This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: April 13th, Ricardo Rincon, Claude Hendrix and Steve Pearce

Six former Pittsburgh Pirates players have been born on this date.

Steve Pearce, first baseman/right fielder for the 2007-11 Pirates. He went undrafted out of high school, but he still managed to be drafted three times before he signed with the Pirates. Pearce was first chosen in the 45th round in 2003 by the Minnesota Twins out of Indian River Community College. The next season he transferred to the University of South Carolina, where he moved up to a tenth round pick. He finally signed in 2005 after the Pirates selected him in the eighth round. Pearce hit .302 during his first season of pro ball, with 48 runs, 26 doubles, seven homers, 52 RBIs and an .856 OPS in 72 games for Williamsport of the short-season New York-Penn League. He split the 2006 season between Hickory of the Low-A South Atlantic League, and Lynchburg of the High-A Carolina League. He hit .273 that year between both stops, with 83 runs, 40 doubles, 26 homers, 97 RBIs and an .876 OPS. Pearce repeated High-A ball to start the 2007 season, spending 19 games with Lynchburg. He then quickly worked his way up the system, finishing the year in the majors. Between three stops in the minors, including Altoona of the Double-A Eastern League (81 games) and Indianapolis of the Triple-A International League (34 games), he hit for a .333 average, with 94 runs, 40 doubles, 31 homers, 113 RBIs and a 1.016 OPS. He hit .294 over 23 games with the Pirates that September, finishing with 13 runs, six extra-base hits, six RBIs and a .740 OPS.

Pearce started the 2008 season at Indianapolis, before getting recalled by the Pirates in July. His numbers were well off the previous season, hitting .251 in 103 games for Indianapolis, with 47 runs, 26 doubles, 12 homers, 60 RBIs and a .730 OPS. He hit .248/.294/.422 in 37 games for the Pirates, with six runs, seven doubles, four homers and 15 RBIs . Pearce put up a .203 average and a .638 OPS over 18 games in Mexico during the 2008-09 off-season. He had a .286 average at Indianapolis in 2009, with 37 runs, 18 doubles, 13 homers, 54 RBIs and an .875 OPS through 77 games, when he got his third shot at the majors. He played 60 games with the Pirates that year, hitting .206/.296/.370 over 186 plate appearances, with 19 runs, 13 doubles, four homers and 16 RBIs. He opened the season at Triple-A for the third straight year in 2010. He ended up with a .326 average and a .959 OPS in 35 games for Indianapolis that year. He joined the Pirates in May, then hit .276/.395/.414 through 15 games. He injured his ankle at first base chasing down an errant throw from third baseman Delwyn Young. Pearce would not return to the Pirates that season. He made his first Opening Day roster in 2011, but hit just .202/.260/.255 in 50 games, with eight runs, three extra-base hits and ten RBIs. He missed nearly two months with a calf muscle tear that occurred in late May, then his season ended early due to a finger injury suffered when he dove for a ball at third base on August 22nd. He ended up playing just 12.2 innings at third base over the rest of his career after that injury.

The Pirates let Pearce go in November of 2011. He went on to play with the Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays after leaving the Pirates (or in other words, the entire American League East and the Astros). In the 2012 season alone, he saw time with the Orioles, Astros and Yankees, while playing just 61 games total. In fact, he had two stints with the Yankees and Orioles that season, moving around five times throughout the year. He combined to hit .239 in 188 plate appearances, with 16 runs, eight doubles, four homers, 26 RBIs and a .705 OPS. He spent nearly as much time in Triple-A for the Yankees that year, putting up a .318/.419/.568 slash line over 57 games with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre of the International League. Pearce spent part of the 2013 season with the Orioles in the majors, hitting .261/.362/.420 in 44 games, with 14 runs, seven doubles, four homers and 13 RBIs. His limited time was injury related, as he was out six weeks in June/July with a wrist injury. He had his best big league season in 2014, when he played a career high 102 games. He hit .293 that year, while setting career highs with 51 runs scored, 26 doubles, 21 homers, 49 RBIs, 40 walks and a .930 OPS. Pearce saw his average drop to .218 over 92 games in 2015, though he had 42 runs, 13 doubles, 15 homers and 40 RBIs, to go along with a .711 OPS.

