On this date in 1897 the Pittsburgh Pirates made a seven player trade, sending star outfielder Mike Smith and 30-game-winner, Pink Hawley along with cash, to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for five players. Hawley was just shy of his 25th birthday at the time and he had a 71-61 record for the Pirates in three seasons. He had also gone 30-58 for the St Louis Browns(Cardinals) prior to joining the Pirates in 1895. Smith had started his career as a pitcher with the Reds going 69-50 in four seasons. With the Pirates though he was a great outfielder, and a local boy from Pittsburgh, who hit .325 over seven seasons with 644 runs scored and 174 stolen bases. The Pirates also included $1,500 in the deal
In return the Pirates got five players, one of them, Ace Stewart, never played for the Pirates. They got pitcher Billy Rhines, who replaced Hawley in the rotation and went 12-16, 3.52 in 1898. He made just nine starts the next season going 4-4, 6.00 before being released, ending his major league career. Bill Gray was the everyday 3B for the Pirates in 1898, but hit just .229 in 137 games and made the second most errors in the league at 3B. Despite playing everyday, that was the end of his major league career, spending his final two seasons in the minors. Jack McCarthy played two full seasons in the outfield for the Pirates before the Honus Wagner trade made him expendable. He was sold to the Chicago Orphans(Cubs) following the 1899 season. With the Pirates he hit .298 with 147 RBIs in 276 games.
Pop Schriver made the biggest impact with the Pirates among the five returning players in the trade. He was the only player who lasted until 1900, hitting .260 with 93 RBIs in 224 games, spent mostly as a catcher. Following the 1900 season he was sold to the St Louis Cardinals, leaving the Pirates with no players left from the trade three years later. Smith hit .342 with 69 walks in 1898 but quickly went downhill, barely lasting into 1901 when he played just 20 games including a brief return for four games to the Pirates. He played minor league ball until 1906. Hawley went 27-11, 3.37 the first year after the trade, but the following three seasons he went 39-49, playing for three different teams. After spending 1902 in the minors, he eventually became a minor league manager, playing parts of two seasons as well.
Born on this date in 1867 was Fred Roat, who along with Billy Sunday and Bill Phillips from yesterday’s article, was also a member of the 1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenys team that went 23-113, setting a still standing record for the worst team in franchise history. Two weeks into the 1890 season, Roat made his major league debut, becoming the regular third baseman for the Alleghenys. He had previously played two minor league seasons in Danville, Illinois before signing. Roat hit .223 with 17 RBIs in 57 games for Pittsburgh. Following the season, the Alleghenys sold Roat to the Cincinnati Reds for $300. His only other major league experience was eight games for the 1892 Chicago Colts(Cubs). He spent his last seven years of pro ball in the minors
Also born on the same exact day as Fred Roat, was catcher Billy Earle, who played for the 1892-93 Pirates. Earle had played in the majors in 1889 and 1890 but spent the entire 1891 season in the minors along with most of the 1892 season. He joined the Pirates for five games and made a huge impression with the team, going 7-for-13 with four walks. The next season he played 27 games for the Pirates, hitting .253 with 15 RBIs before returning to the minors. He hit .348 in 1894 in 35 games for two different teams but despite the high average he never returned to the majors, playing minor league ball until 1906. He hit two homers for the Pirates in his 108 at-bats and they came in back-to-back at-bats, both inside-the-park homers.
Born on this date in 1890 was Eddie Eayrs, who played for the 1913 Pirates. He was a pitcher/outfielder who lasted just four games for the Pirates before going to the minors for seven seasons. Eddie was signed as an amateur free agent in 1913 by the Pirates and joined the team in late June. He went 1-for-6 at the plate and allowed two runs in eight innings over two games on the mound. He resurfaced in the majors in 1920 for the Boston Braves and hit .328 in 87 games while also pitching seven games. He played for two teams during the 1921 season then returned to the minors for six more seasons before retiring. He was a .309 minor league hitter while also winning 43 games.
Other former Pirates born on this date include Matt Pagnozzi (1982), who played five games in September 2011 after being picked up off waivers from the Rockies. Just over two months after being signed, he was released. Infielder Junior Noboa (1964) played two games for the 1994 Pirates. He went 0-for-2 after getting called up right before the players went on strike, ending the season and his major league career.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.