This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: June 2nd, A Group of Six Former Pirates Born on This Date

Six former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date.

Chance Sanford, infielder for the 1998 Pirates. He was a 27th round pick of the Pirates in the 1992 draft out of San Jacinto College, signing with the team two days after his 20th birthday. Pittsburgh had originally taken him 17 rounds earlier in the 1991 draft, but he decided to return to school. Sanford worked his way slowly through the minors, spending three seasons at High-A ball, while also missing most of the 1995 season. He hit .254 over 73 games during his first season, with 39 runs, 12 doubles, five homers, 38 walks, 13 steals and a .729 OPS. He split that year between Welland of the short-season New York-Penn League and  Augusta of the Low-A South Atlantic League, with more time and much better results at the lower level. Sanford moved up to Salem of the High-A Carolina League in 1993, where he hit .255 in 115 games, with 54 runs, 21 doubles, ten homers, 37 RBIs and a .705 OPS. He had 11 steals, but he was caught ten times. Sanford remained in Salem for all of 1994, when he did much better than his first year with the team. He batted .274 over 127 games, with 81 runs, 32 doubles, 19 homers, 78 RBIs, 12 steals and an .838 OPS. He did well when he was healthy in 1995, batting .298/.372/.546 in 38 games, while seeing his season split between three teams. He spent some rehab time in the Gulf Coast League that year, while playing 16 games each with Lynchburg of the Carolina League and Carolina of the Double-A Southern League. Sanford had 16 runs, seven doubles, seven homers and 25 RBIs during that abbreviated season. The 1996 season was spent with Carolina, where he hit .245 over 131 games, with 62 runs, 16 doubles, 13 triples, 56 RBIs, 72 walks and a .700 OPS. He hit just four homers that year, plus he was caught stealing in half of his 22 stolen base attempts.

Sanford was with Carolina for a third season in 1997, when he began to hit his stride. He batted .262 in 44 games, with 30 runs, ten doubles, nine homers, 36 RBIs and an .886 OPS, which earned him a promotion to Calgary of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He did even better a level up that year, hitting .292 in 89 games, with 58 runs, 27 doubles, nine triples, six homers, 60 RBIs and an .855 OPS. Sanford started the 1998 season with Nashville of the Pacific Coast League, before earning a promotion to the majors on April 30th to replace third baseman Freddy Garcia. Sanford was called up because of a strong Spring Training performance, plus the fact that he offered a lot of versatility. He mostly played second base in the minors, but he also saw time at third base, shortstop and in the outfield. He batted just .120 in 11 games for the Pirates before returning to the minors, though he was quickly back in Pittsburgh when Lou Collier got hurt at the end of May. After being sent down two weeks later, Sanford played in the minors until late June, when a shoulder injury landed him on the disabled list. It was described as just shoulder soreness, but he never returned that year.

Sanford ended up hitting .143/.172/.250 in 29 plate appearances over 14 games with the 1988 Pirates, seeing five starts at third base and one at second base. He had a .900 OPS over 27 games with Nashville that year. He was released by the Pirates after the 1998 season ended. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1999, then spent most of the year at Albuquerque of the Pacific Coast League, where he hit .247 in 77 games, with 37 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 29 RBIs and a .763 OPS. Sanford also played five Major League games in June that year, going 2-for-8 at the plate, before being sent back down to Albuquerque. He finished his playing career in independent ball the following year at 28 years old, batting .243 for Atlantic City of the Atlantic League, with 57 runs, 36 extra-base hits and 41 RBIs in 110 games.

