In an extremely busy day for Pittsburgh Pirates transactions, we split up the “This Date” article in to two separate ones. The first covers nine trades, all made between 1939 and 1982. As with most history articles now, you will notice the players name is highlighted with links to their bios from this site. Every player involved in these deals, who already has a bio written on this site, has been linked to that article for more information on the players. In total, 17 of the 24 players involved have bios on the site as of this time.
1982: Pirates traded Bill Robinson to the Phillies for Wayne Nordhagen. Robinson was 39 years old, in his 15th season in the majors, eighth with Pittsburgh. He was hitting .239 with four homers and 12 RBI’s over 31 games with the Pirates at the time of the trade. For the Phillies, he hit .261 with 19 RBI’s in 69 AB’s in 1982, then went 1-7 in ten games the following season before being released. Robinson hit .276 with 109 homers and 412 RBI’s in 805 games for the Pirates. Nordhagen was with the Pirates for ten days, playing one game in which he went 2-4 with two runs batted in. He was picked up by the Phillies from the Blue Jays earlier in the day on June 15th, then traded to the Pirates, who sent him back to Toronto on June 25th as the player to be named later from an earlier deal.
1977: Pirates traded Ed Kirkpatrick to the Rangers for Jim Fregosi. Kirkpatrick was a 32 year old utility player, who had seen time at catcher, both corner infield spots and all three outfield positions during his career. In four seasons in Pittsburgh, he hit .236 with 12 homers and 74 RBI’s in 309 games. He was hitting just .143 in 21 games at the time of the deal. After the deal, he hit .188 in 20 games for the Rangers, who traded him to the Brewers, where he finished his career later that season. Fregosi was a 35 year old corner infielder at the time of the deal. He was in his 16th season in the majors, hitting .250 in 13 games for Texas. He was a six time All-Star shortstop for the Angels in the 1960’s, who is famous for getting traded to the Mets for Nolan Ryan. Fregosi was with Pittsburgh through the end of May 1978, playing 56 games with a .263 average in 97 plate appearances.
1966: Pirates traded Don Schwall to Braves for Billy O’Dell. Schwall was an All-Star and Rookie of the Year for the Red Sox in 1961, winning 15 games. In the 4 1/2 seasons that followed, the 30 year old righty went 33-38, with 22 of those wins coming over four seasons with the Pirates. After the deal, he went 3-3 4.37 in 45.1 innings for the 1966 Braves, then pitched one game for Atlanta in 1967, his last major league game. O’Dell was a 33 year old left reliever, in his 12th season in the majors. He had a 2-3 2.40 record in 24 games for the 1966 Braves, pitching a total of 41.1 innings. He pitched for the Pirates until the end of 1967, going 8-8 4.44 in 64 games. His last win during the 1966 season was the 100th of his career. Billy was released by the Pirates after the 1967 season, ending his major league career.
1961: Pirates traded Gino Cimoli to Braves for Johnny Logan. Cimoli was a 31 year old outfielder in his sixth season in the majors, second with the Pirates. He was hitting .299 at the time of the deal. Gino played all seven games of the 1960 World Series, hitting .250 with four runs scored. He was an All-Star in 1957 with the Dodgers. After the deal, he hit .197 in 37 games for the Braves. He then went to the Kansas City A’s, where he played full-time for two years. Gino ended his career playing 46 games, spread between three teams, over the 1964-65 seasons. Logan was a 34 year old shortstop, in his 11th season in the majors, all spent with the Braves. He was a four time All-Star, who received MVP votes every season from 1952 until 1957. Logan was hitting .105(2-19) in 18 games for the Braves in 1961. With the Pirates, Johnny lasted until the end of the 1963 season, batting .249 with 26 RBI’s in 152 games. He played 30 games at third base for the Pirates, the only games in his career spent somewhere else besides shortstop.
1958: Pirates traded Gene Freese and Johnny O’Brien to Cardinals for Dick Schofield. Freese was a 24 year old infielder, playing in his fourth season in the majors, all with the Pirates. He was hitting .167(3-18) in 17 games for the 1958 Pirates. After the deal, he played just 62 games for St Louis before they dealt him to the Phillies. He eventually ended back with the Pirates in 1964, playing in Pittsburgh until an August 1965 sale to the White Sox. O’Brien played middle infield and pitched for the Pirates over parts of five seasons. He had a .260 average in 283 games and a 5.03 ERA in 24 games. After the deal, he played 12 games for the Cardinals, batting three times and pitching two innings. In the off-season, he was taken by the Phillies in the Rule V draft. He would be traded to the Braves, where he would finish his career in 1959. Schofield was 23 at the time, already in his sixth season in the majors. He had played just 208 games and his .213 average in 1958, was his highest single season mark at that point. He played eight years in Pittsburgh, playing 2B/SS/3B regularly at various points during that time. Dick batted .248 in 576 games with the Pirates, driving in 107 runs and scoring 186 times. He was traded for Jose Pagan during the 1965 season and played in the majors until 1971. The Pirates also received cash in the original deal.
