Pie Traynor Worked in Nitro in 1918
Harold Joseph "Pie" Traynor (November 11, 1898 - March 16, 1972) was an
American professional baseball player.  He played his entire Major League Baseball
career as a third baseman with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1920–37).  He batted and threw
right-handed.  Following the Second World War, Traynor was often cited as the
greatest third baseman in major league baseball history.  He was inducted into the
Baseball Hall of Fame in 1948.
Traynor was born in Framingham, Massachusetts to parents who had emigrated from
Canada.  He received his nickname as a child in Somerville, Massachusetts because
he frequented a grocery store and often asked for pie.  The store owner called him
"Pie Face", which was later shortened to Pie by his friends.  Traynor began his
playing career in 1920 as a shortstop for the Portsmouth Truckers of the Virginia
League.  He was asked by a Boston Braves scout to work out with the team at Braves
Field but, the scout forgot to tell the Braves manager George Stallings.  Stallings
proceeded to run Traynor off the field, telling him not to return.  Traynor made his
major league debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates at the age of 21 on September 15,
1920, appearing in 17 games that season.   He appeared in 10 games for the Pirates in
1921, but spent the majority of the season playing for the Birmingham Barons.   He
posted a .336 batting average in 131 games for the Barons, but his defense was still a
problem as he committed 64 errors as a shortstop.

Traynor became the Pirates regular third baseman in 1922, hitting for a .282 batting
average with 81 runs batted in.   Following the advice of Rogers Hornsby, he began
using a heavier bat and blossomed into one of the National League's best hitters in
1923 when, he hit above .300 for the first time with a .338 batting average along with
12 home runs and 101 runs batted in.   With tutoring provided by team-mate Rabbit
Maranville, his defense also began to improve, leading National League third
basemen in putouts and assists.   In 1925, Traynor posted a .320 average with six
home runs, 106 runs batted in and led the league in fielding percentage as the Pirates
won the National League pennant by eight and a half games over the New York
Giants.   In the 1925 World Series, he hit .347 including a home run off future Hall of
Fame pitcher Walter Johnson as the Pirates defeated the Washington Senators in a
seven-game series.   Traynor ended the season eighth in Most Valuable Player Award
balloting.  His 41 double plays in 1925, set a National League record for third
basemen that stood for 25 years.

The Pirates won the pennant again in 1927 with Traynor hitting .342 with five home
runs and 106 runs batted in, but they would lose to the New York Yankees in the
1927 World Series.   In November of that year, members of the Baseball Writers
Association of America selected him as the third baseman for the 1927 all-star major
league team.   Traynor hit .337 and produced a career-high 124 runs batted in during
the 1928 season despite hitting only 3 home runs and, finished in sixth place in the
National League Most Valuable Player Award balloting.   He continued to be a
cornerstone for the Pirates, posting a .356 batting average in 1929, followed by a
career-high .366 average in 1930.   In 1933 Major League Baseball held its inaugural
All-Star Game and, Traynor was selected as a reserve player for the National League
team.   Traynor's last full season was in 1934 when he hit over .300 for the ninth time
in ten seasons, and was named as the starting third baseman for the National League
in the 1934 All-Star Game.   During the 1934 season, his throwing arm was injured in
a play at home plate and his defense began to suffer as a result.   Traynor played his
final game on August 14, 1937.
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