Pittsburgh Pirates Black History Month Tribute: The First All-Minority Lineup in MLB History

PITTSBURGH - JUNE 21: Manny Sanguillen #35 of the World Series Champion 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates salutes the crowd after being introduced before the game against the Baltimore Orioles on June 21, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH - JUNE 21: Manny Sanguillen #35 of the World Series Champion 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates salutes the crowd after being introduced before the game against the Baltimore Orioles on June 21, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) /
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Shortstop: Jackie Hernandez

Jackie Hernandez’s career up until this point was not anything worth mentioning. By 1971, he was a 30-year-old infielder whose batting numbers (.521 OPS, 48 OPS+) made most pitchers look like Willie Stargell, and didn’t have the glove to justify getting regular reps. Regardless, Hernandez can still say he played in some great all time line-ups including the likes of Clemente, Stargell, and Harmon Killebrew.

1971 was pretty much the same for Hernandez who hit for a .557 OPS and 57 OPS+ through 255 plate appearances. However, in 1971 he saw his role grow late in the season due to an injury to Gene Alley. Jackie played two more seasons in a Bucs’ uniform, and hit .205/.244/.273 in 264 plate appearances. After the 1973 season, Hernandez called it quits, finishing with a career .208/.256/.270 line and nine home runs.

While Hernandez’s career, numbers wise, may have not been much to right home about, he was part of one of the most historic and important starting lineups in MLB history. And, despite legendary Baltimore Orioles’ manager Earl Weaver famously proclaiming “the Pirates can’t win the pennant with Hernandez at shortstop,” Hernandez helped the Pirates defeat the Orioles in the World Series to do just that.

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