This Date in Pirates History: October 21
On this date in 1969 the Pittsburgh Pirates traded catcher Carl Taylor and minor league outfielder Frank Vanzin to the St Louis Cardinals in exchange for catcher Dave Ricketts and pitcher Dave Giusti. The trade, thanks to Giusti, worked out very well for the Pirates. Carl Taylor had hit .348 for the Pirates in 1969 as a 25-year-old in his first full season but he lasted just one year with the Cardinals and his average dropped 99 points. He played just 159 more major league games including seven late season games for the Pirates in 1971 after they bought him from the Royals, who would in turn buy him back prior to the 1972 season. Vanzin never played in the majors and was out of baseball following the 1970 season. Ricketts played just 12 games following the trade, all off the bench and that was the end of his pro career. Giusti on the other hand made the deal one-sided for the Pirates.
Giusti was used very often as a starting pitcher prior to joining the Pirates but following the trade he made just three starts in seven seasons in Pittsburgh. He was used mainly as the closer and would save 133 games in a Pirates uniform, the 4th highest total in team history. He helped the Pirates to five NL East pennants and during the 1971 World Series he made three appearances for a total of 5.1 scoreless innings leading the Pirates to their fifth WS title. While with the Pirates he pitched 618 innings over 410 games with 47 wins and a 2.94 ERA to go along with his 133 saves. He led the NL in saves in 1971 with 30 and the following year he posted a career low 1.93 ERA.
Born on this date in 1970 was former Pirates pitcher Marc Wilkins, who spent his entire major league career in Pittsburgh from 1996-2001. He was drafted by the Pirates in the 47th round of the 1992 draft and surprising had a decent major league career despite draft position and the fact he posted a 7.29 ERA in 28 games as a 21-year-old in short-season A ball his first year. Wilkins pitched 245 games in his career, all but two as a reliever despite the fact one of his starts was a 5 inning shutout appearance against the Dodgers in his rookie season. Over his six seasons he posted a 19-14 4.28 record with three saves in 294 innings. His best season came in 1997 when he went 9-5 3.69 in a career high 70 games. Following the 2001 season Marc bounced around three different organizations in two seasons before retiring.
Also born on this date in 1917 was 1950 Pirates pitcher Frank Papish. The Pirates bought him from the Cleveland Indians in December 1949 after he went 1-0 3.19 in 25 games, three as a starter. He spent most of the 1950 season in AAA going 11-3 2.81 in 15 starts and four relief appearances. He was called up on June 18 for a doubleheader and as the starter of game one he faced five batters and failed to retire any of them, giving up three earned runs. He made three more relief appearances following that start and allowed a run in each game. He returned to the minors to finish the season and played there again for the Pirates in 1951 as well before moving on to the Senators organization. He won 142 minor league games and another 26 in the majors over parts of six seasons.
Finally, born on this date in 1941 was outfielder Ron Davis who played for the 1969 Pirates. He also played in the minor leagues for the Pirates the following two seasons. Davis played 62 games that season for the Pirates but accumulated just 64 total at-bats. He played at least ten games at all three outfield positions but only started ten games all season. He was with the team the entire year although in the last 48 games he did not make one start and had just 5 plate appearances over that stretch. Prior to joining the Pirates, he was part of a 4-for-1 trade from the Cardinals to the Padres with Dave Giusti being the sole player going to the Cardinals in the deal.