Darnell Coles, right fielder for the 1987-88 Pirates. He was a first round pick by the Seattle Mariners in 1980, taken sixth overall at 18 years old out of high school in California. He debuted with a .214 average in short-season ball with Bellingham of the Northwest League, though 22 walks in 34 games led to a .340 OBP and a .648 OPS. He had 23 runs, six extra-base hits and 12 RBIs. He hit .274 in 1981, with 53 runs, 32 extra-base hits, 48 RBIs and a .780 OPS in 111 games with Wausau of the Class-A Midwest League. Coles moved to the hitter-friendly California League (considered to be Advanced-A) in 1982, where he responded with a big season. He batted .303 in 136 games, with 91 runs, 39 extra-base hits, 55 RBIs, 27 steals, 68 walks and an .827 OPS. He spent half of the 1983 minor league season with Chattanooga of the Double-A Southern League. The other half was spent with Salt Lake City of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, where he put up better numbers. His combined totals for the season showed a .301 average in 133 games, with 92 runs, 22 doubles, nine triples, 15 homers, 65 RBIs, 23 steals, 61 walks and an .858 OPS. Coles made the majors in September of 1983. He was used often over the final month, getting 100 plate appearances over 27 games. He hit .283 in his first big league shot, with nine runs, seven doubles, a homer and six RBIs, leading to a .725 OPS.

Coles split the 1984 season between Salt Lake City and the majors. He hit just .161 for the Mariners, with 15 runs, four extra-base hits (no homers), six RBIs and a .455 OPS in 48 games. He had a 1.034 OPS in 69 games that year with Salt Lake City. The 1985 season saw him spend most of the year on the Mariners bench behind rookie Jim Presley. Coles played just 58 games all year, including a 31-game stint in the minors with Calgary of the Pacific Coast League. He mentioned mid-season that he wanted to be traded because Presley was playing so good that he wouldn’t see any playing time. Coles hit .237 in 27 games for the 1985 Mariners, with eight runs, four doubles, one homer, five RBIs and a .694 OPS. He played parts of three seasons with Seattle before being traded to the Detroit Tigers on December 12, 1985. Coles had a breakout season in 1986, hitting .273 in 142 games, with 67 runs, 30 doubles, 20 homers, 86 RBIs and a .786 OPS. His success didn’t carry over into the next season. He hit .181/.264/.309 through 53 games for the 1987 Tigers, while even spending a short stint with Toledo of the Triple-A International League in June. He was playing mostly third base at that time, having troubles there as well, with 17 errors in 36 games. Detroit dealt him to the Pirates on August 7, 1987, in exchange for veteran third baseman Jim Morrison, who was upset about losing playing time, mostly due to the emergence of Bobby Bonilla.

Coles hit .227/.333/.445 over 40 games for Pittsburgh in 1987, with 20 runs, eight doubles, six homers and 24 RBIs, while spending most of his time in right field. He was the Pirates regular right fielder until July in 1988, when he was traded back to the Mariners for outfielder Glenn Wilson. At the time of the deal, Coles was hitting .232/.299/.374 through 68 games, with 20 runs, 13 doubles, five homers and 36 RBIs. He hit .292 for the 1988 Mariners, with 32 runs, ten doubles, ten homers, 34 RBIs and an .864 OPS in 55 games. He batted .252 in 1989, with 54 runs, 21 doubles, ten homers, 59 RBIs and a .653 OPS in 146 games. Two years after the Mariners reacquired him, they would trade him to Detroit for a second time. He struggled with both teams during the 1990 season, combining to hit .209 in 89 games, with 22 runs, seven doubles, three homers, 20 RBIs and a .558 OPS. Coles ended up with the San Francisco Giants in 1991 as a free agent. He played just 11 big league games that season, going 3-for-14, with three singles and no walks. The rest of the year was spent with Phoenix of the Pacific Coast League, where he batted .290 in 83 games, with 43 runs, 31 extra-base hits, 65 RBIs and a .778 OPS. He had a bit of a rebound in 1992, hitting .312 over 55 games for the Cincinnati Reds. He had 16 runs, 16 extra-base hits, 18 RBIs and an .804 OPS. He walked just three times all year, so his .322 OBP wasn’t impressive. The next two seasons were spent as a bench player for the Toronto Blue Jays. Coles hit .253/.319/.371 over 64 games in 1993, with 26 runs, 14 extra-base hits and 26 RBIs. He followed that up with a .210 average over 48 games in 1994, with 15 runs, 11 extra-base hits, 15 RBIs and a .613 OPS.

