Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date.
John Jaso, first baseman for the 2016-17 Pirates. He began his Major League career as a catcher, but concussion issues limited him to first base and some outfield by the time he joined the Pirates for his final two seasons in the majors. Jaso was a 12th round pick of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2003 out of Southwestern College. He debuted in pro ball at 19 years old, spending his first two seasons in the short-season New York-Penn League with Hudson Valley. Jaso hit .227 over 47 games in 2003, with 20 runs, seven doubles, two homers, 20 RBIs and a .656 OPS. He then batted .302 over 57 games in 2004, with 34 runs, 21 extra-base hits, 35 RBIs and an .815 OPS. He moved up to Southwest Michigan of the Low-A Midwest League for the 2005 season, where he hit .307 over 92 games, with 61 runs, 25 doubles, 14 homers, 50 RBIs and an .899 OPS. He was with Visalia of the High-A California League during the 2006 season, hitting .309 that year in 95 games, with 58 runs, 22 doubles, ten homers, 55 RBIs and an .813 OPS. His slow climb continued in 2007 at Montgomery of the Double-A Southern League, where he had a .316 average, 62 runs, 24 doubles, 12 homers, 71 RBIs, 59 walks and an .893 OPS in 109 games. Jaso went to the Arizona Fall League after the 2007 season, then hit .256/.370/.513 in 13 games, with six runs, three homers, six RBIs and seven walks. He started the 2008 season back in Montgomery, where he hit .271 over 85 games, with 51 runs, 22 extra-base hits, 43 RBIs, 62 walks and an .813 OPS. He also posted a .278 average and an .821 OPS in 31 games that year for Durham of the Triple-A International League. He then debuted with the Rays in September of 2008, where he went 2-for-10 with two singles in five games. He played winter ball in Venezuela during the 2008-09 off-season, putting up an .819 OPS in 17 games.
Jaso spent the entire 2009 season in Durham. He hit .266 over 104 games, with 42 runs, 13 doubles, five homers, 30 RBIs and a .727 OPS. He began the 2010 season in Durham, but that lasted just three games before rejoining the Rays. He hit .263 over 109 games for the 2010 Rays, with 57 runs, 18 doubles, five homers, 44 RBIs and a .750 OPS. That performance led to him finishing fifth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. He hit .224 during the 2011 season, with 26 runs, 15 doubles, five homers, 27 RBIs and a .652 OPS in 89 games. He was then he was traded to the Seattle Mariners on November 27, 2011. He hit .276 during the 2012 season, with 41 runs, 19 doubles, ten homers, a career high 50 RBIs, 56 walks and an .850 OPS and in 104 games. After one year in Seattle, he was part of a three-team/five-player trade that sent him to the Oakland A’s, where he spent the next two seasons. Jaso hit .271 over 70 games in 2013, with 31 runs, 12 doubles, three homers, 21 RBIs and a .759 OPS. He hit .264 over 99 games in 2014, with 42 runs, 18 doubles, nine homers, 40 RBIs and a .767 OPS. He returned to his roots in 2015, after getting dealt to the Rays in a five-player deal. He batted .286 during that 2015 season, with 23 runs, 17 doubles, five homers, 22 RBIs and an .839 OPS in 70 games. He became a free agent after the 2015 season, then signed a two-year deal with the Pirates. Jaso played a career high 132 games in 2016, finishing that year with a .268 average, 45 runs, a career high 25 doubles, eight homers, 42 RBIs and a .766 OPS. He slumped down to a .211 average over 126 games in 2017, though he tied a career high that year with ten homers. He had 28 runs, 19 doubles, 35 RBIs and a .730 OPS. He came off of the bench in 73 of those 126 games that season. He ended up retiring after the 2017 season. Jaso was a .258 hitter over his nine years in the majors, with 295 runs scored, 143 doubles, 55 homers and 281 RBIs in 808 games.
Robinzon Diaz, catcher for the 2008-09 Pirates. He was the player the Pirates got back for Jose Bautista in 2008, when the latter was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays. Diaz didn’t have big shoes to fill at the time because Bautista didn’t break out until 2010, but he’s now known as the piece in a one-sided deal. He did well in his brief time with the Pirates, which made it surprising when he was let go after the 2009 season. Diaz hit .289 in 43 games for the Pirates, posting a 0.7 WAR. He saw most of his time with the 2009 club, which ended up being his last season in the majors. Diaz last played pro ball during the winter of 2017. He didn’t draw many walks (or strikeouts), and he was never a home run hitter, but he could always hit for average. He finished 15-year pro career with a .295 minor league average in 1,049 games. Before joining the Pirates, his big league career consisted of one game for the 2008 Blue Jays.
