Three Pittsburgh Pirates trades of note occurred on this date and three former players were born on this date. In his Jolly Roger Rewind, John Fredland takes a look back at a win over the Cubs that came during the 1958 season.
On this date in 1909, the Pirates traded infielders Alan Storke and Jap Barbeau to the St Louis Cardinals for third baseman Bobby Byrne. The Pirates were trying to get stronger at third base for a run at their second World Series appearance. Neither Barbeau, the incumbent starter, nor his replacement Byrne, were strong hitters. Byrne was much more steady on defense and was said to handle the bat better and have decent speed. Storke was a backup infielder for the last four seasons with the team, though he did see extensive playing time during the 1907 season. He did well after the trade with the Cardinals, then was sent to the Reds in the off-season. Alan never played for the Reds though, he had to have lung surgery in March of 1910 and he died during the operation. Byrne became a much better hitter after the deal and by 1910 he led the NL in hits and doubles. Before the deal, he had a .223 average in three years with the Cardinals. He helped the Pirates to their first WS title in 1909, with his solid defense and five runs scored during the series. Bobby remained in Pittsburgh through the middle of the 1913 season. Barbeau played better with St Louis, but his major league career would soon be over, last just seven games in the 1910 season, before going to the minors to finish his career nine seasons later.
On this date in 1983, the Pirates traded catcher Steve Nicosia to the Giants in exchange for catcher Milt May. Nicosia was unhappy since Spring Training with his playing time, serving as the backup to Tony Pena. He was hitting just .130 at the time of the trade, with his only RBI on year coming via a solo home run. Steve had played just 21 games at that point. May was a former Pittsburgh Pirates catcher, though he had been traded away ten years earlier for Jerry Reuss . Shortly before the deal, the 33 year old May had caught his 1,000 major league game. He remained with the Pirates through the end of 1984, taking over Nicosia’s backup role, before retiring. After the deal, Nicosia hit .333 in limited time for the Giants. The next season, while still in San Francisco, he batted .303 over 48 games, serving as the backup for Bob Brenly. The Pirates also received cash in the deal.
On this date in 1988, Pittsburgh gave up first baseman/outfielder Mike Diaz, to the Chicago White Sox for outfielder Gary Redus. The 28 year old Diaz was a versatile player, who could also catch if needed. He hit for power during his first two seasons with the Pirates, but that had disappeared and his average was down to .230 in limited time. After the deal, he played 40 games with the White Sox, which ended up being the last games he played in the majors. He went to Japan in 1989 and finished his career there three years later. Redus was a 31 year old in his seventh season, a good outfielder, with above average speed and a decent hitter. He struggled after the trade and became a free agent. The Pirates quickly resigned him and made him a platoon player, who saw most of his time at first base and occasionally played all three outfield spots. Redus was with the team through the NL East pennant run from 1990-92, before he moved on to Texas for his last two years. He hit .255 with 24 homers, 69 stolen bases and 157 runs scored in 398 games for the Pirates.
Britt Reames (1973) Pitcher for the 2006 Pirates. He was drafted by the Cardinals in 1995, though his career got sidetracked early by Tommy John surgery, which cost him all of the 1997-98 seasons. Prior to that, he looked like a potential future star, going 15-7 1.90 in 1996, with 167 strikeouts in 161 innings at High-A ball. Despite missing two years and never playing above A-ball before 1999, Reames made it to the majors in 2000 for seven starts and a relief appearances for St Louis, and he pitched well. The Cardinals sent him to the Expos in the off-season and he never got going in Montreal in three seasons, seeing minor league time each year. After spending all of 2004 in the minors with the A’s, Britt got into a couple mid-season games in 2005 for Oakland. The Pirates signed him as a free agent in November of 2005, and he spent most of the 2006 season with AAA Indianapolis, where he was primarily a starter. Pittsburgh called him up in August, giving him six relief appearances over a 12 day span. In his last game, he allowed five runs in 1.2 innings. He left via free agency after the season and never played again.