Coles hit .225/.317/.341 over 63 games for the 1995 St Louis Cardinals, finishing up with 13 runs, seven doubles, three homers and 16 RBIs in 158 plate appearances. He spent all of 1996, and second part of 1997 in Japan. He put up big numbers in 1996, hitting .302 in 130 games, with 77 runs, 15 doubles, 29 homers, 79 RBIs and an .878 OPS. The first two months of the 1997 season was spent as a bench player for the Colorado Rockies, where he hit .318/.348/.500 in 23 plate appearances over 21 games. He then finished the year by putting up a .242/.285/.403 slash line in 63 games for Hanshin of the Japanese Central League. Coles played 14 years in the majors, then later coached at various levels, including four years of managing in the minors. He hit .245 in 957 Major League games, with 333 runs, 142 doubles, 75 homers and 368 RBIs. Despite stealing 27 bases during the 1982 season, followed by 23 steals during his minor league time in 1983, he went 20-for-43 in steals during his time in the majors.

Jeff Schulz, pinch-hitter for the 1991 Pirates. He was a 23rd round draft pick in 1983 by the Kansas City Royals out of Indiana State University. Despite being 22 years old at the time, he started his pro career in the low level Pioneer League, where he batted .327 in 61 games for Butte, with 44 runs, 21 extra-base hits, 55 RBIs, eight steals in nine attempts, and a .901 OPS. Schulz split the 1984 season between Charleston of the Low-A South Atlantic League and Fort Myers of the Advanced-A Florida State League, hitting well at each level. He combined to hit .326 in 128 games, with 75 runs, 32 extra-base hits, 80 RBIs, 52 walks and an .815 OPS. The next season was spent in Double-A, where he put up a .305 average, 73 runs, 24 extra-base hits, 53 RBIs, 59 walks and a .756 OPS in 136 games for Memphis of the Southern League. Schulz made it up to Omaha of the Triple-A American Association by his third full season in pro ball, where he hit .303 in 123 games, though that high average didn’t get him to the majors right away. He had 40 runs, 25 extra-base hits (two homers), 61 RBIs and 37 walks, along with zero stolen bases. His .743 OPS was his lowest mark up to that point in his career. Schulz stole a total of 28 bases during his first three seasons of pro ball, including his abbreviated draft year. He stole just 15 more bases over the final seven seasons of his ten-year pro career. He spent the 1987 and 1988 seasons back in Omaha, where he couldn’t match his stats from his first season at Triple-A. He batted .256 over 99 games in 1987, with 25 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 36 RBIs, 24 walks and a .688 OPS. Schulz had a .287 average and a .718 OPS over 101 games in 1988. He finished that year with 37 runs, 20 doubles and 41 RBIs. He walked just 17 times all year, while going 1-for-4 in steals.

Schulz spent a total of seven seasons in the Kansas City system before making his Major League debut in September of 1989. That was his fourth year at Omaha, where he batted .278 in 95 games, with 31 runs, 26 extra-base hits, 37 RBIs and a .721 OPS. Schulz played seven games for the Royals that year, getting his lone start on the final day of the season. He went 2-for-9 with an RBI during his first cup of coffee. He had three different stints with Kansas City in 1990, hitting .258/.319/.364 over 73 plate appearances, with five runs, five doubles and six RBIs in 30 games (16 starts). He had a .299 average and a .771 OPS over 69 games that year with Omaha. Schulz was released by the Royals in December of 1990, then signed with the Pirates in January of 1991. He spent most of 1991 with Buffalo of the American Association, where he batted .300 in 122 games, with 55 runs, 26 extra-base hits, 54 RBIs, 42 walks and a .734 OPS. His big league time that season consisted of three pinch-hitting appearances over a two-week stretch in May. Schulz went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts for the Pirates before returning to the minors. His time with the big league team ended when they acquired veteran outfielder Mitch Webster from the Cleveland Indians on May 16th. Schulz became a free agent after the 1991 season, then signed with the Cincinnati Reds. He finished his career in the minors in 1992, seeing time at Triple-A for the Reds (Nashville of the American Association) and Chicago Cubs (Iowa of the American Association. He batted .270 over 104 games that year, with 38 runs, 20 extra-base hits, 43 RBIs and a .681 OPS. Schulz was a .296 hitter over 1,038 minor league games. He batted .244 in his 40 Major League games, with five runs, five doubles, a triple and seven RBIs.

