Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date and one minor trade mentioned below. Before we get into those players, current Pirates reliever Dauri Moreta turns 27 today.
Adeiny Hechavarría, infielder for the 2018 Pirates. He was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays out of Cuba, just days before his 21st birthday in 2010. Hechavarria defected from Cuba after playing three years of pro ball there. The Blue Jays signed him to a four-year deal worth $10,000,000. He debuted in the Cuban National Series with Santiago de Cuba at 17 years old in 2006-07. He batted .247/.289/.305 over 64 games during that rookie season. He hit .241 over 83 games in 2007-08, finishing with 48 runs, 19 extra-base hits, 23 RBIs and a .671 OPS. His final season in Cuba saw him hit .262 over 70 games, with 25 runs, nine extra-base hits, 21 RBIs and a .659 OPS. He didn’t play in 2009, so it took some time for him to get back into the swing of things. He had poor stats with Dunedin of the High-A Florida State League in 2010, putting up a .193 average and a .509 OPS in 41 games. He then played for New Hampshire of the Double-A Eastern League, where he had a .273 average and a .665 OPS in 61 games. In 102 games between both stops, he had a .242 average, with 57 runs, 26 extra-base hits, 41 RBIs, 13 steals and a .605 OPS. That was followed by a brief trip to the Arizona Fall League, which lasted just two games. Hechavarria returned to New Hampshire in 2011, where he posted a .622 OPS in 111 games. He then exploded on offense when he reached Triple-A late in the year, though he was playing in the very hitter-friendly Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League at the time. He had a .968 OPS in 25 games. In 136 games between both stops, he put up a .264 average, 74 runs, 28 doubles, eight triples, eight homers, 57 RBIs and a .688 OPS. He had 20 stolen bases, though he was caught 15 times. That was followed by another trip to the Arizona Fall League after the season. He hit .250/.308/.444 over 19 games during his second stint in the league.
Hechavarria opened the 2012 season back in Las Vegas, where he had a .312 average, 78 runs, 32 extra-base hits, 63 RBIs and a .788 OPS in 102 games, before being promoted to the majors in August. He hit .254/.280/.365 in 41 games for the 2012 Blue Jays, while playing three infield spots. The Blue Jays kept him just under the Rookie of the Year qualifications, so he was eligible for the award in 2013. However, he was traded to the Miami Marlins as part of a huge 12-player deal in November of 2012. Hechavarria was the starting shortstop for the Marlins from day one in 2013. He played solid defense, but he put up a .565 OPS in 148 games during his first season, gaining no Rookie of the Year support. He finished with a .227 average, 30 runs, 25 extra-base hits and 42 RBIs. His hitting improved slightly each of the next two years, though he was still below average overall. He hit for a higher average after his rookie season, putting up a .276 mark in 2014 and a .281 mark in 2015, but he had limited power and low walk totals, which kept his overall production down. Hechavarria played 146 games in 2014, finishing with 53 runs, 31 extra-base hits, 34 RBIs, and a .664 OPS. That OPS went up to .689 in 2015, when he had 54 runs scored, 28 extra-base hits and 48 RBIs in 130 games. His stats slipped off in 2016, when he played a career high 155 games. He batted .236 that year, with 52 runs, 26 extra-base hits, 38 RBIs and a .594 OPS. Despite the weak offense, he was well above average defensively, resulting in 4.8 WAR during the 2014-16 stretch.
Hechavarria was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays during the 2017 season. He did well after the deal, posting a .701 OPS in 77 games. He was actually doing well by his standards before the deal, putting up a .277 average and a .672 OPS in 20 games. Between both stops, he had a .261 average in 97 games, with 37 runs, 14 doubles, eight homers, 30 RBIs and a .695 OPS. He had a .621 OPS through 61 games played in 2018, when he was traded to the Pirates for minor league pitcher Matt Seelinger on August 6th. Hechavarria hit .233/.277/.395 in 15 games for the Pirates, before he was sold to the New York Yankees on August 31st, ending his time in Pittsburgh after just 25 days. He batted .194/.216/.361 in 18 games with the Yankees to finish out the season. Between all three stops that year, he had a .247 average in 94 games, with 34 runs, 11 doubles, six homers, 31 RBIs and a .624 OPS. He signed with the New York Mets as a free agent in 2019, then hit .204 in 60 games, with 20 runs, 12 extra-base hits and 18 RBIs, before he was released in August. He signed with the Atlanta Braves just two days later and put up a 1.039 OPS in his final 24 games of the season. He batted .241/.299/.443 over 221 plate appearances for the season.