Terry Harper (1955) Outfielder for the 1987 Pirates. He was drafted in 1973 by the Atlanta Braves. It took Terry seven years to make his major league debut and 12 years before he saw full-time work in the majors. After playing 229 games over his first five seasons, Harper played 138 games in 1985 for the Braves, batting .264 with 17 homers and 72 RBI’s. He saw much less time the next season, then Atlanta traded him in January of 1987 to the Tigers. Harper slumped in the AL, hitting .203 through 31 games, getting just 74 plate appearances. On June 26,1987, he was dealt to the Pirates in exchange for two minor league players. Harper did well back in the NL, hitting .288 in 36 games, getting nine starts at each corner outfield spot. After the season, he signed to play in Japan, ending his major league career.
Ike McAuley (1891) Shortstop for the 1914-16 Pirates. He played two seasons for Waterloo of the Central Association(1913-14) to start his pro career, showing a huge improvement the second year. He batted .184 over 127 games his first season, then raised his average to .300 the next year, getting the attention of the Pirates. His arrival in the big leagues was delayed over a week due to his minor league team being in the pennant race. Ike played his first big league game on September 10,1914 at shortstop, with Honus Wagner moving over to third base for the new kid. McAuley collected a hit, but also made an error and struck out twice. In 15 games split between 2B/3B/SS, he hit .125 with three singles, no RBI’s or walks and eight strikeouts. Over the next two seasons in Pittsburgh, Ike played just nine games, all at shortstop, spending the better part of those two years in the minors. He went a combined 4-23 at the plate with one RBI, his only run batted in during his three partial seasons with Pittsburgh. The Pirates lost him on waivers in 1917 to the Cardinals, where he played three games before returning to the minors. McAuley next(and last) played in the majors in 1925, getting into 37 games with the Cubs. He played minor league ball until 1927, getting into nearly 2000 games down on the farm. Right before the start of the 1928 season, McAuley passed away from pneumonia at the age of thirty-six.
Jolly Roger Rewind: August 19, 1958
Rookie Dick Stuart’s two-run, sixth-inning home run off Taylor Phillips, estimated to have traveled 450 feet, put the Pirates ahead to stay in a 4-3 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
With the score tied 2-2 in the top of the sixth, Roberto Clemente singled with one out off Cubs’ starter Phillips. Stuart followed by hitting a 3-2 pitch over the bleachers in left-center for his tenth home run in thirty-eight games since his July recall from the Pirates’ Salt Lake City farm team.*
Bucco starter Curt Raydon was the beneficiary of Stuart’s blast, allowing three runs—two earned—in six innings to record his seventh victory. After the Cubs closed the gap to 4-3 on Sammy Taylor’s RBI single in the bottom of the sixth, Danny Murtaugh turned the game over to Bob Porterfield to close out the game with three scoreless innings.
Both Raydon and Porterfield owed a measure of their mound success to stellar defense from Clemente. One day after his twenty-fourth birthday, Clemente consistently thwarted Chicago’s offensive efforts. With the Pirates leading 2-1 after Bill Mazeroski’s two-run second-inning homer off Philips, Clemente gunned down Dale Long’s attempt to reach third base on Taylor’s two-out single.
Two innings later, Clemente’s running catch of Bobby Thomson’s line drive to right center with two Cubs on base preserved the lead.** Finally, Clemente’s diving catch of Walt Moryn’s sinking liner with a man on helped to keep the Chicago off the scoreboard in the eighth inning.
The Pirates’ twentieth victory in twenty-eight games kept them in second place, six and a half games behind first-place Milwaukee.
Box score and play-by-play
The Pittsburgh Press game story
* The Pittsburgh Press noted that Stuart was “batting a puny .246,” but that “he certainly makes his hits count. He can point to 10 homers, five doubles, two triples, 18 singles and a fantastic 32 runs drive in, almost a run per game.” Per Baseball-Reference, his AVG/OBP/SLG line was .250/.301/.549.
** “Clemente raced over, stabbed at the ball and his momentum almost caused him to tumble,” reported the Press.
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.