Ten former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, including a Hall of Famer. There’s also a pair of transactions of note from the 1949 season.
Fred Clarke, player manager for the 1900-1915 Pirates. He is in the Hall of Fame as a left fielder, but he could just as easily be in as a manager. He was already a star before joining the Pirates in 1900. He hit .334 in his first six seasons with the Louisville Colonels, the last three years as the manager. Clarke then hit .299 over 1,479 games with the Pirates, leading them to a National League title four times, including once to a World Series title. He scored 1,622 runs during his career, while hitting 220 triples, which ranks seventh all-time. As a manager, he had a 1,602-1,181 record in 19 years.
Clarke began his pro career in 1893 at 20 years old. He played part of that year for St Joseph of the Western Association, where he hit .346 over 20 games, with 21 runs, seven doubles, two homers and eight steals. He also played 35 games that season for Montgomery of the Class-B Southern Association, where he had a .306 average, 21 runs, five doubles and five triples. He was with Savannah of the Southern Association in 1894, until his big league debut on June 30th with Louisville. He hit .311 over 54 games for Savannah, with 60 runs, 16 extra-base hits and 21 steals. He hit .274 for Louisville in 1894, with 55 runs, 25 extra-base hits, 48 RBIs, 26 steals and a .758 OPS over 76 games. It wasn’t that strong of a debut, considering that 1894 was a huge season for offense in baseball due to the new pitching rules created in 1893. Pitchers had trouble adjusting to the new distance and delivery limitations for the first three season, before offense returned to normal standards during the 1896 season. Clarke had strong first full season for Louisville, batting .347 over 132 games in 1895, with 96 runs, 30 extra-base hits, 82 RBIs, 40 steals and and .821 OPS. He hit .325 over 131 games in 1896, with 42 extra-base hits, including 18 triples. He also had 96 runs, 79 RBIs, 34 steals and an .868 OPS.
Clarke put up a career best .390 average during the 1897 season. He finished second in the batting race that year, because Hall of Famer Willie Keeler had a mind-blowing .424 average, which is what happens when you “hit them were they ain’t”. Clarke had 49 extra-base hits and 67 RBIs over 130 games in 1897, while finishing the year with a career bests of 59 steals and 122 runs scored (which he would soon tie). His career high .992 OPS that year was the second best in the league. He saw a major drop-off in 1898, yet he still batted .307 over 149 games, with 116 runs, 38 extra-base hits, 47 RBIs, 40 steals and a .774 OPS. He hit .340 during his final season for Louisville, with 122 runs scored, a career high 206 hits, 37 extra-base hits, 70 RBIs, 49 steals and an .836 OPS in 149 games. After the 1899 season, Louisville traded all of their best players to Pittsburgh as part of a deal that also included cash and owner Barney Dreyfuss leaving his Louisville ownership to take over control of the Pirates. Clarke was in the deal, along with Honus Wagner, Rube Waddell, Deacon Phillippe and Tommy Leach. It’s usually listed as a 12-for-4 deal with the Pirates getting the 12 players, but the initial deal was 5-for-14, with the Pirates eventually getting control of more players once Louisville folded as a franchise later in the off-season.
Clarke hit .276 over 106 games during his first year as the player-manager for Pittsburgh, finishing the year with 84 runs scored, 30 extra-base hits, 32 RBIs, 21 steals and a .764 OPS. It was a disappointing debut considering his previous success. The Pirates won the National League pennant in 1901, when Clarke hit .324 over 129 games, with 118 runs, 45 extra-base hits, 60 RBIs, 23 steals and an .856 OPS. It was their first pennant in 20 years as a franchise. The 1902 Pirates had the best season in team history, finishing with a 103-36 record. They even faltered at the end of that year due to numerous injuries, including Clarke, who missed nine games in the final few weeks. He hit .316 over 113 games that year, with 103 runs, 27 doubles, 14 triples, 53 RBIs and 29 steals. His .850 OPS was second best in the league, as the deadball era started to limit offense around baseball. The Pirates played in the first World Series during the 1903 season. Clarke helped them get there by hitting .351 over 104 games, with 88 runs, 52 extra-base hits, 70 RBIs and 21 steals. He led the league with 32 doubles (career high), a .532 slugging percentage and a .946 OPS. He lost out on the batting title that year by four points to Honus Wagner. Clarke hit .265 in the postseason, with two RBIs and three runs scored in eight games.
Clarke hit .306/.367/410 during the 1904 season, with 51 runs, 18 extra-base hits and 25 RBIs in 72 games. He missed 2 1/2 months due to a leg injury suffered in July. He was healthy in 1905, when he finished the year with a .299 average, 95 runs, 35 extra-base hits (including 15 triples), 51 RBIs, 24 steals and a .770 OPS in 141 games. His .309 average in 1906 was the seventh best in the league. He led the league that year with 13 triples, despite being slightly limited to 118 games. He finished with 69 runs, 28 extra-base hits, 39 RBIs, 18 steals and a .784 OPS. The 1907 season was a down year for offense during the deadball era, as evident by his eighth place finish in the batting race with a .289 average. Clarke played 148 games that year, finishing up with 97 runs scored, 33 extra-base hits, 59 RBIs, 68 walks and 37 steals, which was his high during his time in Pittsburgh. His .772 OPS was fourth best in the league. He batted .265 during the 1908 season, with 83 runs, 18 doubles, 15 triples, 53 RBIs, 24 steals, 65 walks and a .712 OPS in 151 games. The Pirates won the World Series in 1909, with Clarke playing a career high of 152 games that season. He batted .287, which was ninth best in the league. He had 97 runs, 30 extra-base hits, 68 RBIs, 31 stolen bases and he led the league with 80 walks. His .756 OPS was eighth best in the league. He batted just .211 in the World Series, but his hits were timely and big, with seven RBIs and seven runs scored.
