This Date in Pirates History: June 9

On a day with two Pittsburgh Pirates outfielders, who each played eleven seasons with the team, getting their own personal bio, Julio Gotay ends up as the only other player born on this date, so he too gets his own article in the players section. We also have one minor trade to discuss and John Fredland brings you a high-scoring game from the late 70’s in his Jolly Roger Rewind. For the bios from earlier today, please check out part one on Bill Virdon, and part two on Dave Parker.

The Trade

On this date in 1935, the Pirates traded pitcher Jack Salveson to the Chicago White Sox for outfielder Bud Hafey. The Pirates were getting a twenty-two year old with only two games of major league experience, both as a pinch runner. Despite the young age, Hafey actually had five seasons in at the minor league level already. He played four season in the Pacific Coast League, making his debut at age 17 with the Mission Reds. At the time of the deal, he was in the International League, where he was hitting .230 with six homers in 25 games. Salveson was even younger than Hafey, twenty-one years old with parts of three seasons in at the majors. He went 3-3 3.65 in 69 innings for the 1933-34 Giants, before coming to the Pirates in December of 1934 in exchange for veteran pitcher Leon Chagnon. At the time of the deal, Salveson had pitched five games in relief for the Pirates, allowing 12 runs in seven innings.

After the deal, Salveson pitched twenty games for the White Sox, posting a 1-2 4.86 record in 66.2 innings. He then went to the minors for seven seasons, returning to the big leagues finally in 1943 for the Indians. He got a wartime job and missed the 1944 season, returning to the Indians during the middle of the 1945 season. Salveson only won nine major league games, but he was a much better pitcher than that fact would indicate. He spent 18 seasons pitching in the minors, playing the last 15 in the Pacific Coast League, where he won 204 games. Many star players of the day, especially ones that were from the West Coast, played in the PCL over the major leagues, which never expanded west of the St Louis during the early years of the league. Some of the better players actually made more money in the PCL, so they never left the league, making it a close second talent-wise to the majors.

Hafey played two years for the Pirates and his bat never came around. He hit .222 with ten homers in 97 games, before being traded traded in December of 1937 to the Cardinals. The Pirates got him back the next July, although he was in the minors until being dealt to the Reds for three players the following July. Bud played his last 24 games during that 1939 season. He got into 123 major league games, which was 45 more than his brother Tom, but well short of what his cousin Chick Hafey accomplished, en route to his Hall of Fame career.

The Player

Julio Gotay (1939) Infielder for the 1963-64 Pirates. He came to the Pirates in the November 1962 trade that sent Dick Groat to the St Louis Cardinals. Gotay had signed with St Louis in 1957 and made the majors three years later. He played just 13 games with the Cardinals between 1960-61, before playing full-time in 1962, when he hit .255 with 27 RBI’s and 47 runs scored in 127 games. The Pirates also acquired pitcher Don Cardwell in the deal for Groat, while giving up reliever Diomedes Olivo. Gotay would be on the Pirates bench to start 1963, and that is where he stayed for the better part of the first month, as Dick Schofield and Bill Mazeroski manned the middle infield positions everyday. In May, Julio was sent to the minors, where he hit .250 in thirty games. He would hit well in Spring Training during the 1964 season, but he received just three pinch hit AB’s during the regular season before being sent to the minors again. Early in 1965, the Pirates traded Gotay to the Angels for outfielder Bob Perry. While Perry never played in the majors again, Gotay played parts of five more seasons in the big leagues, the last four with the Houston Astros. He finished his major league career with a .260 average and 106 runs scored in 389 games, spread out over ten seasons. Julio spent his last three years of pro ball in the minors, playing another 998 games down on the farm.

Jolly Roger Rewind: June 9, 1978

Seven runs down in the bottom of the sixth, the Pirates stormed ahead with back-to-back big innings and then turned to John Candelaria to close out an 11-9 victory over the Reds at Three Rivers Stadium.

Don Robinson took the mound one day after his twenty-first birthday, but found no cause for celebration. George Foster connected on a three-run homer in the first inning, and Chuck Tanner had to involve the bullpen before his rookie starter could complete two innings. Apparently cruising behind second-year starter Paul Moskau, the Reds extended their advantage to 8-1 by the top of the fifth. Meanwhile, the Buccos demonstrated the depth of their collective stupor in the same frame by trotting off the field after recording the inning’s second out.

Rapidly, however, three occurrences—an arm injury, a daring catch, and an inspirational speech—would loosen Cincinnati’s seeming stranglehold on the contest. First, Moskau left the game with a stiff shoulder. Then, John Milner ended the top of the sixth by running into the leftfield wall at full speed to catch a Pete Rose liner; the catch brought a rousing cheer from the previously dormant crowd. Finally, as Milner told the Pittsburgh Press, Willie Stargell implored his teammates in the dugout, urging them to “show them why we are The Pirates.”*

Whatever the cause, the Buccos awakened from their slumber. Milner led off the bottom of the sixth with a single off reliever Dave Tomlin, triggering a run of five consecutive hits.** By the time that Pedro Borbon recorded the third out, four runs had scored, cutting the deficit to 8-5.

After Cincinnati countered with a run in the top of the seventh, the Pirates resumed the rally in their half of the seventh. The first four Buc batters in the inning hit safely; when Bill Robinson doubled home Milner and Dave Parker, the margin was down to 9-8. Sparky Anderson replaced Borbon with Doug Bair, but the former Pirate provided no relief: Stargell extended the hit parade to five with a game-tying double to centerfield.

Bair recovered to strike out Rennie Stennett. Ed Ott then singled to center, and Stargell scored on a deft hook slide around catcher Don Werner to put the Pirates ahead. Two more singles and an RBI groundout later, the Buccos had a six-run inning and 11-9 edge.

Now, it was up to the Bucco bullpen to maintain the lead. Grant Jackson started the top of the eighth with two quick outs, but allowed a single to Ken Griffey and walk to Joe Morgan. Tanner summoned Kent Tekulve, who walked Foster to load the bases. The Pirate manager wanted a lefthander to face Dan Driessen, so he called on Candelaria to make only his second career relief appearance in 97 games. The unconventional move paid off: Candelaria retired Driessen on a ground ball to Stargell, and followed by setting down the Reds in order in the top of the ninth to record the save.***

Their stirring victory notwithstanding, the Pirates remained in fourth place in the National League East, six and a half games behind the first-place Cubs.***

* Milner also told the Press that, “[w]hen I was with the Mets, it was nothing to see the Pirates come from behind four or five runs after the seventh inning.”

** Following Milner with another single was Dave Parker, who celebrated his twenty-seventh birthday with two hits and two runs scored against his hometown team. Parker was in the middle of a 1.134 OPS June that would propel him into the middle of the National League Most Valuable Player race.

*** Not all was happy with Candelaria, though. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette observed that he refused to talk to the press afterwards, apparently irate because a local reporter, Stan Savran of WWSW-AM, had recently asserted that Candelaria had a drinking problem.

**** Dan Donovan’s article in the Press viewed the game as an echo of past glories, rather than the current team’s norm: “The Pirates. That’s who they were. Suddenly they were once again The Pirates, the one who lash line drive after line drive, beating the other team into submission.” Charley Feeney’s coverage in the Post-Gazette likewise reflected popular discontent with the team’s play: “Who says the 1978 Pirates can’t hit? Who says they’re a bunch of raga-muffins who can’t challenge the better teams in the league?”

Box score and play-by-play

Pittsburgh Press game story

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