Posted: Saturday, December 14, 2002
On this date in 1963, the Pirates traded pitcher Harvey Haddix to the Orioles for infielder Dick Yencha and cash. Haddix had pitched 5 seasons for the Bucs and was 37 at the time of the trade. He is best known for retiring 36 straight batters to start the game vs Milwaukee on May 26,1959. He ended up losing the game 1-0 in the 13th inning. He also won 2 games in the 1960 W.S. over the Yankees, winning game 5 as a starter and game 7 as a reliever.
Harvey's best year with the Bucs was the 1959 season when he went 12-12 3.13 with 14 complete games while finishing 6th in the league in strikeouts with 149. He went 45-38 total for the Bucs and won 2 gold gloves (1959, 1960). He won 136 games total over his 14 year career. Dick Yencha never played in the majors.
On this date the Pirates traded Jon Lieber to the Cubs for outfielder Brant Brown. Brant would last almost one year exactly before he would be traded to the Marlins (see yesterday's column). Lieber, who shares a birthday with yours truly, pitched 5 years for the Bucs making his ML debut May 15, 1994. He went 6-7 3.73 that rookie season in 17 starts. Lieber had come over from the Royals the previous season in a trade for Stan Belinda.
Jon's best year with the Bucs was 1996 when he went 9-5 3.99 in 51 games, 15 as a starter. He tied for team lead in wins (11) and led in strikeouts (160) in 1997. He finished his Bucs career 38-47 in 151 games, with 1996 being the only season he finished with a record above .500. Lieber was an average pitcher in Chicago till he broke thru last year going 20-6 and finishing 4th in the Cy Young voting while making the All-Star team.
On this date in 1999, the Pirates signed Wil Codero to a 3 year contract for 9 million dollars. Cordero wouldn't make it till the end of that contract as he was traded back to Cleveland for Enrique Wilson and Alex Ramirez, midseason 2000. As a Pirate he played just 89 games, but did hit .282 with 16HR's and 51 RBI's. He played in 85 games in leftfield and wasn't know for his range or throwing arm, as he had just 3 assists and his range was well below league average.
Players born on this date include Jeff Robinson the big right hander, not to be confused with Jeff Robinson who was covered yesterday in the birthday section. This Jeff Robinson (b.1961) played just part of the 1992 season with the Bucs after coming over from the Rangers. He went 3-1 4.46 in 8 games in what would be his last major league experience.
Born on this date in 1943 was former Bucs catcher Jerry May who played for them from 1964-1970. He was just 20 at the time he got called up to the majors in '64, but didn't stick with the team till 1967 when he won the starting job based partly on the fact that last years starter Jim Pagliaroni missed some time with a back injury. May batted .271 with 22 RBI's that year in 110 games.
The next year with Pagliaroni gone to the A's, the starting catcher job was all May's and he struggled. Catching in 135 games, he batted .219 with 33 RBI's. The next season Manny Sanguillen stuck with the Bucs and May was again a backup. May played 417 total games for the Pirates and finished with exactly 100 RBI's. He finished his career with a .234 average over 10 seasons.
Born on this date in 1923 was left-handed pitcher Paul LaPalme who made his ML debut with the Bucs in 1951. He played four seasons for the Bucs going 14-33 total. He was used mainly as a reliever his first 2 seasons before being tried as a starter in 1953. He went just 8-16 4.59 for a team that lost over 100 games.
Finally, born on this date in 1896 was former Bucs catcher Charlie Hargreaves who joined the club mid-season from the Dodgers and played thru the 1930 season. He was acquired for catcher Johnny Gooch and outfielder Joe Harris who hit .326 the previous season. He was batting .391 in 1928 when he was traded. Harris, who was 37, would only play till the end of the 1928 season and be used sparingly by the Dodgers. He retired as a .317 career hitter over 10 seasons.
Hargreaves meanwhile hit .285 with 32 RBI's in 79 games. The next season, as the primary starter, he hit .268 with 44 RBI's in 102 games. In 1930, Charlie lasted just 11 games, in what would be his last season. Hargreaves was a tough strikeout during his career, whiffing just 49 times in over 1100 at-bats, but like most catchers he was slow, just 6 stolen bases and had no power, just 4 HR's.
Johnny Gooch played 8 years for the Bucs, spent mostly as a platoon player, only twice playing 100 games. He was a switch hitting catcher known mainly for his fielding. He did however, hit .290 or better 3 times with the Pirates, including .329 in 1922, but he only managed 5 homeruns career. He later coached for the Pirates after his playing days ended. Johnny was covered in depth on Nov 9th which can be found in the Nov. story archives page.