Wednesday, January 4, 2017

1-4: Everyone Wants Sam, Skates & Starling Inked, Lance Deal

  • 1886 - St. Louis owner Chris Von Der Ahe sold the contract rights of IF Sam Barkley to the Alleghenys despite the fact that the infielder had already signed a deal with the Orioles. Because the O’s were late in sending Von Der Ahe their check to buy Barkley’s rights, he unilaterally voided the contract and shipped him to Pittsburgh instead. The American Association eventually resolved the controversial case by allowing Barkley to play for the Alleghenys, and sending Milt Scott from Pittsburgh to Baltimore as compensation. Additionally, the Browns were allowed to keep the $1,000 they received from Pittsburgh for Barkley's reserve rights. For all that, Barkley hit .248 in his two years with the club, splitting time between first and second base.
Lonnie Smith 1993 Leaf (back)
  • 1993 - The Pirates signed OF Lonnie “Skates” (due to his somewhat awkward footwork and quirky routes while playing the outfield) Smith to a one year/$1M deal. He put up a line of .286/6/24, with a .422 OBP and nine stolen bases before he was flipped to the Orioles in September for two career minor leaguers, Terry Farrar and Stanton Cameron. The Pirates were Smith’s fifth team; he had reached the World Series with the first four (and was on the winning side for three of them) but his championship streak bottomed out as a Bucco.
  • 1996 - Pittsburgh purchased the contract of free agent and eight-time All-Star catcher Lance Parrish from the Tigers. He had caught for the Bucs in 1994, hitting .270 in a backup role before Father Time caught up to him. The catcher was entering his age 40 season in 1996 and didn’t make it out of camp with the Pirates, marking the end of his career. Since then, he’s been an announcer, minor league manager, and MLB coach. Lance was a local boy, born in Clairton, though he was raised in California. Parrish had a scholarship offer to play football at UCLA but made what proved to be a wise choice by focusing on baseball.
Starling Marte 2012 Topps Finest
  • 2007 - Rene Gayo signed Dominican OF Starling Marte for $85,000 in one of the top Latin signings of Dave Littlefield’s watch. Marte was sought by several teams, and his stock took off after he switched from SS to CF. The deciding factor was said to be that Gayo had a good working relationship with Marte’s buscon (agent), tilting the field toward the Buccos.

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