Category Archives: Cheap Pirates Jerseys

Gregory Polanco Jersey

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The website MLB Trade Rumors put out their yearly offseason free agent predictions. The site has the Pittsburgh Pirates inking two notable ones this offseason.
While the Pittsburgh Pirates continue to search for a new General Manager and manager, the offseason keeps moving. Teams are starting to put together their offseason agenda, who they would like to acquire, who they want/need to trade, and other personnel moves. Still, there is plenty of time before the action really starts.

The Pittsburgh Pirates currently have interim General Manager Kevan Graves helping make some early offseason roster decisions, most of these decisions will not have much of an impact on the Bucs offseason. Meanwhile, it has been reported that the team has an outside firm leading the search for a new General Manager. This will likely result in a hire sooner than later, which means the new hire should have plenty of time to get their offseason agenda ready.

Even though the team does not have a General Manager, this has not stopped writers, reporters, and bloggers from trying to forecast the Bucs offseason moves. Here at Rum Bunter we have posted multiple articles about catchers the team should pursue and so on.

The website MLB Trade Rumors is one of the best baseball websites around. It is a site that has been around for years and does a great job of tracking all player movement in the league as well as rumors. Over the years, MLBTR has grown into a popular website for fans to check out, especially during the offseason with their free agent predictions. The team at MLBTR tries to look at each team’s situation and determine who they could try and sign in the offseason.

MLB Trade Rumors projects the Bucs to sign two notable free agents (top 50). Obviously, the Pittsburgh Pirates are never predicted to sign one of the big fish free agents. Even with a change in the front office, the Bucs are still going to operate like a small market team. So, MLBTR is projecting the Pittsburgh Pirates to sign corner outfielder Kole Calhoun and left-handed pitcher Drew Smyly.

Both make sense as potential targets. Smyly would give the team a potential left-handed starter in a right-handed heavy rotation. He also fits the mold of the classic bounce back starter candidate that the previous regime always looked for on the market. Smyly was expected to breakout in 2018 after an impressive World Baseball Classic, but he had to undergo Tommy-John surgery early that year. He has bounced around over the last year and has yet to regain form. Still, he could be a low-risk, high reward free agent.

Calhoun’s place on the roster would not be as clear. He is a corner outfielder who bats left-handed and the team has switch hitter Bryan Reynolds in left and left-hander Gregory Polanco in right field, so there is no spot. This is unless the team does in fact trade Starling Marte, something that will likely occur. The team then could slide Reynolds to center and allow Calhoun to man a corner spot. Calhoun was solid last year, batting .232/.325/.467 with 33 home runs, 29 doubles, and one triple. Obviously, the batting average is a little low, but with his left-handed power he could be a real threat at PNC Park.

NEXT: General Manager Hiring News
This cannot be the Pittsburgh Pirates only moves this offseason. Obviously, there is a lot that has to go on and will go on, but this would be a solid start to the team’s offseason. Both players could be very intriguing fits for the team in 2020.

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Reports are that the New York Mets are interested in trading for Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Starling Marte. What could a potential trade between the two teams look like?

As new general manager Ben Cherington prepares to embark on his first offseason on the job for the Pittsburgh Pirates one of his biggest decisions this offseason will be deciding what to do with Starling Marte. The former Gold Glove winning All-Star is the team’s best player. However, he is only under team control for two more seasons.

Right now the Pirates do not appear to be a team that will be looking to win either of the next two seasons. The right move would be for Cherington to look to rebuild and the main part of that would be trading Marte.

Over the weekend, it was reported that the New York Mets are among the teams that are interested in Marte. So, what could a potential Marte trade with the Mets look like?

When looking at a potential return for Marte one name that immediately jumps out is outfielder Brandon Nimmo. Nimmo has been the team’s regular center fielder the past few seasons, but the Mets have outfield depth with Michael Conforto, J.D. Davis, a healthy Yoenis Cespedes, and Jeff McNeil can move to the outfield as well. So, Nimmo could be expendable.

In four MLB seasons Nimmo owns a .254/.387/.440 slash line, .361 wOBA, 130 wRC+, and a 15.2% walk rate in 1,084 plate appearances. In his three full MLB seasons he has been worth an average of 2.3 fWAR per season. Nimmo remains under team control for three more seasons and could join Bryan Reynolds, Kevin Newman, Josh Bell, Mitch Keller, etc. as part of the Pirates new core.