Clarke hit .263 over 123 games in 1910, with 57 runs, 34 extra-base hits, 63 RBIs and a .723 OPS. He had a solid 1911 season, but at 38 years old he was entering his final days as a regular player. He batted .324 that year, with 73 runs, 43 extra-base hits, 49 RBIs and a .900 OPS in 110 games. He didn’t play at all in 1912, then saw sporadic at-bats over the next three seasons, once taking over in left field for a short time in 1913 when the Pirates were desperate for outfielders. He went 1-for-13 with a double that year. He played two games during the 1914 season and one game in 1915, sticking to his managerial duties during that time. Clarke often scouted players in-season during his career, so he wasn’t always around for all of those managerial wins (and losses) credited to him. He posted a .312 average in 2,246 games, with 1,622 runs, 2,678 hits, 361 doubles, 220 triples, 67 homers, 1,015 RBIs and 509 steals. He had 875 walks, compared to 511 strikeouts. During his 16 years as a manager of the Pirates, he had four first place finishes and five second place finishes. He finished in the top half of the division in each of his first 14 seasons, which was a big deal back then when the top four teams each received player shares of a bonus pool at the end of the season. His brother Josh Clarke played five seasons in the majors. His brother-in-law Chick Fraser played 14 seasons in the majors, then became a scout for the Pirates. Fred Clarke was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1945.
Bob Skinner, outfielder for the 1954 and 1956-63 Pirates. The Pirates signed Skinner three years before he made his big league debut. He played junior college ball for one year, before signing with Pittsburgh at 19 years old in 1951. He played over two levels in 1951, including a .472 average and 19 extra-base hits in 29 games for Mayfield of the Class-D Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee League. The rest of the year was spent with Waco of the Class-B Big State League, where he had a .283 average and 34 extra-base hits in 98 games. His combined stats for the season show a .326 average over 126 games, with 107 runs, 31 doubles, seven triples, 15 homers, 87 RBIs, 86 walks and a .950 OPS. Skinner then spent the next two years in the Marines during the Korean War. He played well during Spring Training when he returned in 1954, which led to him making the Pirates Opening Day roster. He hit .249 over 132 games as a rookie, with 67 runs, 32 extra-base hits, 46 RBIs and a .686 OPS. Despite the full-time play in 1954, he spent the 1955 season in the minors. He hit .346 that year for New Orleans of the Triple-A American Association, with 62 runs, 38 extra-base hits, 62 RBIs, 58 walks and a .976 OPS in 86 games. A broken wrist on a slide ended his season in July. Skinner returned to the Pirates in 1956, when he began to see more playing time later in the season. He played all four corner spots, with most of his time in left field and at first base. He batted just .202 over 113 games that year, with 29 runs, 16 extra-base hits, 29 RBIs and a .609 OPS.
Skinner put up a .305 average at 25 years old in 1957, finishing the year with 58 runs, 12 doubles, 13 homers, 45 RBIs and an .838 OPS over 126 games. He saw a large majority of his time in left field, which was his main position through the 1963 season. That was followed by his first All-Star season in 1958, when he hit .321 over 144 games, with a career high 93 runs, 33 doubles, nine triples, 13 homers, 70 RBIs, an .879 OPS. He received mild MVP support, finishing 15th in the voting. Skinner batted .280 during the 1959 season, with 78 runs, 18 doubles, 13 homers, 61 RBIs, 67 walks and a .756 OPS in 143 games. He would tie/set career highs with 33 doubles and 86 RBIs during the 1960 season, helping the Pirates to the World Series, where they won their third title. He was an All-Star that season (they played two All-Star games that year), batting .273 in 145 games, with 83 runs, 15 homers, 59 walks and a .771 OPS . He played just two games in the World Series, sitting on the bench due to multiple minor injuries in game one. He went 1-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. Skinner batted .268 over 119 games in 1961, with 61 runs scored, 26 extra-base hits, 42 RBIs, 51 walks and a .718 OPS. He then he batted .302 and slugged a career high 20 homers in 1962. He also had 87 runs, 29 doubles, seven triples and 75 RBIs, while setting career highs with 76 walks and an .899 OPS. He received mild MVP support that year, finishing 22nd in the voting.
The Pirates traded Skinner to the Cincinnati Reds during the early part of the 1963 season for Jerry Lynch. It was a well-timed deal for the Pirates, as he clearly fell off right after that point. He hit .259 over 106 games during the 1963 season, with 43 runs scored, 25 extra- base hits, 25 RBIs and a .715 OPS. He had slightly better results that year with the Pirates, putting up a .734 OPS over 34 games. He started playing more right field in 1964, while splitting the season between the Reds and St Louis Cardinals. He hit .254/.313/.367 in 192 plate appearances over 80 games, with 16 runs, eight doubles, four homers and 21 RBIs. Skinner had a nice season off of the bench for the 1965 Cardinals, hitting .309/.360/.493 in 164 plate appearances over 80 games, with 25 runs, 14 extra-base hits and 26 RBIs. He was done as a player after the 1966 season, when he saw all 49 games played that year in a pinch-hitting role, without any time in the outfield. He hit .156/.208/.244 that year, with two runs, a double, a homer and five RBIs.
Skinner was a manager for the Philadelphia Phillies for the final 107 games of the 1968 season, then the first 108 games of the 1969 season. He also had one game as the manager for the 1977 San Diego Padres. He compiled a 93-123 record during that time. Besides managing after his playing days, he also had numerous coaching spots, with the highlight being the batting coach for the 1979 Pirates, when they won their fifth World Series title. Skinner hit .280 over 1,100 games for the Pirates, with 574 runs, 173 doubles, 52 triples, 90 homers and 462 RBIs. He played a total of 12 years in the majors, finishing with a .277 average, 642 runs, 197 doubles, 58 triples, 103 homers and 531 RBIs in 1,381 games. His son Joel Skinner played nine years in the big leagues. Bob Skinner turns 92 today, and he is among the ten oldest living former Pirates.