Pearce split the 2016 season between Baltimore and Tampa Bay, with much better results for the Rays. He actually signed a free agent deal with the Rays, where he hit .309/.388/.520 in 60 games, before he was traded back to the Orioles in August. He hit .217/.329/.400 in 25 games after the trade. Between both stops that year, he had a .288 average in 85 games, with 35 runs, 13 doubles, 13 homers, 35 RBIs and an .867 OPS. Despite playing for the Orioles each year from 2013 through 2016, it was actually three separate stints with the team. Pearce spent the 2017 season with the Blue Jays, hitting .252 in 92 games, with 38 runs, 17 doubles, 13 homers, 37 RBIs and a .757 OPS. He split the 2018 season between Toronto and Boston, hitting .284 in 76 games, with 35 runs, 14 doubles, 11 homers, 42 RBIs and an .890 OPS, with similar results for both teams. In the postseason that year, he batted .333 in the first round, homered in the second round, then took home MVP honors in the World Series by hitting .333/.500/1.167, with three homers and eight RBIs. Pearce was limited to 29 games in 2019. He missed the start of the season due to a calf injury, then didn’t play after May 31st due to back and knee injuries. He had a .180 average and .503 OPS in 29 games that year, with nine runs, five extra-base hits and nine RBIs. He retired after the 2019 season. In 13 big league seasons, he had a .254 average in 766 games, with 290 runs, 131 doubles, 91 homers and 303 RBIs. He hit .232 for the Pirates, with 50 runs, 29 doubles, nine homers and 52 RBIs in 185 games.

Ricardo Rincon, pitcher for the 1997-98 Pirates. He pitched in the Mexican League (considered to be Triple-A level of play) for seven seasons prior to signing with the Pirates before Spring Training in 1997. He debuted at age 20 in 1990 with Union Laguna, where he spent his first four seasons. He played his next three seasons with the Mexico City Reds before joining the Pirates. The Pirates first noticed him playing winter ball in Mexico during the 1996-97 off-season. The Pirates and Mexico City had a working agreement at the time, so the Pirates were able to acquire him. Most of his stats from Mexico aren’t available, but the local Pittsburgh papers noted that he had a 2.97 ERA in 78.2 innings over 50 appearances during the 1996 season, with ten saves and 60 strikeouts. Rincon received a Spring Training invite in 1997. The initial expectations were that he would start out in the U.S. in the minors, but he ended up making the big league team on Opening Day.  He pitched 62 games in relief during his first season in the majors. Rincon had a 4-8, 3.45 record in 60 innings, with four saves, a 1.25 WHIP and 71 strikeouts. On July 12, 1997, he pitched the final inning of a ten-inning no-hitter started by Francisco Cordova, which is the last no-hitter thrown by the Pirates. Rincon picked up the win in that game.

Rincon began the 1998 season in the minors due to a Spring Training hamstring injury, making three rehab appearances before he returned to Pittsburgh. He made 60 appearances out of the bullpen that year, getting into a total of 65 innings. He finished with a 2.91 ERA, 64 strikeouts, a 1.22 WHIP and 14 saves. On November 18, 1998, the Pirates dealt Rincon to the Cleveland Indians for outfielder Brian Giles. The Pirates obviously won that one-sided trade, but Rincon did well in limited work as a lefty specialist during his time in Cleveland. In 207 appearances over 3 1/2 seasons with the Indians, he had a 3.73 ERA over 154.1 innings. He went 2-3, 4.43 in 44.2 innings over 59 appearances in 1999, finishing with a 1.46 WHIP and 30 strikeouts. He missed five weeks early in the 1999 season with an elbow injury. He had a 2-0, 2.70 record over 35 appearances in 2000, though he pitched just 20 innings total. Another elbow injury sidelined him from mid-May until late August. Rincon was healthy in 2001, when he had a 2-1, 2.83 record, 50 strikeouts and a 1.20 WHIP in 54 innings over 67 appearances. He had 18 saves during his two seasons in Pittsburgh, but after leaving the team, he recorded just three more saves. Two of those saves came during the 2001 season.