Nimmo would be a main piece in a trade. If not Nimmo, then the Pirates could potentially target Matthew Allan – the Mets’ top pitching prospect – as the main piece of a Marte trade. The 18-year-old Allan was a 3rd round pick by the Mets last summer. In six games after being drafted Allan allowed 3 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings of work to go with 14 strikeouts. He projects as a top of the rotation starting pitcher.

As for potential secondary pieces in a trade two names that jump out are catcher Francisco Alvarez and outfielder Freddy Valdez. Alvarez, an 18-year-old catcher, is the Mets’ 5th best prospect according to MLB Pipeline. Alvarez slashed .312/.407/.510 with a 155 wRC+ in 42 games last season.

Valdez is even younger than Alvarez. The 17-year-old outfielder is also among New York’s top 20 prospects, but after slashing .274/.367/.448 last season to go with a 6-foot-3 frame Valdez looks primed to shoot up prospect rankings.

Left-handed pitching prospects David Peterson and Kevin Smith could be intriguing trade targets as well. Peterson had a strong season at the Double-A level in 2019, where he made 24 starts. In these 24 starts he posted a 4.19 ERA, 3.19 FIP, a 7.4% walk rate, and a 24.5% strikeout rate in 116 innings.

Smith started 2019 at the High-A level where he posted a 3.05 ERA, 2.63 FIP, 6.8% walk rate, and a 29.1% strikeout rate in 85 2/3 innings pitched across 17 starts. His success at the High-A level earned him a promotion to the Double-A level where he made six starts, posting a 3.45 ERA, 3.23 FIP, an 11.8% walk rate, and a 22.1% strikeout rate in 31 1/3 innings pitched.

You can never have too much pitching in baseball. Additionally, the Pirate farm system is void of any left-handed pitching prospects.

One thing Cherington needs to do is restock the Pirate minor league system. The best way to do this is to stockpile young talent. Players such as Alvarez, Valdez, Peterson, and Smith would all help in doing this.

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The Pirates are in need of an upgrade at third base. Colin Moran has had two seasons to prove he’s the answer at the hot corner but the results are less than encouraging. It might be time for top prospect Ke’Bryan Hayes to be ushered in as the heir to third base for the foreseeable future.

In 2018, Moran posted a 0.7 WAR with average metrics across the board, offensively. He took a step back in 2019, posting a sub-par .315 wOBA and a much too high 23.3% K-rate. His chase rate jumped almost 10% last season, a clear indication that he was pressing at the plate.

Defensively he regressed as well. In 2018, his defensive runs saved (DRS) was a -8. Last year it dropped even further to a -13. His overall ultimate zone rating (UZR) is a dismal -15.8.

That, coupled with the fact that Moran isn’t due to hit free agency until the 2024 season (2020 is his arbitration year), perhaps he’d be better suited in more of a utility role than a starting infielder. Moran can fill in at any infield position (save for catcher) as well as a spot start in left field.

It might be time to insert top prospect and 2015 first round pick, Ke’Bryan Hayes. The Pirates are in rebuild mode so there is no pressure on Hayes to perform immediately. He’ll turn 23 prior to the start of the 2020 season and has spent the last four years progressing through the Pirates minor league system.

There is no doubt in any prospect analysts mind that Hayes is already looking like an elite defender. His defensive ratings for fielding put him as high as a 70 (in the 20-80 rating system) with a 60-grade arm. He’s quick both in the field and on the bases.

Hayes projects to be a decent hitter but there is uncertainty about his power. If that’s able to be developed, the Pirates will have themselves a true five-tool player.

Last year, Hayes accumulated 480 plate appearances for AAA Indianapolis Indians and hit .265 with 10 home runs and 53 RBIs. Hayes has a good, yet still developing, eye that has kept his K-rate below 20% throughout his minor league career.

The top available third base free agents (Anthony Rendon, Josh Donaldson, and Mike Moustakas) will likely demand a salary that wouldn’t make sense for the Pirates at this stage. Some older veterans (Asdrubal Cabrera, Todd Frazier, or Eric Sogard) might be feasible but ultimately if the team isn’t expected to compete, wouldn’t it make sense to see what the Pirates have in their younger players?

