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Wednesday, December 07 2022 @ 01:21 pm UTC
This Day in Pirate History - 2/23   
By 81omar_moreno

On this date in Pirates history in 2000 the Bucs traded outfielder Al Martin to the Padres for John VanderWal and 2 minor league pitchers, neither of whom still play for the Bucs. Martin had been with the Bucs since 1992, playing his first full season the next year. He had 7 seasons with double digits in homers and steals missing 8 straight by just one homer in the strike shortened 1994 season. He had his best season in 1996 when he hit .300 with 101 runs scored,38 steals, 18 HR's,and 72 RBI's, all career highs. In VanderWal's first season with the Bucs he hit .299 with 94 RBI's in just 384 at-bats. In 2001 he hit .278 in 97 games before being traded to the Giants along with Jason Schmidt for Ryan Vogelsong and Armando Rios.

On this date in 1921, the Pirates acquire future Hall of Famer Rabbit Maranville from the Braves for Billy Southworth, Fred Nicholson and Walter Barbare. The Bucs also sent the Braves $15,000 cash. Rabbit played 4 full seasons with the Bucs, 3 as the everyday shortstop which was his regular position,and one year as the Bucs 2nd baseman. In 1921 he hit .294 with 70 RBI's and in 1922 he scored 115 runs while hitting .295 in 155 games. Maranville was known as one of the best fielders of his day and when he retired he held many fielding records for shortstops.

Southworth was a 28 year old outfielder who had played 3 years for the Bucs. He hit .280 and .284 in his 2 full seasons with 23 steals each year. Nicholson, 26 at the time, was another outfielder for the Bucs, who had hit .360 in 99 games in 1920. He joined the Bucs from the Tigers the previous year and hit .273 in limited time. Barbare, was 29 at the time of the trade and was a backup infielder for 2 seasons. He hit .273 over 142 games with the Bucs.

On this date in 1888 the Bucs resigned future Hall of Fame pitcher Pud Galvin for $3,000. They originally offered him a contract for $3,500, but Galvin needed an advancement on the money and agreed to $500 less. In 1888 Pud went 23-25 2.63 in 50 games, and he completed 49 of his 50 starts. In 1887, the Pirates inagural season in the NL, he went 28-21 for a team that finished just 55-69 overall. Galvin won 364 games in his career and pitched over 6000 innings. He was featured in the Dec 25th article.

Jason Boyd who was born in 1973, began his ML career with the 1999 Pirates. He was traded to the Bucs by the Diamonbacks on August 25, 1999 completing an earlier trade in Feb. for Tony Womack. Boyd, a righty reliever, pitched four games that season for the Bucs with no decisions and a 3.38 ERA. Prior to the 2000 season Jason was put on waivers and picked up by the Brewers who put him back on waivers just 2 days later and he was claimed by the Phillies, the team that originally drafted him in in the 8th round of the amatuer draft in 1994. He pitched for the Phillies in 2000 and the Padres in 2002 and so far he has a 1-1 record in 57 games with a 6.88 ERA.

Mike Smith was a righty reliever for 5 seasons who finished his ML career as a member of the 1989 Pirates. Mike pitched parts of 3 seasons for the Reds from 1984-86, but got into just 12 games total. After pitching for the Expos in 1988, Mike joined the Bucs and had his best season, appearing in 16 games (he had 33 career) and going 0-1 3.75 over 24 innings. In his career he won 1 game, lost 1 game, saved one game and started one game. Mike went 0-5 at bat, but was flawless in the field. He wore #41 while with the Bucs.

Eddie "Hedi" Vargas was a power hitting first baseman in the minors who appeared briefly for the Bucs in 1982 and 1984. From 1979-1982 in the minors for the Pirates he hit 108 homers. He started the 1983 season on the major league roster, but was placed on the disabled list before he appeared in a game and would play in just 73 minor league games total that season. In 1984 Vargas was supposed to be a backup for Jason Thompson and a power bat off the bench but he was returned to the minors after 18 games. Career in the majors in 26 games he hit .256 with 5 RBI's and no homers.

Finally, I saved the best player for last. Bobby Bonilla, who played for the Bucs from 1986 till 1991, was born on this date in 1963. He was originally signed by the Pirates on July 11, 1981, but was selected by the White Sox in the 1985 rule V draft. He was traded back to the Bucs on July 23, 1986 in exchange for Jose DeLeon. In his first full season in 1987 as the Bucs 3B (occasionally playing LF and RF) Bobby Bo hit .300 with 77 RBI's. The next season as the everyday 3B, he made his first of 4 straight all-star appearances. He had 24 HR's and 100 RBI's (3rd most in the NL).

Bobby lead the NL in games played in 1989 with 163,a Pirates single season high (Tied with Bill Mazeroski, 1967). He hit .281 that year with 96 runs scored and 86 RBI's to go along with his 2nd season of 24 HR's. In 1990 Bobby had his best year with the Bucs and maybe his best season overall. He was moved to the outfield and hit .280 with career highs in runs with 112 and RBI's with 120 (just 2 behind league leader Matt Williams). He also finished 2nd to Barry Bonds in MVP voting, getting the only 1st place vote Bonds didn't get. The Pirates made the NLCS but Bonilla hit just .190 in 6 games Vs the Reds as the Bucs lost.

In Bobby's last season in Pittsburgh, he drove in 100 runs and scored 102 runs while hitting .302 (7th in the NL). He also led the league in doubles for the only time in his career, with 44. The Pirates again made the playoffs and Bonilla did much better than the previous year. He hit .304 in 23 at-bats, but the Bucs lost again, this time to the Braves. In his 2 playoff appearances with the Bucs he had just 2 RBI's in 44 at-bats and just 3 extra base hits, all doubles. The next year the Mets made Bobby the highest paid player earning over 6 million a year for the next 3 years.

In his 16 year career for 8 teams, ending in 2001, Bobby hit .279 with 1173 RBI's, 287 HR's,1084 runs scored and 2010 hits in 2113 games. He was a member of the Marlins world series winning team in 1997 and in 10 playoff series he hit .215 with 19 RBI's. Happy 40th birthday to Bobby Bo!!!!

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