Saturday, November 3, 2018

11/3 From 1960: Cy Law; Contract Shuffles; Jesse for Aki; DC Bets; RIP Matty; HBP Matt

  • 1960 - The Deacon, Vern Law, who finished 20-9 with 18 complete games and a 3.08 ERA, was voted the Cy Young Award winner, easily outdistancing runner-up Warren Spahn. 
Vern Law 2001 Topps Golden Anniversary
  • 1971 - OF Matt Lawton was born in Gulfport, Mississippi. Matt spent a few months of his 12-year career in Pittsburgh in 2005, coming to the Bucs from the Indians for Arthur Rhodes and then getting sent to the Cubs at the 2005 deadline for Jody Gerut. Lawton swung a decent stick while here, batting .273 w/10 HR. But after the 2005 season, he received a 10-game suspension after testing positive for PEDs. He played in 11 games for Seattle in 2006 and that was the end of his MLB road. 
  • 1971 - PA senators Hugh Scott and Richard Schweiker, winners of a bet made on the 1971 Fall Classic between them and Maryland senators Charles Mathias Jr. and J. Glenn Beall, Jr., rode elephants in front of the Capitol as the losers led the pachyderms while toting peanuts for snacks and shovels to clean the street. 
  • 1982 - 1B Jason Thompson agreed to a five-year/$5.5M contract with the Pirates ($200K/yr in bonuses, $1.2M deferred). The 28-year-old then had three seasons in which he failed to hit .260 or 20 HR and was traded to Montreal after the 1985 campaign for a minor-leaguer. They released him in June after 30 games and the Pirates/Expos ate the final year of his deal as he couldn’t catch on with anyone else. 
  • 2009 - The Pirates sent RHP Jesse Chavez to Tampa Bay for 2B Akinori Iwamura, who at $4.85M became the Pirates highest paid player. Iwamura was gimpy, out of shape and benched in June with a .172 average. Aki was replaced rather handily by Neil Walker, a converted minor league 3B/C, then released in mid-September. After 10 games with Oakland, he was out of MLB. Jesse is still around and tossed for the Cubs in 2018. 
Aki 2010 Topps Heritage
  • 2011 - Matty Alou passed away in Santo Domingo at the age of 72 of diabetes complications. He was the middle man of one of the top MLB brother acts, between Felipe and Jesus. He came to the Bucs in 1965 from the Giants, and under the tutelage of Harry “The Hat” Walker and the prodding of Roberto Clemente, he turned into one of the great slap hitters of the era. In his first year as a Pirate, he led the NL with a .342 average as his hermano Felipe came in second at .327, the only time in baseball history that brothers finished 1-2 for the batting title. He hit .338 in 1967 (third in the NL), .332 in 1968 (second in the circuit) and .331 in 1969, leading the league with 231 hits and 41 doubles. He made two All-Star teams during that span, but after batting .297 in 1970, he was dealt to the Cards. In a 15-year big league career, his BA was .307. Following the 1974 season, he played three years in Japan and managed in the Dominican Winter League. In 2007, the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame inducted Matty. 
  • 2016 - RHP Neftali Feliz, OF Matt Joyce, RHP Ivan Nova, LHP Zach Phillips, UT Sean Rodriguez and RHP Ryan Vogelsong were non-tendered by the Bucs after the season and became free agents, along with LHP Kelvin Marte, RHP Justin Masterson and OF Danny Ortiz, who were let go days later. Only Nova remained with the club by signing a three-year/$26M deal, although S-Rod would come back via trade in August. 
  • 2017 - There wasn’t much contract churn for the Pirates after the season. They exercised their team option on CF Andrew McCutchen and bought out those on C Chris Stewart (younger torch-bearer C Elias Diaz was out of options) and LHP Wade LeBlanc (who was outrighted to Indy and faced a crowded field of lefty relievers) while 1B/OF John Jaso and RHP Joaquin Benoit had already declared for free agency. Cutch was the only starter in the mix and the other losses were expected. Andrew’s 2018 contract of $14.75M was the largest single-year deal that the Pirates have ever been entirely committed to; AJ Burnett’s contract for $16.5M from 2012-13 was primarily paid for by the NYY. The club tendered their small though costly arb-eligible gang of RHP Gerrit Cole, SS Jordy Mercer, RHP Felipe Rivero and RHP George Kontos. Jordy & Felipe were the only ones of the option/arb posse to make it through the season.

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