Rincon was traded to the Oakland A’s during the 2002 season, where he continued the lefty specialist role. He made 223 appearances in 3 1/2 seasons with Oakland, while pitching just 157 innings. He was 1-4, 4.79 in 35.2 innings over 46 outings with the 2002 Indians, before the trade to Oakland. After the deal, he finished the season off by going 0-0, 3.10 in 20.1 innings over 25 appearances. His 71 games pitched that season set a career high. He went 1-4, 4.18 between both stops, with 49 strikeouts and a 1.04 WHIP in 56 innings. Rincon went 8-4, 3.25 in 55.1 innings over 64 games in 2003, finishing with 40 strikeouts and a 1.39 WHIP. That win/loss record is interesting because he had just 21 wins in his 11-year career, but he also finished with a losing record, going 13-20 in his other seasons. He had a 1-1, 3.68 record over 67 games in 2004, with 40 strikeouts and a 1.52 WHIP in 44 innings pitched. The A’s went to the extreme with his lefty specialist usage during the 2005 season when he pitched 67 times and threw a total of 37.1 innings. He actually pitched two innings in one mid-season game. He really struggled against right-handed batters during his career, and they put up a .907 OPS against him in 50 at-bats during the 2005 season. He had a 1-1, 4.34 record, 27 strikeouts and a 1.45 WHIP that year, which was his last in Oakland. Rincon signed as a free agent with the St Louis Cardinals in December of 2005. He injured his shoulder during Spring Training, and tried to pitch through it early in the season. His season was over after five April appearances. He gave up four runs and ten base runners in 3.1 innings.

The Cardinals cut Rincon on the last day of Spring Training in 2007, despite one year remaining on his $2.9 M two-year deal. He pitched briefly for the San Francisco Giants in Triple-A in 2007, allowing one run over 5.1 innings with Fresno of the Pacific Coast League. He then pitched poorly in a brief run during the Mexican winter league that off-season, allowing four runs in three innings, despite not allowing a hit. His big league career ended with two runs in four innings over eight appearances with the 2008 New York Mets, after they signed him as a free agent in late January. When he didn’t make the team out of Spring Training, he was loaned to Mexico of the Mexican League for the season. He had a 3.82 ERA over 35.1 innings in Mexico, then rejoined the Mets in September to finish out his big league career. Rincon was far from done in pro ball at that point. He returned to Mexico in 2009, then stayed there through the 2012-13 winter season, playing both summer and winter ball during three of his final five seasons. He had a 5.12 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP over 31.2 innings in 2009. He saw much more work for Minatitlan in 2010, going 8-8, 5.74 in 78.1 innings, with 48 strikeouts and a 1.58 WHIP. Rincon allowed 12 runs over 11 innings with Minatitlan in 2011, while spending the rest of the year with Monterrey, where he had a 2.38 ERA in 11.1 innings over 14 appearances. He had a 1.86 ERA over 14 appearances during the 2011-12 winter, though that amounted to just 9.2 innings. He had a 6.14 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP for Aguascalientes, throwing 29.1 innings over 52 outings. He finished up his pro career during the 2012-13 winter by allowing seven runs over 5.1 innings. For his 11-year big league career, Rincon had a 21-24, 3.59 record in 565 games (all as a reliever), with 21 saves, a 1.32 WHIP and 400 strikeouts in 443.2 innings pitched. He went 4-10, 3.17 in 125 innings over 122 games for the Pirates.

Doug Strange, infielder for the 1998 Pirates. He began his career in the Detroit Tigers system, after getting drafted in the seventh round out of North Carolina State in 1985. He debuted in the short-season Appalachian League, where he hit .305 in 65 games for Bristol, with 43 runs, 16 doubles, six doubles, 45 RBIs and an .835 OPS. The Tigers moved him up to Class-A in 1986, where he batted .255 in 126 games, with 59 runs, 29 doubles, 63 RBIs, 65 walks and 18 steals for Lakeland in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. His OPS dropped 142 points over the previous year, yet he was still above average for the league. Strange began the next season with Glen Falls of the Double-A Eastern League, where he batted .302 in 115 games, with 63 runs, 31 doubles, 13 homers, 70 RBIs and an .818 OPS. He ended up with Toledo of the Triple-A International League for the final month of 1987, hitting .244/.300/.356 in 16 games. He had a rough 1988 season that was once again split between Glen Falls and Toledo. He combined to hit .236 in 139 games, with 55 runs, 55 RBIs and a .597 OPS. He had a low walk rate and a drop in his power (29 extra-base hits), though there was one positive. Strange went 5-for-16 in stolen base attempts in 1987, then went 20-for-28 in 1988. The rough patch in 1988 turned out to be just a one-year setback.