Diaz was originally signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2000 at 17 years old. He played his first season in 2001 in the Dominican Summer League (no stats available), then came to the U.S. in 2002. He played most of that year in the short-season Pioneer League with Medicine Hat, though Toronto bumped him up to Dunedin of the High-A Florida State League for ten games. He combined to hit .277 in 68 games, with 32 runs, nine doubles, 21 RBIs and a .640 OPS. Diaz was still in short-season ball in 2003, but he made it look like a bad decision to hold him back. He batted .374 in 48 games for Pulaski of the Appalachian League, with 33 runs, 20 doubles, 44 RBIs and a .929 OPS. He spent the 2004 season with Charleston of the Low-A South Atlantic League, where he hit .287 in 105 games, with 62 runs, 20 doubles, 42 RBIs and a .702 OPS. He returned to the Florida State League in 2005, three years after he first played at the level. He put up a .294 average over 100 games for Dunedin, with 47 runs, 17 doubles, six triples, 65 RBIs and a .702 OPS. Diaz remained at Dunedin for the 2006 season, when he posted a .306 average, 59 runs, 21 doubles, 44 RBIs and a .724 OPS in 104 games. He played winter ball in the Dominican for the first time that year, something that he would then do every winter for the next ten years. His first winter action consisted of a .561 OPS over nine games.
Diaz spent most of the 2007 season at New Hampshire of the Double-A Eastern League, with a bump to Syracuse of the Triple-A International League for 19 more games. He had success at both levels, combining to hit .320/.346/.413 in 93 games, with 37 runs, 20 doubles, four homers and 40 RBIs. His 2007-08 winter work consisted of one game. His 2008 season saw him play for six teams throughout the year, partially due to rehab work early in the year. He didn’t play much before the trade to the Pirates due to an injury. He played over three levels in the minors with the Blue Jays, plus he had one game with Toronto on April 23rd as the DH, going 0-for-4 at the plate. He was batting .244/.266/.336 in 36 games for Syracuse at the time of the deal to Pittsburgh. He went to Indianapolis of the International League with the Pirates for five games, then got called up in September. He caught one game on September 7th and pinch-hit in another two days later. He sprained his ankle at that time, so he was unable to play again before the season ended. He went 3-for-6 with an RBI and stolen base during his brief time with the 2008 Pirates. He was able to play 32 games of winter ball during that 2008-09 off-season, though he hit just .208 over 106 at-bats, while putting up a .490 OPS.
Diaz split the 2009 season between Indianapolis and the majors. He had a .279 average and a .663 OPS in 41 games for the Pirates, which was slightly better than the .657 OPS he had in 44 games at Indianapolis. He had nine runs, seven doubles, one homer and 19 RBIs during his big league time that year. The Pirates let him go on November 30, 2009, then he signed nine days later with the Detroit Tigers. He put up a big average during the 2009-10 winter, batting .333/.347/.418 in 38 games. He spent all of 2010 in the minors for the Tigers, hitting .255 in 71 games for Toledo of the International League, with 29 runs, 17 doubles, 21 RBIs and a .620 OPS. He had a .299 average and a .694 OPS over 29 games during the 2010-11 winter season. Diaz ended up playing in the minors for the Texas Rangers (2011-12), Los Angeles Angels (2012) and Milwaukee Brewers (2013-15), seeing plenty of Triple-A time, though he also played at lower levels. He batted .318/.352/.444 in 55 games during the 2011 season, splitting his time between Round Rock of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League and Frisco of the Double-A Texas League. He followed that up by batting .338/.366/.455 over 24 games in the winter. He played seven games for Round Rock in 2012, then another 46 games for Salt Lake City of the Pacific Coast League, after joining the Angels mid-season. He combined to hit .290 in 53 games, with 28 runs, 12 doubles, four homers and 33 RBIs. He finished with a .746 OPS, which was also his OPS at both stops that year. He played full-time that winter, posting a .277 average and a .719 OPS over 48 games.