1951: The Pirates traded Cliff Chambers and Wally Westlake to the Cardinals for Joe Garagiola, Dick Cole, Howie Pollet, Ted Wilks and Bill Howerton. Westlake was 30 years old, in his fifth season with the Pirates. He played all three outfield positions and had a .281 average with 97 homers and 378 RBI’s in 580 games for Pittsburgh. Wally played 408 games after the deal, hitting just 30 homers and driving in 161 runs. Chambers was a 29 years old lefty, in his third season with the Pirates. He pitched a no-hitter just a month earlier. Cliff was 28-28 4.33 in 81 games for the Pirates. He pitched for the Cardinals until 1953, his last year in the majors, going 18-16 4.19 in 79 games. Garagiola was a 25 year old catcher, in his sixth season, all spent with St Louis. He was a .244 hitter in 317 games. With the Pirates, he played 217 games, hitting .262 with 103 RBI’s, before being included in the 1953 trade that sent Ralph Kiner to the Cubs.
Cole was a 25 year old rookie second baseman, hitting .194 in 15 games for the 1951 Cardinals. He played all around the infield for five seasons in Pittsburgh, batting .253 with 104 RBI’s in 426 games. Pollet was a 30 year old lefty pitcher, who had twice won 20 games in a season for the Cardinals. He was 0-3 4.38 in six games for the Cardinals in 1951. After the deal, he went 14-31 4.59 in 76 games over four seasons with Pittsburgh. Howie was also included in the Kiner deal, returning to the Pirates to finish his career in 1956. Wilks went 17-4 as a rookie in 1944, then won 42 games the rest of his ten year career. The 35 year old went 8-10 3.19 in 92 games over two seasons in Pittsburgh. Howerton was a 29 year old outfielder, who played three seasons with the Cardinals, hitting .279 in 143 games. He played two seasons in Pittsburgh, playing a total of 93 games, matching his .279 average and 11 homers that he hit with St Louis. He finished his career with 11 games for the 1952 Giants.
1949: The Pirates traded Ed Sauer to the Braves for Phil Masi. The Pirates had just purchased Sauer from the Cardinals the same day this deal went down. A native of Pittsburgh,Pa, he never got to play for his home team. He played three seasons in the majors for the Cubs from 1943-45, then spent the next three years in the minors, returning with the 1949 Cardinals. The 30 year old outfielder hit .266 with 31 RBI’s in 79 games for the Braves, in what would be his last season in the majors. Masi was a 33 year old catcher, in his 11th season in the majors, all spent with the Braves. He was a .262 hitter with 34 homers and 314 RBI’s in 945 games. He made the All-Star team each season from 1946-48 and in 1947 he led all NL catchers in fielding percentage. For the 1949 Pirates he batted .274 in 48 games, driving in 13 runs. He again led the league in fielding, making just one error while with the Pirates. He was sold to the White Sox prior to the 1950 season.
1943: The Pirates traded Dutch Dietz to the Phillies for Johnny Podgajny. Dietz was 31 years old, with four seasons of major league experience, all for the Pirates. He had a 13-15 3.51 record in 85 games with Pittsburgh. After the deal, he went 1-1 6.50 in 21 relief appearances for Philadelphia, in what would be his last season in the majors. Podgajny was in his fourth season in the majors, owner of a 20-33 4.14 record in 94 games for the Phillies. He was 4-4 4.22 in 64 innings at the time of the deal. The 24 year old righty went 0-4 4.72 in 34.1 innings for the Pirates in 1943, then was traded in the off-season, as part of the deal that returned Preacher Roe to the Pirates.
1939: Pirates traded Bill Schuster to the Boston Bees for Elbie Fletcher. Schuster was a 26 year old infielder, with three games of major league experience, coming in 1937 for the Pirates. With Boston he played two September games, going 0-3 at the plate. He went back to the minors, returning in 1943 for three seasons with the Cubs. Fletcher was 23 at the time, in his fifth season in the majors with the Braves, his third as their starting first baseman. He batted .272 with 48 RBI’s and 71 runs scored in 1938, and through 35 games in 1939, he was hitting .245 with just six RBI’s and a .264 slugging percentage. For the Pirates, he was their starting first baseman through 1943, before leaving for wartime duty. He returned for two more seasons, beginning in 1946. In 916 games in Pittsburgh, he hit .279 with 509 runs scored and 464 RBI’s. He had a .403 on base percentage thanks to 625 walks. He was an All-Star in 1943, led the league in walks twice and on base percentage three times in a row from 1940-42. In 1940, Fletcher drove in 104 runs. The Pirates also sent cash to Boston in this deal.
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.