Hechavarria remained with the Braves during the shortened 2020 season. He put up a .254 average, seven runs, three doubles, two RBIs and a .607 OPS in 27 games. He ended up signing in Japan in 2021, the stayed there during the 2022 season. He hit .228 over 92 games for Chiba Lotte in 2021, with 22 runs, 14 doubles, four homers, 28 RBIs and a .590 OPS. He put up nearly identical numbers for Chiba Lotte in 2022, hitting .231 over 113 games, with 31 runs, 17 doubles, five homers, 31 RBIs and a .605 OPS. He played winter ball in Puerto Rico over the 2022-23 off-season, finishing with a .322 average and an .878 OPS in 18 games. Hechavarria signed a minor league free agent deal with the Braves in February of 2023, but he was released seven weeks later before the start of the season. In nine seasons in the majors, he hit .253 in 922 games, with 311 runs, 116 doubles, 36 triples, 37 homers, 273 RBIs and 35 stolen bases. During the 2015 season, he was rated as the sixth best defensive player in the National League, finishing with 2.0 dWAR. He played for the Yankees in the 2018 postseason, and the Braves in the 2019 postseason, but he failed to collect a hit in seven playoff games.
Jeromy Burnitz, right fielder for the 2006 Pirates. He already had 13 seasons of Major League experience when the Pirates signed him to a one-year contract on January 9, 2006. He had played for five different teams over the five previous seasons at the time of the signing. Burnitz was originally drafted out of high school in 1987 by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 24th round. While he didn’t sign with the Brewers then, he would eventually end up there for the best years of his career. He attended Oklahoma State University, where the New York Mets selected him in the first round (17th overall) in 1990. He spent most of his first season with Pittsfield of the short-season New York-Penn League, while also getting in time (11 games) in the High-A Florida State League with St Lucie. He hit .278 in 62 games that year, with 43 runs, 18 extra-base hits, 25 RBIs, 13 steals, 52 walks and an .882 OPS. Burnitz had a huge first full season in pro ball, despite a .225 batting average. Playing with Williamsport of the Double-A Eastern League, he was a 30/30 players, with 31 homers and 31 steals, while also drawing 104 walks. He added 80 runs, 16 doubles, ten triples and 85 RBIs, leading to an .876 OPS. He moved up to Tidewater of the Triple-A International League in 1992. He struggled that year, so he had to repeat the level to begin the 1993 season. Burnitz batted .243 over 121 games in 1992, with 56 runs, 21 doubles, eight homers, 40 RBIs, 30 steals and a .655 OPS. He had 33 walks that year, which was 71 fewer than the previous season. The Mets moved their Triple-A affiliate to Norfolk of the International League in 1993. He hit .228 in 65 games for Norfolk, with 33 runs, 26 extra-base hits, 44 RBIs and a .702 OPS.
The Mets called Burnitz up to the majors in late June of 1993. He batted .243 as a rookie, with 49 runs, ten doubles, six triples, 13 homers, 38 RBIs and an .814 OPS in 86 games. A slow start in 1994 landed him back in Triple-A for 2 1/2 months in the middle of the season. He then lost the end of the year due to the strike. Burnitz hit .238/.347/.329 in 45 games for the Mets, with 26 runs, four doubles, three homers and 15 RBIs. He had a .239 average and a .792 OPS in 85 games for Norfolk, finishing with 14 homers and 18 steals. He was traded to the Cleveland Indians in November of 1994. He played just nine big league games in 1995, going 4-for-7 at the plate. The rest of the year was spent with Buffalo of the Triple-A American Association, where he had a .284 average, 72 runs, 26 doubles, seven triples, 19 homers, 85 RBIs, 13 steals, 50 walks and an .862 OPS in 128 games. He got off to a strong start with the Indians in 1996, then was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers in an August trade. He combined to hit .265 during his first full season in the majors, with 38 runs, 14 doubles, nine homers, 40 RBIs and an .847 OPS in 94 games . Burnitz’s career would take off the following year, when he batted .281 over 153 games, with 85 runs, 37 doubles, eight triples, 27 homers, 85 RBIs, a career high 20 steals and 75 walks. He finished with a .934 OPS. He received mild MVP support for the first time in his career, winding up 29th in the voting. He set career highs in 1998 with 38 homers and 125 RBIs, to go along with a .263 average in 161 games, with 92 runs, 28 doubles, 70 walks and an .838 OPS. He received mild MVP support again for his effort. His 19th place finish in the voting was his highest finish of the three years he received votes.