The Brewers split Diaz’s 2013 and 2014 time between Nashville of the Pacific Coast League and Huntsville of the Double-A Southern League each year. He had a .302 average, 39 runs, 21 doubles, seven homers, 42 RBIs and a .768 OPS over 108 games in 2013. He struggled during the 2013-14 winter, batting .238/.284/.313 in 21 games. That was followed by a .264 average, 26 runs, 13 doubles, three homers, 23 RBIs and a .627 OPS in 83 games during the 2014 regular season. He dropped down to a .224 average and a .529 OPS during his 32 games of winter ball. His final minor league season saw him playing 11 games in High-A (Brevard County of the Florida State League), to go along with 44 games at Colorado Springs of the Pacific Coast League. He hit .291 that year, with ten runs, five doubles, 15 RBIs and a .641 OPS. He had a .527 OPS over 11 winter games during the 2015-16 off-season. Diaz spent the summer of 2016 in Mexico, where he hit .278/.324/.384 in 34 games for Tabasco. He then wound up his career with two games that winter in the Dominican. Over all levels of play, he was a .290 hitter in 1,374 games.
Ray Sadler, left fielder for the 2005 Pirates. Sadler was signed by the Chicago Cubs as a 30th round draft pick in 1999 out of Hill College in Texas. He had a long career in pro ball, but his entire big league career was limited to three games for the Pirates, which came between May 8th and May 11th of the 2005 season. He started those three games in left field, where he went 2-for-8 at the plate, while hitting a solo homer off of Noah Lowry. Sadler debuted in pro ball in 2000 at 19 years old. He was a draft and follow player, back when teams could draft players one year and sign them right before the following year’s draft. He played in the rookie level Arizona League in 2000, hitting .339/.395/.449 over 42 games, with 32 runs, 11 extra-base hits and 27 RBIs. He played for Lansing of the Low-A Midwest League in 2001, where he hit .341 over 94 games, with 74 runs, 40 extra-base hits, 50 RBIs, 18 steals and an .886 OPS. Sadler played 112 games with Daytona of the High-A Florida State League in 2002, where he had a .286 average, 81 runs, 43 extra-base hits, 47 RBIs, 30 stolen bases and a .761 OPS. He moved up to West Tennessee of the Double-A Southern League for ten games that year, which did not go well. He went 2-for-30 at the plate, though he did draw five walks and get hit by three pitches. He did much better at West Tennessee in 2003, when he hit .291 over 112 games, with 56 runs, 42 extra-base hits, 42 RBIs, 17 steals and a .786 OPS. Sadler was acquired by the Pirates August 17, 2003, in a trade for Randall Simon. He finished off the 2003 season with Altoona of the Double-A Eastern League, batting .264/.310/.415 in 14 games.
Sadler spent the entire 2004 season in Altoona. He hit .268 over 120 games, with 61 runs, 25 doubles, 20 homers, 72 RBIs, 16 steals and a .778 OPS. He split the 2005 season between Altoona and Indianapolis of the Triple-A International League, combining to hit .252 over 131 games, with 51 runs, 26 doubles, 15 homers, 53 RBIs and a .726 OPS. Sadler was called up to the Pirates from Altoona on May 8th, when Craig Wilson went on the disabled list. He was sent down after his three-game stint on May 13th, returning to Altoona when the Pirates acquired outfielder Michael Restovich. Sadler was designated for assignment on September 16th, then got reassigned to Indianapolis. He played winter ball in Mexico during the 2005-06 off-season (no stats available). He then struggled through the 2006 season, while spending most of the year back in Altoona. He also put in 36 games that year with Indianapolis. He hit .220 between both stops, with 50 runs, 13 doubles, 17 homers, 52 RBIs and a .708 OPS in 122 games. He had a .186 average and a .536 OPS during his time with Indianapolis. Sadler was let go after the 2006 season via minor league free agency, then signed with the Houston Astros. He had a .222 average and a .682 OPS over 28 games with Mazatlan in Mexico during the 2006-07 off-season. He spent the 2007-08 seasons playing 171 games for Corpus Christi of the Double-A Texas League and 93 in Triple-A with Round Rock of the Pacific Coast League. Sadler spent the entire 2007 season in Corpus Christi, hitting .253 in 138 games, with 72 runs, 25 doubles, 24 homers, 93 RBIs and a .789 OPS. Splitting both levels in 2008, Sadler combined to hit .272 in 126 games, with 73 runs, 28 doubles, 25 homers, 78 RBIs and an .854 OPS. He played winter ball in Venezuela over the 2008-09 off-season, hitting .250/.310/.434 over 22 games.