Gene Michael, infielder for the 1966 Pirates. The Pirates signed him as an amateur free agent in 1959. His minor league career started off slow, batting .227 over 124 games at Grand Forks of the Class-C Northern League in his debut season at 21 years old. He had 54 runs, 15 extra-base hits, 43 RBIs, 11 steals and a .571 OPS. Michael hit .203 over 124 games in 1960, spending almost the entire year back with Grand Forks. He also had a three-game stop at Savannah of the Class-A South Atlantic League mixed in. He had 47 runs, 19 extra-base hits, 41 RBIs and a .548 OPS with Grand Forks. He batted .324 over 121 games in 1961, with 121 runs scored, 37 extra-base hits, 62 walks and 36 steals. His .824 OPS that year was easily the best of his 17-year pro career. The downside to those numbers is that he was playing a level lower than the previous two year, spending the season with Hobbs of the Class-D Sophomore League.  He was promoted two levels higher to Kingston of the Class-B Carolina League the next year, then saw his average drop to .215 in 138 games. He finished that year with 58 runs, 15 extra-base hits (one homer), 36 RBIs, 64 walks and 92 strikeouts, which was a high total for the time. He saw a 260-point drop in his OPS over the previous year. The Pirates moved him from shortstop to the mound in 1963, which was a failed experiment. He went 1-3, 6.79 in 53 innings over 16 games. He had 48 strikeouts, but it came with a 2.02 WHIP. He had taken the mound once in 1962, when he threw two shutout innings, so they had a little bit of an idea of what he could do. He would pitch just three more times in his career, though the Los Angeles Dodgers tried him out there in fall ball in 1967. The position change in 1963 ended up being a temporary move because his bat started to come alive that season. Michael was still in Kingston, though the league was considered to be A-ball in 1963. He hit .304 in 125 games, with 73 runs, 25 extra-base hits, 57 RBIs, 51 walks and a .765 OPS.

Michael was promoted to Columbus of the Triple-A International League in 1964, then spent three seasons there as the team’s shortstop. Defense is what kept him there, because his first season was a rough one at the plate. He hit just .221 in 131 games, while driving in 19 runs all season. He had 43 runs, 19 extra-base hits, 37 walks and a .578 OPS. Michael put up a similar average and OPS in 1965 over 138 games, but it came with a much higher walk rate, to go along with a big drop in his slugging. Thanks to 61 walks, he had a .316 OBP in 1965. He slugged just .255, as 14 of his 15 extra-base hits were doubles. He batted .217 that year, with 53 runs and 30 RBIs. After putting up some big stolen base numbers earlier in his career, he went 5-for-14 in steals that season. He hit .289 over 78 games for Columbus in 1966, showing decent OBP/slugging numbers that helped him to a .732 OPS. He had 38 runs, 14 extra-base hits and 21 RBIs. That led to the Pirates calling him up for his Major League debut in July, one month after his 28th birthday. Michael started three times during his first week, then just once more over the rest of the year. He hit .152/.152/.273 in 30 games, with nine runs, three extra-base hits, two RBIs and no walks. Due to some pinch-running appearances, he was limited to 33 plate appearances in the majors that year. The Pirates traded him on December 1, 1966, along with Bob Bailey, to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for All-Star shortstop Maury Wills. Michael played one season in Los Angeles, where he put up a .202 average, 20 runs, four extra-base hits, seven RBIs and a .470 OPS in 98 games, before being sold to the New York Yankees. He spent the next seven seasons with the Yankees.