Burnitz was an All-Star for the only time in 1999, when he hit .270 in 130 games, with 87 runs, 33 doubles, 33 homers, 110 RBIs and 91 walks. His .963 OPS was the best of his career. He saw his average drop to .232 over 161 games in 2000, but he still had 91 runs, 29 doubles, 31 homers, 98 RBIs, 99 walks (career high) and an .811 OPS. During his final season with Milwaukee in 2001, he had a .251 average, with 32 doubles, 34 homers, 100 RBIs, 80 walks, an .851 OPS and a career high 104 runs scored. In January of 2002, Burnitz was traded to the Mets in a three-team deal that involved 11 players. He did poorly in his only full season back with the Mets, hitting .215 in 154 games, with 65 runs, 15 doubles, 19 homers and 54 RBIs. His .677 OPS was his lowest for a full season in the majors. He was doing well during the 2003 season, putting up a .974 OPS in 65 games, before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in mid-July. He batted just .204/.252/.391 in 61 games after the deal. He combined to hit .239 that year, with 63 runs, 22 doubles, 31 homers, 77 RBIs and a .786 OPS. Burnitz signed a one-year free agent deal with the Colorado Rockies after the 2003 season. Moving his home stadium to Coors Field was to his liking. He batted .283 that year, with 94 runs, 30 doubles, 37 homers and 110 RBIs. He had a 1.057 OPS at home and a .757 mark on the road, leading to a .916 mark for the year. He finished 23rd in the MVP voting that season.
Burnitz signed a free agent deal with the Chicago Cubs in 2005. He hit .258 that season, with 84 runs, 31 doubles, 24 homers, 87 RBIs, 57 walks and a .757 OPS in 160 games. He signed with the Pirates on January 9, 2006. He ended up hitting .230 for the Pirates, with 35 runs, 12 doubles, 16 homers, 49 RBIs and a .711 OPS in 111 games. He made 84 starts in right field. His first home run of the season was the 300th of his career, becoming just the third player (after Willie Stargell and Ralph Kiner) to hit his 300th homer while wearing a Pirates uniform. Burnitz retired following the 2006 season. He hit .253 during his 14-year career, with 917 runs scored, 298 doubles, 315 homers, 981 RBIs and 739 walks in 1,694 games. His finished with a career .826 OPS. He’s credited with 19.9 WAR during his career, topping out in a season with 4.9 during the 1997 season. He next two years were both worth 3.4 WAR, which ranked as his 2nd/3rd best seasons.
Mike Diaz, utility player for the 1986-88 Pirates. He was a 30th round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs in 1978 out of high school in California. He debuted that season in the rookie level Gulf Coast League, where he hit .279/.388/.368 in 26 games, with one homer and seven RBIs. He remained in short-season ball in 1979, when he had a .312 average and an .875 OPS in 63 games with Geneva in the New York-Penn League. He had 45 runs, 19 doubles, seven homers and 36 RBIs. Diaz moved up to Quad Cities of the Class-A Midwest League in 1980, where he hit .293 in 105 games, with 51 runs, 17 doubles, eight homers, 47 RBIs and a .759 OPS. He advanced to Double-A for the 1981 season, though he ended up repeating the level in 1982. He batted .264 in 1981, with 56 runs, 19 doubles, ten homers, 60 RBIs and a .731 OPS in 110 games during his first season with Midland of the Texas League. He then came back with a .289 average, 54 runs, 23 doubles, 22 homers, 75 RBIs and an .848 OPS over 121 games in 1982. Diaz moved up to Iowa of the Triple-A American Association in 1983, where he hit .324 in 74 games, with 43 runs, 13 doubles, 15 homers, 47 RBIs and a .992 OPS. He made it to the majors for the first time in 1983 for six September games, all of them off of the bench. He went 2-for-7 with a double.