Sadler lasted 16 games with Round Rock in 2009, before finishing the season in the Tampa Bay Rays system with Durham of the International League. He combined to hit .202 in 102 games that year, with 44 runs, 13 doubles, 14 homers, 54 RBIs and a .624 OPS. Sadler spent 2010-15 playing independent ball, finishing up his pro career ten seasons after his only three Major League games. He played for Kansas City in the Northern League in 2010, where he had a .318 average over 97 games, with 82 runs, 27 doubles, 23 homers, 83 RBIs, 21 steals and a .941 OPS. He then stayed in town with Kansas City of the American Association, where he played during the 2011-14 seasons. He struggled in Venezuelan winter ball during the 2010-11 off-season, posting a .161 average and a .454 OPS in 11 games. Sadler hit .315 over 100 games for Kansas City in 2011, with 71 runs, 21 doubles, 22 homers, 100 RBIs and a .925 OPS. He played part of 2012 at the highest level of play in Italy, where he hit .365/.419/.583 over 24 games for Nettuno. The rest of the year was spent with Kansas City where he had a .278 average in 85 games, with 53 runs, 18 doubles, 16 homers, 63 RBIs and an .811 OPS. Sadler also saw time with Winnipeg of the American Association during the 2013-14 seasons. He put in 110 games for Winnipeg during those years, while splitting 89 games for Kansas City between both seasons. He combined to hit .276 over 100 games in 2013, with 73 runs, 27 doubles, 21 homers, 72 RBIs and an .868 OPS. He batted .241 over 99 games during the 2014 season, with 63 runs, 16 doubles, 18 homers, 55 RBIs and a .716 OPS. He finished his career with a .556 OPS over nine games for Sussex County of the independent Canadian-American Association. He played 16 years of pro ball and four years of winter ball. He played 1,611 games in the minors/indy ball, hitting 245 homers, while driving in 952 runs. His cousin Donnie Sadler played eight years in the majors.
Stuffy McInnis, first baseman for the 1925-26 Pirates. He is probably the best mid-season pick-up in franchise history. The Pirates signed him two months into the 1925 season, then all he did was hit .368 in 59 games, helping them to win their second World Series title. The championship was his fourth World Series title overall. He was a role player with the 1926 Pirates, batting .299 in 47 games. McInnis had a terrific 19-year career that saw him put up a .307 average, 871 runs, 2,405 hits and 1,063 RBIs. He’s also third all-time in sacrifice hits with 383, which is a lot of at-bats to give away for the good of the team. McInnis struck out 251 times in 8,642 career plate appearances, including just one strikeout for the 1925 Pirates. He batted over .300 in 12 seasons. He received MVP votes during each of the 1911-14 seasons with the Philadelphia Athletics, finishing as high as seventh twice. McInnis received mild Hall of Fame support, accumulating votes in seven years between 1937 and 1951. Stuffy (his first name was John) was also a sure-handed first baseman during an era in which great defense at first base was a lot more important than now. For 11 straight seasons, he finished first or second in fielding percentage at first base. Somehow he is a -4.3 career for defensive WAR, despite being widely regarded as being great defensively, with the range/numbers to back it up.
