This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: June 15th, A Plethora of Trades

The trade deadline used to be June 15th, so the Pittsburgh Pirates have completed a lot of trades on this date. We have nine of those deals here, as well as six former players born on this date. Before we get into those player, Jake Elmore turns 33 today. He played briefly with the Pirates last year and signed as a free agent with the team for the 2020 season.

The Trades

1982: Pirates traded Bill Robinson (pictured above) to the Phillies for Wayne Nordhagen. Robinson was 39 years old and in his 15th season in the majors, eighth with Pittsburgh. He was hitting .239 with four homers and 12 RBIs over 31 games with the Pirates at the time of the trade. For the Phillies, he hit .261 with 19 RBIs in 69 at-bats in 1982, then went 1-for-7 in ten games the following season before being released. Robinson hit .276 with 109 homers and 412 RBIs in 805 games for the Pirates. Nordhagen was with the Pirates for ten days, playing one game in which he went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. He was picked up by the Phillies from the Blue Jays earlier in the day on June 15th, then traded to the Pirates, who sent him back to Toronto on June 25th as the player to be named later from an earlier deal.

1977: Pirates traded Ed Kirkpatrick to the Rangers for Jim Fregosi. Kirkpatrick was a 32-year-old utility player, who had seen time at catcher, both corner infield spots and all three outfield positions during his career. In four seasons in Pittsburgh, he hit .236 with 12 homers and 74 RBIs in 309 games. He was hitting just .143 in 21 games at the time of the deal. After the deal, he hit .188 in 20 games for the Rangers, who traded him to the Brewers, where he finished his career later that season. Fregosi was a 35-year-old corner infielder at the time of the deal. He was in his 16th season in the majors, hitting .250 in 13 games for Texas. He was a six time All-Star shortstop for the Angels in the 1960’s, who is famous for getting traded to the Mets for Nolan Ryan. Fregosi was with Pittsburgh through the end of May 1978, playing 56 games with a .263 average in 97 plate appearances.

1966: Pirates traded Don Schwall to Braves for Billy O’Dell. Schwall was an All-Star and Rookie of the Year for the Red Sox in 1961, winning 15 games. In the 4 1/2 seasons that followed, the 30-year-old righty went 33-38, with 22 of those wins coming over four seasons with the Pirates. After the deal, he went 3-3, 4.37 in 45.1 innings for the 1966 Braves, then pitched one game for Atlanta in 1967, his last big league game. O’Dell was a 33-year-old left reliever in his 12th season in the majors. He had a 2-3, 2.40 record in 24 games for the 1966 Braves, pitching a total of 41.1 innings. He pitched for the Pirates until the end of 1967, going 8-8, 4.44 in 64 games. His last win during the 1966 season was the 100th of his career. He was released by the Pirates after the 1967 season, ending his Major League career.

1961: Pirates traded Gino Cimoli to Braves for Johnny Logan. Cimoli was a 31-year-old outfielder in his sixth season in the majors, second with the Pirates. He was hitting .299 at the time of the deal. He played all seven games of the 1960 World Series, hitting .250 with four runs scored. Cimoli was an All-Star in 1957 with the Dodgers. After the deal, he hit .197 in 37 games for the Braves. He then went to the Kansas City A’s, where he played full-time for two years. He ended his career by playing 46 games (spread between three teams) over the 1964-65 seasons. Logan was a 34-year-old shortstop, in his 11th season in the majors, all spent with the Braves. He was a four time All-Star, who received MVP votes every season from 1952 until 1957. Logan was hitting .105 (2-for-19) in 18 games for the Braves in 1961. With the Pirates, he lasted until the end of the 1963 season, batting .249 with 26 RBIs in 152 games. He played 30 games at third base for the Pirates, the only games in his career spent somewhere else besides shortstop.