Chicago traded Diaz to the Philadelphia Phillies prior to the 1984 season. He spent the entire year in Triple-A with Portland of the Pacific Coast League, where he hit .270 in 105 games, with 52 runs, 15 doubles, 14 homers, 46 RBIs and a .773 OPS. The Pirates traded for Diaz early in the 1985 season, giving up minor league catcher Steve Herz in the deal. Diaz spent the year at Triple-A Hawaii (after ten games with Portland), hitting .312 in 128 games, with 65 runs, 29 doubles, 22 homers and 85 RBIs. He then made the Pirates out of Spring Training in 1986 without appearing in a big league game during the previous two season. He hit .268 in his first year for the Pirates, with 22 runs, nine doubles, 12 homers, 36 RBIs and an .814 OPS in 97 games (52 starts). He followed that up with a .241 average, 28 runs, eight doubles, 16 homers and 48 RBIs in 103 games (62 starts) during the 1987 season, finishing with an .816 OPS. He was playing mostly off the bench through August of 1988, when the Pirates traded him to the Chicago White Sox for Gary Redus. He had a .230 average and a .637 OPS in 90 plate appearances over 47 games with the Pirates before the deal. After the trade, he hit .237 in 40 games, with three doubles, six homers and 12 RBIs. He never had high walk totals, but he drew just five walks in Chicago in 158 plate appearances, leading to a .266 OBP. Between both stops that year, he combined for a .235 average in 87 games, with 18 runs, nine doubles, three homers, 17 RBIs and a .617 OPS.
Diaz was released at the end of 1988 by the White Sox. He then spent the last four seasons of his pro career in Japan. He hit .301 in 1989 for Lotte, with 75 runs, 19 doubles, 39 homers, 105 RBIs and a .967 OPS in 130 games. He had a .311 average in 1990, with 74 runs, 23 doubles, 33 homers, 101 RBIs and a 1.019 OPS in 128 games. He played just 42 games in 1991, struggling with a low average (.239), but decent power numbers (ten homers) led to an .830 OPS. He played 50 games during his final season in 1992. He batted .184 that year, with 21 runs, five doubles, 11 homers, 35 RBIs and a .709 OPS. Diaz was a career .247 hitter in the majors, with 70 runs, 27 doubles, 31 homers and 102 RBIs in 293 games. He had a .250 average and 28 homers in 247 games with Pittsburgh. He was never much of a speed guy, though he did go 11-for-12 in steals during the 1980-81 seasons in the minors. He ended up stealing just one base in the majors. While with the Pirates, he split the majority of his time between first base and left field, though he also saw time at right field, catcher and third base. Diaz came up through the minors as a catcher, but his big league career saw him play just 13 games behind the plate, and only two of those games were starts (both for the 1987 Pirates). He had the nickname “Rambo” after the movie Rambo came out starring Sylvester Stallone, who Diaz shared many characteristics with, including looks and how he talked.
Bill Pierro, pitcher for the 1950 Pirates. He was a hard-throwing sidearm right-handed pitcher, with strong minor league stats, but his Major League career was ended by illness shortly after it started. Pierro was signed by the Pirates at 20 years old as an amateur free agent in 1947. He struggled with his control in the low minors during that first season, while splitting his time between Bartlesville of the Class-D Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League and Tallahassee of the Class-D Georgia-Florida League. Just his Bartlesville stats are available, though we know he pitched 14 games for Tallahassee. His 8-9 record and 4.30 ERA weren’t that bad, but he walked 159 batters in 134 innings. He had a 1.91 WHIP, to go along with 180 strikeouts. On August 22nd, he made headlines when he picked up 15 strikeouts in a game. He turned it around quickly while at Bartlesville in 1948, posting a 17-8, 2.15 record and a 1.13 WHIP in 230 innings. He was still wild with 145 walks, but that was a much better walk rate than his previous season. He was also very hard to hit, allowing just 114 hits all season. Newspapers quoted his strikeout total as being 300 for the regular season (he helped his team to the playoffs). They called him the “Strikeout King” of the league. Some people around the sport also said that he was the hardest thrower in all of baseball. Pierro moved up to Class-B for the 1949 season, where he continued his success with the Waco Pirates of the Big State League. He went 18-11, 2.96 in 255 innings that season, lowering his walks to 126 for the season, while increasing his innings pitched. He finished with 275 strikeouts and a 1.27 WHIP.
