In the last season of the 1800's the Pirates were coming off a 72-76 season with a rookie centerfielder and a third baseman about to make a name for themselves. Jimmy Williams, the 3B, had played the previous season for Kansas City of the Western League. He hit .343 with 113 runs scored in 1898 and the Pirates signed him for the 1899 campaign, putting him at 3B for opening day. Ginger Beaumont was the CF. He hit .354 for Milwaukee, another team in the Western League. Both rookies were just 22 at the start of the season.
In 1898 the Pirates used Bill Gray mainly at 3B. He was a light hitting utility fielder who tore up the Western League in 1897 after spending the previous two years in the majors. With the team from Indianapolis he hit .347 with 19 homers (a very high total at the time) ...
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John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.