1958: Pirates traded Gene Freese and Johnny O’Brien to Cardinals for Dick Schofield and cash. Freese was a 24-year-old infielder, playing in his fourth season in the majors, all with the Pirates. He was hitting .167 (3-for-18) in 17 games for the 1958 Pirates. After the deal, he played just 62 games for St Louis before they dealt him to the Phillies. He eventually ended back with the Pirates in 1964, playing in Pittsburgh until an August 1965 sale to the White Sox. O’Brien played middle infield and pitched for the Pirates over parts of five seasons. He had a .260 average in 283 games and a 5.03 ERA in 24 games. After the deal, he played 12 games for the Cardinals, batting three times and pitching two innings. In the off-season, he was taken by the Phillies in the Rule 5 draft. He would be traded to the Braves, where he would finish his career in 1959. Schofield was 23 at the time, already in his sixth season in the majors. He had played just 208 games and his .213 average in 1958, was his highest single season mark at that point. He played eight years in Pittsburgh, playing 2B/SS/3B regularly at various points during that time. He batted .248 in 576 games with the Pirates, driving in 107 runs and scoring 186 times. Schofield was traded for Jose Pagan during the 1965 season and played in the majors until 1971.

1951: The Pirates traded Cliff Chambers and Wally Westlake to the Cardinals for Joe Garagiola, Dick Cole, Howie Pollet, Ted Wilks and Bill Howerton. Westlake was 30 years old, in his fifth season with the Pirates. He played all three outfield positions and had a .281 average with 97 homers and 378 RBIs in 580 games for Pittsburgh. He played 408 games after the deal, hitting just 30 homers and driving in 161 runs. Chambers was a 29-year-old lefty, in his third season with the Pirates. He pitched a no-hitter just a month earlier. He was 28-28, 4.33 in 81 games for the Pirates. Chambers pitched for the Cardinals until 1953, his last year in the majors, going 18-16, 4.19 in 79 games.

Garagiola was a 25-year-old catcher, in his sixth season, all spent with St Louis. He was a .244 hitter in 317 games. With the Pirates, he played 217 games, hitting .262 with 103 RBIs, before being included in the 1953 trade that sent Ralph Kiner to the Cubs. Cole was a 25-year-old rookie second baseman, hitting .194 in 15 games for the 1951 Cardinals. He played all around the infield for five seasons in Pittsburgh, batting .253 with 104 RBIs in 426 games.

Pollet was a 30-year-old lefty pitcher, who had twice won 20 games in a season for the Cardinals. He was 0-3, 4.38 in six games for the Cardinals in 1951. After the deal, he went 14-31, 4.59 in 76 games over four seasons with Pittsburgh. He was also included in the Kiner deal, returning to the Pirates to finish his career in 1956. Wilks went 17-4 as a rookie in 1944, then won 42 games the rest of his ten-year career. The 35-year-old went 8-10, 3.19 in 92 games over two seasons in Pittsburgh. Howerton was a 29-year-old outfielder, who played three seasons with the Cardinals, hitting .279 in 143 games. He played two seasons in Pittsburgh, playing a total of 93 games, matching his .279 average and 11 homers that he hit with St Louis. He finished his career with 11 games for the 1952 Giants.

1949: The Pirates traded Ed Sauer to the Braves for Phil Masi. The Pirates had just purchased Sauer from the Cardinals the same day that this deal went down. A native of Pittsburgh, PA., he never got to play for his home team. He played three seasons in the majors for the Cubs from 1943-45, then spent the next three years in the minors, returning with the 1949 Cardinals. The 30-year-old outfielder hit .266 with 31 RBIs in 79 games for the Braves, in what would be his last season in the majors. Masi was a 33-year-old catcher, in his 11th season in the majors, all spent with the Braves. He was a .262 hitter with 34 homers and 314 RBIs in 945 games. He made the All-Star team each season from 1946-48, and in 1947 he led all NL catchers in fielding percentage. For the 1949 Pirates he batted .274 in 48 games, driving in 13 runs. He again led the league in fielding, making just one error while with the Pirates. He was sold to the White Sox prior to the 1950 season.

1943: The Pirates traded Dutch Dietz to the Phillies for Johnny Podgajny. Dietz was 31 years old, with four seasons of Major League experience, all for the Pirates. He had a 13-15, 3.51 record in 85 games with Pittsburgh. After the deal, he went 1-1, 6.50 in 21 relief appearances for Philadelphia, in what would be his last season in the majors. Podgajny was in his fourth season in the majors, owner of a 20-33, 4.14 record in 94 games for the Phillies. He was 4-4, 4.22 in 64 innings at the time of the deal. The 24-year-old righty went 0-4, 4.72 in 34.1 innings for the Pirates in 1943, then was traded in the off-season, as part of the deal that returned Preacher Roe to the Pirates.