Pierro moved up to Triple-A with the Indianapolis Indians of the American Association in 1950. He had an 8-3, 2.60 record in 25 games, with a 1.10 WHIP, 59 walks and 75 strikeouts in 104 innings. He got called up to the Pirates on July 12th, when the made a flurry of roster moves during a year in which they would finish with a 57-96 record. He had a rough go with the Pirates, posting a 10.55 ERA and a 2.10 WHIP in twelve games (three starts). Those three starts were his first three games with the Pirates. None of them went well, though he did pitch eight innings in his debut. In a total of 14.1 innings as a starter, he allowed 18 runs on 20 hits and 15 walks, issuing five free passes in each of his starts. He pitched 29 innings total for the 1950 Pirates, allowing 33 hits and walking 28 batters, while picking up just 13 strikeouts. He had some success against the New York Giants in three appearances, giving up one run on two hits over five innings. Pierro pitched just once in the last 31 games of the season, allowing three runs over three innings, in a one-sided loss to the Brooklyn Dodgers on September 19th. As the 1951 Spring Training schedule was wrapping up, Pierro started complaining of a gastritis attack and dizziness. Just days later (on his birthday), he was rushed to the hospital with what turned out to be inflammation of the brain. He was listed in critical condition, and the first few days it didn’t look good for him. He eventually recovered to live out a full life before passing away in 2006, but the brain issue marked the end of his baseball career. The Pirates officially released him in April of 1952, though they paid him his full salary in 1951. They even covered his hospital bills during that time, which he said were over $4,000.
King Cole, pitcher for the 1912 Pirates. He had minimal experience in pro ball prior to his big league debut on October 6, 1909. Cole pitched briefly in semi-pro ball in 1908, then spent the 1909 season playing for Bay City of the Southern Michigan League, where he posted a 21-17 record. He was acquired by the Chicago Cubs at the end of the season for $2,000. He threw a shutout in his Major League debut against the St Louis Cardinals on the final day of the 1909 season. He had an amazing rookie season in 1910, going 20-4, with a league leading 1.80 ERA in 239.2 innings. He threw 21 complete games in 29 starts and had four shutouts. There was a bit of a red flag despite the stats, as he finished second in the league with 130 walks. He had a 1.27 WHIP and 114 strikeouts, which ranked seventh in the league. Cole’s record was almost as good his second season, going 18-7, though his 3.13 in 221.1 innings in the middle of the deadball era was 23 points above average for the team. His control was only slightly better with 99 walks, but he led the league with 11 wild pitches. He completed 13 of 27 starts that year, including two shutouts. Despite a better walk rate, his WHIP went up slightly to a 1.30 mark. Cole’s pitching quickly went downhill in 1912, going 1-2, 10.89 in eight games through the end of May. The Pirates and Cubs hooked up on a four-player trade on May 30th, with Tommy Leach and Lefty Leifield going to Chicago, and Cole and Solly Hofman coming back to Pittsburgh. King (first name was Leonard) went 2-2, 6.43 in 49 innings over 12 games (five starts) for the Pirates. In his final game with the Pirates on September 1, 1912, he allowed 11 runs on 12 hits over eight innings in a loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
Cole was healthy, but never got into a game during the final month of the 1912 season. When the Pirates went on their final road trip on September 28th, they allowed eight of their 28 players to go home, including Cole. Coincidentally, they were on their way to play the Chicago Cubs, and Cole was living in Chicago over the winter, so he actually attended at least one game during that series. On October 24, 1912, he was sold to the Columbus Senators of the Double-A American Association (highest level of the minors at the time) as a partial payment for the Pirates acquiring pitcher Wilbur Cooper and Hall of Fame first baseman George Sisler (who never joined the Pirates, long story for another time) earlier in the fall. Cole went 23-11 in 46 games for Columbus in 1913, throwing a total of 341.2 innings. He had a 1.18 WHIP and 140 strikeouts. The New York Yankees took him in the 1913 Rule 5 draft. He spent two seasons in New York to finish his pro career. He did well in a swing role in 1914, going 10-9, 3.30 in 141.2 innings spread over 15 starts and 18 relief appearances. Cole had a 1.43 WHIP and a 51:43 BB/SO ratio. He saw limited time in 1915, with a 2-3, 3.18 record in 51 innings over six starts and four relief appearances. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1915, and then he passed away on January 6, 1916 at the age of twenty-nine. Cole had a career record of 54-27, 3.12 ERA in 730.2 innings, with 298 strikeouts and a 1.35 WHIP. He made 86 starts and 43 relief appearances, finishing with 47 complete games and nine shutouts.
