Posted: Sunday, December 8, 2002
On this date in 1977, the Pirates and Rangers pulled off a blockbuster trade as the Bucs sent Al Oliver and Nelson Norman to the Rangers for Bert Blyleven and John Milner. Bert, coming off a 14-12 season, went 14-10 for the 1978 Bucs team and finished 4th in the NL in strikeouts with 182.
During the 1979 season, Blyleven went 12-5 with 172 SO's, getting just those 17 decisions despite having 37 starts. In the playoffs that year he would win game 3 of the NLCS, throwing a complete game in a 7-1 series clinching win. During the World Series, Bert would get a no decision in game 2, but win game 5 in relief of Jim Rooker. In his last season with the Bucs, Bert would go just 8-13 3.82, but finish 5th in the league in K's. It would be the 10th straight season Bert would finish 7th or better in the league in strikeouts.
Al Oliver played for the Pirates from 1968 till 1977, splitting his time between 1st base and outfield. He hit over .300 4 times with highs of .323 in 1976 and .321 in 1974. While playing with the Pirates, he was a 3 time All-Star, 4 times he finished in the top-10 in average and 4 times in doubles, 3 times in triples and 3 times in batting average.
In the postseason Al would struggle, hitting just .214 over 5 separate series, but did hit 3 HR's with 14 RBI's. In the 1971 World Series, he would bat .211 with 2 RBI's against the Orioles in a series the Bucs would win in 7 games. Al ranks 10th all-time in team history in doubles and 9th in home runs.
Nelson Norman played just 3 games for the Bucs going 0-3, but he would not play with them till 1982, 4 1/2 years after the trade. He played parts of 2 games at 2nd base and 1 game at shortstop during this brief stay. He would not play in the majors again till he played in 1 game for the 1987 Expos, in what would be his last game.
On this date in 1939, the Pirates traded pitcher Billy Swift along with cash to the Braves for pitcher Danny Macfayden. Danny was 35 at the time of the trade and would pitch just the one season for the Bucs, going 5-4 3.55 in 35 games, 8 as a starter with 2 saves. Danny played parts of 17 seasons in the majors and won 132 games total.
More on Billy Swift and John Milner in upcoming Pirates history articles.
On this date in 2000, the Bucs signed Terry Mulholland away from the Braves where he went 9-9 5.11 in 54 games the previous season. Terry would last just 22 games with the Bucs and have no decisions and a 3.72 ERA over 36+ innings. He was traded to the Dodgers on July 31st, 2001 for Mike Fetters and Adrian Burnside.
Tim Foli, born on this date in 1950, played for the Bucs from 1979-1981. He ended his career as a member of the Bucs in 1985. Foli came over during the 1979 season from the Mets in a trade for Frank Taveras and would play 132 games at shortstop, 133 total, hitting .291 with 65 RBI's and striking out just 14 times in 525 at-bats. He also finished 3rd in the league in sacrifice hits with 19. During the playoffs that year, Foli batted .333 in both the NLCS and in the W.S. going a combined 14-42, with 6 RBI's.
In 1980, Tim hit .265 over 127 games, while playing solid defense. In 1981, during the strike shortened season, he hit .247 with 20 RBI's over 86 games. Tim rejoined the team in 1985, but hit just .189 over 19 games before going on to coach for the Rangers thru the 1987 season.
Jim Pagliaroni was born on this date in 1937, he played catcher for the Bucs from 1963-1967 and was part of the Dick Stuart trade, coming over from Boston in that deal in 1962. For more on Pagliaroni check out the Nov. 21st Pirates history in the archived story section.
Also born on this date was Jack Rowe, who spent one year with the Bucs way back in 1889. He came over from the Detroit Wolverines as a 10 year veteran. Jack would split shortstop duties with Pop Smith, playing 75 games and hitting .259 with 32 RBI's. Like most Pirates players, he would jump to the fledgling Players League the next season, where he would finish his career. Rowe was born in 1856
Finally, born in 1883 was a player named Charlie Whacker, who pitched one game for the 1909 Pirates team that went on to win the World Series. Charlie, a left-handed pitcher, made a relief appearance vs the Cardinals on April 28th during a 8-2 loss. He threw 2 scoreless innings, giving up a walk and 2 hits. That one game was his only ML experience ever.