McInnis debuted in pro ball in 1908 at 17 years old. He .301 in 51 games for Haverhill of the Class-B New England League, with 24 runs, 11 extra-base hits and two stolen bases. He was already in the majors by the next season. Debuting six months after his 18th birthday, he was a deep bench player for the 1909 Philadelphia A’s. He hit .239/.286/.304 in 19 games that year, with four runs, a homer and four RBIs. He saw just a little more time in 1910, hitting .301/.363/.438 in 38 games, while playing four different positions. He finished that year with ten runs, two doubles, four triples and 12 RBIs. He’s known now as a great first baseman, but he actually debuted as a shortstop. McInnis became a regular during the 1911 season, when he made the transition to first base. He responded by hitting .321 over 126 games, with 76 runs scored, 33 extra-base hits, 77 RBIs, 23 steals and a .787 OPS. He finished 22nd in the MVP voting. He had his best season on offense in 1912, when he set career highs with his .327 average, 83 runs, 13 triples, 101 RBIs, 27 steals and 49 walks. His .817 OPS was ninth best in the league during that deadball era season, helping him to a 21st place finish in the MVP voting. McInnis was nearly as good in 1913, hitting .324 over 148 games, with 79 runs, 30 doubles, 90 RBIs and a .798 OPS, which ranked him eighth best in the league. He had a rough World Series, going 2-for-17 at the plate, but the A’s still took the title. He finished seventh in the MVP voting that year. The A’s returned to the World Series in 1914, when he went 2-for-14 at the plate in the series. He hit .314 during the regular season, with 74 runs and 95 RBIs, although his 21 extra-base hits (one homer) and 19 walks left him with a .709 OPS. That was still above average during the deadball era, but a large drop-off from his previous two seasons. It was still enough for his second straight seventh place finish in the MVP race.
McInnis hit .314 for a second straight season in 1915. He had 44 runs and 49 RBIs over 114 games that year, while finishing with low totals of 18 extra-base hits and 14 walks. Those numbers dropped him down to a .699 OPS. He put up matching .693 OPS numbers each year during the 1916-17 season. It was the heart of the deadball era though, so that number was 48 points about average in 1916, and 55 points above average in 1917. He batted .295 over 140 games in 1916, with 42 runs, 25 doubles and 60 RBIs. He hit .303 during the 1917 season, with 50 runs, 19 doubles, 44 RBIs and 18 steals in 150 games. McInnis was traded to the Boston Red Sox in January of 1918. He had a below average season at the plate that year, but Boston still won the World Series. He had a .250 average in the series, with five singles and an RBI. He batted .272 during the regular season, with 40 runs, 16 extra-base hits, 56 RBIs and a .628 OPS in 117 games. That season was shortened by a month due to the war. He rebounded in 1919 with a .305 average, 31 runs, 18 extra-base hits, 59 RBIs and a .702 OPS in 120 games. That was followed it up with a .297 average, 50 runs, 21 doubles, 71 RBIs and a .677 OPS over 148 games in 1920. McInnis hit .307 during the 1921 season, with 71 runs, 31 doubles, ten triples, 76 RBIs and a .729 OPS. Rules were put in effect outlawing certain pitches in 1919, along with new baseballs being put in play more often after the Ray Chapman beaning in 1920, which led to more offense and the end of the deadball era. McInnis batted 644 times during the 1921 season, yet he had just nine strikeouts.
McInnis was traded to the Cleveland Indians in December of 1921 for three players. He hit .305 during his only season for Cleveland, with 58 runs scored, 28 doubles, seven triples, 78 RBIs and a .715 OPS in 152 games. That year he struck out just five times in 582 plate appearances. McInnis was released by Cleveland prior to the 1923 season, then he quickly signed with the Boston Braves. He hit .315 that year, with 70 runs, 34 extra-base hits, 95 RBIs and a .735 OPS, while leading the league with 154 games played. He batted .291 during the 1924 season, with 57 runs, 23 doubles, seven triples, 59 RBIs and a .671 OPS in 146 games. Boston released him on April 13, 1925, then he signed with the Pirates on May 29th. McInnis was a bench player for the Pirates until June 20th, then started seeing regular starts. Despite the great stats, which included a career best .921 OPS, he batted just five times in the final 14 games of the season. He was a starter from mid-April through mid-May during the 1926 season, getting 88 of his 138 plate appearances during that four-week stretch. His .698 OPS was just slightly under league average during that time. McInnis took up managing after his two seasons in Pittsburgh. He was at the helm of the 1927 Philadelphia Phillies, and he even recorded his final big league at-bat that season. He was a player-manager in the minors in 1928 for Salem of the New England League, where he hit .339 over 38 games, with seven extra-base hits. He is credited online with appearing very briefly in the minors in 1937 at 46 years old for Landis of the Class-D North Carolina State League, but that was a pitcher also named John McInnis, who pitched in the same league a year earlier. Stuffy McInnis was coaching up north at the same time that the other McInnis was playing in North Carolina. Besides his .308 career average in 2,128 games, he had 312 doubles, 101 triples and 20 homers, with 12 of those being inside-the-park home runs.