On this date in 1959, the Pirates traded Frank Thomas, Jim Pendelton, Johnny Powers and Whammy Douglass to the Reds in exchange for Harvey Haddix, Don Hoak and Smoky Burgess.
Frank Thomas had played all 8 of his years in the majors with the Bucs and he was coming off his best year, when he set career highs in HR (35) RBI's (109) and runs scored while batting .281. He lasted just one year for the Reds and struggled hitting just .225 with 12 HR's. Whammy Douglass had only appeared in the majors with the Bucs in 1957, and he never made it back after the trade. Johnny Powers was a 4 year veteran, spending his whole career as a backup outfielder / pinch hitter with the Pirates. After the trade he played just 43 games with the Reds, with 43 at-bats and 4 RBI's,hitting .256 that year. Jim Pendelton played just 2 partial seasons for the Bucs, and after joing the Reds he too lasted just 1 year, hitting .257 in 65 games with 9 RBI's.
Meanwhile, the Pirates got 3 regular players who would contribute to their World Series win in 1960. Burgess was a 32 year old, 9 year veteran catcher when he came over in the trade. He played 6 years for the Bucs, and hit .294 or better 4 of those seasons. He made 4 All-Star teams while in a Pittsburgh uniform and he hit .333 in the '60 series.
Don Hoak was 31 at the time, and a third baseman with 5 years experience. After hitting .294 with 65 RBI's in 155 games in 1959, Hoak would finish 2nd in the NL MVP voting in 1960 to teammate Dick Groat. He hit .282, scored 97 runs and drove in 79 while hitting 16 homers that year, but in the W.S. he hit just .217 in 23 at-bats. Don would be the regular Pirates 3rd baseman for 2 more years before finishing his career with the Phillies in 1963.
Harvey Haddix had played 7 years before joining the Bucs and had won 20 games back in 1953 then 18 the next year but never reached that level again. While with the Bucs he would win 45 games over 5 years. His 2 high points with the Pirates were his game 5 and 7 wins in the 1960 series, and his 12 inning perfect game that he lost in the 13th to the Braves on May 26th, 1959. Harvey also was a fine fielder, winning 2 Gold Gloves with the Bucs (3 total in his career) in 1959-1960.
Players born on this date include Charlie Heard, who was born on 1872, and played for the 1890 Pirates team that ended up being the worst team in franchise history. That team won just 23 games, losing 113 and Charlie didn't help their cause. A 18 year old right hander, he made his ML debut on July 14th, started the game and lost. All told, he pitched 6 games in 1890 and lost all 6 while posting a 8.39 ERA. He pitched 5 complete games, and in 44 innings total he allowed 107 base runners. He played 6 other games in the outfield and hit .186 in 43 at-bats. He also made 6 errors in his 12 game career.
Matt Alexander, born in 1947, was a switch-hitting, pinch-runner / outfielder for the Bucs from 1978-1981. He played 103 games total for the Pirates, but batted just 27 times. He was signed by Pittsburgh on Sept 1, 1978 after being released earlier in the season by the A's. For the 1979 W.S. championship team, he hit an amazing .538 in 44 games on the season. The trick part to that is he batted just 13 times in those 44 games. He pinch ran once in the NLCS and scored a run and also pinch ran once in the W.S., but didn't cross the plate. He played sparingly his last 2 years and ended with 30 steals in 37 attempts with the Bucs and scored 36 runs, both numbers eclipsing his at-bat total with the team.
Hipolito Pena, a lefthand relief pitcher who played with the Bucs in 1986-87 turns 39 today. He made his ML debut as a September callup in 1986, but went just 0-3 8.64 in 10 games that year. The next season he pitched in 16 games and again went 0-3, but lowered his ERA to 4.56. He also saved one game each season and started just 1 game each year. He finished his ML career the next season with the Yankees and won his only career game, going 1-1 3.14 in 16 games for them in 1988.
Finally, Vin Campbell born in 1888 played for the 1910-11 Pirates teams. An outfielder who played all 3 positions, he hit .326 over 97 games in 1910, which was his first full season in the majors (he played 1 game for the 1908 Cubs). He also scored 42 runs and had 17 stolen bases. He finished 2nd that year in the NL to Philadelphia's Sherry Magee in batting average. The next season he hit .312, but played just 42 games because he was blocked by 2 future Hall of Famers, Max Carey and Fred Clarke and also by Owen Wilson, who is the all-time ML single season leader in triples. Campbell would finish a .310 hitter over 546 career games.