Kevin Kramer, infielder for the 2018-19 Pirates. He was originally a 25th round draft pick in 2011 out of high school by the Cleveland Indians. He decided to attend UCLA, where he moved up to a second round pick pick of the Pirates in 2015. He split his first season in pro ball between Morgantown of the short-season New York-Penn League and West Virginia of the Low-A South Atlantic League, combining to hit .291 over 58 games, with 43 runs, 13 extra-base hits, 20 RBIs, 12 steals and a .741 OPS. He moved up to Bradenton of the High-A Florida State League in 2016, where he hit .277 over 118 games, with 56 runs, 29 doubles, four homers, 57 RBIs, 48 walks and a .730 OPS. Kramer moved up to Altoona of the Double-A Eastern League for the 2017 season. He got off to an outstanding start, until a hand injury from a hit-by-pitch put him out of action for two months. He hit .297 over 53 games, with 31 runs, 26 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs and an .880 OPS. He also played four rehab games at the lower levels prior to rejoining Altoona to finish the year. He went to the Arizona Fall League after the 2017 season, where he hit .200/.296/.317 over 16 games, with nine runs, one double, two homers and six RBIs.
Kramer went to Indianapolis of the Triple-A International League for the 2018 season. He batted .311 over 129 games, with 73 runs, 35 doubles, 15 homers, 59 RBIs, 13 steals and an .856 OPS. He got his first call to the majors that September, when he hit .135/.175/.135 over 21 games, with 20 strikeouts in 40 plate appearances. He batted .260 for Indianapolis during the 2019 season, with 49 runs, 30 doubles, ten homers, 54 RBIs and a .752 OPS in 113 games. He hit .167/.260/.191 in 50 plate appearances over 22 games with the 2019 Pirates. Kramer was injured during the shortened 2020 season, so he didn’t appear in any games. He then spent the 2021 season split between the Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers in Triple-A, playing 51 games with Indianapolis and 23 with Nashville. The Pirates traded him on July 4th, then the Brewers released him on August 17th. He batted a combined .207/.332/.302 in 74 games that season, with 27 runs, nine doubles, three homers and 26 RBIs. Kramer retired after the 2021 season. His big league stats show a .152/.222/.165 slash line in 43 games, with ten runs, one double and nine RBIs.
Phil Gosselin, infielder for the 2017 Pirates. He was a fifth round draft pick of the Atlanta Braves in 2010 out of the University of Virginia. He spent most of his debut season at Rome of the Low-A South Atlantic League, where he hit .294 over 57 games, with 26 runs, 14 extra-base hits, 24 RBIs and a .767 OPS. He finished the season with Myrtle Beach of the High-A Carolina League, where he hit .154/.154/.269 in six games. After that brief stint in High-A to end the 2010 season, he spent all of 2011 back at the level with Lynchburg of the Carolina League. Gosselin hit .264 over 115 games in 2011, with 60 runs, 36 extra-base hits, 63 RBIs and a .716 OPS. He moved up to Mississippi of the Double-A Southern League in 2012, where he batted .242 over 128 games, with 55 runs, 29 extra-base hits, 46 RBIs and a .637 OPS. Gosselin had an odd 2013 season split evenly in the minors between Mississippi and Gwinnett of the Triple-A International League, with mediocre results at both levels, yet he still earned a trip to the majors. He had a .254 average over 117 games between both minor league stops, with 44 runs, 19 extra-base hits, 38 RBIs and a .617 OPS. He played four late-season games with the 2013 Braves, going 2-for-6 with a walk. He tore up Gwinnett during the 2014 season, hitting .344 over 96 games, with 58 runs, 39 extra-base hits, 31 RBIs and an .866 OPS. That performance led to an extended stint with the 2014 Braves. Gosselin hit .266/.304/.320 over 42 games for Atlanta that year, finishing with 17 runs, four doubles, one homer and three RBIs in 136 plate appearances.
Gosselin was traded mid-season in 2015 to the Arizona Diamondbacks, as part of a salary dump trade for Bronson Arroyo and pitching prospect Touki Toussaint. Gosselin batted .311/.373/.500 in 44 games that season between both stops, getting into 20 games with Atlanta and 24 with Arizona. He had 19 runs, nine doubles, three homers and 15 RBIs. A fractured left thumb early in the year limited him to 58 games total in 2015, including 14 minor league rehab games for Arizona. He played 122 games during the 2016 season for the Diamondbacks, while getting a total of 240 plate appearances. He hit .277 that year, with 26 runs, 12 doubles, two homers, 13 RBIs and a .692 OPS. Gosselin was acquired by the Pirates right before Spring Training of 2017, in a trade with the Diamondbacks for minor league pitcher Frank Duncan. Gosselin hit .150/.190/.175 in 42 plate appearances over 28 games for the 2017 Pirates, seeing most of his time at second base and off of the bench. He spent part of the season at Indianapolis of the Triple-A International League while with the Pirates, putting up a .266 average, 27 runs, 13 extra-base hits, 26 RBIs and a .640 OPS in 63 games. He was lost via waivers to the Texas Rangers in August of 2017. He had just eight at-bats over 12 games in the final two months with Texas, while also seeing some Triple-A time at Round Rock of the Pacific Coast League
Gosselin signed with the Cincinnati Reds as a free agent in December of 2017. He hit .125/.250/.250 over 20 games, before being taken off of waivers by the Braves in early May of 2018. He spent the rest of the year back in Gwinnett, where he hit .251 over 81 games, with 38 runs, 18 doubles, five homers, 36 RBIs and a .703 OPS. He then signed with the 2019 Philadelphia Phillies, where he ended up being a valuable utility player for them during the 2020 season. He mostly saw bench time in 2019, hitting .262/.294/.308 in 68 plate appearances over 44 games. Half of his 2019 season was spent with Lehigh Valley of the Triple-A International League, where he had a .314 average, 54 runs, 33 extra-base hits, 47 RBIs and a .901 OPS in 78 games. He hit .250/.324/.402 during the shortened 2020 season, with 14 runs, five doubles, three homers and 12 RBIs in 102 plate appearances over 39 games. Gosselin signed with the Los Angeles Angels in February of 2021. He hit .264/.314/.362 over 104 games for the 2021 Angels, with 40 runs, 14 doubles, seven homers and 47 RBIs, which set career highs in each of the four latter categories. He signed as a free agent with the 2022 Braves, then hit .261/.292/.261 over 24 big league plate appearances. He also seeing time that year back at Gwinnett, where he had a .297 average and an .830 OPS over 49 games. The Braves put Gosselin on waivers in July, where he was picked up by the Angels. He had an .098/.132/.137 slash line in 53 plate appearances over 23 games for the Angels, before he was released at the end of August. He did not play during the 2023 season. He is a .254 career hitter in 497 games, with 137 runs scored, 49 doubles, 17 homers and 103 RBIs. He has made big league starts at six different positions, playing all around the infield and both corner outfield spots.
