Tuesday, December 1, 2015

12/1: HBD Cookie; Bucs Deal for Matty Alou, Maury Wills & S-Rod

  • 1912 - IF Attilio Harry “Cookie” Lavagetto was born in Oakland, California. He started his MLB career as a Bucco bench player, batting .249 between 1934-36. He was then traded to the Dodgers, where he blossomed into a four time All-Star before losing the next four years to WW2, then returning to Brooklyn for two more campaigns. In 1961, he became the Minnesota Twins first manager and was a coach for the New York Mets (1962-63) and San Francisco Giants (1964-67). He got his nickname as an Oakland Oak farm hand early in his career, named after team owner Cookie DeVincenzi, who was fond of the young Lavagetto.
Cookie Lavagetto (photo via Find A Grave)
  • 1965 - The Bucs traded for Giants’ CF Matty Alou‚ who was coming off a .231 season‚ sending LHP Joe Gibbon and IF Ozzie Virgil to the Bay. Alou played five seasons in Pittsburgh, winning a batting crown in 1966 and putting up four straight .330+ years after manager Harry “The Hat” Walker retooled his batting approach. He finishing in the NL’s top five in hitting between 1966-69. In 2007, the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame inducted Alou into their Hall of Fame after he finished his 15 year career with a .307 BA.
  • 1966 - The Pirates sent 3B Bob Bailey and SS Gene Michael to the Dodgers for SS/3B Maury Wills. Wills hit .290 and stole 81 bases for the Bucs in his two seasons with the club. He was lost in the 1968 expansion draft, played a year with Montreal and then closed out his career where he started it, in Los Angeles. The highly-hyped Bailey had been signed out of Wilson High School in Long Beach in 1961, and was given the largest signing bonus ever paid up to that time, a reported $135,000. But the defensively challenged 3B - he was shifted to 1B later in his career - hit just .257 as a Buc, and that ended up to be his career MLB average.
Maury Wills 1967 Topps
  • 2014 - The Pirates picked up utilityman Sean Rodriguez from Tampa Bay for minor league RHP Buddy Borden to replace newly minted starter Josh Harrison on the Buc bench. Rodriguez hit a career low .211 in 96 games for the Rays in 2014, but set career highs in home runs (12) and RBI's (41). He became available after being DFA’ed when the Rays signed RHP Ernesto Frieri, who the Pirates had cut loose, so the move in effect was a Rodriguez-for-Frieri swap with Borden tossed in. S-Rod hit .246 for Pittsburgh in 2015 while playing every infield position and both corner OF spots.

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