Michael was a backup during the 1968 season in New York, though most of his time was spent at shortstop. He played 61 games, while collecting 119 plate appearances. He batted .198/.219/.250 that year, with eight runs, eight RBIs and four extra-base hits, including his first career homer. He became the starting shortstop for the Yankees in 1969. Michael hit a career high .272 in 119 games that year, while also finishing with a career best .705 OPS. He had 41 runs, 31 RBIs, 43 walks and career highs of 24 doubles, four triples and seven steals. He dropped down to a .214 average in 1970, but he also saw more playing time, getting into 134 games. He finished with 42 runs, 13 extra-base hits, 38 RBIs and a career high of 50 walks. His OPS dropped 157 points over the previous year, down to a .548 mark. He played a career high 139 games in 1971, finishing the year with a .224 average, to go along with 36 runs, 15 doubles, three homers, 35 RBIs and 48 walks, leading to a .576 OPS. Michael saw a slight dip in his playing time each of the following two years, but he was still a semi-regular in the starting lineup. He batted .233 over 126 games in 1972, with 29 runs, 12 extra-base hits, 32 RBIs, 32 walks and a .568 OPS. Michael hit .225 in 193, with 30 runs, 15 extra-base hits and a career best 47 RBIs in 129 games. His .548 OPS was his lowest mark since the 1968 season.

Michael was back to a part-time player in his final season in New York, hitting .260 in 81 games, while seeing more time at second base. He had 19 runs and 13 RBIs, while all nine of his extra-base hits that season were doubles, though his .623 OPS was an improvement over the previous four seasons. He finished his playing career in 1975 with the Detroit Tigers, batting .214/.253/.290 in 56 games, with 15 runs, two doubles, three homers and 13 RBIs. Following his playing career, he held many positions with the Yankees, including manager and general manager. He batted .229 over ten big league seasons, with 249 runs, 86 doubles, 12 triples, 15 homers, 226 RBIs and 22 steals in 973 games. As a big league manager, he was at the helm for four partial seasons, including 1981-82 with the Yankees, and 1986-87 with the Chicago Cubs. He had a 206-200 record as a manager. Michael finished with 0.2 WAR during his career, helped out greatly by his 1971 season, when he put up 1.5 dWAR, which was the tenth best in the league at any position that year.

Tom Leahy, outfielder for the 1897 Pirates. He spent his first four seasons in the minors, playing for the Springfield Ponies of the Eastern League, before getting his first big league chance with the 1897 Pirates. He didn’t debut in pro ball until he was 24 years old in 1893. He hit .299 that first year, with 29 runs, 15 extra-base hits and 24 steals in 34 games. He batted .274 in 1894, with 96 runs, 38 extra-base hits and 30 steals in 101 games. That season was a huge year for offense around baseball due to new pitching rules that favored the hitters. His stats that year were actually low for the league, and a handful of teammates did much better. Leahy batted .314 over 63 games during the 1895 season, with 63 runs scored, 19 extra-base hits and 27 steals. The Eastern League became a Class-A league that year, considered to be one step from the majors at the time. It was a strong league before that season as well, but only five minor leagues were part of the classification system in 1894. Leahy was mainly a catcher in the minors, but he played more outfield during his time in Pittsburgh. The Pirates paid $500 to draft him from Springfield in December of 1896, after he put up a .256 average and 59 steals in 104 games that season. The local papers, quoting fielding stats, noted that he had his share of trouble in the outfield, but he was an above average catcher. Leahy played his first game in the majors at the catcher spot, coming off the bench for the Pirates on May 18, 1897. It was said of his first game that his throws to second base were weak, but he showed great patience at the plate. He was used in a utility role with the Pirates, getting six games at catcher, another six at third base, and 13 in the outfield, which were spread out between all three positions. Leahy hit .261/.320/.359 in 24 games for the Pirates, with ten runs, six extra-base hits and 12 RBIs. He was released by the Pirates in mid-August. He signed with the Washington Senators about a week later, where he finished the season hitting .385/.529/.462 in 19 games.

