This Date in Pirates History: December 3
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.
Former Pirates Players Born on This Date Include:
Steve Carter (1964) Outfielder for 1989-90 Pirates. He was drafted by the Pirates in the 17th round of the 1987 draft and quickly worked his way through the minors, making his debut in April of 1989. Carter played nine games that season for Pittsburgh and five late season games in 1990 for a Pirates team that won their first NL East title in 11 years. He ended up playing all three outfield positions in 1990, despite playing just five games off the bench. Prior to the start of the 1991 season, Carter was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Gary Varsho. He never played in the majors again, retiring after the 1995 season. He went 3-for-21 for the Pirates, with one of those hits being a home run off long-time Pirates pitcher Don Robinson. Carter was drafted five times, including 1983 out of high school, when he was taken in the 21st round by the Pirates.
Lou Marone (1945) Lefty pitcher for the 1969-70 Pirates. During the first amateur draft ever in 1965, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected Marone in the 30th round. He would spend his entire eight year pro career in the Pirates system, twice making it up to the majors. Marone made his major league debut in May of 1969, getting a total of 29 relief appearances that season. He went 1-1, 2.55 in 35.1 innings. The next season, he pitched one game in April, giving up one run over 2.1 innings. That would be the end of his big league career. In the minors, he went 33-34, 3.66 in 49 starts and 133 relief appearances. His cousin John D’Acquisto pitched ten years in the majors.
Harry Simpson (1925) Outfielder for the 1959 Pirates. Nicknamed “Suitcase” because he moved around a lot during his baseball career, Simpson finished his big league career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, playing nine games with the team after coming over in a late August trade with the Chicago White Sox for slugger Ted Kluszewski. Simpson went 4-for-15 for the Pirates, collecting two doubles and two RBIs. Right after the season ended, he was sold back to the White Sox. In eight big league seasons, he played 888 games, hitting .266 with 73 homers and 381 RBIs. Simpson started his career in 1946 in the Negro Leagues and played minor league ball until 1964.
Transactions of Note on This Date Include:
1947: Pirates trade infielders Jimmy Bloodworth and Vic Barnhart to Brooklyn Dodgers for second baseman Monty Basgall.
1952: Pirates trade catcher Clyde McCullough to Chicago Cubs for pitcher Dick Manville and cash.
1958: Pirates trade pitcher Luis Arroyo to Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Nino Escalera.
1984: Pirates select Junior Ortiz from the New York Mets in the Rule V draft.