1939: Pirates traded Bill Schuster and cash to the Boston Bees for Elbie Fletcher. Schuster was a 26-year-old infielder, with three games of Major League experience, coming in 1937 for the Pirates. With Boston he played two September games, going 0-for-3 at the plate. He went back to the minors, before returning in 1943 for three seasons with the Cubs. Fletcher was 23 at the time, in his fifth season in the majors with the Braves, and his third as their starting first baseman. He batted .272 with 48 RBIs and 71 runs scored in 1938, and through 35 games in 1939, he was hitting .245 with just six RBIs and a .264 slugging percentage. For the Pirates, he was their starting first baseman through 1943, before leaving for wartime duty. He returned for two more seasons, beginning in 1946. In 916 games in Pittsburgh, he hit .279 with 509 runs scored and 464 RBIs. He had a .403 on base percentage thanks to 625 walks. He was an All-Star in 1943, led the league in walks twice and on base percentage three times in a row from 1940-42. In 1940, Fletcher drove in 104 runs. We featured that 1940 season here.

The Players

Josh Lindblom, pitcher for the 2017 Pirates. He has played five seasons in the majors, seeing time with five different teams. Lindblom was briefly with the 2017 Pirates, getting into four games, while posting a 7.84 ERA in 10.1 innings. He was originally picked up off waivers by the Pirates, who released him, then resigned him to a minor league deal. Lindblom was released in July so he could play in Korea. He returned to the U.S. this season, signing with the Milwaukee Brewers. Lindblom also played in Korea during the 2015-16 seasons. He had a 20-3 record during the 2019 season.

Erik Kratz, catcher for the 2010 and 2016 Pirates. He was originally drafted by the Blue Jays in 2002, but didn’t make his Major League debut until the 2010 Pirates called him up in July. Kratz had been signed by the Pirates in January 2009 as a minor league free agent, after spending his first seven years in the Toronto system. He hit .273 with 11 homers at Triple-A in 2009, then batted .274 with nine homers in 70 games for Indianapolis in 2010. He was a Triple-A All-Star selection both seasons, getting his call to the majors during the middle of the second game. With the Pirates, he hit .118 in nine games, going 3-for-34 at the plate. He left via free agency after the season, signing with the Phillies. Kratz has played in the majors during each of the last ten years, getting into a total of 316 games. He returned to the Pirates for 18 games in 2016. He was purchased from the Angels in early June and released in late July. He hit .107 in 57 plate appearances. Kratz signed with the Yankees for the 2020 season.

Bruce Dal Canton, pitcher for the 1967-70 Pirates. He was already 25 years old when he signed his first pro contract in 1966 with the Pirates. It took less than two full seasons for him to work his way to the majors, debuting as a September call-up in 1967. Dal Canton pitched 15 games over his first two seasons with the Pirates, posting a 1.98 ERA in 41 innings. In 1969, he made the team out of Spring Training and was a key member out of the bullpen, making 57 appearances with eight wins, five saves and a 3.34 ERA in 86.1 innings. Dal Canton struggled a bit in 1970, with a 4.57 ERA in 84.2 innings, although he did have a 9-4 record. After the season, he was part of a six-player deal with the Royals. He pitched another seven seasons in the majors, finishing with a 51-49, 3.67 record in 316 games, 83 as a starter. With the Pirates he went 20-8, 3.57 in 113 games, pitching 212 innings.

