Downfall of the Fam-A-Lee – Part 13

Let’s have a look at some post-1979 trades to see what those brought. I’ll go chronologically starting with the the 1979 post-season and in this post, I’ll cover all the trades leading into and through the 1980 season.
Larry Andersen
On December 21, 1979, the Pirates sent Larry Littleton and career minor leaguer John Burden to the Indians for pitcher Larry Andersen.
Littleton is best remembered as having the most at bats (23) by a position player who never got a hit in the bigs, tying Mike Potter. For those who want to know more about him, here’s a story at MLB.com about him from September 2006.
Andersen was injured or something because he didn’t pitch in the majors or minors in 1980. Not sure what is up with that. Anyway, in a trade I’ll cover in more depth in a few paragraphs, the Pirates re-acquired Odell Jones for Andersen in 1980.
Buddy Solomon
Solomon was acquired from the Braves straight up for career minor leaguer Greg Field on March 28, 1980. Solomon won 15 games combined between 1980 and 1981 for the Pirates in a swing man role. He made 48 appearances and 29 starts. He was off to a terrible start in 1982 when he was traded to the White Sox for Jim Morrison in June. 1982 was his last year in the majors and he was killed in a car accident in 1986.
Odell Jones
Acquired from Seattle on April 1, 1980 for a PTBNL. That trade wasn’t completed until after the season was over in October of 1980. That PTBNL? The aforementioned Larry Anderson.
I’ve never been able to understand the Pirates fascination with Jones. He was an undrafted free agent signee of the Pirates in 1971 and had some minor league success. In a long look with the Bucs in 1977, he was dreadful. In 34 games, including 15 starts, he was 3-7 with a 5.08 ERA. He was shipped to Seattle to get Enrique Romo and was terrible for the Mariners, also. In 1979 he was 3-11 with an ERA better than 6.00. So, the Pirates got him back for Andersen. Make sense? He spent all of 1980 at AAA and was mediocre. He was pitching well in AAA in 1981 and made 13 appearances in the Bigs in 1981. The Rangers plucked him in the Rule V draft following the 1982 season. He continued to bounce around, having some success here and there for Texas and then nearly throwing a no hitter in 1988 for Milwaukee.
Andersen was 27 when this trade was made. So, he wasn’t young. Yet he went on to some great success as reliever for the Mariners, Phillies, Astros and Padres. He pitched in the Majors until he was 41. He is remembered as a prankster and comedian, as well as being the guy the Red Sox got when they shipped Jeff Bagwell to Houston in 1990. Since retiring, Andersen has served as a coach and a color man.
Awful trade in hindsight. Andersen was a solid out of the pen. Jones was journeyman in every sense of the word.
Bob Beall
On July 16, 1980, the Pirates sent career minor leaguer Jerry McDonald to Atlanta for Beall. What did this trade amount to? Nothing much.
Beall was a first baseman with next to no power. In over 1,000 career minor league games to that point, Beall had never topped 10 homers in a single season. His limited looks with the Braves were promising only in the sense that he had walked more than he had struck out. After hitting just .217 with the Pirates AAA club in Portland, he made three late season appearances with the Pirates in 1980 and didn’t record a hit in three at bats. Those were his final appearances in the Majors.
Kurt Bevacqua and Mark Lee
Rick Lancellotti and Luis Salazar went to San Diego on 8/5/80 for Bevacqua and a PTBNL. A week later, that player was named and it was Lee.
Lancellotti, in addition to having a great last name, has a great story. He was a power prospect, having led the Eastern League in taters in 1979. He never panned out in the show, getting only 65 ABs in his career. He spent time playing in Japan and led the Japanes Central League in HRs while playing for the Hiroshima Carp in 1987. Apparently, he played for a manager that disliked American born players because the manager’s father had been killed in WWII. Lancellotti, I believe, is the only person to play in the Majors and in the short lived Senior League in the same season. He played for both the BoSox and the Sun City Rays in 1990. Here’s a link to an article in the International Herald Tribune about a season he spent playing ball in Italy. Note how badly he was treated by Dick Williams while Lancellotti was with San Diego. He retired as the all-time leader in minor league HRs, from what I’ve read. I can’t confirm whether or not he still is. He now runs a baseball school in Buffalo.
Salazar survived long enough as a 3B/OF/Utility player to amass over 1,000 career hits. He was one of the few Cubs to hit well in the 1989 NLCS. After his playing days, Salazar has served as a coach in several organizations.
I covered Bevacqua as thoroughly as I want to in Part 10. He was, by no definition of the word, successsful in his second tour with the Pirates. He was 14 for 70 with three XBH between 1980 and 1981 in Pittsburgh. He was released following 1981. The only thing I neglected to mention in my previous comments on him in Part 10 is that his Bermanism should have been “Kurt Bevacqua Velva”. Get it? Aqua Velva? I crack myself up.
Lee was winless in 16 appearances for the Pirates between 1980 and 1981. All of his stints were in relief. He was purchased by the Tigers in Spring Training 1982 but never again appeared in the Show. It seems like I read many years ago when I was a teenager that Lee was toiling in the minors and struck a batter out. He decided then and there to retire, figuring it can’t get any better than ending with a K. So, he left the mound and never played again. I’m unable to confirm whether that memory is accurate.
Summary
That’s all the trades that occurred before or during the 1980 season. None of them had much bearing on the future. Andersen would’ve been nice to have in the bullpen in the mid-80s. But, the Pirates bullpen was one of the few decent parts of the club in the dark years. Salazar would’ve been okay playing a Bill Almon-type role. But, I’m not sure that the difference between Almon and Salazar would’ve been much. I’ll have a look at trades from 1981 in Part 12.

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