On this date in 1933 the Pittsburgh Pirates traded longtime leftfielder Adam Comorosky and second baseman Tony Piet to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for pitcher Red Lucas and outfielder Wally Roettger. For the Pirates, who finished in second place with an 87-67 record, it was their biggest move of the off-season going into 1934.
Comorosky started his major league career with the Pirates in 1926 but did not stick in the majors until August of 1928. While with Wichita in the minors in 1927 he hit .398 in 133 games with 59 extra base hits. In his first full season in 1929 Adam hit .321 with 97 RB’s and 86 runs scored in 127 games. He had a career year in 1930, leading the NL in triples with 23 and led the Pirates in RBIs with 119 and doubles with 47. He also hit .313, scored 112 runs and played a career high 152 games. He hit poorly the following season batting just .243 with one homer in 99 games and was moved to a part time role. By 1933 he was a backup, playing just 64 games with a .284 batting average
Piet made his debut in August of 1931 after four seasons in the minors. He hit .299 in 44 games to finish the season, earning the Pirates second base job for 1932. That following season he would play every inning of every game at second base, driving in a team high 85 runs with a .282 batting average. In 1933 he played just 107 games but he was the Pirates leading hitter with his .323 average, on a team with five future Hall of Famers in the starting lineup, Pie Traynor, Arky Vaughan, Freddie Lindstrom and the Waner brothers, Paul and Lloyd. Despite the strong hitting of both players involved in the trade, the Pirates were still loaded with hitters for the 1934 season and lacking a strong pitching staff.
Lucas coming into 1934 had a career record of 110-103 with a 3.70 ERA but for six of his eight full seasons the Reds were a below .500 team. He was a workhorse pitcher, three times leading the National League in complete games. Despite having a record just seven games over .500 up to that point, he was a valuable pitcher, four times receiving MVP votes, finishing as high as sixth place in 1929 when he won 19 games. In 1933 the Reds were a last place team winning just 58 games and the 31 year old Lucas had a team leading 10 wins and posted a respectable 3.40 ERA but still lost 16 games.
Roettger was a 31 year old reserve outfielder at the time of the trade, who played all three outfield positions. In 1933 he hit just .239 in 84 games, a career low average. In both 1928 and 1931 in a reserve role, he batted over .300 with a career high .341 average in 68 games during the 1928 season. In 1932 he played over 100 games for just the second time and he had the second highest fielding % among NL outfielders with his .991 mark. He also had the second best outfield fielding % in 1930 with a .992 mark when he played a career high 121 games. He was a .288 career hitter in 522 games going into 1934.
The trade turned out decent for the Pirates, Roettger played just 47 games in the fourth outfielder role with the Pirates, posting a .245 average in 109 at-bats. That was his last season in baseball. Lucas lasted five seasons in Pittsburgh, going 47-32 with a 15-4 season in 1936. Piet slumped down to a .259 average in 1934 and he was not known as a strong fielder. He played until 1938 but never approached the 154 game total he played with the 1932 Pirates and his .298 career average at the time of the trade, was down to .277 by the time he retired. Comorosky was a regular outfielder in 1934, hitting .258 in 127 games with no homers and 40 RBIs. The following year, which was his last in the majors, he hit just .248 in 137 at-bats. Lucas ended up being the only regular among the four traded players and by 1936 he was the only one still with his new team.
Former Pirates players born on this date include:
Ty Taubenheim (1982) Pitched one game for the 2008 Pirates. On June 28,2008, Taubenheim started against the Tampa Bay Rays and pitched six strong innings, allowing two runs. The Pirates ended up winning the game in 13 innings. That was the last major league game of his career. Taubenheim spent all of 2009 at AAA for Pirates, before finishing his pro career in 2010 in the Phillies system.
Jim Mann (1974) Relief pitcher for the 2003 Pirates. He pitched two games for the Pirates in 2003, allowing four runs over 1.2 innings. Mann also spent time in the majors with Mets(2000) and Astros(2001-02). The Pirates let him go at the end of the 2003 season, but signed him again in June of 2004 after he was released by the Yankees.
Tom Dettore (1947) Pitcher for the 1973 Pirates. In one start and 11 relief appearances, he went 0-1, 5.96 in 22.2 innings. Prior to Opening Day in 1974, the Pirates traded Dettore to the Cubs for Paul Popovich. He went 8-10, 5.10 in three seasons in Chicago. Dettore was drafted three times by the Pirates, finally signing as a third round pick in the 1968 draft.
Orlando Pena (1933) Reliever for the 1970 Pirates. Went 2-1, 4.78 in 23 relief appearances during his only season in Pittsburgh. Pena was signed as a free agent by the Pirates on June 9,1970 and released just over two months later. Spent 14 years in the majors pitching for eight different teams. He won 56 games and picked up 40 saves in his career.
Don Flinn (1892) Outfielder for 1917 Pirates. Hit .297 in 14 games as a September roster addition. Flinn played pro ball from 1914 until 1924, but never played in the majors again. He spent the 1917 season in the Texas League, where he hit .300 with ten homers in 109 games.