Max Carey, a 5'11" outfielder from Terre Haute, IN, was born on January 11th, 1890. A switch hitter who threw right-handed, he opened his professional career with the 1909 South Bend Greens, a "B" level outfit in the Central League. He appeared in 48 games, hitting just .158 as a 19-year-old. He would remain with the team for in 1910, raising his average to .294 over 96 appearances. On August 15th, the Pirates purchased him along with Alex McCarthy. He made his major league debut for the Pirates in October, collecting three hits in two games, including a triple. He had already made his last minor league appearance.
In 1911, Carey, also known as "Scoops," played in 129 games, hitting .258 with 77 runs, 15 doubles, 10 triples, five home runs, 43 RBI, and 27 stolen bases. He also collected 25 sacrifice hits (NL ninth) as a rookie. Defensively, he made 304 putouts (NL fifth amongst outfielders) with a .975 fielding percentage (NL fourth). Pittsburgh finished third in the National League with an 85-69 record. They finished 14.5 games behind the NL Champion New York Giants.
Carey appeared 150 times (NL third) in 1912, raising his average to .302 with 114 runs (NL second), 23 doubles, eight triples, five home runs, and 66 RBI with 45 stolen bases (NL second). He also drew 61 walks and led the NL with 37 sacrifice hits, 369 outfield putouts, and 10 double plays turned from the outfield. He ranked second with a .968 fielding rate. Pittsburgh's 93-68 record was good enough to place second in the League, 10 games behind the repeat pennant winning Giants.
1913 would see Carey play in 154 games(NL third), leading the NL with 692 plate appearances, 620 at bats, 99 runs scored, and 61 stolen bases. He hit 277 with 23 doubles, 10 triples, five home runs, and 49 RBI. He also led the NL with 363 putouts and with 28 assists from the outfield, ranking fourth with six double plays. Pittsburgh went 78-71, disappointing spoiled Pirates fans with a fourth place finish and their worst record since going 76-73 in 1899.
In 1914, Carey led the National League by appearing in 156 games, 593 at bats, and 17 triples. He hit .243 with 76 runs,
25 doubles, 31 RBI, 38 stolen bases (NL fourth), and 59 walks (NL ninth). He made 318 putouts (NL fifth) with 23 assists
(NL fifth) for a .966 fielding percentage (NL fourth). Pittsburgh posted a 69-85 record, finishing in seventh in the league.
Carey played in 140 games in 1915, again leading the NL with 36 stolen bases. He hit .254 with 76 runs (NL sixth), 26
doubles, five triples, 27 RBI and 57 walks (NL eighth). He fielded at .982 (NL second) with 21 assists (NL fourth) and
an NL leading five double plays from the outfield. Pittsburgh headed up the NL's second division with a fifth place 73-81
1916 would see Carey lead the National League with a career high 63 stolen bases. He played in 154 games (NL sixth), scoring 90 times (NL second) with 23 doubles, 11 triples, seven home runs (NL eighth), 42 RBI, and 59 walks (NL eighth). He ranked fifth in WAR for position players, with a value of 5.1. He posted a .985 fielding percentage in center field (NL third) with 370 putouts (NL first) and 29 assists (NL first). He also started a handful of games in right field. He batted in the first three spots in the order. On April 13th, he went four-for-five in a 4-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. He scored two runs by hitting a single, a double, and a triple with three RBI on May 15th in an 8-7 win over the Boston Braves. On June 28th, in the backside of a double header, he hit two singles, a double, and a home run with an RBI, also scoring the winning run in a 3-2, 18-inning victory over the Chicago Cubs. The Pirates placed sixth in the NL with a 65-89 record.
Carey hit .296 (NL 10th) in 1917 over 155 games (NL second), scoring 82 runs (NL fifth) with 21 doubles, 12 triples (NL
10th), 51 RBI, an NL leading 46 stolen bases, and 58 walks (NL eighth) against 38 strikeouts. He also placed highly in the NL with a 5.1 pWAR (NL sixth), a .369 OBP (NL eighth), and a .746 OPS (NL 10th). He led the NL with 439 putouts, 28 assists and nine double plays. He ranked second with a .979 fielding percentage. From July 24th through August 9th, he went 24-for-57 (.421) with three doubles, six RBI, 12 runs scored and four bases on balls in a 15 game hitting streak. The Pirates scraped the bottom with a 51-103 record.
In 1918, Carey appeared 126 times (NL fifth), scoring 70 runs (NL fifth) with 14 doubles, six triples, three home runs and
48 RBI. He hit .274 with 15 sacrifice hits and an NL leading 62 walks. His plate discipline helped him to a .363 OBP (NL
ninth). He batted third through most of the season, playing exclusively in center field. He led all NL outfielders with 359
putouts, 25 assists, and nine double plays turned. On April 22nd, in a 5-1 win over the Cardinals, he went three-for-five
with a single, a double, a home run and four RBI. In an 11-4 win on May 18th, he went five-for-five with a double, three
runs and a stolen base against the Brooklyn Dodgers. He hit two singles and a double with three runs and five RBI on July 6th in a 17-1 dismantling of the Braves. The Pirates finished at 65-60 for a fourth place finish.
