other than the fact that he played for two teams in the northeast during the 1885 season. He played 29 games with Newburyport of the Eastern New England League, where he hit .256 with 15 runs scored. He then pitched three games for Waterbury of Southern New England League in late July, losing all three games, while giving up 29 runs (13 earned) in 23 innings. He was mostly playing independent ball. An August 31, 1882 newspaper from Massachusetts said that he was arrested for highway robbery after he stole someone’s watch. Two months later in the same area, he was arrested for receiving a stolen watch and assaulting an officer. A detailed article about the second arrest noted that he had to pay a $50 fine and court costs. He passed away from pneumonia at age 34 in 1893. His obituary said that he gave up pro ball “about ten years earlier” and was more or less playing semi-pro ball since then.
Mike Jordan, outfielder for the 1890 Alleghenys. He signed with the Alleghenys in late August 1890, then mostly played left field (occasional center field) for the last 37 games of the season. While he played strong defense that often got praise during his time in Pittsburgh, his offense set a franchise futility record. No other position player in Pirates history had more plate appearances with a lower average. In fact no other position player came to the plate more than 53 times with a worse average. He hit .096/.210/.104 in 143 plate appearances, collecting 11 singles and a double. He had eight runs, six RBIs and five steals. The Alleghenys record during his time with the team was just 4-35. That was the only Major League experience for Jordan, who played in the minors from 1884 until 1893. In eight seasons of pro ball, with some stats incomplete, he doesn’t have a single home run to his credit. The Alleghenys formed a working agreement with Ted Sullivan, who was managing Washington of the Atlantic Association to start the 1890 season. When that team folded, Sullivan helped the Alleghenys sign players, including Jordan, who was the third player Sullivan signed after pitchers Bill Phillips and Fred Underwood. Phillips took regular rotation work, while Underwood never appeared in a game for Pittsburgh. Jordan debuted on August 21st, ten days after Phillips. There was word from Pittsburgh owner J. Palmer O’Neil that Jordan had an offer from a Player’s League club, but he was able to snap up the 27-year-old outfielder first.
Jordan’s poor batting average could have been a little better if MLB records were updated. It would also add a nice footnote to his resume. On September 3rd, the Alleghenys and Cleveland Spiders played a game in Altoona that was a regular season game, but for some reason it’s now called an exhibition game. The rules of the day stated that teams couldn’t play in-season exhibition games until their regular season head-to-head schedule was completed. The game was called a regular season game on the day in was played as well, plus it was part of the stats during the season. For some unknown reason, it has been removed from the stats (trust me, I’ve looked hard for a reason and came up empty). Anyway, Jordan had two hits in that game that are no longer credited to him and they came off of a rookie pitched named Cy Young. In a cruel twist, the Spiders and Alleghenys played a game later that month that was considered to be an exhibition game after their head-to-head schedule ended, and then it got switched to a regular season game for an unknown reason. Not only did Jordan get credit for an 0-for-4 in that game, the papers called him Gordon.
Jordan has one other interesting footnote to his brief big league career. On September 22nd in a game played in Wheeling, WV, the Alleghenys took on the New York Giants. Mike Tiernan of the Giants hit a ball into left field that got lost in the high grass and was able to circle the bases while Jordan tried to find the ball. That hit should have been nothing more than a single, but ended up as a homer.
Jordan’s minor league stats showing him debuting at 21 years old in 1884 for Lawrence of the Massachusetts State League (no stats available). The next year was spent with Lawrence again, except this time he was playing in the independent New England League, where he hit .186 in 46 games, with 22 runs scored. Jordan was batting lead-off and playing left field for Manchester of the New Hampshire State League in 1886. No stats are available, though that line is missing from his online stats completely. He’s shown playing for two different teams in the New England League in 1887, the clubs from Portland and Boston/Haverhill. He batted .336 that year in 59 games, with 59 runs scored, eight doubles, 51 steals and a .761 OPS. He was playing for Dover of the New England Interstate League in 1888 (missing from his online stats), and later spent time that season with a semi-pro ball in Gardiner, Maine. Jordan split the 1889 season between Dallas of the Texas League (82 games), and five games with Auburn of the New York State League. He hit .252 with Dallas, where he is credited with 75 steals. His Auburn stats claim that he hit .350 and scored 13 runs in his brief time with the team. His stats with Washington before joining the Alleghenys shows a .206 average, 49 runs, four doubles and two triples in 76 games. After leaving Pittsburgh, he played for Davenport of the Illinois-Iowa League and briefly for Jamestown of the New York-Penn League in 1891. He saw time with Pawtucket of the New England League (then a Class-B league) in 1892 and Allentown of the Pennsylvania State League in 1893, his last season of pro ball. Stats are extremely limited from those final years, showing him going 2-for-10 in three games with Jamestown, and .265 in 11 games with Allentown, where he had seven runs and a double.