Alex Ramirez, outfielder for the 2000 Pirates. He signed with the Cleveland Indians in July of 1991 at 16 years old out of Venezuela. He played his first season (1992) in the Dominican Summer League (no stats available). He then jumped to the U.S. in 1993, where he hit .270 over 64 games for Burlington of the short-season Appalachian League, while compiling 44 runs, 14 doubles, 13 homers, 58 RBIs and an .824 OPS. He also played three games with Kinston of the High-A Carolina League, where he went 2-for-12 with an RBI. Ramirez spent the 1994 season at Columbus of the Low-A South Atlantic League, where he hit .258 over 125 games, with 64 runs, 23 doubles, 18 homers, 57 RBIs and a .727 OPS. He spent most of the 1995 season with Bakersfield of the High-A California League, while getting a 33-game stint for Canton-Akron of the Double-A Eastern League to end the season. He combined to hit .304 over 131 games, with 71 runs, 45 extra-base hits, 63 RBIs and a .775 OPS, while showing much better results at the lower level. Ramirez spent the entire 1996 season with Canton-Akron, where he batted .329 over 131 games, with 79 runs, 28 doubles, 12 triples, 14 homers, 85 RBIs, 18 steals and an .865 OPS. He moved up to Buffalo of the Triple-A American Association in 1997, when he hit .286 over 119 games, with 59 runs, 38 extra-base hits, 44 RBIs and a .778 OPS. He repeated the level during the 1998 season, when he batted .299 in 121 games, with 94 runs, 21 doubles, eight triples, 34 homers, 103 RBIs and an .890 OPS. Ramirez got a three-game trial with the 1998 Indians, going 1-for-8 with a single and run scored.
Ramirez split the 1999 season between Triple-A and the majors. He posted a .305 average, 50 runs, 20 doubles, 12 homers, 50 RBIs and an .847 OPS in 75 games at Buffalo. That was followed by 48 games for the Indians, in which he put up a .299 average, 11 runs, six doubles, three homers, 18 RBIs and an .801 OPS. He split the 2000 season fairly evenly between the Indians and Pirates. Before the trade that brought him to Pittsburgh, he had a .286 average over 41 games, with 13 runs, five doubles, five homers, 12 RBIs and a .798 OPS. He hit .209 over 43 games for the 2000 Pirates, with 13 runs, 11 extra-base hits, 18 RBIs and a .637 OPS. The Pirates gave the 25-year-old Ramirez the starting right field job after he joined the team, but he lost that spot in September. That led to him making just one start over the final 17 games of the season. It would be his last MLB experience, but far from the end of his career. His overall time with the Pirates was very brief. The Cleveland trade happened on July 28, 2000, then he was sold to Yakult (Japan) on November 1, 2000. Ramirez played in Japan for 13 seasons, where he was a star player right away. He had eight straight seasons with 100+ RBIs from 2003 through 2010.
Ramirez hit .280 during the 2001 season, with 60 runs, 23 doubles, 29 homers, 88 RBIs and an .816 OPS in 138 games. He had a .295 average in 2002, with 65 runs, 25 doubles, 24 homers, 92 RBIs and an .800 OPS over 139 games. The 2003 season saw him hit .333 in 140 games, with 105 runs, 34 doubles, 40 homers, 124 RBIs and a .989 OPS. He hit .305 in 129 games during the 2004 season, with 79 runs, 30 doubles, 31 homers, 110 RBIs and an .888 OPS. Ramirez put up a .282 average in 2005, with 70 runs, 19 doubles, 32 homers, 104 RBIs and a .793 OPS. He had a .267 average over 146 games in 2006, with 79 runs, 28 doubles, 26 homers, 112 RBIs and a .739 OPS. That was followed up by a .343 average in 144 games during the 2007 season, with 80 runs, 41 doubles, 29 homers, 122 RBIs and a .940 OPS. He set a personal best with a .990 OPS in 2008, when he posted a .319 average, 84 runs, 28 doubles, 45 homers and 125 RBIs. Ramirez hit .322 over 144 games in 2009, with 66 runs, 35 doubles, 31 homers, 103 RBIs and an .891 OPS. He set career highs with 49 homers and 129 RBIs during the 2010 season, while putting up a .304 average, 93 runs, 28 doubles and a .951 OPS. He batted .279 over 137 games in 2011, with 39 runs, 12 doubles, 23 homers, 73 RBIs and a .775 OPS. Ramirez batted .300 during the 2012 season, with 40 runs, 25 doubles, 19 homers, 76 RBIs and an .806 OPS in 137 games. His final season saw him put up a .233/.276/.332 slash line in 82 games, with 14 runs, five doubles, five homers and 29 RBIs. He hit a total of 505 homers in pro ball between 1993 and 2013 (his 1992 stats aren’t available). Besides the impressive amount of homers, Ramirez also finished with 3,017 hits and 1,796 RBIs. He also managed in Japan for five seasons after retiring. During his three seasons in the majors, he had a .259 average over 135 games, with 38 runs, 17 doubles, 12 homers and 48 RBIs.
