An standout all-around athlete, baseball player Gene Alley was also one of the nicest persons in professional sports. He broke into the minors at age 19 with Dubuque of the Midwest League back in 1959, worked his way up the ladder as a second baseman and by hitting .280 at Grand Forks in 1960. By the time he arrived in Pittsburgh in late-1963 Gene Alley was a much-heralded rookie. In 1964 he played 81 games for the Pirates at various infield positions and in 1966 was shifted to shortstop for good, pairing up with future Hall of Fame second baseman Bill Mazeroski, and they set a NL record with 216 double plays. In 1966 Gene Alley hit a solid .299 with 45 extra base hits, scored 88 runs, won a Gold Glove and was chosen the Sporting News All-Star shortstop.
Gene Alley continued his splendid fielding and hitting in 1967 until August when he became plagued with injuries. First a shoulder injury, then knee hurts and finally a broken left hand. He did however managed to hit a fine .287 with 38 extra base hits. injuries limited his batting and fielding thereafter but he still was a great team player and his work at shortstop helped the Pittsburgh Pirates win the NL East three consecutive seasons, 1970-1972.