Posted: Friday, January 10, 2003
Lots of former players and even a small trade made on this date in Pirates history, but I'm going to concentrate on one player because his career is deserving of it. Born on this date in Pirates history in 1890 was Hall of Fame outfielder Max Carey who patrolled left and center field in Forbes Field from 1910 till leaving the team midseason in 1926.
Carey was a speedy switch hitter who made his debut on October 3, 1910 during a 5-2 win over the Cardinals. He played just 1 more of the last 5 games that year, but had 3 hits and 2 RBI's in just 6 at-bats. The next season when manager Fred Clarke, who was also the regular left fielder, got injured Carey was given the job. When Clarke returned Carey moved to center and was a regular from that point on. Batting leadoff that year, Carey batted just .258 in 129 games, but scored 77 runs and stole 27 bases.
In 1912, Carey had a great season, hitting .302 and scoring 114 runs with 66 RBI's and 45 stolen bases. He was also moved back to left field when Clarke retired from playing (Clarke did play a few games from 1913-15, but nothing significant). Carey ranked 2nd in the league in runs and stolen bases and led the league in sacrifice hits with 37, a category in which he ranks 13th all-time with 290 career. In 1913, Max dropped in average to .277, but he led the league in stolen bases (61) for the first of 10 times, and he also led the league in runs and at-bats.
Max would struggle a bit in 1914 and 1915 hitting under .250 combined, but he would still lead the league in triples with 14 in 1914. He also played in 156 games, a career high and led the league in at-bats again. In 1915, he again led the league in stolen bases and from 1915-1918 he would lead the NL every year in steals averaging just over 50 a year. In 1916, he also moved over to center field where he would stay the rest of his career with the Pirates. In 1919, Carey would miss more than half of the season with an illness, but he came back strong the next year again leading the league in steals while batting .289.
In 1921, Max batted (up to that point) a career high .309, but that career high would last just one season as he batted .329 in 1922 while stealing 51 bases in 53 attempts. He set career highs in homeruns with 10 and RBI's with 70 in 1922 while leading the league in walks with 80. He also scored 140 runs that year, but it was good for just 2nd in the NL behind Rogers Hornsby who basically led the league in everything that year (12 different categories) batting .401 in the process. The Pirates had 5 future Hall of Famers on that team in 1922, but finished just 4th.
From 1923-25, he lead the league in stolen bases every year and he would bat .343 in 1925 as the Pirates made it to the World Series for the first time in his career. Max would excel in the W.S. going 4-5 in game 7 and batting .458 over the 7 games with 3 steals and 6 runs scored. The Pirates would go on to win 4 games to 3 over the Senators and in the process win their 2nd W.S. title, with the first coming in 1909.
In 1926, Carey would struggle to start off the season, get benched, then get in a dispute over his benching with Fred Clarke who came back as a coach. He tried to unite the players against Clarke, but the move worked in reverse as it was Carey who would leave Pittsburgh. The Pirates sold Carey, who was the team captain at the time, to the Dodgers for $4,000 ending his 16+ seasons in a Bucs uniform.
The stats he put up in his time with the team were impressive, but it was his fielding that stands out. He led the league 9 times in fielding and he ranks 3rd career in putouts and 4th in total chances behind Willie Mays, Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker. Among Pirates, he ranks 4th in games, at-bats, runs and hits, 2nd in walks and is the teams all-time leader in stolen bases with 688. He's also the team leader in sacrifice hits.
Other players born on this date include Bill Niles, who played 3rd base for the 1895 Pirates. Born in 1867, he played 11 games total batting .216 over 37 at-bats in what would be his only season in the majors.
Charles "Silver" King was born on this date in 1868 and pitched for the 1891 Pirates team. Just 23 years old he was already in his 6th season when he went just 14-29 as a starter, but had an ERA of just 3.11. He threw 40 complete games and 3 shutouts in 44 starts. Don't let his win loss record fool you though because in his other 9 seasons in the majors, he went 190-124 and was one of the best pitchers from 1887-1890. In 1888, in one of the best pitching performances ever, he won an incredible 45 games while pitching 585+ innings and posting an ERA of just 1.64!
Mickey Keliher, who was a teammate of Max Carey in 1911-12, was also born on this date in 1890. Mickey didn't have quite the career of Carey though. A late season callup in 1911, Mickey was a left-handed hitting 1st baseman who played just 3 games that year. In 7 at-bats, he struck out 5 times with no hits and in 3 games in the field he made 1 error. In 1912, he was used just 2 times as a pinch runner, scoring 1 run and ending his big league career.
Warren Morris who played 3 years for the Bucs at 2nd base from 1999-2001 turns 29 today. He came to the Pirates along with Todd Van Poppel in a trade with Texas for Estaban Loaiza on July 17, 1998. Warren had a nice rookie year, batting .288 with 15 homers and 73 RBI's in 147 games, but his stats dropped the next year to .259 with 43 RBI's in 144 games. In his last year with the Pirates, he hit just .204 in 48 games and was released this past spring training. He played 4 games for the Twins this past year with no hits in 7 games.
Jermaine Allensworth was a center fielder for the Pirates from 1996-1998 and turns 31 today. As a rookie in 61 games in 1996, he hit .262 with 11 stolen bases and 31 RBI's. The next year he played 108 games, hitting .255 with 43 RBI's and he scored 55 runs. After starting off good in 1998 by hitting .309 in 69 games, the Bucs traded Allensworth to the Royals for minor league pitcher Manual Bernal.
Finally, for former players born on this date, current Bucs manager Lloyd McClendon turns 44 today. He has managed them for 2 years going 134-189 and he played for them from 1990-94. A valuable backup off the bench he played 1b, rf, lf and even caught 2 games, a position he played 50 times in his 8 year career. McClendon's high point with the Bucs came in the 1992 NLCS when he hit .727 with 4 RBI's and 4 runs scored in 5 games. His career postseason average in 3 series is .625. He played 312 games total for the Pirates with his best year being 1991 when he hit .288
Lastly, a minor trade on this date occurred in 1955 when the Bucs traded pitcher Paul LaPalme to the Cardinals for pitcher Ben Wade. Paul's career was covered in the Dec 14th article, while Ben Wade played just 1 season for the Pirates, going 0-1 3.21 in 11 games, one as a starter. It would also mark the end of his 5 year career in which he went 19-17 4.34 in 118 games with 4 different teams.