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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

This Date in Pirates History: March 27

Two Pittsburgh Pirates trades and two players born on this date. Starting with the 2002 trade that saw the Pirates send reliever Damaso Marte and minor league infielder Edwin Yan to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for minor league starter Matt Guerrier. Yan was 20 years old at the time of the trade. He had just played his first full season in 2001 and hit .283 with 56 steals for Hickory. Marte was a 27 year old reliever that had a 4.71 ERA in 36.1 innings for the Pirates in 2001, his first full season in the majors.

Guerrier, at age 22 in 2001, went 18-4 3.30 in 27 starts split between AA and AAA. He would end up pitching two years at AAA before the Pirates put him on waivers in November 2003. Since then, he has pitched 463 major league games, twice leading the AL in games pitched while with the Twins. The Pirates eventually got Marte back but not until after he pitched four seasons out of the White Sox bullpen, where he posted a 2.78 ERA in 279 games. Yan never made the majors but he still plays minor league ball as of 2012. He has a .282 average and 426 steals in 1152 games in the minors. He also now goes by the name Ruddy Yan.

For more on Marte and his journey’s over the years and how the deals affected the Pirates, check out these trade trees from David Kaleida at 6-4-3 putout. The first is from the end of his second stay and how it ties in with the Jason Bay trade. The second one is new for today and includes the start of his career with the Pirates, coming over in a deal for Enrique Wilson.

Exactly 15 years earlier, the same two teams hooked up on a deal that saw reliever Jim Winn go to Chicago, while outfielder John Cangelosi came to Pittsburgh. Cangelosi was 24 years old at the time, coming off his first full season in the majors. He hit .235 in 137 games for the White Sox in 1986, stealing 50 bases and drawing 71 walks. Winn, who was 27 years old, went 3-5 3.58 in 88 innings for the Pirates in 1986. It was his first full season in the majors and fourth season overall that he played with Pittsburgh. After the trade, Winn posted a 4.79 ERA in 94 relief innings during his only season with the White Sox. His major league career ended with nine games for the Twins in 1988. Cangelosi spent four seasons in Pittsburgh, mostly playing off the bench. He started just 90 games over those four years and in 349 total games with the Pirates, he hit .243 with 48 stolen bases and 93 runs scored.

The former players are:

Gary Alexander(1953) First baseman/outfielder for the 1981 Pirates. He was originally a second round draft pick of the Giants in 1972. Gary spent most of his career as a catcher, a position he didn’t play while with the Pirates. In the minors he was able to hit for power and average, while drawing a good number of walks but in the majors he had trouble making contact. In 1978, he split the season between the Indians and A’s, hitting 27 homers and driving in 84 runs but he also batted just .225 and led the league with 166 strikeouts. In 1980, he played 76 games for the Indians, hitting .225 with five homers and 31 RBI’s. He was acquired by the Pirates in the Bert Blyleven trade that was covered here. For the Pirates, Gary played 21 games during the strike-shortened 1981 season, hitting .213 with six RBI’s in 51 plate appearances. At the end of the 1982 Pirates Spring Training, he was released, ending his playing career. Gary was a .230 major league hitter with 55 homers and 202 RBI’s in 432 games.

Bill Burwell(1895) Pitcher for the Pirates in 1928 and he also managed one game in 1947. He played three seasons in the minors before serving one year in the military during WWI. Bill returned in 1919 to post a 3.70 ERA in 224 innings, pitching for Joplin of the Western League. That earned him a spot with the 1920 St Louis Browns, where he went 6-4 3.65 in 113.1 innings, pitching 31 times in relief to go along with two spot starts. The next season he posted a 5.12 ERA in the same role, making three starts and 30 relief appearances. He returned to the minors and won 108 games over the next six seasons, finally making it back to the majors with the 1928 Pirates. Burwell spent one month with Pittsburgh, making one start and three relief appearances, pitching a total of 20.2 innings with a 5.23 ERA. In early July, he returned to the minors where he pitched until 1938.

Burwell won 239 games in the minors over a 20 year playing career. He began to manage in 1934 and was a coach with the Pirates in 1947 when manager Billy Herman resigned with one game left in the season. Burwell took the reins, leading the Pirates to a 7-0 win on the last day of the season. He continued to coach in the Pirates system and in 1960, when the Pirates won the World Series, Bill was the team’s pitching coach.

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John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.


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