Friday, December 8, 2017

12/8 Through the 50s: The World's Greatest Trade; Swift, Cox, Roe, Gustine, McLish Moved; PCL; Clown Show; HBD Pags, Spoon & Jack

  • 1856 - Utilityman Jack Rowe was born in Hamburg, Pennsylvania in Berks County. He spent his 11th year in the league with Pittsburgh in 1889, much to his disappointment. He was sold to the club with Deacon White and they refused to report, preferring to play for Buffalo where they had begun their career and made a their names. William Nimick, the Alleghenys owner, took a hard stand and the pair eventually joined the club in mid-season...and then bolted to Buffalo in 1890. After retiring from baseball in 1895, Rowe ran a cigar store in Buffalo where the sporting figures of the area would gather and chew the fat. 
Swap out that Louisville for a Pittsburgh, Hans! - 1898 Ultimate
  • 1899 - Barney Dreyfuss traded a dozen players from the Louisville Colonels, which was being contracted out of the league, to Pittsburgh (Jack Chesbro, George Fox, Art Madison, John O'Brien and $25,000 went to Louisville for Fred Clarke, Bert Cunningham, Mike Kelley, Tacks Latimer, Tommy Leach, Tom Messitt, Deacon Phillippe, Claude Ritchey, Rube Waddell, Jack Wadsworth, Honus Wagner and Chief Zimmer, with Chesbro being assigned back to Pittsburgh for the 1900 season). He had taken over the Pirates prior to the deal, in effect transferring the core of his old team to his new one. They became one of the powerhouse clubs of the early 1900's thanks to the greatest deal ever swung by the Buccos. 
  • 1902 - RHP Ernest “Spoon” Carter was born in Harpersville, Alabama. He tossed for 15 years in the Negro Leagues and made stops at both local clubs, working for the Pittsburgh Crawfords from 1933-36 and later for the Homestead Grays from 1943-45. Spoon also pitched in the Cuban and Mexican Leagues and managed for a while. 
  • 1927 - Washington Senators’ pitcher Al Schacht, the Clown Prince of Baseball, and his buddy, coach Nick Altrock, appeared for three days at the Sheridan Square Theater in East Liberty as part of a vaudeville revue, using a schtick they honed during games. Schacht only had a three-year MLB career but spent a dozen years on stage with Altrock and then opened a NY steakhouse where he sometimes performed. 
Jim Pagliaroni 1965 Jim Elder Postcard
  • 1937 - C Jim Pagliaroni was born in Dearborn. “Pags” caught for the Bucs from 1963-67, sometimes starting and sometimes in platoon. He hit .254 during his Pittsburgh time and still has the record for most homers hit by a Pirate catcher in a season at 17, set in 1965. Injuries and reports that he wanted to be traded - he was playing in a rotation with Jerry May and Jesse Gonder - resulted in his contract being sold to Oakland in 1967. 
  • 1939 - RHP Bill Swift was traded, along with cash, to the Boston Bees for RHP Danny MacFayden. Swift had won 91 games for the Bucs in eight years and MacFayden claimed 124 victories in his career, but both were at the end of the road and the deal ended up a wash. 
  • 1947 - In a what-were-they-thinking move, the Pirates traded IF Billy Cox, IF Gene Mauch and P Preacher Roe to the Brooklyn Dodgers for P Hal Gregg, P Vic Lombardi and OF Dixie Walker. None of the former Dodgers lasted past 1950 in Pittsburgh, while Cox and Roe would become mainstays in Brooklyn. Dixie was the key to the deal, but he played just one year, hitting .318, and then retired. The rumor mill at the time had Wally Westlake as the Dodger’s main target, but the outfielder remained a Pirate until 1951. He played for six teams during his career, but never did suit up for Brooklyn. 
Clyde McCullough 1949 Bowman
  • 1948 - The Bucs traded IF Frankie Gustine and RHP Cal McLish to the Chicago Cubs for LHP Cliff Chambers and C Clyde McCullough. Gustine was a three-time All Star for Pittsburgh at the end of his career; he would later open an Oakland restaurant on Forbes Avenue a few steps from Forbes Field. McLish would go on to win 92 games in the next 11 years, including 19 for Cleveland in 1959. The Pirates unloaded Chambers the following year, while McCullough spent four years in Pittsburgh, batting .258. 
  • 1950 - The Pirates played musical chairs with their PCL partners when the San Francisco Seals moved with former Bucco GM Fred Hamey to become a Yankee affiliate and the Hollywood Stars joined Pittsburgh. The Stars had a working agreement with the Dodgers but like the Seals based their arrangement on a person - in this case, new Bucco GM Branch Rickey - rather than an organization. The independent league was a quality supplier of players, with the Seals sending Pittsburgh Gus Suhr, Paul Waner and Dino Restelli while Oakland would provide the Steel City with Gus Bell, Bobby Bragan, Bob Purkey and Lee Walls.

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