Strange first played in the majors in 1989, when he hit .214/.280/.260 in 64 games for the Tigers. He had 16 runs, six extra-base hits and 14 RBIs. He had a .247 average and a .713 OPS in 83 games for Toledo that season, before debuting with Detroit in mid-July. He was traded to the Houston Astros at the end of Spring Training in 1990, but his stay there didn’t even last two months. He spent the entire time with the Astros in Triple-A, play 37 games for Tuscon of the Pacific Coast League. He was released in late May, then signed with the Chicago Cubs two weeks later. He spent the rest of the season in Triple-A with Iowa of the American Association, combining to hit .283 between both stops, with 38 runs, 26 extra-base hits, 42 RBIs and a .732 OPS in 119 games. Strange appeared in the majors briefly in 1991 with the Cubs, playing three games in early September, before a shoulder injury ended his season early. He put up a .293 average, 76 runs, 35 doubles, five triples, eight homers, 56 RBIs and a .780 OPS for Iowa prior to being called up. Strange played 52 big league games in 1992, hitting .160/.240/.202 in 106 plate appearances. He made 19 starts at third base and two at second base, with his other 31 games coming off of the bench. The rest of the year was spent with Iowa, where he hit .307/.332/.448 in 55 games. Chicago let him leave via free agency in December of 1992, and then he signed with the Texas Rangers. He had his best season in the majors in 1993 as the starting second baseman for Texas, putting up a .256 average, with 58 runs, 26 doubles, seven homers, 60 RBIs and a .678 OPS in 145 games. Strange wasn’t able to repeat those numbers during the 1994 season, which was shortened due to the strike. He hit just .212 in 73 games, with 26 runs, 12 doubles, five homers, 26 RBIs and a .609 OPS.

Strange moved on to the Seattle Mariners as a free agent in April of 1995. He was a bench player for two seasons in Seattle, seeing most of his playing time at third base. He batted .271 over 74 games (33 starts) in 1995, with a .717 OPS that was his career best up to that point. He had 19 runs, 13 extra-base hits and 21 RBIs. He saw his only career postseason action that year, going 0-for-8 at the plate in six games. He then hit .235 in 88 games in 1996, getting 35 starts that season. His OPS dropped to a .623 mark that season, as he had 19 runs, 11 extra-base hits and 23 RBIs. Strange signed a one-year deal with the Montreal Expos in February of 1997. He he hit .257 that year, with 40 runs, 16 doubles, 47 RBIs and career highs of 12 homers and a .761 OPS in 118 games. The Pirates signed him as a free agent on December 2, 1997. He played mostly third base 1998, and saw plenty of opportunities in a pinch-hitting role. He missed almost the entire month of July due to a sprained ankle, then struggled when he was healthy, hitting .173/.217/.216 over 201 plate appearances, with nine runs, eight doubles, no homers and 14 RBIs in 90 games. Strange was with the Pirates in 1999, but was placed on the disabled list to start the season due to an elbow problem. By mid-season it was determined he needed surgery, which ended his season. His playing time amounted to five rehab games with Nashville of the Pacific Coast League. He played briefly in the minors for the Atlanta Braves in 2000 before retiring as a player, getting into 18 games with Greenville of the Double-A Southern Association. Strange is currently the Pro Scout for the Pirates. He has been in the Pirates organization in some capacity since 2002. He hit .233 in 707 big league games, with 194 runs, 87 doubles, 31 homers and 211 RBIs. He stole 14 bases in 29 attempts. Strange was considered to be an above average defender. He played 339 games at third base during his career, and 229 games at second base.