What do you think?

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PITTSBURGH — The Pirates’ next general manager is going to have to figure out the club’s immediate future and long-term plan behind the plate. Francisco Cervelli is gone. Elias Díaz, once a well-regarded prospect, followed up an encouraging 2018 campaign with a stunningly poor season. There isn’t a catcher among the club’s Top 30 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline.

It’s entirely possible that Pittsburgh’s next starting catcher isn’t currently on the roster. But part of the solution might have emerged amid the disappointment of this past season.

Jacob Stallings spent the past four years as the Pirates’ third or fourth option at catcher, which means he’s familiar with the road between Pittsburgh and Triple-A Indianapolis. But this season, Cervelli’s concussion and Díaz’s struggles opened the door for Stallings to receive more regular playing time.

Stallings’ offensive performance was fine, especially compared to the Pirates’ other catchers. But the 29-year-old earned the club’s trust with his diligent preparation and his performance behind the plate. By the end of the year, most of Pittsburgh’s starting pitchers had asked to work with Stallings.

• Predicting the Pirates’ 2020 Opening Day roster

Where that leaves Stallings going forward is anybody’s guess. Maybe a new GM will view him as a short-term starting option for a team focused on the future or perhaps as a spiritual successor to Chris Stewart: a quality, defensive-minded backup on a potential contender.

Before looking forward, though, let’s review Stallings’ season.

What went right?
His defensive work, primarily. It’s tough to quantify everything about catchers’ defense, but Stallings graded out well in the areas we can measure and those in which we depend upon the word of his teammates.

Stallings has long been praised by pitchers for his preparation and game-calling, and that showed this year. By late May, Chris Archer worked exclusively with Stallings. Joe Musgrove soon followed suit. Most of Trevor Williams’ and Mitch Keller’s starts down the stretch came with Stallings behind the plate.

Adam Berry

@adamdberry
Joe Musgrove, on working with Jacob Stallings tonight: “Stalls was spot-on with everything. It makes my job a lot easier when I trust my catcher to call the game. It’s almost like he’s the brains and I’m the muscle. You just tell me where to throw it, and I’ll throw it there.”

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Catcher ERA is a flawed statistic in some regards, but it can paint part of the picture here. Consider how Pirates pitchers performed when throwing to Stallings (4.47 ERA), how similar that was to their work with the veteran Cervelli (4.42) and how different it was with Díaz behind the plate (5.95).

There are more advanced metrics to consider, too.

Stallings ranked eighth among all Major League catchers in adjusted Fielding Runs Above Average, according to Baseball Prospectus, and 11th in Framing Runs. The latter was a focal point for Stallings this season, as he committed himself to the skill of framing pitches with former bench coach Tom Prince and bullpen catcher Jordan Comadena.

Musgrove fans 9 in 7 1/3 frames
Aug 17th, 2019 · 1:06
Musgrove fans 9 in 7 1/3 frames
Stallings did all the necessary drill work, catching weighted balls and properly positioning his body behind the plate and his glove around the strike zone. He watched video of elite pitch-framers and noticed how well they were able to keep their gloves in the zone, rather than letting the ball move them, so he strengthened his body in the weight room.

“It’s been a continual growth process. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better as the year’s gone on,” Stallings said in late September. “It’s been more this year than ever in the past.”

What went wrong?
This is not a knock on Stallings, but the answer is probably his games played total (71) and the fact that he had more plate appearances (210) than Cervelli.

Stallings started 53 games for the Pirates this year, which is not how you draw it up for your third catcher leaving Spring Training. Díaz started 75 games behind the plate despite having a brutal year overall, and Cervelli made 32 starts before he was sidelined and later picked up by the Braves.

Offensively, Stallings was more or less who he’s always been. The 29-year-old batted .262 with a .325 on-base percentage and a .382 slugging percentage. The good news is he tapped into a little more power to hit six home runs, as many as he’s ever hit in a professional season. He credited hitting coach Rick Eckstein for that improvement.