Gene Baker, infielder for the 1957-58 and 1960-61 Pirates. He began his pro career in 1948, playing in the Negro Leagues. Baker made in to the majors in 1953 with the Cubs, playing five seasons there before coming to the Pirates, along with Dee Fondy on May 1, 1957, in exchange for Dale Long and Lee Walls. Baker was an All-Star during the 1955 season and he hit .268 with 180 RBIs and 220 runs scored in 448 games with the Cubs. He played 111 games for the 1957 Pirates, splitting his time between 2B/SS/3B, hitting .266 with 36 RBIs and 36 runs scored. He played 29 games in 1958 before a knee injury caused him to miss the rest of the year and the entire 1959 season. He returned in 1960, seeing very limited time in a bench role, getting three starts and 33 games total. Baker batted three times in the World Series without a hit. In 1961, he played nine early season games before returning to the minors, where he finished his playing career the next year. He coached in the minors during his last two seasons as a player, then coached with the 1963 Pirates before returning to the minors for one more season as a manager.

Bud Stewart, outfielder for the 1941-42 Pirates. He was a Rule 5 draft pick of the Pirates in 1940, after spending his first four seasons of pro ball playing in the Pacific Coast League. His last year there, he hit .320 with 50 extra-base hits. Stewart played 73 games as a rookie in 1941 for the Pirates, hitting .267 with no homers and ten RBIs in 187 plate appearances. In 1942, he hit .219 with 20 RBIs in 82 games. That season, he played 16 games in the infield, ten at third base and six at second base, which was the only time that he played a position other than outfield in his nine-year major league career. Stewart retired for two seasons, then spent part of the 1945 and 1946 seasons serving in the military. He returned to baseball in 1946, playing for the Hollywood Stars of the PCL. He was sold by the Pirates to the Yankees in Spring Training of 1947, spending that entire season in the minors. He finally returned to the majors in 1948, playing six games for the Yankees before they dealt him to the Washington Senators. Stewart played until 1954, finishing with a .268 career average and 260 RBIs in 773 games.

Babe Dahlgren, first baseman for the 1944-45 Pirates. He already had nine seasons in at the Major League level, spending time with seven different teams, by the time the Pirates acquired him from the Phillies on December 30, 1943 for catcher Babe Phelps. Dahlgren was coming off a season in which he hit .287 with 56 RBIs and 55 runs scored, earning his first (and only) All-Star selection. The Phillies had acquired him from the Dodgers in exchange for Lloyd Waner just prior to the start of that season. Babe had his best season of his 12-year major league career in 1944, hitting .289 with a career high 101 RBIs. He started every game of the season at first base, 158 total, thanks in part to five ties throughout the season that were replayed, yet still counted in the final stats. Dahlgren finished 12th in NL MVP voting, gaining one of the 24 first place votes. In 1945, he hit .250 with 75 RBIs in 144 games. He led NL first baseman in fielding percentage (.996) just one season after leading the league in errors. Right as the 1946 season started, the Pirates sold him to the St Louis Browns, where he finished his career later that year. Dahlgren was a .261 career hitter, with 82 homers and 569 RBIs in 1,137 games.

Peek-A-Boo Veach, first baseman for the 1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenys. He came up to the majors in 1884, playing 27 games in the short-lived Union Association. The level of player in that league was subpar, as it was considered the third Major League of the time behind the National League and American Association. The league was also filled with minor league players, so most quality players dominated like no other season in their career. Veach did not play well in the league despite the low quality of play, hitting .134 in 27 games and going 3-9 on the mound. He was actually a decent pitcher that season, posting a 2.42 ERA, but his team finished 16-63. Peek-A-Boo (real name was William) next appeared in the majors in 1887, pitching one game for the Louisville Colonels. Three years later, he made his NL debut, playing first base for the Cleveland Spiders. He struggled at the bat, hitting .235 in 64 games. Pittsburgh picked him up in July, giving him eight games at first base. He batted .300 with two homers, five RBIs and eight walks.

Despite the success, he returned to the minors for good, ending his career in 1897. Veach hit his last Major League homer off of Phenomenal Smith, another great nickname of the day, and a player who would join the 1890 Alleghenys shortly after the departure of Veach. There were two explanations of his unique Peek-A-Boo nickname. The first came from his delivery, where he kept his back to the batter until the last second. The other was from his minor league days, when a manager devised a plan to signal him for pick-off throws that eventually involved someone waving a scorecard in the stands. It was said that Veach looked around the park all the time with runners on base, as the person sending the signal would change so the opposing team couldn’t figure out who was giving it to him.