Posted: Friday, December 13, 2002
On this date in Pirates history in 1999, the Pirates made 2 trades, first one sending Brant Brown to the Marlins for Bruce Aven. Brown played one year for the Bucs, coming over from the Cubs the previous season. He spent most of his time playing right field and some center, while occasionally filling in at first base. In 130 games, he hit .232 with 16HR's and 58RBI's. Browns biggest downfall was his walks/strikeouts, in 341 at-bats he walked just 22 times and struck out 114. He was 28 at the time of the trade.
Bruce Aven was also 28 at the time of the trade, coming off a season where he hit .289 with 70 RBI's. He would not make it through the whole 2000 season with the Bucs though as he did not live up to those numbers. He played 72 games and hit .250 over 148 at-bats. He played some time at all 3 outfield positions. Late in the 2000 season he was sent to the Dodgers for pitcher Randy Galvez.
Also the Bucs traded pitcher Brad Clontz to the Diamondbacks for a player to be named later which turned out to be minor leaguer Roberto Manzueta. Clontz had pitched 56 games in his only season with the Bucs before the trade and had a record of just 1-3 and an ERA of 2.74 with 2 saves. He did not appear in uniform for the Diamondbacks, instead he rejoined the Pirates where he pitched 5 games, with no record and an ERA on 5.14. He hasn't pitched in the majors since then, but has a career record of 22-8.
On this date in 1996, the Pirates traded IF Jeff King and SS Jay Bell to the K.C. Royals for 3b Joe Randa and pitchers Jeff Granger, Jeff Martin and Jeff Wallace.
Bell (covered on 12/11) played 8 seasons with the Bucs after coming over from the Indians. Jeff King, who will be covered in depth in an upcoming article, was 31 at the time of the trade and had been a member of the Bucs his entire 8 year career. Randa spent just one season with the Bucs, playing mostly 3b and some second base. He hit .302 with 60 RBI's over 126 games. The next year he was a member of the Tigers where he hit just .254 in 138 games.
Meanwhile the 3 Jeffs that came over did not amount to much. Jeff Granger pitched just 9 games for the Pirates, giving up 10 runs in just 5 innings, in what would be his last ML season. Jeff Martin never appeared in the majors.
Jeff Wallace had a great start to his Pirates career throwing 12 innings over 11 games in 1997 while giving up just 1 run. He next pitched in 1999 and was just 23 at the time. He pitched in 41 games, had a 1-0 record and a respectable ERA of 3.69. The next season he struggled, despite going 2-0 in 38 games, his ERA was an astronomical 7.07. That would be his last season for the Bucs as he moved on to the Devil Rays the next year.
Players born on this date include Josh Fogg, current Pirates starter who joined the team last year from the White Sox. Fogg went 12-12 as a rookie last year. He turns 26 today.
Former players include Bill Windle who played parts of 2 seasons, but got into just 3 games. Born in 1904, he made his major league debut Sept. 27,1928. He got to bat just once, but hit a double and scored a run, before finishing the game at first base. In 1929, Bill got into 2 games, both times coming in during the game to play first. He batted just once though and struck out. He ended his career batting .500.
Dave Hamilton was a left-handed relief pitcher who joined the Bucs midway thru the 1978 season from the Cardinals. Born in 1947, he went 0-2 3.42 with 2 saves in 16 games that year for the Bucs. He would sign with the A's the next season, whom he played 2 years for, ending his 9 year career in 1980 with a record of 39-41 3.85 over 301 games.
Joe Christopher, born in 1935, made his major league debut with the 1959 Pirates team. In his 3 years with the Pirates, he played all 3 outfield positions, appearing in 141 games total. He was a member of the 1960 World Championship team and appeared in 3 W.S. games that year, scoring 2 runs, but having no at-bats. His best year with the Bucs was 1961 when he hit .263 with 14 RBI's in 76 games.
William "Buckshot" May pitched one game in his ML career as a member of the 1924 Pirates. Buckshot, born in 1899, pitched 1 inning giving up no runs, 2 hits and striking out 1 in a 10-7 loss to the Boston Braves on May 9th, 1924. He was a lanky right handed pitcher who lived his whole life in Bakersfield, Ca. passing away in 1984.
Jeff Robinson, born in 1960, was a member of the Bucs from 1987-1989 after coming over from the Giants near the end of the '87 season. He went 2-1 with 4 saves in 18 games that first year. The next year he pitched in 75 games, second most in the league and went 11-5 3.03 with 9 saves. In 1989, the Pirates used Robinson as a starter part of the season. He struggled with a record of 7-13 4.58. He pitched 50 total games with 19 coming as a starter and also saved 4 in what would be his last season with the team.
Finally, one of my favorite Pirates when I first started watching, turns 46 today. Dale Berra joined the Bucs in 1977 and played with them till 1984. Berra played 3rd base when he first came up. In 1979 he platooned between 3b and shortstop before moving permanently to short in 1982. His best season came in 1982 when he hit .263 with 10 HR's and 61 RBI's, career highs in all 3 categories (he also hit 10 HR the next season).
Dale played 44 games for the 1979 Bucs team that won the World Series, but he did not appear in the post-season. He also was very consistent in the field, which isn't always good. From 1982-1984 he made 30 errors each season at short. He played a total of 744 games as a Pirate and hit 46 HR's with 255 RBI's. Dale was a 1st round draft pick of the Pirates in 1975 and of course, is the son of Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, who he later played for in New York.