Stallings’ line-drive smash
Aug 13rd, 2019 · 0:42
Stallings’ line-drive smash
“Working with him, learning about my body and my swing,” Stallings said. “Pulling the ball in the air with backspin was something I struggled with. I used to always just topspin the ball because I wasn’t putting myself in a good position to hit. I really dove into that. It’s something that I will always struggle with because I’m so big and lanky with a lot of moving parts, but body position to hit has been the biggest change for me this year.

• Five questions facing the Pirates this offseason

“I feel like I have a good swing. I just don’t put myself in position to hit all the time. So we worked a lot on that, and it’s something we always have to work on. Putting myself in a more consistent position to hit has helped a lot.”

Best moment
How about June 27, when Stallings had three hits and a homer and caught a shutout against the eventual American League champion Astros in a 10-0 Pirates win at Minute Maid Park?

Recap: PIT 10, HOU 0
Jun 28th, 2019 · 3:16
Recap: PIT 10, HOU 0
Or how about the Pirates’ September series in San Francisco? Stallings hit two of his six homers in a historically pitcher-friendly ballpark while catching a pair of victories.

Stallings’ solo home run
Sep 10th, 2019 · 0:46
Stallings’ solo home run
2020 outlook
Stallings is under club control, so he should be back in some role. But will the next management group take another shot on the upside Díaz showed in 2018?

There are plenty of free agents available, and the Pirates picked up recent contributors like Cervelli and Stewart through smart trades. How would that decision or another acquisition affect Stallings? Stay tuned.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

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One way or another, Josh Bell will be the key to returning the Pirates to respectability.

The Pirates will enter 2020 with new leadership. They will bring with them a new plan in hopes of returning the Pirates to prominence. I believe Josh Bell holds the key to that plan, and it may involve the new general manager trading the new Pirates’ star.

Newly announced team president Travis Williams doesn’t have a baseball background. However, he DOES have experience with winning organizations.

As COO of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Mr. Williams was an integral part of that franchise’s success. He knows what it takes to build a winner, he understands a winning culture, and he brings that wealth of knowledge and a fresh perspective to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Hiring a general manager will be his first priority and that person will, undoubtedly, have a track record of success with a small market operation.

This club has a number of young, talented players on the roster so a total rebuild will be an unlikely scenario. With a roster that includes Kevin Newman, Brian Reynolds, Cole Tucker, and Mitch Keller, and with a farm system that includes corner infielders KeBryan Hayes and Will Craig, there are pieces that fit in the short term.

Josh Bell, after his breakout season in 2019, is the key to unlocking the future for this franchise, however.

Bell’s numbers in his age 27 season were All-Star caliber:. 277 average, 37 home runs, and 116 runs batted in. Any team would consider Bell a key piece with those numbers.

So, the logical thing to do would be to offer Bell a long-term deal such as the deals offered to Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco.

Not so fast.

Bell’s agent is none other than Scott Boras, who has little to no interest in having a client sign for well under market value. Unless the Pirates offer Bell a deal in, say, the $20-22 million a season range, he isn’t signing anything.

The next logical move, despite likely fan reaction, is to trade Bell THIS off-season for a haul of pitching prospects.

Bell, not Marte, is the Pirates’ best trade chip and the new general manager will be well aware of this.

The timing could not be better, either.

After a promising start to his major league career in 2016 and 2017, Bell struggled in 2018. He lacked the power projected of him. His average hovered in the low to mid. 200s. He was, by all accounts, a disappointment.

Rick Eckstein was brought in by the previous regime as hitting coach last season and did wonders for Bell. His stance was simplified. His timing improved. The results speak for themselves.

Bell will be entering his age 28 season in 2020, which is considered his prime. He is coming off a career year and is under team control through 2022. His trade value could not be higher.

With Jameson Taillon out for next season, the pitching staff needs an influx of talent. Musgrove, Williams (Trevor, not Travis), Archer, and Keller are decent. However, the jury remains out on most of them. Williams has shown himself to be a solid third or fourth guy in a rotation. Same for Joe Musgrove. Perhaps a new pitching coach can harness something out of Chris Archer and perhaps hasten the development of Keller. I used ‘perhaps’ twice in that sentence. I think you get the point.

The bullpen was in shambles as well. As I see it, the Pirates have three dependable arms: Keone Kela, Kyle Crick, and Richard Rodriguez.

Perhaps.

