Pittsburgh’s Pie Ala Mode

One of Pittsburgh’s most beloved citizens and a Hall of Fame third baseman for the Pirates was Harold “Pie”  Traynor.   A local television station gave him the above nickname.  Pie would be somewhere  outside of Forbes Field before every Pirate game talking to fans.  Regardless of who you were, Pie said hello and that famous “glad to see you” reply.   Traynor died in 1972 so he also had the same presence at Three Rivers Stadium.  The Pittsburgh Pirates moved to Three Rivers midway in the 1970 season.  Pie loved being with fans telling stories and answering questions.  He was a great ambassador for  the city of Pittsburgh.   On a serious note,  Traynor gave batting and fielding advice to Pirate players and Little Leaguers around the metropolitan area.  He was a very likable man.  Traynor was the Sports Director at KQV Radio and a spokesman for a local  HVAC company.  Pie started out the commercial with “Hi I’m Pie Traynor and I am batting for the American Heating Company.”

Traynor was great player but not a home run hitter.  His batting average always was well over .300.    Since Forbes Field had large dimensions, it was perfectly suited to Traynor.   Pie had such great bat control that he always could hit for the gaps.   With this type of hitter going into a slump is almost impossible.  Traynor had great speed and fielded third base like a high powered vacuum cleaner.  His lifetime figures, reflecting the years from 1923 to 1935 were as follows-2,416 hits, 58 home runs, 1, 273 runs batted in, and a lifetime batting average of an incomparable .329.  His lifetime fielding average was .947.  Here is a summary of his accomplishments:

–played over 150 games five times;

–scored over 100 runs twice;

–collected 208 hits in 1923;

–his batting average was over .300 10 times;

–highest batting average was .356 in 1929 and .366 the following year.

Traynor hit 12 home runs in 1923 and in all other  years his total was nine or less.

The following years were the best run producers.  I have never seen such a number of  runs batted in compared to home runs.  This reflects Pie’s ability to adapt to a wide range of pitchers and every type of pitch.  Traynor hit the baseball where the other guys weren’t.

1923  HR 12 RBI 101

1925  HR 6 RBI 106

1927  HR 5 RBI 106

1928  HR 3 RBI 124

1929  HR 4 RBI 108

1930  HR 9 RBI 119

1931  HR 2 RBI 103

Unusual Statistics. Great hitter.

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