Wil Cordero, left fielder for the 2000 Pirates. Prior to playing one partial season in Pittsburgh, he spent four years with the Montreal Expos, two years with the Boston Red Sox, one year with the Chicago White Sox and one season with the Cleveland Indians. Cordero signed as an international free agent with the Expos in May of 1988 out of Puerto Rico at 16 years old. He debuted that year with Jamestown of the short-season New York-Penn League, which was an extremely advanced placement for his age. He hit .258 over 52 games that year, with 18 runs, three doubles, two homers, 22 RBIs and a .628 OPS. He started the 1989 season with West Palm Beach in the Class-A Florida State League, but he was in Jacksonville of the Double-A Southern League by the end of the season at 17 years old. He batted .259 in 117 games between the two stops, with 46 runs, 30 extra-base hits, 46 RBIs, 45 walks and a .717 OPS, while putting up better results at the lower level. Cordero spent the entire 1990 season in Jacksonville, where he .234 over 131 games, with 63 runs, 18 doubles, seven homers, 40 RBIs, 56 walks and a devilishly average .666 OPS. He jumped up to Indianapolis of the Triple-A American Association in 1991, where he batted .261 over 98 games, with 48 runs, 16 doubles, 11 homers, 52 RBIs and a .734 OPS. He had a .314 average, 32 runs, 18 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs and an .850 OPS in 52 games for Indianapolis during the 1992 season, before joining the Expos in July for his big league debut. That rookie season saw him hit .302 over 45 games, with 17 runs, four homers, two homers, eight RBIs and a .750 OPS.
Cordero was the starting shortstop for the 1993 Expos. He finished the previous season just under the maximum limit for Rookie of the Year eligibility, which allowed him to finish seventh in the voting in 1993. He hit .248 over 138 games during the 1993 season, with 56 runs, 32 doubles, ten homers, 58 RBIs, 12 steals and a .695 OPS. He was an All-Star and Silver Slugger winner for the only time in his career during the strike-shortened 1994 season. Cordero hit .294 over 110 games that year, with 65 runs scored, 30 doubles, 15 homers, 63 RBIs, 16 steals and an .853 OPS. The 1995 season saw him hit .286 in 131 games, with 64 runs, a career high 35 doubles, ten homers, 49 RBIs and a .761 OPS. He was traded to the Red Sox in January of 1996, then moved to second base in Boston. He hit .288 during the 1996 season, with 29 runs, 14 doubles, three homers, 37 RBIs and a .734 OPS in 59 games. He had his leg broken on May 20th of that year, then didn’t return until late August. He was healthy in 1997, when he had a .281 average, 47 extra-base hits and a .752 OPS over 140 games with the Red Sox, while setting career highs with 82 runs, 18 homers and 72 RBIs. He was released at the end of the season, then signed with the White Sox. He batted .267 during the 1998 season, with 58 runs scored, 18 doubles, 13 homers, 49 RBIs and a .759 OPS in 96 games. Cordero left via free agency at the end of the year, then signed with the Indians. He batted .299/.364/.500 over 54 games with Cleveland in 1999, while missing three full months due to a broken wrist mid-season. He had 35 runs, 15 doubles, eight homers and 32 RBIs. Cleveland lost in the first round of the playoffs that year, where he went 5-for-9 with three runs, a homer and two RBIs. He became a free agent after the season, then signed with the Pirates in December of 1999. He was traded away during the 2000 season, so his total time with the club was brief.
Cordero batted .282 for the 2000 Pirates, with 46 runs, 24 doubles, 16 homers, 51 RBIs and an .842 OPS in 89 games. He was traded to the Indians for Alex Ramirez (see player above) and Enrique Wilson on July 28th. He hit .264 for the 2000 Indians, with 18 runs, 11 doubles, no homers, 17 RBIs and a .675 OPS in 38 games. He was a utility player for the 2001 Indians, where he hit .250 over 89 games, with 30 runs, 11 doubles, four homers, 21 RBIs and a .656 OPS. The Indians released him after six games in 2002, then he signed with the Expos for the remainder of the season. He hit .267 over 72 games that year between both stops, finishing with 22 runs, nine doubles, six homers, 30 RBIs and a .772 OPS. Cordero saw regular playing time with the 2003 Expos, hitting .278 over 130 games, with 57 runs, 27 doubles, 16 homers, 71 RBIs and an .803 OPS. He played for the Florida Marlins in 2004, where he hit just .197/.250/.288 in 27 games, with six runs, four extra-base hits and six RBIs. A knee injury sidelined him for most of the season. He returned to the Montreal franchise for his final season in the majors, except they had moved to Washington by then. He hit .118/.161/.157 in 28 games for the Nationals, with two runs, two doubles, no homers and two RBIs. Cordero played 1,247 games over 14 seasons in the majors, finishing with a .273 average, 587 runs, 261 doubles, 122 homers and 566 RBIs. He saw extensive time at left field, first base and shortstop during his career, but all of his time in Pittsburgh was in left field.
Manny Martinez, outfielder for the 1998 Pirates. The Pirates were one of four teams he played for during his three-year career in the majors. Martinez signed with the Oakland A’s as an international free agent out of the Dominican in 1988 at 17 years old. His first two seasons were spent in the Dominican Summer League (no stats are available). He jumped to the U.S. in 1990, where he played for Southern Oregon of the short-season Northwest League. He hit .246 that year, with 36 runs, five doubles, two homers, 17 RBIs and a .597 OPS in 66 games. Martinez moved up to Modesto of the High-A California League in 1991, for the first of two seasons with that club. He hit .271 that first year, with 73 runs, 32 doubles, three homers, 55 RBIs and a .689 OPS in 125 games. He stole 29 bases, though he was caught 19 times. He batted .253 in 1992, with 70 runs scored, 33 extra-base hits, 45 RBIs and 17 steals (in 30 attempts) over 121 games. His .667 OPS was 22 points lower than the previous year. Martinez began 1993 back in the California League (affiliate moved to San Bernardino), where he did so well that he finished the year with 20 games for Tacoma of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He combined to hit .320 over 129 games, with 97 runs, 28 doubles, 12 homers, 58 RBIs and an .833 OPS. He had 30 steals, but he was caught stealing 24 times. He spent the 1994 season with Tacoma , where he hit .256 over 137 games, with 76 runs, 39 extra-base hits, 60 RBIs and a .674 OPS. Any chance for a late-season call-up to the majors that year was erased due to the mid-August strike that ended the season early, while also spilling into the start of 1995.