Claude Hendrix, pitcher for the 1911-13 Pirates. He pitched three seasons in the minors before having a strong season in 1910, while pitching for a semi-pro team out of Wyoming, where he struck out over 200 batters and won 17 games. He opened his pro career in 1907 at 18 years old, playing for Wichita and Joplin of the Class-C Western Association. He was also attending college at the time, so his stats from 1907-08 are limited. The 1908 season was spent with Lincoln of the Class-A Western League, where he had a 6-5 record. He then played for Salina of the Class-D Central Kansas League in 1909, where he had a 12-8 record in 26 appearances. That was a long way from the majors, as was semi-pro ball in Wyoming, but he was close to making his big league debut. The Pirates signed him on December 18, 1910, after receiving numerous reports (and stats) of his strong work. There was also a recommendation from some baseball people familiar to owner Barney Dreyfuss, which led to them sending a scout to check him out. Hendrix was said to be on trial, but he made the 1911 Pirates out of Spring Training, then never returned to minor league ball again. He made 12 starts and ten relief appearances that year, going 4-6, 2.73 in 118.2 innings, with 57 strikeouts and a 1.16 WHIP. While the year was the middle of the deadball era, his ERA was still 66 points below league average. He was in a starting rotation in 1912 that included star pitchers Howie Camnitz and Babe Adams, but it was Hendrix who had the best season. He went 24-9, 2.59, with a 1.25 WHIP and a team leading 288.2 innings pitched. He threw four shutouts, 25 complete games and he struck out 176 batters, which was the second highest total in the National League. His .727 winning percentage was the best in the league, but it only ended up being the third best mark of his career. He received mild MVP support, finishing 20th in the voting.

The Pirates dropped from 93 wins in 1912, down to 78 in 1913. Despite an ERA of 2.84 (36 points below league average), Hendrix saw his record drop to 14-15 on the year. He made 25 starts and 17 relief appearances, finishing with 241 innings pitched, 17 complete games and two shutouts. He had 138 strikeouts and a 1.27 WHIP. It was said that he hurt a muscle in his arm during training right before the season started, then had to deal with a finger injury during the early parts of the season. Despite that solid ERA, then Pirates were down on him, and the two sides went through a contract holdout over the winter. The Pirates broke off talks in late January when it was said that Hendrix wanted $7,500 for the season. With the Federal League forming prior to the 1914 season, Hendrix jumped to the Chicago team in that league, just days after contract talks broke off. Reportedly, he signed for a three-year deal at $6,000 per year, which came with a $5,000 signing bonus. He had a great season in the first year of the year league, winning a league high 29 games (against ten losses), with a league best 1.69 ERA. His 189 strikeouts set a career high and placed him third in the league. His 0.94 WHIP was a career best. He also set a career high with 362 innings pitched, the only time he topped 300 innings in a season.

Hendrix followed up that impressive 1914 season with a 16-15, 3.00 record over 285 innings in 1915, with 107 strikeouts and a 1.19 WHIP. On May 15, 1915, he threw a no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Rebels. He had 11 shutouts and nine saves in two seasons with Chicago Chi-Feds/Whales. When the Federal League folded after two years, most of the Chicago players from the league were moved to the Chicago Cubs roster. Hendrix finished out his career with five more seasons in the Windy City. He had an 8-16 record, 117 strikeouts and a 1.19 WHIP in 1916. That poor record came along despite a 2.68 ERA in 218 innings. The was the peak of the deadball era, and his low ERA was actually seven points above league average, but the 67-86 record of the Cubs hurt him more. He lowered his ERA to 2.60 in 215 innings in 1917, but it came with a 10-12 record, as the Cubs once again finished under the .500 mark. His 1.27 WHIP was his career high to that point. Things turned around for him in 1918 when the Cubs won the pennant. He had a 20-7, 2.78 record and a 1.21 WHIP in 233 innings. He led the league with a .741 winning percentage. He completed 21 of his 27 starts, tossing three shutouts.

The Cubs dropped down to third place in 1919 with a 75-65 record, but Hendrix was saddled with a 10-14 record of his own, despite a 2.62 ERA in 206.1 innings. That ERA was 29 points better than league average, as offense started to climb around baseball. In his final season in the majors, he went 9-12, 3.58 in 203.2 innings, his ninth straight season with 200+ innings. His 1.33 WHIP was a career worst. He was pulled from a start on August 31st at the last minute due to an alleged gambling fix that day. He never pitched in pro ball again, though no charges were officially filed against him because of a lack of evidence. He was released after the season, then played some semi-pro ball after being forced into early retirement. He had a 144-116, 2.65 career record in 2,371.1 innings over 257 starts and 103 relief appearances. He threw 184 complete games and 27 shutouts. He finished with 1,092 strikeouts and a 1.19 WHIP.