Bottom line is this: the Pirates cannot afford to head into 2020 with anything resembling the staff of 2019.

Josh Bell provides the club with an opportunity to cash in on his stellar 2019 season by flipping him for a bounty of pitching.

The Pirates actually have options at first base that, while unlikely to compare to Bell’s 2019 season, will provide solid production. Colin Moran could move to first in a platoon with Jose Osuna. Moran is below average defensively at third base so moving him across the diamond would limit his deficiencies in the field. Osuna is solid defensively at third or first and provides plenty of power from the right side of the plate. A platoon here makes sense because neither player should be overexposed regularly. Is it unreasonable to expect 30 home runs and close to 100 RBI from these two?

Also, Will Craig is worth mentioning as well. He’s close to being ready for the show and would immediately provide a defensive upgrade at the position, with his Gold Glove in tow to attest for his prowess at the position.

Josh Bell holds the key to the Pirates’ future in 2020 and beyond. The old cliche “strike while the iron is hot” comes to mind. The fans may not be happy, but they may be more understanding with a new regime calling the shots than they had with Neal Huntington.

The new general manager will get a honeymoon of sorts his first year or two. He needs to take advantage of the situation and trade Josh Bell.

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On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Pirates designated four players for assignment to make room on their 40-man roster. Who else could get DFA’d this offseason?
The MLB offseason is now in full swing. With that, teams had to add players to their 40-man roster in order to protect them from next month’s Rule 5 Draft by this past Wednesday. This led to the Pittsburgh Pirates adding five players – Blake Cederlind, Cody Ponce, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Oneil Cruz, and Will Craig – to their 40-man roster.

Prior to adding these five players to the roster the team’s 40-man roster was at 39. Due to this, the team needed to designate four players for assignment to make room on the roster. Dario Agrazal, Luis Escobar, Montana DuRapau, and Williams Jerez were the four players who were DFA’d by the team.

With the Pirates’ 40-man roster now full that raises the question of which players could be next to be DFA’d? In order to add anyone in free agency or via the Rule 5 Draft, the Pirates will need to designate someone for assignment. Also, if they add a player via a trade that does not send a player currently on the 40-man roster to the other team in return, they will also need to make a roster move.

So, who are other candidates to be designated for assignment by the Pirates this offseason?

Most of the obvious DFA candidates, as is often the case, are pitchers. Relievers Chris Stratton, Dovydas Neverauskas, Sam Howard, and Yacksel Rios are all candidates to be DFA’d this offseason.

Stratton is out of minor league options and will have to clear waivers if he fails to make the team out of Spring Training. Neverauskas has never been able to find consistent success at the MLB level, and Howard and Rios were both DFA’d by other organizations in the last calendar year for a reason.

NEXT: Kotsay, Shelton Remain In Managerial Mix
Two under the radar candidates to be designated for assignment are infielder Kevin Kramer and catcher Elias Diaz.

Kramer has long been a highly touted prospect in the Pirates’ system, but he owns a .152/.222/.165 slash line and a 41.1% strikeout rate in 90 MLB plate appearances across the past two seasons. While 90 PAs is just about the smallest of sample sizes, Kramer was also a poor hitter at Triple-A last season. Additionally, it is tough to find a spot for him in the Pirates’ middle infield equation with Kevin Newman having locked up a spot and the team remaining high on Cole Tucker. Adam Frazier is a factor there, too.

As for Diaz, like Stratton, he is out of minor league options. So is fellow catcher Jacob Stallings. The Pirates need to add a catcher this offseason and will likely pair Diaz or Stallings with that catcher. Stallings looks like the far superior option to Diaz at this point, making Diaz a legitimate DFA candidate.

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PUERTO RICO (KDKA) — Vera Clemente, the widow of Pirates’ legend Roberto Clemente, has died at age 78.

Jason Mackey of our news partner the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on the death of Clemente.

Jason Mackey

@JMackeyPG
According to reports out of Puerto Rico, Vera Clemente, Roberto’s widow, has passed away. On Nov. 1 the Pirates announced she had been hospitalized and was in “delicate health.”

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RELATED: Pittsburgh Pirates: Roberto Clemente’s Wife Hospitalized, In ‘Delicate Health’

Vera Clemente was hospitalized in “delicate health” according to the Pirates on November 1.

