Posted: Monday, December 9, 2002
Well, if you read yesterdays article you'll remember that the Bucs traded for Bert Blyleven on Dec. 8th,1977. Three years and one day later on this date in Bucs history, the Pirates traded Bert Blyleven along with Manny Sanguillen to the Cleveland Indians for Bob Owchinko, Victor Cruz, Gary Alexander and Rafael Vasquez. Vasquez never appeared for the Pirates in the majors.
Bob Owchinko was a pitcher in the majors from 1976-1986. A lefty, he didn't play for the Pirates till 1983, instead he went to the A's before the 1981 season started. His Pirate career lasted just 1 game, in which he gave up 2 hits, including a home run, but didn't give up any earned runs.
Gary Alexander was primarily a catcher during his career, but played 1b/of for the Bucs during the 81 season. He appeared in 21 games as a Pirate, batting .213 with 1 HR and 6 RBI's. It would be his last ML experience. A decent power hitter during his playing days, his career was cut short because of his low average and the fact he couldn't field any position. Gary hit 27 homers as a catcher in 1978, but struck out 166 times while hitting .225.
Victor Cruz was just 23 at the time of the trade, but had 3 years of experience already. He pitched just the one year for the Bucs, throwing in 22 games, all in relief going 1-1 with a 2.65 ERA and 1 save. He pitched just 1 more season in the majors for the Rangers in 1983.
Former Bucs players born on this date include Hall of Famer Joe Kelley who played for the Bucs at the age of 20 in 1892. After playing as a rookie the previous season with Boston, Kelley platooned in centerfield with Pop Corkhill and Doggie Miller before being shipped off to Baltimore right before the end of the season. For the Pirates, Joe batted just .239 with 28 RBI's in 56 games.
With the Orioles, he batted at least .321 with a high of .393 for 5 straight seasons from 1894-1898 and the Orioles finished no worse than 2nd place any of those years. The Baltimore teams during that era had minimum of 6 future hall of famers each year. Kelley batted .317 career with 10 seasons over .300 and he's 9th all-time in triples with 194. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971.
Also born on this date was Doc Medich who pitched for the Bucs in 1976, five seasons into his 11 year career. Coming off a 16-16 season with the Yankees, he went 8-11 with a 3.50 ERA in 1976 with the Bucs. He pitched in 29 games that season, 26 as a starter. Doc finished 6th on the team in wins, playing for a strong Pirates team that finished 2nd in the NL east with 92 wins.
Doc came to the Pirates in a trade for Ken Brett, Willie Randolph and Doc Ellis. He retired after the 1982 season with 124 wins and went on to practice sports medicine in the Pittsburgh area. Doc was born in 1948.
Finally, born on this date in 1905 was outfielder Adam Comorosky who played for the Bucs from 1926 when he came up as a rookie till 1933. In his first 2 seasons he was stuck behind 3 Hall of Famers, first Paul Waner, Max Carey and Kiki Cuyler in 1926, then Waner, Cuyler and Lloyd Waner in 1927, the year the Bucs won the World Series.
Adam finally became the everyday leftfielder in 1929 along side the Waner brothers and produced his first full season hitting .321 with 97 RBI's. In 1930, he had his best season hitting .313 with 119 RBI's. He would struggle to live up to the previous 2 seasons the next year when he would hit just .243 in 1931 over 99 games. Adam would hit a respectable .286 and .284 his last 2 years with the team before going to the Reds for 2 years to finish his career. In 1933, he lost his starting job to another future Hall of Famer, Freddie Lindstrom.