The Pittsburgh Pirates have been busy on December 3rd throughout the years, making many minor trades, signings and waiver claims. The most productive of all transactions made on this date was the amateur free agent signing of an 18 year old infielder out of Puerto Rico named Jose Lind on this date in 1982. Lind progressed through the Pirates minor league system slowly, moving up one level at a time and taking five years to make it to the majors but once he made it to Pittsburgh in late August of 1987, he was there to stay for 35 games that year and another five full seasons to follow.
The second base job in Pittsburgh was manned by Johnny Ray for seven seasons but when he was traded away on August 29, 1987 it opened the door for Lind to take over and he played well enough in those last 35 games, hitting .322 with just one error, that he earned the starting 2B job for the following season. Lind was a solid, steady second baseman his first full season. He hit .262 with 82 runs scored, 15 stolen bases and he played 154 games including 145 starts at second base. He had a rough second full season in 1989 hitting just .232 with 18 errors but the Pirates stuck with him everyday, getting him into 153 games and he was quite impressive on the basepaths, stealing 15 bases in just 16 attempts.
The 1990 season the Pirates were finally in contention, making their first playoff appearance since 1979 and Lind combined with 24 year old Jay Bell to provide them with a solid middle infield. It was Bell’s first full season in Pittsburgh and he and Lind both played over 150 games that season. Jose committed just seven errors while hitting .261 with a career high 28 doubles and going a perfect 8 for 8 in stolen base attempts. The the NLCS that year Jose hit just .238 but he homered in game two, equaling his entire season output in home runs.
The Pirates again made the playoffs in 1991 and Lind played 150 games, hitting .265 with a career high 54 RBI’s while again playing solid defense, finishing with the 2nd highest fielding percentage among NL second baseman. He struggled again in the playoffs, going 4-25 at the plate with no runs scored, all his hits were singles and he struck out six times with no walks. In 1992 his struggles at the plate carried over into the regular season, he hit .235 with no homers, just three stolen bases and a weak .544 OPS. He was still strong on defense though, leading the NL in fielding percentage for the first time with a .992 mark and he won his only career Gold Glove award in the process. In the playoffs he hit just .222 but drove in five runs in the seven game series and in the first game he did something he couldn’t do all season, hit a home run.
During the offseason the Pirates traded Lind to the Kansas City Royals for pitchers Dennis Moeller and Joel Johnston. Lind hit .248 his first year in the American League and led the league with a .994 fielding percentage. Lind hit .269 during the strike shortened 1994 season and then in 1995 he lasted just 29 games before the Royals released him. The Angels signed Lind twelve days after being released by the Royals but he barely lasted a month there, getting into just 15 games before being released again. That was the end of his major league career. Lind played 779 games for the Pirates, hitting .255 with 50 stolen bases, 292 runs scored and 249 RBI’s. Following his major league career, he played four seasons of Independent baseball in Bridgeport Connecticut, then took over as the team’s manager for three more years before being replaced by former Pirates pitcher Dave LaPoint in 2006.