She spent several days at the Auxilio Mutuo Hospital in San Juan.

Pirates owner Bob Nutting expressed his condolences in a statement.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Vera Clemente, the widow of the great Roberto Clemente and a cherished member of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Major League Baseball family,” the statement read. “Vera epitomized grace, dignity, and strength in the wake of heartbreaking tragedy and loss. Following Roberto’s passing, Vera raised their three sons into outstanding men, while also working tirelessly to ensure her and her husband’s shared vision of compassion, service, and love of others lived on forever. Vera was an amazing ambassador for the Pirates organization, our city, the game of baseball, and their beloved Puerto Rico. It is with very heavy hearts we send out condolences to Roberto Jr., Luis, Enrique, and the entire Clemente family. May they find comfort in knowing that Vera and Roberto are together once again.”

Vera Clemente was the chairwoman of the Roberto Clemente Foundation and a goodwill ambassador for Major League Baseball.

She is survived by her three sons, Roberto Clemente Jr., Luis, and Roberto Enrique.

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After having a historically good month of May, Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Josh Bell has been named the National League Player of the Month.
There was never any doubt, was there? In the month of May, Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Josh Bell was historically good. It was not just one of the best months in franchise history, but also in National League history.

Following his month long ambush on MLB pitching staffs, Bell has been named the National League Player of the Month. While this is the first time in Bell’s career he was won a player of the month award, it is safe to say it will not be the last. Hell, it may not be the last this season.

Bell slashed .390/.442/.797 during the month of May. His .501 wOBA, 218 wRC+, and .407 ISO all led the league during the month. His slugging percentage, ISO, and wRC+ all led the league, as did his 46 hits, 12 doubles, 24 extra base hits, and 31 RBI. His 12 home runs were tied for the lead league, while his wOBA were second in the league and his OBP was third.

During the month Bell collected 94 total bases which broke Ralph Kiner‘s franchise record for total bases in a single month. He also joined Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson as the only players in NL history to collect at least 12 doubles and 12 home runs in the same month.

Throughout the month of May Bell’s limitless potential as a hitter was on full display. His play in the month also turned him into both a legitimate NL MVP contender, as well as the front runner to start at first base for the NL in the All-Star Game next month. This is shaping up to be a magical, unforgettable season for Bell.

Congrats to Josh on a historically good month of May! And congrats on turning into some NL Player of the Month hardware!

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Many Hall of Famers made it to the big leagues with their bats or their arms. Max Carey did it with his legs.

Carey, nicknamed “Scoops”, set a National League record with 738 career stolen bases and led the NL in steals 10 times.

“He was just as fast between the ears as he was with his feet,” said future Hall of Fame pitcher Joe Williams. “That’s what made him harder to stop than a run in a silk stocking.”

Born on Jan. 11, 1890, Carey was on track to become a minister at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Mo., but after playing baseball in college, he signed with South Bend of the Cactus League in 1909.

He became a switch hitter and joined the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1910. By 1913, at age 23, Carey led the NL in plate appearances (692), at bats (620), runs (99) and (61) stolen bases while hitting .277. It was the first of six seasons Carey would steal over 50 bases.

“The secret is getting a good jump,” said Carey. “I’d watch the pitcher’s motion and then be at full speed after two steps. I think stealing third can sometimes be easier than stealing second. It all depends on the pitcher.”

In 1922, Carey stole 51 bases in 53 attempts. He kept his legs in good shape in the off season and believed it took a smart man to steal bases.

“Base-stealing is a battle of wits between the runner and the pitcher,” said Carey.

In 1926, Carey had an argument with management and was waived by the Pirates. He joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, where he finished his career in 1929.

Carey not only excelled on the basepaths, but led the National League in outfield putouts nine times and established a then-career record of 6,363. He hit over .300 six times for a lifetime batting average of .285. He also posted 2,665 hits, 159 triples and 1,545 runs scored.

In 1930, Carey returned as a coach for the Pirates and also managed the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1932-33. He stayed active in baseball as a scout for the Orioles and managed several minor league teams.

In 1944, he became a skipper in a different league. He managed the Milwaukee Chicks of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. He was president of the AAGPBL from 1945-49 and managed the Fort Wayne Daisies from 1950-51.

