Posted: Friday, December 6, 2002
On this date in 1983, the Pirates traded outfielder Mike Easler (see Nov. 29th history) to the Red Sox for pitcher John Tudor. It was an unpopular trade at the time, according to me at least, because I was just a little kid and Mike Easler was one of my favorite players on the team.
It became worse for me when Easler went on to hit .313 with career highs in homers (27) and RBI's (91) in his first year in Boston. John Tudor played just one year for the Bucs and went 12-11 3.27 before moving to the Cardinals where he had his best season 21-8 1.93 with 10 shutouts. The 1984 Bucs staff had some good arms in its first four starters, Rick Rhoden, John Candelaria, Tudor and Larry McWilliams who went a combined 50-42. Unfortunately, the rest of the staff went just 25-45 and the Bucs finished last in the NL east that year.
On this date in 1939, the Bucs traded pitcher Jim Tobin (more on Tobin in a future article) and cash to the Braves for pitcher Johnny Lanning. Johnny would split time between starter and reliever for the Bucs going, 8-4, 4.05 and 11-11, 3.13 his first 2 seasons as the Pirates finished 4th each year. The next year, his record fell below .500 and so did the team. He went 6-8 despite an ERA of just 3.32.
In 1943, at the age of 32, Lanning got off to a great start going 4-1, 2.33 in 12 games before being called into military service. He would miss the rest of the 1943 season, the entire 1944 season and all but 1 game in 1945. That year in his only appearance, he relieved and threw 2 innings, giving up 8 runs. In 1946, Johnny went 4-5, 3.07 in 27 games, 9 as a starter in what would be his last year as a Buc. Lanning rejoined the Braves and pitched just 3 games in 1947, his last season. He wound up a career 58-60,33-29 as a Pirate.
Former Bucs players born on this date include Tun Berger, born in 1867 and a lifelong resident of Pittsburgh. Tun made his ML debut for the 1890 Bucs, who were the worst team in franchise history (23-113). He played every position with the team except 1b and pitcher that year. He hit .266 with 40 RBI's his rookie season in 104 games. The next season the Bucs still finished last, but improved 33.5 games.
Tun played in just 43 games batting .239 in what would be his last season with the Bucs. He played one more season in the majors with Washington,batting just .144 in 26 games in 1892.
Walter Mueller, born in 1894, played for the Pirates from 1922-24 and 1926. He missed playing for the World Series teams by one year twice as the Pirates made it in '25 and '27. A backup outfielder, he played only right field his first year before spending most of the rest of his short career playing left field. He was blocked by 3 future Hall of Famer outfielders during his Pirate days, Paul Waner, Max Carey and Kiki Cuyler and eventually a 4th, Lloyd Waner in 1927.
Walter batted .275 total over 121 games with a career best .306 in 1923. He had 49 RBI's in his limited time with a high of 20 in 1923 and struck out just once every 18 at-bats over his career.
Frank Luce, who was a teammate of Mueller, was also born on this date in 1896. Frank was a left-handed hitting outfielder who didn't last too long in the majors. After getting called up at the end of the 1923 season, he played in just 9 games batting 12 times, but got 6 hits and 3 RBI's. He also stole 2 bases, scored 2 runs and played 5 games in the oufield, covering all 3 OF positions. 1923 was his only ML experience.
Finally, turning 31 today is current Bucs outfielder Adam Hyzdu, who has been with the team since 2000. This past season he set career highs in games, rbi's, homers, at-bats, hits and runs. He has played 122 games total with a .237 avg, 17HR and 47 RBI's over 245 at-bats. A first round draft pick of the Giants in 1990, he didn't make it to the majors until making it with the Pirates on Sept. 8th, 2000. Happy birthday Adam!