Thursday, May 26, 2022

Gene Clines, member of MLB’s first all-minority lineup and 1971 World Series champion, dies at age 75

The Pittsburgh Pirates confirmed on Thursday that former outfielder Gene Clines, a veteran of 10 big-league seasons, has died. He was 75 years old.

Clines appeared in 870 games in The Show during his career, amassing a slash line of .277/.329/.341 (88 OPS+) with five home runs and 71 stolen bases (on 111 tries). Though his best individual season came in 1972, when he played well enough to earn downballot consideration for the Most Valuable Player Award, his career is best remembered through the lens of the 1971 campaign. That year, Clines not only helped the Pirates win the World Series, but he was part of MLB‘s first all-minority lineup.

“I look to my left, there’s [Willie] Stargell. Look to my right, there’s [Roberto] Clemente. I look around more, and I started thinking, ‘Holy [expletive].'” Clines recalled last year, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I take a lot of pride in being a part of that.”

In addition to Clines’ time with the Pirates, he also suited up for the New York Mets, Texas Rangers, and Chicago Cubs. Following the conclusion of his playing career, he served as a coach with multiple organizations, and as a coordinator with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he instructed players on hitting, baserunning, and playing the outfield.

“Gene was a speedy outfielder who was a key member of our 1971 World Series team,” Pirates president Travis Williams said in a statement. “He made a tremendous impact on the game, not only as a player after his career with the Pirates, but also as a long-time coach in the big leagues.

“It was an honor to have Gene back in Pittsburgh this past September to recognize him and his teammates from our 1971 World Series Championship team who took the field as part of Major League Baseball’s first all-minority lineup,” added Williams. “It was a joy to talk to him about his deep passion for baseball, his love for his teammates and his appreciation for the city of Pittsburgh. Our hearts go out to his wife Joanne, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

No cause of death was announced. Clines’ family has requested privacy as they mourn.

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