Stennett enters record books | Baseball Hall of Fame

I was saddened Tuesday morning to wake up to the news that former Pirates second baseman Rennie Stennett had died of cancer at the age of 70 [or was it 72 I am seeing birth dates of 1959 and 1951 I will go with Baseball Reference and 1951]

Stennett was called up in the second half of the 1971 season- and was an immediate sensation hitting .353 in 50 games. He was also a part of major league history on September 1, 1971 when the Pirates became the first team to ever to start an all-black line-up.

The emergence of Stennett- presented a good problem for the talent rich Pirates. They had another young second baseman in Dave Cash- they would trade Cash following the 1972 season to give Stennett the starting job. With Stennett holding down the job- in what turned out to be one of the worst ever Pirate trades- after 1975 they traded a young Willie Randolph to the New York Yankees where he went on to have a long and successful career. But at the time it didn’t appear to be a bad deal- Stennett was young and at 25 appeared to be the Pirates second baseman well into the next decade.

A game at Wrigley Field in Chicago on September 16, 1975 would be the game Stennett will always be remembered for. In that game Rennie went 7 for 7 becoming the only hitter in the 20th century to have seven hits in seven at bats in a 9 inning game. The Pirates won that game 22-0.

August 21, 1977. Rennie Stennett who was having a career year- was batting .336 when he broke his leg sliding into second base. I was listening on the radio- and I can still remember the silent crowd and the Pirates announcers- you could tell this was a serious- and potentially career altering injury. He would play play four more years- he was a bench player for the Pirates in 1979 when they won the World Series but would leave to finish his career with San Francisco. His last game as a major leaguer was at the age of 30. He never fully recovered from the broken leg.

Over the years Rennie Stennett was active with the Pirates alumni- and as a Florida resident was a regular at Pirates spring training.


  1. I forgot all about Willie Randolph being a Pirate. He sure helped those Yankee 70s teams.
    7-7 now that is a great day.

    Hans, in your opinion, what is the worst trade the Pirates ever did in our lifetime? Would the Aramis Ramirez trade rank in the top 5? I still have trouble understanding that one.

    • The Ramirez deal- was a deal made so the Pirates could make their payroll. That was an awful one- they got Bobby Hill lol… That trade- the Randolph trade and I think the worst will end up being- the trade with TB where they got Archer- giving up Glasnow and Meadows and a young pitcher who is still in the TB organization who they are high on- who may be a year away. Craziness. What was weird about that is- when the Pirates were a pretty good team and could have traded those guys for immediate help to possibly win a World Series- they wouldn’t trade them- when they traded them they were going nowhere-and got nothing in return really. I would hope if the Pirates ever get in a position like they were in 2014-15 that they will pull the trigger and go for it- prospects are just that prospects. If you have a chance to win- go for it!

    • Ok that explains more about the Ramierz deal…man was that one bad bad.

      Glasnow and Meadows are good ballplayers. I have Meadows on my fantasy. Chris Archer is just a mystery to me. He has the stuff to be a great pitcher…I just don’t understand.

      I have to admit Hans I thought they were doing good by trying like that but I didn’t know about the prospects they were giving up…I thought Archer would do good.
      Remember Brett Tomko? He is another one that had great stuff but could not translate it

      Yes that is true…when you have a chance go for it…especially if it can push you over.

    • Looking back when the Archer deal was done- an August deal if I recall- the Pirates were like 6-7 out I think it was a deal Neal Huntington made to try and save his job. I think it helped to end it. ….

  2. Poor Rennie. For some reason (my childhood whims are mysterious to me now – for instance, as I’ve said before, I was a big cinci fan when I began following baseball, even though I was in Canada) he was one of my favorite Pirates. I recall reading about the 7 hit game back then. It’ll be a long time before that gets topped

    • you sure need a lot of help from the rest of the team to get 7 at bats in a 9 inning game… 22-0.. a lot of batting averages went up that day.

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