- C, OF, 2B, SS, 1B
- June 24, 1867
- 5' 10"
- 168 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 6-16-1890 with CHN
In an era when strong hitters were the primary focus of the major leagues, Jake Stenzel certainly proved to not only be the best Pirate slugger, but one of the tops in the game during his time in the Steel City.
He began his career with Cap Anson and the Chicago White Stockings of the National League in 1890 during the rise of the ill-fated Players League, and was dropped from the club after the rebellious players returned the following season.
After hitting .339 and .351 respectively in the Pacific Northwest League in 1891 and 1892 for Spokane and Portland, Pittsburgh gave him another opportunity to showcase his ability.
Despite the fact he went 0 for 9 in his trial in 1892, Stenzel made the club the following year and hit .362. It was a prelude of what was to come as he knocked in 121 runs in 1894, 9th in the NL while smacking a senior circuit 5th best 13 homers for a .580 slugging percentage (6th highest) and a .352 average.
Stenzel continued his successful ways the following year with a career high .371 average good for 9th best in the league while smacking in 97 runs in 1895.
The Queen City native also had some speed, finishing in the top 10 in stolen bases for the club 3 times between 1894-1896 finishing his career with 292.
Jake was solid again in 1896 with a .361 average, but as the team was starting to fade, it traded its star hitter to the Orioles for Steve Brodie. He had a strong season for the NL power in 1897 hitting .353 with 116 RBI’s and batted .381 in the Temple Cup against Boston in a series played for the title of World Champion in which the Orioles won 4 games to 1.
While he had a strong season, he had only the 5th best average on the team and was cut in the spring of 1898. Stenzel would play two more seasons with St Louis but could never regain his superior batting touch.
He owned a café next to the Reds home field, League Park, after he retired until 1915.
He died of influenza four years later at the young age of 51.
Stenzel had a fine career, finishing with a .339 average, which is the 18th highest career mark of all-time. His .408 on base percentage also ranks highly in the history of the game as he has the 38th best mark, figures that put him proudly on the list of all-time Pirate greats.
- Jake Stenzel