This Date in Pirates History: April 4

Four Pittsburgh Pirates trades to talk about and three players born on this date. With all the trades that occurred with these same players at other times during their Pirates careers, I included links to many past articles to save on time. Starting with the trade to get Manny Sanguillen back from the Oakland A’s. The Pirates sent Miguel Dilone, Elias Sosa and Mike Edwards on April 4,1978 to the A’s to get Sanguillen, who was traded to Oakland 17 months earlier for Chuck Tanner and cash. In his one season in Oakland, Manny hit .275 with 58 RBI’s in 152 games. Edwards was a 25 year old infielder at the time, with seven games of major league experience, all coming in September 1977. Dilone was a 23 year old outfielder, who had spent parts of four seasons with the Pirates, getting into 75 games total. He had a .145 average, but stole 21 bases. Sosa was a 26 year old reliever, who had six seasons of experience in the majors. He was with the Dodgers in 1977, posting a 1.98 ERA in 44 appearances. The Pirates had purchased him from the Dodgers two months earlier.

Edwards spent three seasons with the A’s, the first two as an everyday player. He hit .252 in 310 games, mostly playing second base. Dilone hit .229 in 135 games for the A’s in 1978, stealing 50 bases but also led the league with 23 times caught stealing. He played 30 games with the A’s in 1979 before being sold to the Cubs. He would play for the Pirates again, briefly, in 1983. Sosa pitched great in one season for the A’s before leaving via free agency. He had a record of 8-2 2.64 with 14 saves in 109 innings pitched. Sanguillen would play three seasons with the Pirates after the trade, receiving less playing time each season until he was down to a pinch-hitting role in 1980, occasionally playing first base. He was traded to the Cleveland Indians in December of 1980, along with Bert Blyleven, in a deal detailed here.

On this date in 1977, the Pirates traded minor league pitcher Randy Sealy to the California Angels in exchange for outfielder Mike Easler. This deal was one-sided as far as what happened in their baseball career, but Easler would be involved in two more deals before he finally started paying off for the Pirates. Easler would be sold to the Red Sox in October of 1978 but returned to the Pirates before the start of the next season in a deal detailed here. Sealy was just 22 when the trade occurred, a fourth round draft pick of the Pirates in 1973, he had already made it to AAA by 1976. The Angels gave up on him quickly after a poor start in AA and by the beginning of 1978 he had already been with the Royals and had made it back to the Pirates organization. Sealy lasted just ten games in 1978, missed all of 1979 before finishing his career in 1980, playing AA ball for the Oakland A’s.

On this date in 1964, the Pirates traded outfielder Howie Goss to the Houston Colt .45’s in exchange for outfielder Manny Mota. This trade was also one-sided in the Pirates favor. Mota did not hit well his first season in the majors as a 24 year old with the Giants. He was traded by San Francisco to the Colt .45’s four months prior to this trade. Goss was a 27 year old rookie in 1962 for the Pirates, hitting .243 with ten RBI’s in 89 games, 25 were as a starter. Howie would end up playing just one season in Houston, hitting .209 with 128 strikeouts, the second highest total in the league. He did not appear in the majors again after 1964. Mota ended up playing six seasons in Pittsburgh, hitting .297 in 642 games. He hit .332 in 1966, then .321 the following season. After slumping down to .281 in 1968, the Pirates lost him in the expansion draft to the Montreal Expos.

On this date in 1986, the Pirates traded Jason Thompson to the Montreal Expos for two minor leaguers, Ben Abner and Ronnie Giddens. Thompson’s time with the Pirates, as well as his acquisition from the Angels five years earlier, was covered here on April 1st. The Pirates didn’t get anything from the two returning players, but they did shed the high salary of Thompson, then watched him hit .196 through the end of June before he was released, ending his career. Abner was a light hitting 22 year old outfielder, who briefly made it to AA before his career ended after the 1987 season. Giddens was a 24 year old infielder, who lasted just one season in the Pirates organization before his career ended. He never made it to AA.

For more on how these trades and players involved affected the Pirates, check out these links from David Kaleida at 6-4-3 Putout. Jason Thompson, Mike Easler, Manny Sanguillen.

Former Pirates players born on this date include:

Jim Fregosi(1942) Infielder for the 1977-78 Pirates. He was already in his 17th season in the majors when the Pirates traded Ed Kirkpatrick to the Texas Rangers to get him, on June 15,1977. Fregosi was a six time all-star in his career but he was also seven seasons removed from his last all-star selection at the time of the deal. He missed the first month of the 1977 season and had played just 13 games with the Rangers before being acquired by Pittsburgh. For the Pirates in 1977, he played 36 games, splitting his time between first base and pinch-hitting. He batted .286 in 71 plate appearances, drawing 13 walks and driving in 16 runs. In 1978, Jim played 20 games for the Pirates before being released on June 1st, ending his playing career. Since retiring as a player, he has managed 15 seasons in the majors. During his playing career, Fregosi hit .265 with 151 homers and 706 RBI’s. In 1967, he won the AL Gold Glove for shortstops.

Les Bartholomew(1903) Pitcher for the 1928 Pirates. He went 14-15 3.77 in 265 innings, playing for the Columbia Comers of the South Atlantic League, during his first season in pro ball in 1927. Les joined the Pirates to start the 1928 season and got hit hard as a reliever on Opening Day. In 1/3 of an inning, he allowed five hits, two walks and six earned runs. He would make five more appearances with the Pirates during 1928, but his next appearance wasn’t until game 27 of the season. All six of his appearances were in one-sided losses. Les returned to the minors, briefly reappearing in the majors in 1932 with the White Sox, in what would be the last three games of his pro baseball career.

Bill Hinchman(1883) Outfielder for the Pirates from 1915 until 1918, then again in 1920. He played five seasons in the majors with the Cleveland Naps(1907-09) and Reds(1905-06) before spending five full seasons playing in the minors for Columbus of the American Association. During the 1914 season, Bill hit .366 with 57 doubles and 21 triples, earning a spot with the 1915 Pirates, and he capitalized on his second chance in the majors. That first season back, he hit .307 with 77 RBI’s, 72 runs scored and 52 extra base hits. In 1916 he led the NL in triples with 16 and hit .315 with 76 RBI’s. Hinchman played a combined 308 games for the Pirates during those 1915-16 seasons. He struggled badly in 1917, seeing his playing time eventually diminish into a pinch hitting role by the end of the 1918 season. Bill didn’t playing during the 1919 season but returned in 1920, strictly as a pinch-hitter, getting 18 AB’s throughout the season. He became a coach and scout for the Pirates, performing his greatest service to the team in that role by signing Hall of Famers, Arky Vaughan and Lloyd Waner as well as Pirates pitching great, Rip Sewell. Bill had a brother named Harry, who also played for Cleveland in 1907, his only season in the majors.

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.

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