Mike Simon, catcher for the 1909-1913 Pirates. He was a light-hitting minor leaguer for five seasons before being taken by the Boston Doves (Braves) in the 1908 Rule 5 draft. He was known more for his defense, which showed in his minor league averages over his early years. His available stats are very limited for his minor league time. He batted .250 over 47 games during his first season of pro ball in 1904 at 21 years old, while playing for Columbus of the Class-A American Association. He had two doubles and a triple, giving him a .296 slugging percentage. That was the highest level of the minors at the time, and a decent showing for a deadball era catcher, so it’s a bit surprising that it took him so long to make the majors afterwards. Part of the reason was that his offense slipped in the following seasons, while also playing at a lower level. He had a .202 average over 78 games for Peoria of the Class-B Three-I League in 1905. That was followed by a .215 average over 85 games in 1906 for Peoria. His 1907 season was split between Peoria and Cedar Rapids of the Three-I League. He batted .249 over 109 games that year. He batted .217 over 130 games for Cedar Rapids in 1908, which led to him being drafted by the Doves. Simon never played for Boston in the majors. The Doves sold him to the Pirates on March 1, 1909. He immediately became the backup catcher to George Gibson. That 1909 season saw Gibson play 150 games, which didn’t leave much playing time for Simon or the other backup catcher, Paddy O’Connor. Simon played just 12 games in his rookie season, going 3-for-18 at the plate, with two runs and two RBIs during that World Series winning season. He did not play during the World Series.

Simon received slightly more playing time in 1910, hitting .200/.216/.240 in 52 plate appearances over 22 games, with three runs and five RBIs. He tripled once that year, which was his only extra-base hit during his first two season. He got his first real chance to play in 1911, when Gibson “only” caught 98 games. Simon played 71 games in 1911, finishing with a .228 average, 19 runs, four doubles, three triples, 22 RBIs and a .550 OPS in 215 at-bats. He batted .301 during the 1912, season, but a new catcher named Bill Kelly emerged that year. He hit .318 in 48 games, leaving Simon with just 113 at-bats all year. He finished with ten runs, three extra-base hits, ten RBIs and a career best .667 OPS. Despite the lost playing time to a new catcher, Simon took over as the starting catcher in 1913. He hit .247 that year, with 23 runs, nine extra-base hits and 17 RBIs in 92 games behind the plate. He finished with a .579 OPS, which was well below league average, even for the deadball era. Following the 1913 season, the Federal League was formed to help players get a better salary by eliminating the reserve clause. Simon was one of many players to jump to the league. He played two seasons in the Federal League, and like many of the marginal players who jumped to the league, they didn’t have a Major League job when they tried to come back after the new league folded. It didn’t help that his production slipped off greatly in the new league. He was supposedly signing his contract with the Pirates in January of 1914, but on January 27th it was announced that he signed a three-year deal with Federal League officials, without a specific team being named. The next day, Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss noted that Simon requested a raise to $3,000 for his 1914 salary. Dreyfuss met his terms, showing the agreed to contract that was never signed.

Simon hit .207 in 1914, with 21 runs, 13 extra-base hits, 21 RBIs and a .523 OPS in 93 games for the St Louis Terriers. He then batted just .176 in 47 games for the Brooklyn Tip-Tops in 1915, finishing the year with seven runs, six extra-base hits, 12 RBIs and a .451 OPS. That was the end of his big league career. His pro career ended in the minors in 1917. He hit .244 in five seasons with the Pirates, hitting one homer in 239 games. He did not homer during either season in the Federal League. The lone career homer was an inside-the-park home run, and it came during one of his final games with Pittsburgh. Simon hit .321 over 125 games in 1916, after dropping down in competition during a return to the Three-I League with Bloomington. He batted just .224 in 89 games when he moved up to the Double-A Pacific Coast League with Vernon for his final season. All eight of his extra-base hits that year were doubles. His final big league stats show a .225 average in 379 games, with 85 runs, 39 extra-base hits and 89 RBIs. While his career WAR finished at -0.7, he had a 3.1 mark for dWAR, showing why he stayed around despite the low offense.

