We have one Pittsburgh Pirates trade of note, two former players born on this date, plus a game of note.
On this date in 2001, the Pirates traded infielder Enrique Wilson to the New York Yankees in exchange for relief pitcher Damaso Marte. Wilson was in his second season with the Pirates. He had been acquired the previous year at the trading deadline for Wil Cordero. He was 27 years old at the time, hitting .186 in 46 games, although he had hit much better in prior seasons. Marte was 26 at the time, with just five games of Major League experience, which came with the 1999 Seattle Mariners. The lefty reliever was in Double-A for the Yankees, with a 3.50 ERA in 23 appearances.
After a brief stop in Triple-A, Marte pitched 23 games for the Pirates in 2001, posting a 4.71 ERA in 36.1 innings. Less than a year after they acquired him, Marte was traded to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Matt Guerrier. He would return to the Pirates in 2005, then get dealt back to the Yankees, along with Xavier Nady, at the 2008 trading deadline. Wilson hit .242 in limited action for the Yankees. He remained with the team for three more seasons, serving as their backup infielder. In 264 games for New York, he batted .216 with 69 RBIs.
Darrell May, pitcher for the 1996 Pirates. He made it to the majors in 1995 with the Braves, despite being drafted in the 46th round just three years earlier. May had a rough start, getting hit hard in his first cup of coffee in the majors. He would be put on waivers at the end of Spring Training in 1996, where he was picked up by the Pirates just after Opening Day. After going to the minors to begin the season, he got a spot start for the Pirates in early May, giving up five runs in five innings during a loss to the Padres. He returned to the team in late July and made three relief appearances over a five-day stretch, then made another spot start the next day, which also didn’t go well. In September he was put on waivers, where the Angels picked him up. May pitched in Japan from 1998 until 2001, returning to the big leagues with the Royals in 2002. He had a strong 2003 season, going 10-8, 3.77, but the next year he led the AL with 19 losses. His big league career ended in 2005 with the New York Yankees. He spent 2006 in the minors with the Reds before retiring.
John O’Connell, catcher for the 1928-29 Pirates. He made his Major League debut for the Pirates on August 16, 1928 after the starting catcher, Charlie Hargreaves, got injured and backup catcher Rollie Hemsley got thrown out of the game. O’Connell was the third string catcher, and forced into action. While it was said that he did alright, the Pirates didn’t think he was ready for full-time work. They had two straight doubleheaders over the next two days and Hemsley caught all four games. Hemsley also caught the next five games, including another doubleheader, before Hargreaves returned. O’Connell didn’t make another appearance the rest of the season. Prior to playing his first big league game, which was also his first professional game, O’Connell was playing semi-pro ball. He joined the Pirates just one day before his debut.
In 1929, O’Connell was sent to the minors after he lost the third-string catching spot to Bob Linton in Spring Training. O’Connell returned to the Pirates late in the season, playing his last two Major League games in October, starting the final two games of the season. He went to the minors in 1930, playing for Fort Worth of the Texas League, where he was being groomed to be a backup for first baseman Gus Suhr. O’Connell never made it back to the majors, finishing his career three seasons later, playing for Harrisburg of the New York-Penn League. He went 1-for-8 at the plate in his big league career, with a double and a walk to his credit.
The Pirates defeated the Kansas City Royals by a 5-3 score on this date in 1997, the first interleague game in franchise history. Jay Bell and Jeff King were in the Royals lineup, while the Pirates had Francisco Cordova on the mound, just one month before he threw nine no-hit innings in a 3-0 win over the Houston Astros. Joe Randa hurt his old team by driving in three runs on a triple and a homer. Tony Womack also homered. You can view the boxscore and play-by-play here.