This Date in Pirates History: December 10

On this date in 1976 the Pittsburgh Pirates traded outfielder Richie Zisk and pitcher Silvio Martinez to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for pitchers Goose Gossage and Terry Forster. Martinez was a minor leaguer at the time while the other three were just one year away from free agency and by 1978 none of the four players were with their new team. Zisk hit 30 homers and drove in 101 runs for the White Sox while Gossage pitched 133 innings in relief, posting a 1.62 ERA with 26 saves and 11 wins. Forster had a 4.43 in 33 games for the Pirates while Martinez pitched just 10 games with the Sox in 1977, then was traded to the Cardinals in the off-season. He looked like a rising star by 1979 when he won 15 games as a 23-year-old but he won just seven more major league games.

Zisk batted .299 in six seasons in Pittsburgh

On this date in 1965 the Pirates traded longtime pitcher Bob Friend to the New York Yankees for relief pitcher Pete Mikkelsen and cash. Friend was 35 at the time of the trade and had gone 8-12, 3.24 in 1965. In was his 15th season in Pittsburgh and he won 191 games, the 4th highest total in team history. He is the teams all-time leader in strikeouts, innings pitched and games started. Mikkelsen was 26 at the time of the trade and as a reliever, he had a 3.42 ERA with 13 saves in 91 games for the Yankees. Friend struggled with the Yankees going 1-4 4.84 before the Yankees sold him to the Mets in mid-June. He finished the year with the Mets and was released in October, ending his major league career. Mikkelsen had a strong first season for the Pirates and was used a lot, going 9-8, 3.07 with 14 saves in 126 relief innings. He didn’t pitch as well in 1967 and was put on waivers by early August, where he was taken by the Cubs.

Born on this date in 1939 was pitcher Bob Priddy, who played for the Pirates in 1962 and 1964. He had a very rough start to his career in the minors in 1959 going 3-11, 7.01 with 144 walks in 131 innings. He second year was barely any better, going 9-12 6.21 with 156 walks in 155 innings. He improved his control in 1961 and lowered his season ERA to 4.38 then in 1962 he moved to the bullpen full-time where he posted a 3.13 ERA in 92 innings. He earned a late season promotion to the majors that year and won his pro debut, pitching a scoreless 9th inning against the Reds on September 20th. He returned to AAA for the 1963 season and struggled, posting a 5.06 ERA in 40 games. He started and finished the 1964 season in the minors but in between he got into 19 games for the Pirates posting a 3.93 ERA. Prior to the 1965 season Priddy was traded to the Giants for veteran catcher Del Crandall. Priddy went 24-38, 4.00 in nine major league seasons.

Also born on this date in 1888 was first baseman Stan Gray, who was a late season call-up for the 1912 Pirates. He began his pro career in 1909 and by 1911 he was a prospect after a season in which he hit .315 while posting a 14-10 record on the mound. He didn’t hit as well the following season, batting .230 and his pitching record was 11-11 but the Pirates liked him enough to draft him in the 1911 rule V draft in September of that year. He got into six games in the final two weeks for a Pirates team that finished 2nd in the NL with 93 wins. He went 5-for-20 at the plate with a triple and two runs batted in. Gray returned to the minors for the 1913 season, his last year in pro ball, and never played in the majors again.

Finally, born on this date in 1866 was shortstop Frank Shugart, who played for the Pirates from 1891-93. He made his major league debut in 1890 but struggled and started the 1891 season in the minors with Minneapolis of the Western League. Frank was purchased by the Pirates in early July of that 1891 season and in 75 games he hit .275 with 57 runs scored and 21 stolen bases. The 1892 season was a decent one at the plate for Shugart but he had some troubles in the field. He played a career high 137 games, scored 94 runs while hitting .267 with 28 steals and 62 RBIs. In the field though, Shugart committed 99 errors at shortstop…yes ninety-nine, and his 100 total errors that year is the highest single season total in team history. The Pirates traded Shugart away in June of the 1893 season, along with cash, to the St Louis Browns for shortstop Jack Glasscock. Prior to the trade, he hit .262 in 52 games.

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John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

This Date in Pirates History: December 9

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