1919 would see Carey limited to only 66 games. He hit .307 with 41 runs, 10 doubles, nine RBI, 18 stolen bases and 25 walks. He batted second and played center field, missing all games between May 13th and July 31st. On May 12th, in a 3-2 win over the Cubs, he hit a single, a double, and a triple. He hit four singles and stole two bases in a 5-3 win over the Dodgers on August 10th. Pittsburgh went 71-68 to place fourth in the National League.
1920 would mark a return to form for Carey. He played in 130 games, hitting .289 with 74 runs, 18 doubles, four triples,
35 RBI, an NL leading 52 stolen bases, 20 sacrifice hits, and 59 walks (NL sixth) to only 31 strikeouts. He finished with a .369 OBP (NL eighth). On September 24th, in game one of a twin bill, he went three-for-five with a double, two runs, two RBI, and a stolen base in a 12-7 win over the Cardinals. The Pirates placed fourth in the NL, going 79-75.
Carey hit a then-career best .307 in 1921, scoring 85 runs with 34 doubles (NL sixth), four triples, seven home runs, 56 RBI, 37 stolen bases (NL second), and 70 walks (NL third) with 30 strikeouts. He ranked seventh in the NL with a 39.5% on base percentage and fifth with 30 sacrifice hits. He went five-for-five with four runs and two RBI, also hitting a double and stealing a base in a 13-0 destruction of Chicago. The Pirates finished four games back of the pennant winning New York Giants, with a 90-63 record.
In 1922, Carey raised his average to .329 and led the league with 51 steals and 80 free passes. He hit 28 doubles, 12 triples, 10 home runs, 70 RBI, and 19 sacrifice hits. On July 6th, he hit a double, a triple, and a home run in a 6-3 loss to the Giants. The next day, he did all he could for Pittsburgh, going six-for-six with a double, three runs, two RBI, three walks and three stolen bases in a 9-8, 18-inning loss, again to the Giants.
1923 would see Carey hit .308 with 73 walks (NL third), 120 runs (NL second), 32 doubles (NL ninth), 19 triples (NL first), six home runs, 63 RBI, and 51 stolen bases in 153 games (NL fourth). On May 22nd, in a 13-6 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, he hit a single, two doubles, and a triple, scoring three runs with an RBI. He had five hits, including a double with two runs and three RBI and three stolen bases in a 9-8 win against the Phillies on August 18th. In a 12-2 win over the Braves on September 18th, he had three hits, four runs, and four RBI. Pittsburgh placed third with an 87-67 record.
Carey hit .297 in 1924, leading the NL with 49 steals and with 683 plate appearances. He scored 113 runs (NL third) with 30 doubles (NL 10th), nine triples, eight home runs, 19 sacrifice hits, 55 RBI, and 58 walks (NL sixth) with only 17 strikeouts. His performance helped him finish 18th in the NL MVP voting. He split his games between batting leadoff and second. In an 8-6 win over the Cards on May 1st, he went four-for-four with two stolen bases. On July 18th, he had three hits with two runs, three RBI and a stolen base in a 9-2 win over the Giants. The Pirates finished three games out of first place, placing third behind the Giants and the Dodgers with a 90-63 record.
In 1925, Carey hit a career high .343 with 109 runs, 39 doubles, 13 triples, five home runs, 44 RBI, 66 walks and 19 strikeouts. He also led the NL with 46 steals, the 10th and final time that he would lead the league in the category. He placed 11th in the National League's annual MVP award race. He went five-for-five on June 16th in a 13-11 win over the Giants. On the 20th of June, he hit for the cycle, scoring twice with four RBI in a 21-5 victory over Brooklyn. Pittsburgh matched Carey's success in the win column, winning the NL with a 95-58 record. Carey appeared in all seven games of the World Series against the Washington Senators, going 11-for-24 with four doubles, six runs, and two RBI and three stolen bases. Pittsburgh took the series for their second World Championship.
Carey played in 86 games for the Pirates in 1926. On August 13th, Pittsburgh placed him on waivers, where he was selected by the Brooklyn Robins. He played three and a half seasons with the team, hitting .260 wiht 50 stolen bases in 298 contests. After not making the cut on his first 14 looks, he was selected by the Veteran's Committee to join the Hall of Fame with the Class of 1961.
All-Time Statline: 17 seasons, 2178 games, 2416-for-8406, .287/.363/.391, 1414 runs, 375 doubles, 148 triples, 67 home runs, 719 RBI, 688 stolen bases, 918 walks, 646 strikeouts, 49.8 wins above replacement.