On this date in 1948, Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pie Traynor is elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He narrowly missed getting elected in 1947, falling two votes shy of the minimum 75% of the votes required to gain entrance into the Hall. Traynor played his entire career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, making his debut in September 1920 and continuing on through 1935, briefly making another five game appearance during the 1937 season. He was also the Pirates manager from 1934 until 1939. On the Pirates all-time list he ranks 9th in batting average(.320), seventh in games played(1941) sixth in runs scored(1183) tied for fourth in hits(2416) with Max Carey, sixth in doubles(371), fourth in triples(164) and fourth in RBI’s with 1273. Traynor will be joined that year in the Hall by longtime AL pitcher Herb Pennock, who passed away four weeks earlier. During the 1927 World Series, Traynor broke up a no-hit attempt by Pennock with a one out single in the 8th inning of game three. There was no Hall of Fame ceremony in 1948 so Traynor actually went it with the 1949 class.
Two former Pirates were born on this date and both of them are more recent players:
Craig Monroe(1977) was an outfielder for the 2009 Pirates. He was originally an 8th round draft pick of the Texas Rangers in 1995. He made his major league debut with Texas in 2001 before the Tigers picked him up off waivers in February 2002. Monroe played 672 games with the Tigers, hitting .259 with 101 homers while in Detroit. He topped the 20 home run mark three times, hitting a high of 28 in 2006 when he also set a career high with 92 RBI’s. He was traded mid-season 2007 to the Cubs and spent 2008 with the Twins, where he struggled, hitting just .202 with eight homers and 29 RBI’s in 58 games. Minnesota released him in August 2008 and he signed with the Pirates in January of 2009. He made quite an impression in spring training when he hit eight homers and drove in 16 runs. He was the backup corner outfielder once the season started, getting his share of pinch hit AB’s as well. In 34 games he had 87 plate appearances, hitting .215 with three homers and 16 RBI’s before he was released on July 1st, ending his playing career.
Matt Stairs(1968) played outfield/first base for the 2003 Pirates. He was originally signed as an amateur free agent by the Montreal Expos in 1989 and by the time the Pirates signed him in December of 2002 he had already played with five different teams over his ten seasons in the majors. In 2002 for the Brewers he hit .244 with 16 homers in 107 games. For the Pirates in 2003 he mostly played right field until September when he saw more time at first base. He was often as a pinch hitter as well and finished the year with a .292 average, 20 homers and 57 RBI’s in 305 AB’s. He was granted free agency after the season and signed with the Royals. Stairs went on to play until August 2011 when he was released by the Nationals. He played for 12 teams in his career and he hit .262 with 265 homers, 899 RBI’s and 770 runs scored in 1895 games.