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Alberto Lois

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1980 Topps #683 Pirates Future Stars (Dorian Boyland/Alberto Lois/Harry Saferight)

Alberto Lois Pie born Alberto Louis Pie

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 9", Weight 175 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

Alberto Lois had a brief major league career, mainly as a pinch runner, but was once a top-notch prospect who had been compared to "a young Roberto Clemente". Born in the Dominican Republic, he led the 1974 Central American and Caribbean Games with 20 hits and 13 runs while the Dominicans won the Silver Medal. He was signed by scout Howie Haak of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1974. He started off his professional career with the Charleston Pirates of the Western Carolinas League that same year, hitting .260 in 119 games as an outfielder. He showed good speed by stealing 37 bases in 49 attempts that first season. Unfortunately, it would be the only time in his career that he would play as many as 100 games in a season, as injuries would take their toll. The injuries were so frequent that the Pirates thought Lois was a chronic malingerer. It also did not help his reputation that he would regulalrly show up late for spring training.

However, there was no doubting Lois's natural talent. Former teammate and long-time minor league coach Nelson Norman said he would sometimes show up drunk at the ballpark and still collect a pair of hits. As a result of his hitting, he advanced rapidly through the Pirates' system. He hit .302 for the Salem Pirates of the Carolina League in 1975, then at AA Shreveport of the Texas League in 1976, he hit .323 with 12 triples and 24 stolen bases in 65 games, earning a promotion to the Charleston Charlies of the AAA International League only a few weeks after turning 20. He held his own at that level, hitting at a .300 clip with 13 runs and 9 RBI in 31 games. He encountered his first major setback in 1977, however, when he started off the year hitting .282 in 42 games for the Columbus Clippers but went down for the season with an injury. He started 1978 back at Salem to get his rhythm back, and was back in AAA after 24 games, but hit only .254 with an OBP under .300 in 49 games. He got his first taste of big league action with the Pirates late in 1978, going 1 for 4 with his lone hit a triple. 1979 was a similar story: he only played 18 games in the minor leagues, spread among three teams, but did go 4 for 9 for AAA Portland. The Pirates called him up for a week in mid-August and for the September stretch drive, where they were locked in a tight race with the Montreal Expos. Lois got into 11 games, all of them as a pinch runner, scoring 6 runs and stealing a base while being caught stealing once. The Pirates won the NL East title, but Lois was not on the postseason roster as the team went all the way to a World Series victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Lois played in the Dominican League that winter, but tragedy brought his career to an untimely end. He was driving a truck loaded with friends on the way back from a game but tried to beat a train across some railroad tracks and failed. The collision killed six of his passengers and he injured his right eye, making him unable to play again.

[edit] Further Reading

  • Clifford Blau: "Leg Men: Career Pinch-Runners in Major League Baseball", in The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 38, Number 1 (Summer 2009), pp. 70-81.

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