Abel Lizotte, first baseman for the 1896 Pirates. He was a strong hitting minor league outfielder for most of his 17-year career, batting over .300 during at least seven of those seasons (his minor league stats are incomplete). For as good as he was in the minors, while spending most of his time at the top levels of the minor leagues, his Major League career lasted just ten day in September of 1896. He debuted at 21 years old in 1891 with Lewiston of the New England League, where he stayed for three years. There are no stats available from those first two season, but he impressed in 1893, when he put up a .370 average in 90 games, with 95 runs, 27 doubles, 25 homers and 19 steals. Lizotte moved up to Wilkes-Barre of the Eastern League in 1894, where he stayed for three years. The New England League was a Class-B league in 1892, but unclassified the other two years. The Eastern League was a Class-A league in 1895-96 (highest level of the minors until 1912), but that league was not classified during the 1894 season. He hit .321 over 78 games in 1894, with 63 runs, 22 doubles, 14 triples, six homers and eight steals. He batted .333 in 1895, with 31 doubles, 29 triples, five homers and 12 steals over 109 games. The Pirates purchased Lizotte for $1,000 from Wilkes-Barre on September 10, 1896, after he led the league in average. He was hitting .398 at the time of his purchase, with just a few games remaining in the 1896 season (no final stats are available from that season). He debuted with the Pirates on September 17th. He went 3-for-29 at the plate, with three singles and three RBIs in the last seven games of the 1896 season.

The 26-year-old Lizotte returned to the minors for another 11 seasons after his brief big league trial. When he joined the Pirates, Connie Mack, who was manager at the time, said that he wanted to get him experience so he could take over the first base job in 1897. After Lizotte’s last game, the local paper said that if he could hit like he did in the final game of the season, and not like the first six games, the Pirates might just have something. He played all of his Major League games at first base, while hitting third in the batting order. Lizotte played a short barnstorming trip with the Pirates after the 1896 season ended. It was quoted in early December of 1896 that he would remain with the Pirates, even after they completed a big trade with the Baltimore Orioles. However, he was sold to Syracuse of the Eastern League on December 15th, along with teammate Jud Smith. Lizotte batted .323 for Syracuse during the 1897 season, with 90 runs, 40 doubles, nine triples, five homers and 21 steals in 136 games. That wasn’t good enough to get him a trip back to the majors, so he played three more seasons in Syracuse, then played for nine different teams in five different leagues over the last eight years of his career. He hit .274 in 1898, with 47 runs, 17 doubles, six triples, three homers and 16 steals. Lizotte followed that up with a .303 average over 73 games in 1899, with 50 runs, 21 extra-base hits (18 doubles) and 12 steals. He played for Montreal of the Eastern League in 1900, though no stats are available for that league from the 1900 season.

Lizotte hit .330 during the 1901 season for Grand Rapids/Wheeling of the Class-A Western Association. He finished with 40 doubles, eight triples and two homers in 127 games. He played Class-A ball until mid-1905, but he never approached those 1901 numbers until he dropped down in competition to end his career. He spent the 1902-03 seasons with Peoria of the Class-A Western League. He batted .290 over 143 games in 1902, with 23 doubles, 12 triples and one homer. He followed that up with a .298 average in 1903, with 14 doubles, 12 triples and one homer in 126 games. The 1904 season, as well as part of 1905, was spent with St Joseph of the Western League. Lizotte hit .261 over 130 games in 1904, with 26 doubles, four triples and no homers. Part of the 1905 season was spent with Topeka of the Class-C Western Association. Between both stops, he hit .295 in 105 games, with 25 doubles, four triples and no homers. His 1906 season was split between 71 games with Mansfield of the Class-C Ohio-Pennsylvania League, and 23 games that were split between Albany and Syracuse of the Class-B New York State League. He had a .231 average that year, with 12 doubles, three triples and a homer. He lived later in life in Wilkes-Barre, Pa, where he had played three early seasons and also managed during his last two years (1907-08) in pro ball. Lizotte was credited with one at-bat over one game with Wilkes-Barre in 1907. The team was in the Eastern League during his early years with the club, but they were in the New York State League when he returned. While in Pittsburgh, the local press referred to him as Lezotte.