Ed Abbaticchio, infielder for the 1907-1910 Pirates. He made his MLB debut with the 1897 Philadelphia Phillies, playing parts of two seasons in Philadelphia before spending the next four years in the minors. With no previous professional baseball experience, the 20-year-old Abbaticchio played three September games for the Phillies in 1897 before he got injured, breaking a bone in his right hand. He went 3-for-10 with a walk in that first big league stint. He batted .228/.290/.272 in 1898, with nine runs, four doubles, no homers and 14 RBIs in 25 games for Philadelphia. He played for Minneapolis of the Class-A Western League in 1899. That was the highest level of the minors at the time, though no stats are available. He then spent the 1900 season in the Class-A American League with Minneapolis and Milwaukee, one season before the league reached Major League status. He is credited with hitting .231 in 117 games, with 52 runs, 13 doubles, nine triples and 24 steals. Abbaticchio moved on to Nashville of the Class-B Southern Association in 1901, where he put up a .363 batting average in 108 games. Back in Nashville for 1902 (a Class-A team that year), he hit .353 in 99 games, with 15 doubles, 18 triples and two homers. He returned to the majors with the Boston Beaneaters in 1903, where he became known as the first Italian-American star in baseball, and possibly the first Italian-American ever in the majors (a former Pittsburgh player named Lewis “Buttercup” Dickerson has questionable heritage). He was Boston’s everyday second baseman for most of the 1903 season, while seeing some time at shortstop as well. He batted .227 in 136 games, with 61 runs, 24 extra-base hits, 46 RBIs, 52 walks, 23 steals and a .597 OPS.
Abbaticchio became the everyday shortstop in 1904. He had a .256 in 154 games, with 76 runs, 18 doubles, ten triples, 54 RBIs, 24 steals, 40 walks and a .646 OPS. He played 153 games in 1905, when he led the National League with 610 at-bats. He had his best season at the plate, putting up a .279 average, with 70 runs, 25 doubles, 12 triples, three homers, 41 RBIs and 30 stolen bases, leading to a career best .700 OPS. Abbaticchio sat out the 1906 season to manage a hotel in Pittsburgh owned by his family. Boston traded him to Pittsburgh on December 11, 1906 in exchange for three players, Ginger Beaumont, Claude Ritchey and Patsy Flaherty. That deal did not work out for the Pirates, though they were still a strong team after the deal. Ritchey and Abbaticchio were basically the same player after the deal. Beaumont outplayed both of them, while Flaherty was a steady presence in the Boston rotation for two seasons. The Pirates were basically staying the same at second base, while weakening two other positions. It was said in the local papers that Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss believed that Abbaticchio would draw well from the Italian community in Pittsburgh, so part of the motivation of the deal was to draw more fans. The Pirates ended up seeing a 20% decline in attendance from 1906 to the 1907 season. They only fully rebounded in attendance when Forbes Field opened in 1909.
Abbaticchio was mostly a shortstop with Boston, but with Honus Wagner at shortstop in Pittsburgh, he moved to second base. He hit .262 during his first season in Pittsburgh, with 63 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 82 RBIs, 65 walks, 35 stolen bases and a .687 OPS in 147 games. It was a solid season on offense, especially for the deadball era, but he led the National League in errors for second baseman. He also led the National League in errors among shortstops during the 1904 and 1905 season, so what happened in 1908 was probably a surprise. Abbaticchio hit .250 that year, with 43 runs, 24 extra-base hits, 61 RBIs, 22 steals, 58 walks and a .652 OPS in 146 games that season. He also had the best fielding percentage among National League second baseman. Abbaticchio lost his starting job to rookie Dots Miller just five games into the 1909 season, forcing him to the backup middle infielder role. Abbaticchio hit .230 in 36 games that year, with 13 runs, 16 RBIs and 19 walks. His only extra-base hit was a homer. He saw just one at-bat in the postseason, as the Pirates won their first World Series title. He played just three games for the 1910 Pirates through the end of June, leading to Pittsburgh selling him back to Boston on July 1st. He hit .247/.295/.292 in 52 games that season with Boston, then got released at the end of the season, which ended his baseball career. He was signed by Louisville of the American Association for the 1911 season, but decided to retire instead to run a hotel he purchased for $40,000, which was located near Forbes Field. He was a gifted athlete, who also excelled at football during his baseball career. He also played some basketball. In nine big league seasons, he hit .254 in 855 games, with 355 runs, 99 doubles, 43 triples, 11 homers, 324 RBIs and 142 steals.