Martinez reached minor league free agency at the end of the 1994 season, then signed with the Chicago Cubs. He batted .290 in 122 games for Iowa of the Triple-A American Association during the 1995 season, with 63 runs, 33 extra-base hits, 49 RBIs and a .760 OPS. He became a free agent again at the end of 1995, then signed with the Seattle Mariners. He played briefly for both the Mariners and Philadelphia Phillies in 1996, seeing time in the minors and majors with both clubs. He got into 22 big league games total, batting .226/.293/.377 in 59 plate appearances, with five runs, five extra-base hits and three RBIs. He had a .294 average, 62 runs, 22 extra-base hits, 29 RBIs and a .734 OPS in 83 minor league games that year, while seeing time back in Tacoma (Mariners) and Lehigh Valley of the Triple-A International League. Martinez signed with the Pirates after the 1996 season, then spent all of 1997 in the minors, where he had a .331 average, 78 runs, 34 doubles, 16 homers, 66 RBIs, 17 steals and a .910 OPS in 109 games with Calgary of the Pacific Coast League. He played just 22 games for Nashville of the Pacific Coast League in 1998, then spent the rest of the season in the majors. Martinez hit .250 in 73 games for the 1998 Pirates, with 21 runs, 11 doubles, six homers, 24 RBIs and a .724 OPS. The Pirates lost him on waivers to the Montreal Expos in December of 1998. He played 137 big league games during the 1999 season, when he had a .245 average, 48 runs, 21 extra-base hits, 26 RBIs, 19 stolen bases and a .621 OPS. He played another nine seasons of pro ball without seeing any other big league time. His final big league stats show a .245 average in 232 games, with 74 runs, 25 doubles, 12 triples, eight homers, 53 RBIs and 23 steals.
Martinez was back in Calgary for the Florida Marlins during the 2000 season, which ended up being his last year in affiliated ball. He batted .266 in 126 games that season, with 57 runs, 19 doubles, nine homers, 54 RBIs, 20 steals and a .708 OPS. Martinez played in Korea (2001-03), Mexico (2004-08) and in independent ball (2005). He had an .846 OPS over 128 games Samsung in 2001, with a .278 average, 93 runs, 27 doubles, 25 homers and 96 RBIs. He hit .279 over 109 games in 2002, with 59 runs, 19 doubles, 15 homers, 69 RBIs and a .797 OPS. He had a .273 average in 131 games during the 2003 season, with 70 runs, 29 doubles, 17 homers, 70 RBIs and a .798 OPS. Martinez stole a total of 77 bases during his time in Korea. His 2004 stats in Mexico are unavailable, but he had a big season in 2005 for Puebla, hitting .329 in 105 games, with 74 runs, 27 doubles, 22 homers, 83 RBIs and a .993 OPS. He also had a .762 OPS in ten games with Long Island of the Atlantic League. He hit .348 over 102 games for Puebla in 2006, with 89 runs, 32 doubles, 15 homers, 84 RBIs, 26 steals and a .986 OPS. He played winter ball during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 off-seasons in the Dominican, where he had a .135 average and a .411 OPS over 16 games during that first year. Martinez hit .288 over 98 games in Mexico during the 2007 season, when he had 63 runs, 30 extra-base hits, 63 RBIs and 21 steals. His winter time during the 2007-08 off-season was limited to him going 1-for-6 in six games. He batted .289 in 98 games during the 2008 season, while seeing time with two different Mexican League clubs. He finished the with 59 runs, 28 extra-base hits, 52 RBIs, 14 steals and a .778 OPS. In his 19 seasons of pro ball, he had over 2,100 hits, 1,200+ runs and 1,000+ RBIs. He has managed for four seasons in the Dominican Summer League for the New York Mets, including the 2022 season.
Jack Lamabe, pitcher for the 1962 Pirates. He spent his first year of pro ball in the Philadelphia Phillies system at 19-year-old during the 1956 season. He posted a 2.75 ERA, 48 walks, 39 strikeouts and a 1.49 WHIP in 85 innings for Wilson of the Class-B Carolina League. He then signed with the Pirates in early 1957. Lamabe actually spent time with the Phillies in the majors at the end of 1956, though he didn’t play. Commissioner Ford Frick declared him to be a free agent after the 1956 season, then the Pirates quickly signed him. It was said that he violated a major league college baseball rule in signing with the Phillies. He apparently signed a deal on completion of his sophomore year at the University of Vermont, which wasn’t allowed at the time. Despite being a big deal at the time, plus the fact that he joined the Phillies late in 1956, it still took five seasons before he made it to Pittsburgh. Lamabe did well during his first season in the Pirates organization. He spent the year with Lincoln of the Class-A Western League, where he had a 13-7, 3.18 record in 167 innings, with a 1.46 WHIP, 86 walks and 125 strikeouts. The 1958 season was spent just one step away from the majors with Salt Lake City of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He went 5-7, 6.70 in 86 innings over 12 starts and nine relief appearances, putting up a rough 64:30 BB/SO ratio and a 2.00 WHIP. Lamabe spent most of the 1959 season back in A-Ball, going 5-15, 3.95 over 130 innings for Columbus/Gastonia of the South Atlantic League. He had four rough games with Denver of the Triple-A American Association that season, in which ed allowed 15 runs over 11 innings.
Lamabe spent most of 1960 with Savannah of the South Atlantic League, where he had a 15-10, 3.50 record in 195.1 innings, with 145 strikeouts and a 1.25 WHIP. He also threw four scoreless innings with Columbus of the Triple-A International League that year. He remained at Columbus for 1961, where he pitched mostly in relief. He had a 3-4, 2.88 record, 72 strikeouts and a 1.47 WHIP in 78 innings over 36 appearances. Lamabe made the Pirates Opening Day roster during the following spring. He had a 2.88 ERA over 78 innings in his only season with the Pirates, matching his ERA and innings pitched from the previous season (he also allowed ten unearned runs each season). He went 3-1 in 46 appearances, with two saves, 56 strikeouts and a 1.41 WHIP. He was traded with Dick Stuart to the Boston Red Sox during the 1962-63 off-season. Lamabe ended up playing seven years in the majors, seeing time with seven different teams. He had a nice first season in Boston, posting a 7-4, 3.15 record, 93 strikeouts and a 1.22 WHIP in 151.1 innings, which were almost all in relief. He pitched 65 times that season, with two starts. He made 25 starts and 14 relief appearances in 1964, when he had a 9-13, 5.89 record, a career best 109 strikeouts and a 1.65 WHIP in a career high 177.1 innings.
