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On This Date in Sports June 26, 2001: Stolen Base

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

In an eight-season career, Lloyd McLendon had 15 stolen bases. As a manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, he adds another, walking off the field with first base after being ejected by umpire Rick Reed for arguing a close play at first in the seventh inning of a game that was tied 4-4 against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Pirates would be inspired and win the game at PNC Park 7-6 in 12 innings. 

It had been a frustrating season for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who opened PNC Park and suffered their ninth consecutive losing season. The 2001 season was expected to start a new era for the Pirates as they had a beautiful new ballpark, replacing the cookie-cutter, concrete monstrosity known as Three Rivers Stadium that had been their home for 30 years. The Pirates had a new manager in Lloyd McClendon, but the Pirates took a step backward, losing 100 games for the first time in 16 years. 


Lloyd McClendon was born on January 11, 1959. He had played in the Little League World Series for his hometown Gary, Indiana, homering in five consecutive at-bats in 1971. After playing at Valparaiso, McClendon was drafted in the eighth round of the 1980 MLB draft by the New York Mets. He would not make his major league debut until 1987, as he was part of the 1982 trade that sent Tom Seaver back to the Mets. McClendon spent eight seasons in the majors, playing with the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs, and Pittsburgh Pirates. 

After retiring, Lloyd McClendon served as a coach for the Pirates until he was appointed manager in 2001. The Pirates struggled in McClendon's first year at the helm, holding a record of 26-47 as they hosted the Milwaukee Brewers, who were hovering above .500 at 38-35 for Davey Lopes. 

The Brewers struck first in the Tuesday night game in Pittsburgh, as Jerom Burnitz had an RBI double in the fourth. Pittsburgh answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning, as Kevin Young had a bases-clearing double and later scored on a grounder by Abraham Nunez. Milwaukee tied the game in the sixth as Burnitz had an RBI single and scored on a home run by Jose Hernandez.

The game was tied 4-4 in the seventh inning when Jason Kendall hit a grounder to short that Jose Hernandez needed to make a quick throw to first. Umpire Rick Reed ruled that Kendall was out, sending Lloyd McClendon out to argue. Frustrated by several calls in the game, McClendon slammed his hat to the ground and was ejected. In response, McClendon grabbed first base and walked into the dugout, forcing the ground crew to find a new base to continue the game. 


The game would remain tied until the 11th inning, when Tyler Houston and Devon White had back-to-back home runs off Mike Williams to give the Brewers a 6-4 lead. The Pirates answered as Aramis Ramirez hit a two-out two-run home run off Ray King to tie the game. Omar Oliveras shut down Milwaukee in the 12th, as Ray King pitching a second inning, gave up a leadoff double to Kevin Young. Young advanced to third on a groundout by Derek Bell. He would score the winning run on a walk-off hit by Rob Mackowiak. 

Despite the 7-6 win, the story was Lloyd McClendon's steal of first base. It would be a highlight in a dreadful season that saw the Pirates finish last at 62-100.