Bill Gray, third baseman for the 1898 Pirates. He made his pro debut with his hometown Philadelphia Phillies in 1890 as a teenager. He hit .242/.287/.367 that year, with 20 runs, 12 extra-base hits and 21 RBIs in 34 games. He played seven different positions during his brief time, seeing time everywhere except pitcher and shortstop. He had a similar season at 20 years old in 1891 with the Phillies, hitting .240/.296/.240 in 23 games, with 11 runs and seven RBIs, while playing five different positions. After two seasons with Philadelphia, he spent the next three years in the minors. He played for two teams in the Eastern League in 1892, seeing time with Philadelphia and Providence. He put up a .251 average in 82 games between both spots, with 45 runs, 19 extra-base hits (15 doubles) and 16 steals. He moved to the Pennsylvania League for part of 1893 (no stats available), while also playing for a semi-pro team in May’s Landing NJ during the latter part of the season. He then played for Indianapolis of the Western League in 1894, where he hit .318 in 115 games, with 117 runs, 22 doubles, 18 triples, ten homers and eight steals.
Gray returned to the majors in a utility role with the Cincinnati Reds in 1895. He hit .304 in 52 games that year, with 24 runs, 22 extra-base hits, 29 RBIs and an .822 OPS, which was easily his career best. He went from his best season to a rough season in just one year, batting .207/.314/.240 over 46 games in 1896, with 15 runs, three extra-base hits and 17 RBIs. That performance would lead to him spending the 1897 season back in the minors with Indianapolis, where he batted .347 in 125 games, with 131 runs, 26 doubles, 11 triples, 19 homers and 13 steals. The Western League was a Class-A league that year, making it the top of the minor league system. On November 10, 1897, the Reds traded Gray, Billy Rhines, Pop Schriver, Jack McCarthy and Ace Stewart, to the Pirates for outfielder Mike Smith and pitcher Pink Hawley. The Pirates were giving up two of their better players and they didn’t get a lot from the five-player return. Gray was the everyday third baseman for the Pirates in 1898 (technically the team was named Patriots that season). He hit .229 that year in 137 games, with 56 runs, 17 doubles, five triples, 67 RBIs and a .564 OPS. His defense was below average, as he committed the second most errors among National League third basemen. It ended up being his last season in the majors.
The Pirates traded Gray in December of 1898 to Milwaukee of the Western League in exchange for Ginger Beaumont, who went on to become a star center fielder for the Pirates for eight seasons. Gray finished his career two years later in the minors. He was with Milwaukee for the entire 1899 season (no stats are available for the league that year). He spent his final season of pro ball (1900) with Detroit and Indianapolis in the Class-A American League. That league existed for one year as a minor league before it became recognized as a Major League. Gray batted .264 over 38 games that year, with 18 runs, four extra-base hits (all doubles) and four stolen bases. He was a .242 hitter in 292 big league games, with 126 runs, 59 extra-base hits, 141 RBIs and 23 steals. His lone big league home run came in August of 1895, when he connected in in the ninth inning of a game his team was losing 15-0 at the time.
On this date in 2009, the Pirates acquired second baseman/outfielder Delwyn Young from the Los Angeles Dodgers for two players to be named later. The Pirates later sent minor league pitchers Eric Krebs and Harvey Garcia to Los Angeles to complete the deal. Young played 234 games for the Pirates during the 2009-10 seasons, putting up a .255 average, with 14 homers and 71 RBIs. Neither Krebs nor Garcia played for the Dodgers in the majors, and both were soon out of baseball after the deal. Young’s time with the Pirates, and in the majors, ended when he became a free agent after the 2010 season. He ended up playing another six years of pro ball before retiring.