Lamabe split the 1965 season between Boston and the Houston Astros, while also seeing time back in the minors. He combined for an 0-5, 6.87 record, 23 strikeouts and a 1.79 WHIP over 38 innings in the majors that year. He spent the rest of the year at Toronto of the International League, where he went 10-3, 1.95 over 13 starts, with 90 strikeouts and an 0.92 WHIP in 106 innings. The 1966 season was spent with the Chicago White Sox, where he made 17 starts and 17 relief appearances. He posted a 7-9, 3.93 record, 67 strikeouts and a 1.24 WHIP in 121.1 innings. He played for the White Sox, New York Mets and St Louis Cardinals in 1967, combining for a 3-7, 3.29 record, 56 strikeouts and a 1.10 WHIP in 79.1 innings over three starts and 36 relief outings. His final season in the majors was spent with the Chicago Cubs, where he had a 4.30 ERA, 30 strikeouts and a 1.52 WHIP in 60.2 innings over 42 appearances. His career numbers show a 33-41, 4.24 record, 434 strikeouts, a 1.139 WHIP and 16 saves in 711 innings. He made 49 starts and 236 relief appearances, finishing with seven complete games and three shutout. His pro career ended in 1969 with one final year in the minors, finishing up in the Montreal Expos system during their first season of existence. He had an 8-4 record over 143 innings. He actually wrapped up his work in the 1969 Fall Instructional League, where he allowed five runs over four innings. Lamabe was traded three times from mid-1967 until the end of his career, and all of them involved former/future Pirates players in return, with pitchers Al Jackson and Pete Mikkelsen included in the first two trades. The deal that sent him to the Expos is 1969 was a swap for Paul Popovich, infielder for the 1974-75 Pirates.
Frank Kalin, outfielder for the 1940 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball at 20 years old in 1938, splitting the season between two Class-D teams. His stats are only available that year from his time with McKeesport of the Pennsylvania State Association, where he had a .346 average, 62 runs, 38 extra-base hits, 81 RBIs and a .960 OPS in 81 games. He also played for Mount Airy of the Bi-State League that season. The Pirates selected his contract under a working agreement with McKeesport, then added him to the 40-man roster in August of 1938. He spent the 1939 season playing for Gadsden of the Class-B Southeastern League, where he had a .316 average, 73 runs, 26 doubles, nine triples, 24 homers, 118 RBIs and a .940 OPS in 137 games. Kalin had a better season for Gadsden in 1939, but it was the 1940 season that earned him a shot at the majors. He hit .320 during his second season for the team, with 27 doubles, nine triples and nine homers in 135 games. Full stats are unavailable for that second year, though we know that he saw a 99-point drop in his slugging percentage over the previous season. He was actually optioned to Albany of the Eastern League prior to 1940 the season. That would have been a bump in competition, but he ended up back in Gadsden for the entire year. The Pirates brought him to the majors at the end of the 1940 season. He debuted on September 25th, four days before the season ended.
Kalin’s big league career consisted of going 0-for-3 in three games for the Pirates (he had two walks and an RBI), then going 0-for-4 in four pinch-hitting appearances for the 1943 Chicago White Sox. He failed to make the Pirates out of Spring Training in 1941. He ended up hitting .295/.328/.404 over 94 games that year for St Paul of the Double-A American Association, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. He had 33 runs, 24 extra-base hits and 36 RBIs. Kalin was sold to Hollywood of the Double-A Pacific Coast League on January 30, 1942, as partial payment for outfielder Johnny Barrett. Kalin hit .304 during that 1942 season, with 62 runs, 22 doubles, 11 triples, 13 homers, 79 RBIs and an .840 OPS in 127 games. He was sold to the White Sox on September 28, 1942, then made the big league team out of Spring Training in 1943. His brief time with the White Sox ended on May 12, 1943 when the Army came calling. He served nearly three full years in the military, then played out his pro career in the minors for another nine seasons, spending most of that time with the Pirates affiliates in Hollywood (1946) and Indianapolis of the American Association (1947-52).
Kalin had a strong first season back in 1946, hitting .311 over 121 games, with 47 runs, 32 extra-base hits, 60 RBIs and an .818 OPS. The Pirates purchased his contract from Hollywood on August 30, 1946. He attended Spring Training with the 1947 Pirates before being released to Indianapolis on April 5, 1947. Kalin hit .311/.378/.502 over 85 games for Indianapolis in 1947, with 32 runs, 23 extra-base hits and 48 RBIs. He played just 46 games in 1948, missing time due to an ankle injury early in the year. He had a .325 average that year, with 20 runs, 15 extra-base hits, 39 RBIs and a .973 OPS. He hit .307 over 113 games in 1949, with 51 runs, 18 doubles, 13 homers, 80 RBIs and an .857 OPS. Kalin batted .294 in 85 games during the 1950 season, with 38 runs, 13 doubles, 14 homers, 51 RBIs and a .929 OPS. He hit .294 over 111 games in 1951, with 54 runs, 20 doubles, 18 homers, 89 RBIs and an .836 OPS. He batted .207/.303/.448 over 21 games with Indianapolis in 1952, before switching minor league teams. His final 2 1/2 seasons were spent with San Francisco of the Pacific Coast League (Open level of play, which was basically Triple-A), where he hit .294/.373/.493 in 110 games to finish out the 1952 season. He had 42 runs, 16 doubles, 12 homers and 64 RBIs during that time. Kalin then had a .293 average, 59 runs, 20 doubles, 16 homers, 55 RBIs and an .898 OPS in 116 games in 1953. That was followed by his final eight pro games in 1954, when he went 4-for-14 at the plate.