Leahy started off slowly in 1898, hitting .182/.297/.218 in 15 games for the Senators, before returning to the minors. Despite the low average, he had ten runs, six steals and eight walks in his brief time. He went to Providence of the Eastern League to finish out the 1898 season, where he hit .255 in 80 games, with 56 runs, 17 extra-base hits and 27 steals. Leahy had a nice season for Providence in 1899, hitting .305 in 111 games, with 65 runs, 25 extra-base hits and 35 steals. His 1900 stats aren’t available, but the year was spent back in Providence. The American League became a second Major League in 1901. Leahy saw time that year with the Philadelphia Athletics and the Milwaukee Brewers (current day Baltimore Orioles). He batted .254/.351/.351 in 38 games between the two stops, with 19 runs, nine extra-base hits and 11 RBIs. He then batted .333 in 40 games with Providence, where he finished out the season. After another three seasons in the minors, mostly spent in San Francisco (split between the California League and Pacific Coast League), Leahy returned for one last big league season as a catcher for the 1905 St Louis Cardinals. Limited starts from 1902 show him with a .255 average over 190 games in the independent California League. He hit .261 over 147 games in the Class-A Pacific Coast League during the 1903 season, collecting 35 extra-base hits that year, including 31 doubles. There are no stats for the 1904 season, which he split between San Francisco and Seattle of the Pacific Coast League. He played with Salt Lake City of the Class-B Pacific National League (no stats available) before joining the 1905 Cardinals.

Leahy debuted with St Louis in early July of 1905. He batted .227/.286/.299 in 35 games over the rest of the season, with three runs, four extra-base hits and seven RBIs. He ended his 15-year pro career in the minors at age 39 in 1908, playing most of his final three seasons with Kansas City of the Class-A American Association. He had a .283 average, 17 doubles and four triples in 104 games for Kansas City during the 1906 season. Leahy batted .241 over 46 games in 1907, with 17 runs, two extra-base hits (both doubles) and four steals. His final season was split between Kansas City and Indianapolis of the American Association. He hit .194 over 19 games between both spots, with five runs, a double and a stolen base. He hit .256 in four big league seasons, with 54 runs, 15 doubles, nine triples, no homers and 42 RBIs in 131 games. Despite some strong stolen base numbers in the minors, he had just 18 steals in the majors.

Jack O’Connor, catcher for the 1900-02 Pirates. He had a 21-year Major League career that began in 1887, spending time with seven different teams in three different leagues. He played just one year of minor league ball before starting that long career, playing for St Joseph of the Western League at 20 years old in 1886 (no stats are available from that year). He joined the Cincinnati Red Stockings of the American Association in 1887, when he batted .100 in 12 games, with four singles, three steals and two walks. O’Connor batted .204 in 1888, with 14 runs, five extra-base hits, 17 RBIs, 12 steals and a .506 OPS in 36 games for Cincinnati. He moved on to the Columbus Solons of the American Association in 1889, where he batted .269 in 10 games, with 69 runs, 28 extra-base hits, 60 RBIs, 26 steals and a .708 OPS. He hit a career high .324 over 121 games in 1890, with 89 runs, 26 extra-base hits, 66 RBIs, 29 steals and a .788 OPS. He led all catchers in the American Association in fielding percentage for the second straight season. It should be pointed out that three leagues existed in 1890, and the American Association was the weakest of the three Major Leagues. With the Player’s League done after one year, the level of competition in the American Association was much better in 1891. O’Connor hit .266 that year for Columbus, with 28 runs, 15 extra-base hits, 37 RBIs and a .645 OPS. It was actually said a month before the season that he signed with the Pirates, jumping his contract to go to the National League. They even gave him $1,200 advanced money (reported as $1,000 and $750 by some sources), but he ended up staying in Columbus until they let him go in July. O’Connor finished the year with Denver of the Western Association, where he had a .275 average, 37 runs, 12 extra-base hits and ten steals in 46 games.

