Thursday, December 10, 2015

12/10: Zisk for Goose, Friend for Mikkelson, Many Other Deals/Signings; Spitter Banned; B-Days;

  • 1866 - SS Frank Shugart was born in Luthersburg, in Clearfield County. He hit .268 for the Bucs between 1891-93, but booted 143 balls at SS in 204 games in his first two seasons, triggering a move to the OF and a mid-season trade in 1893. His MLB career ended when Shugart was blacklisted from baseball in 1901 after he punched an umpire.
  • 1919 - The National League, spearheaded by the leadership of Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss, banned the spitball, which he believed was an unfair advantage against hitters. Old wet tossers were registered and spared through a grandfather clause. The AL initially resisted, then passed their own ban the following season. Off-and-on Pirate hurler Burleigh Grimes was the last of the legal spitballers, retiring following the 1934 season after a Hall-of-Fame career.
Burleigh Grimes (photo via Centerfield Gate)
  • 1939 - RHP Bob Priddy was born in McKees Rocks. He only spent his first two seasons with the Pirates (1962, 1964; 2-2-1, 3.86 ERA, 37-⅓ IP), but had a nine-year journeyman career with the Giants, Washington Senators, White Sox, Angels and Braves.
  • 1958 - Pitt agreed to buy Forbes Field from the Pirates and lease it to them for five years, or until a new municipal stadium was built. It took a bit longer than five years; Three Rivers Stadium wouldn't open until 1971 as politicians wrangled over location, costs, and design. The Pirates had discussed replacing Forbes Field as far back as 1948 because of both its deteriorating condition (it was built in 1909) and small seating capacity of 35,000.
  • 1965 - The Pirates traded RHP Bob Friend, a four-time All-Star, to the New York Yankees for reliever Pete Mikkelsen and cash. Friend spent 15 years as a Pirate and won 191 games. He retired after the 1966 season, going just 1-4 for the Bronx Bombers. Mikkelson had a good year for the Bucs in 1966 out of the pen (9-8-14/3.07) but faltered the next year and was released.
Pete Mikkelsen 1967 Topps sticker
  • 1976 - The Pirates traded OF Richie Zisk and RHP Silvio Martinez to the Chicago White Sox for pitchers Goose Gossage and Terry Forster. Except for minor-leaguer Martinez, the players were a year away from free agency, and all three took advantage to find new teams in 1978. But the big name rentals had a payoff: Zisk hit .290 with 30 homers and 101 RBI, and Gossage collected 11 wins, 26 saves and posted a 1.62 ERA with 10.2 K per nine innings. Both were named All-Stars.
  • 1985 - Bobby Bonilla, who the Bucs signed out of high school in 1981, was taken by the Chicago White Sox in the Rule 5 draft. The Pirates got Bobby Bo back in July of the following year, but it cost them RHP Jose DeLeon. Syd Thrift had signed him as a scout and reeled him back in as GM. It was worth it - from 1986 to 1991, Bonilla had a .284 BA with 114 home runs and 500 RBI's. He also made the All-Star team four years in a row before leaving town.
  • 1999 - Dale Sveum was signed as a free agent. He played three seasons for the Pirates (1996-97, 1999/.260 BA), and also managed at Altoona from 2001-03, winning an Eastern League Manager of the Year award before landing big league skipper jobs with the Brewers and Cubs.
Dale Sveum (photo via Sports Memorabilia)
  • 2000 - In a day they came to rue, the Pirates signed free agent OF Derek Bell of "Operation Shutdown" fame to a two year contract worth $9.75M. Bell left the team during camp in 2002 after hitting .173 in his first campaign and never played in the majors again. The Pirates paid him $4.5M to go away when they cut him; Bell just moved onto his yacht and sailed into the sunset.
  • 2008 - The Pirates, in a swap of catchers, traded Ronny Paulino to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jason Jaramillo. The change of scenery didn’t particularly help either player (or team).
  • 2009 - The Pirates signed FA IF Bobby Crosby to a $1M deal with another $500K possible in bonus money. He hit .224, was traded to Arizona and was out of baseball after 2010. He left the majors with a whimper, but entered baseball with a bang, having won the AL Rookie of the Year Award with Oakland in 2005.
Bobby Crosby (photo Jared Wickerham/Getty)
  • 2013 - Pittsburgh took three GIBBY (Greatness In Baseball Yearly awards): RHP Mark Melancon won the set-up player of the year, LHP Francisco Liriano took home the comeback player honors, and the Pirates were selected as the storyline of the year for their October run.
  • 2014 - The Pirates traded minor league LHP Joely Rodriguez to the Phillies for LHP set up man Antonio Bastardo. It was a dominoes effect deal, with Bastardo filling a hole in the bullpen caused when southpaw Justin Wilson was traded to the Yankees. Bastardo put up a 4-1-1/2.98 slash in 66 Pirate outings while Rodriguez was recently removed from the Phil’s 40 man roster and assigned back to the minors after a rough 2015 AAA season.

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