This Date in Pirates History: December 16
On this date in 1960 the Pittsburgh Pirates traded three players to the Washington Senators for veteran pitcher Bobby Shantz. Just two days prior to the trade the Senators chose Shantz in the expansion draft off the Yankees roster. The Pirates sent pitcher Bennie Daniels, first baseman RC Stevens and utility fielder Harry Bright to Washington in the deal. The Pirates and Senators made a prearranged deal prior to the expansion draft that if Washington took Shantz, the Pirates would share their AL scouting reports with the Senators so they could be better prepared in the draft. The return for Shantz, who had just pitched three times against the Pirates in the World Series, was underwhelming to say the least. Bright was 31 at the time of the trade and had just 76 AB’s over three major league seasons while Stevens had slightly more time in three years with 100 AB’s but only 10 in the last two seasons. Daniels pitched 53 games over four years with the Pirates but had a career 5.84 ERA and an even worse 7.81 ERA in 1960.
Shantz had 12 seasons in the big leagues with a 99-83 3.49 record at the time of the trade. He had once won the MVP, back in 1952 when he won 24 games. He was a strong fielding pitcher, winning his fourth straight Gold Glove in 1960 despite being used as a reliever the entire season and getting just 17 total chances in the field. He went 5-4 2.49 with 11 saves in 1960 for the Yankees. After the trade Shantz lasted just one year in Pittsburgh because he was lost to the Houston Colt 45′s in the 1961 expansion draft. He went 6-3 3.22 in 43 games for the Pirates, six as a starter. He won his fifth straight Gold Glove, handling all 31 chances he had that season cleanly. He actually would end up winning the award in each of his last seven seasons in the majors.
The expansion Senators got good use out of the trade but they still lost 100 games in each of their first four seasons. Bright played two years in Washington, getting into 185 games, hitting .263 with 88 RBI’s. Stevens hit just .129 over 33 games in his only season with the team but Daniels put in five seasons in Washington, pitching 177 games, 115 as a starter. He won a team high 12 games in 1961, posting a 3.44 ERA in 212 innings.
Also on this date in 1938 the Pirates traded catcher Al Todd and outfielder Johnny Dickshot along with cash to the Boston Bees for catcher Ray Mueller. Todd was 37 at the time of the trade but had just caught 132 games and hit .265 with 75 RBI’s. In 1937 he hit .307 with 86 RBI’s. Dickshot was a 29 year old backup outfielder with just 120 games of major league experience, all with the Pirates. Mueller was 10 years younger than Todd but he was a .227 hitter in his first four seasons in the majors so the trade seemed to favor the Bees( current day Braves) right off the bat.
After the trade, Todd was traded again, this time to the Dodgers for pitcher Bill Posedel who would win 15 games for the Bees in 1939. Todd hit .278 with 32 RBI’s in 86 games in 1939 and followed it up with a .255 average and 42 RBI’s in 104 games in 1940, his last full season in the majors. Dickshot was sold to the New York Giants before he ever played for the Bees. He lasted just 10 games in 1939, spent the next four seasons in the minors before getting a shot with the White Sox in 1944-45. He hit .302 in 130 games in 1945, driving in 58 runs and stealing 18 bases but he was back in the minors by 1946 and out of baseball by 1947.
Mueller split the catching duties with 31 year old Ray Berres in 1939. Berres was also a light hitting catcher with minimal major league experience just like Mueller. During the 1940 season Berres would actually be traded to the Bees for future Hall of Famer Al Lopez, another swap of catchers between the two clubs. Mueller hit .233 with 18 RBI’s in 86 games for the Pirates in 1939. He played only four major league games in 1940, spending the rest of that season and the entire 1941 season in the minors before the Pirates sold him to the Cardinals. He would have a breakout season in 1943 for the Reds, then catch all 155 games of the 1944 season. He would rejoin the Pirates early in 1950 when he was purchased from the Giants and play 67 games. Following that season he signed with Boston for a second stop there as well.