Carey was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1961 by the Veterans Committee.

Carey died on May 30, 1976.

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Grant Jackson certainly is synonymous with Fostoria as the only native of the city to play baseball in the major leagues.

He’s become synonymous with Pittsburgh, too, where he experienced his greatest triumph as a pitcher and has lived for the last 40-plus years.

“My kids like it and I like it, so we’ve stayed,” he said in a telephone interview this week.

And with another baseball season having begun, fans will again occasionally see Jackson at PNC Park watching the Pirates, for whom he pitched from 1977-81 and during part of the 1982 season before wrapping up his 18-year career.

Though he mostly heads to the local VFW hall or stays home to watch the Pirates on TV, he typically makes his way to a few home games in a season. Going back to his playing days, he’s always made it a point to be friendly with fans, but sometimes it becomes too much when he’s simply trying to enjoy a day at the ballpark.

“If they become autograph sessions, I’ve got to go to the press box,” he said.

At the same time, such things away from the park are profitable for the 76-year-old in the form of card shows and speaking engagements. They’re nice supplements to the pension he garners as a former player, and he’s in a good location for such opportunities.

“There’s money being in the city of champions,” he said, referring to titles won by the Pirates in baseball (five), the Steelers in football (six) and the Penguins in hockey (five).

Jackson acknowledged that he enjoys some popularity in the Steel City.

“I’m loved in Fostoria, too, but love doesn’t pay the bills,” he said with a laugh.

Jackson grew up as a farmboy in the Fostoria area and starred in football, basketball, and track and field at Fostoria High School, from which he graduated in 1960. FHS did not have a baseball program at the time, but the left-handed Jackson became well-known for his pitching feats in American Legion ball.

Among those he impressed was Tony Lucadello, a Philadelphia Phillies scout who lived in Fostoria. Jackson signed with Philadelphia in 1961. Lucadello went on to sign many other stars, including future Hall of Famers Ferguson Jenkins and Mike Schmidt.

Like Jenkins, Jackson debuted with the Phillies in 1965. (Jenkins would be traded to the Chicago Cubs in the offseason.)

Jackson began his career as a starting pitcher, and he made the National League All-Star team in 1969 before finishing the season with a 14-18 record and a 3.34 earned run average.

He eventually became an effective relief man who enjoyed a 1976 season in which he went 7-1 with four saves and a 2.54 ERA while pitching in a combined 34 games for the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees.

Jackson pitched in the World Series for the Orioles in 1971 and the Yankees in 1976 as those teams fell to the Pirates and Cincinnati Reds, respectively.

In 1979, he was in his third year with the Pirates as they overcame a rough start to the season and made their way to the World Series to again face Baltimore.

Those Pirates became famous for more than their baseball prowess, as they rallied to the Sister Sledge song “We are Family” and future Hall of Famer Willie Stargell handed out “Stargell Stars” for players to wear on their caps in recognition of standout performances.

“Pops was the leader,” Jackson said, using the team’s nickname for the 39-year-old standout, who was named Most Valuable Player for both the season and the World Series in 1979. “If you had any problem between the lines, he would help you.”

The Pirates fell behind the Orioles 3-1 in the 1979 World Series before bouncing back to force a Game 7 in Baltimore. Jackson recorded a strikeout and two walks in 2.2 innings and ended up as the winning pitcher, as Stargell’s two-run homer in the sixth inning gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead on their way to a 4-1 triumph.

Jackson called that championship the top moment of his career.

“I’ve been asked that 1,000 times,” Jackson said of what it was like to play on that ’79 Pirates squad. “And I always say the same thing: It was tremendous.”

Jackson finished his career with an 86-75 record with 79 saves and a 3.46 ERA after pitching in 692 games. In addition to the Phillies, Orioles and Yankees, Jackson spent time with the Montreal Expos and Kansas City Royals.

He later had stints as the pitching coach for the Pirates and Reds.

Though a professional baseball season is a grind that includes travel, games and more hours at various ballparks than the average fan would imagine, Jackson said his enjoyment was such that “I never had a job.”

The pace is more easygoing for him now.

“I cut the grass, pick up leaves, shovel the driveway — just take it easy,” he said.