The American Association was done after the 1891 season, leaving just the National League, which was at a premium for talent in 1892. O’Connor mostly played right field that season for the Cleveland Spiders, where he hit .248 in 140 games, with 71 runs scored, 28 extra-base hits, 58 RBIs, 17 steals and a .592 OPS. He was back behind the plate more often in 1893, when he batted .286 in 96 games, with 79 runs, 28 extra-base hits, 75 RBIs, 29 steals and a .724 OPS. Offense started to pick up that season due to new rules that limited the effectiveness of pitchers, including moving the pitching distance back. Offense was at a peak in baseball history during the 1894 season. O’Connor benefited as well from that increase, batting .315 in 86 games, with 67 runs, 23 doubles, seven triples, 51 RBIs and 15 steals. His .790 OPS was a career high, two points higher than the 1890 mark he put up against watered down competition. Offense dropped off slowly over the next few years, eventually leading into the deadball era, but O’Connor still hit for a high average. He batted .292 in 90 games during the 1895 season, with 52 runs, 14 doubles, ten triples and 58 RBIs. His .746 OPS was his highest mark over his final 13 seasons in the majors. He hit .297 over 68 games in 1896, with 41 runs, 13 extra-base hits, 43 RBIs, 15 steals and a .703 OPS in his somewhat limited time. He put up a .290 average in 1897, with 49 runs, 21 doubles, 69 RBIs, 20 steals and a .716 OPS in 103 games.  That was his tenth straight season with double-digit steals, something he didn’t accomplish over his final ten seasons. He played extra at first base in 1898, when he saw a lot more playing time. He got into 131 games total that year, with 48 starts behind the plate, as well as 15 games in the outfield. O’Connor hit .249 that season, with 50 runs, 17 doubles, 56 RBIs and a .598 OPS.

The Cleveland owners bought the St Louis Browns in 1899 (they were briefly named the Perfectos that year), then transferred all of their best players from Cleveland to St Louis. O’Connor went along to St Louis, where he hit .253 in 84 games, with 33 runs, 11 extra-base hits, 43 RBIs and a .610 OPS. He actually had more triples (six) that year than doubles and homers combined (five). The Pirates purchased his contract in May of 1900 from the Cardinals, after he batted .219/.306/.219 in ten games to start the season. During that 1900 season, Pittsburgh used a three-man platoon behind the plate of veteran catchers during a time when not many catchers lasted past 32 years of age. They had 39-year-old Chief Zimmer and 34-year-old Pop Schriver, to go along with the 34-year-old O’Connor. He batted .238/.263/.279 for the 1900 Pirates, with 15 runs, five extra-base hits and 19 RBIs in 43 games. When the Pirates won their first National League title in 1901, he hit just .193/.238/.257 in 61 games, though modern metrics rate his defense as well above average that year. He had 16 runs, ten extra-base hits and 22 RBIs.  O’Connor’s best season in Pittsburgh was 1902, when he hit .294 in 49 games, with 13 runs, four extra-base hits, 28 RBIs and a .648 OPS. He threw out 52.9% of base runners attempting to steal that year. His time in Pittsburgh though is marred by the fact it ended with his release near the end of the 1902 season, after the Pirates learned that he was trying to convince teammates to jump to the American League.

O’Connor played for the New York Highlanders (Yankees) in 1903, where he had a rough season at the plate. He hit .203 in 64 games, with 13 runs, five extra-base hits, 12 RBIs and a .466 OPS. He played sparingly for the St Louis Browns in 1904, hitting .213/.245/.234 in 14 games, then didn’t play at all in 1905 due to a salary dispute. He came back for two more seasons with St Louis, in what was considered to be a coaching/player role. He played 55 games in 1906, seeing some regular action mid-season. He hit .190/.199/.190 over 184 plate appearances, with eight runs and 11 RBIs. He had zero extra-base hits, while drawing just two walks. His 1907 season was limited to 25 games, in which he hit .157/.176/.180 over 92 plate appearances. He played briefly in the minors with Little Rock of the Class-A Southern Association in 1909. He managed the Browns in 1910 to a 47-104 record, plus he caught an inning during the final game of the season, which was another controversy for O’Connor. Nap Lajoie went 8-for-8 during a doubleheader against his team, and seven of those hits were infield hits. It was said that O’Connor had his team play back in the infield to allow Lajoie to pick up enough hits to beat Ty Cobb out for the batting title, with the winner that year receiving a new car. Lajoie was a well liked player, while Cobb was not. O’Connor was a player/manager for Cleveland of the United State League in 1912, which was his last year as a player. He hit .263 over 1,452 Major League games, with 718 runs, 201 doubles, 66 triples, 19 homers, 738 RBIs and 219 steals. Mostly known as a singles hitter, his only home run during the last nine seasons of his career was an inside-the-park homer in 1902. There have been two played named Jack O’Connor in Major League history. The other was a pitcher in the 1980’s for three different teams, who was also born on this date, 96 years after the original Jack.