Johnny Riddle, catcher for the 1948 Pirates. He played just ten games with the Pirates during the last of his seven years in the majors. He has a bit of a footnote in team history, as his younger brother Elmer Riddle was a pitcher for the 1948-49 Pirates. They are one of 26 groups of relatives to play for the Pirates. Despite spending the whole season together, with Johnny as a seldom-used third-string catcher, they were the battery for just two batters all year, and both opposing batters ended up hitting home runs. Johnny Riddle played his seven big league seasons over a 19-year time span. He debuted in pro ball at 21 years old in 1927, playing with Sanford of the Class-D Florida State League, where he had a .286 average, six doubles and five homers in 22 games. He moved up the minor league ladder quickly, splitting the 1928 season between 48 games for Quincy of the Class-B Three-I League, and 11 games for Indianapolis of the Double-A American Association, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. He batted .276 between both stops, with eight doubles, one triple and five homers in 59 games. He spent the 1929 season with Indianapolis, where he had a .271 average, nine doubles and a homer in 60 games. Most of the 1930 season was spent in Indianapolis, where he had a .359 average and 11 extra-base hits over 41 games. Riddle debuted in the majors for the 1930 Chicago White Sox, hitting .241/.290/.328 in 25 games, with seven runs, four extra-base hits and four RBIs. He didn’t play in the majors again until 1937.
Riddle returned to Indianapolis after his first big league stint, then stayed there until his next trial in the majors. He played at least 82 games every season from 1931 through 1937 with Indianapolis, hitting .283 or better each year. He batted .292 over 116 games in 1931, with 26 extra-base hits. He hit .283 in 109 games during the 1932 season, with 26 doubles and three homers. Riddle hit .291 over 89 games in 1933, with 24 doubles and a homer. He played 87 games in 1934, when he had a .294 average and 30 extra-base hits. The 1935 season saw him bat .326 in 82 games, with 20 doubles, four triples and no homers. He played 115 games during the 1936 season, when he finished with a .325 average, 64 runs, 30 extra-base hits, 73 RBIs and a .764 OPS (that’s the first minor league season for him with full stats available). Just when it looked like he was a career lifer in the minors, he made it back for the first time in seven years during the 1937 season, splitting that year between the Washington Senators at the start of the season, then Boston Bees (Braves) at the end of the season. He played 104 games for Indianapolis in between his big league stints that year, posting a .328 average during that time, with 44 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 65 RBIs and a .752 OPS. Riddle combined to play just ten games between those two big league stops in 1937. He had a .241/.290/.241 slash line over 32 plate appearances, with two runs, no extra-base hits and three RBIs. Those weren’t great stats, but he kept that big league job over the winter.
Riddle spent a majority of 1938 as a backup with the Bees, hitting .281/.328/.298 in 19 games (14 starts), with six runs, one double and two RBIs. He returned to the minors in August of 1938, going to Kansas City of the American Association, where he also spent all of 1939 and 1940. He hit .250/.339/.308 in 20 games to finish out the 1938 season. He then put up a .234 average, 25 runs, 16 extra-base hits, 25 RBIs and a .626 OPS over 100 games in 1939. He had a .280 average over 111 games in 1940, with 20 extra-base hits. Riddle then played for the 1941 Cincinnati Reds in a seldom used bench role, making four starts all season. He played just ten games total that year, going 3-for-10 with three singles. He played for Birmingham of the Class-A Southern Association during the 1942-44 seasons. He had a .264 average in 1942, with 13 extra-base hits (12 doubles) over 95 games. That was followed by a .284 average over 92 games in 1943, when he collected five extra-base hits all season (all of them doubles). He had 20 runs, 35 RBIs and a .620 OPS that year. Riddle batted .330 over 93 games in 1944, with 31 runs 15 extra-base hits (all doubles), 37 RBIs and a .756 OPS. He rejoined the Reds in September of 1944, then stayed there through the end of the 1945 season. Riddle played one game off of the bench without an at-bat for the 1944 Reds. He batted .178/.245/.178 in 49 plate appearances over 23 games for the 1945 Reds. He had two RBIs that year, while failing to collect a run or extra-base hit.
The 40-year-old Riddle was back with Indianapolis for the first of two more seasons in 1946. He hit .279 that first year, with 24 runs, 16 doubles, three homers, 42 RBIs and a .722 OPS in 73 games. He hit .338 over 79 games in 1947, with 17 runs, nine doubles, four homers, 24 RBIs and an .829 OPS. He signed with the Pirates as a bullpen coach in 1948, but he got into action for the first time on June 20th. He then ended up playing ten games, in which he hit .200/.250/.200 over 17 plate appearances. He was added to the roster as a backup when an injury to catcher Clyde Kluttz had the Pirates down to one healthy catcher. Riddle spent a total of 19 seasons in the minors (22 years total in pro ball), hitting .297 in 1,552 games. He batted .238 in 98 big league games, with 18 runs, four doubles, one triple, no homers and 11 RBIs. He was teammates with his brother in each of his last four seasons in the majors.
On this date in 1949, the Pirates released 42-year-old pitcher Rip Sewell, in a move that ended his big league career. He posted a 143-97, 3.43 record in 2,108.2 innings over 12 seasons with the Pirates. He was elected to four All-Star games during that time. He is tied for seventh in team history in wins, ranks seventh in innings pitched, tenth in complete games and tenth in shutouts. Sewell went 6-1, 3.91 over six starts and 22 relief appearances in 1949, while throwing a total of 76 innings. He was going to become a coach with the Pirates in 1948, but he ended up pitching two more seasons because he felt good when he reported to the team during Spring Training that year. At the same time that people were hearing the news of his release, the Pirates also announced that he had a coaching position in the system.
The Pirates also released veteran outfielder Dixie Walker that same day. He was a great player just like Sewell, except Walker spent the majority of his career elsewhere. He played for the 1948-49 Pirates to end his big league time, combining to hit .306 in 217 games, with 65 runs, 23 doubles, three homers and 72 RBIs during his time in Pittsburgh. He was a career .306 hitter in 1,905 games, who was elected to five All-Star games. Walker and Sewell have a rare baseball family connection. Each of them came from a family with four big league players.
As a side note, both of these transactions are listed as happening on October 1st online, but both players were released the day after the Pirates wrapped up their season on October 2nd.