Two transactions involving Hall of Famers on this date, plus six former players born on this date. Before we get into the former players, current center fielder Jarrod Dyson turns 36 today.
On this date in 1969, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two minor league players and cash. The Pirates gave up a lot to get Bunning and the trade didn’t work out well. He went just 14-23 in two seasons with Pittsburgh. The return they got for Bunning twenty months later was nowhere near the package they gave to the Phillies. Chuck Goggin was a 23-year-old infielder at Triple-A and Ron Mitchell was an 18-year-old tenth round draft pick in 1969, who hit just .236 in Rookie League ball. Mitchell never made the majors, toiling in the minors for 11 seasons in the Pirates organization, while Goggin played six games for the Pirates between the 1972-73 seasons and 72 games total in his three-year career. Bunning went 3-1 in nine starts for the Dodgers, then signed with the Phillies as a free agent for 1970 and went 15-27 over the last two years of his career.
On this date in 1910, the Pirates purchased the contract of Max Carey from South Bend of the Central League. The local paper declared that the Pirates signed a speedy college athlete, who started his career in the minors just recently, therefore he wasn’t seen by many scouts. The purchased turned out to be a great one, as Carey is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. The part about when his career started wasn’t quite true, he had played 144 games of minor league ball over two seasons with South Bend. His stay in Pittsburgh lasted 17 seasons, and he put up some amazing numbers in a Pirates uniform. Carey played 2,178 games for Pittsburgh, collecting 2,416 hits and 918 walks, with 1,414 runs scored and 688 stolen bases. He’s fourth in team history in runs, hits and games, second in walks to Willie Stargell and first all-time in steals.
Oliver Perez, pitcher for the 2003-06 Pirates. The Pirates acquired him as part of the return from the San Diego Padres for Brian Giles, with Jason Bay also coming over in the deal. He had a 4.51 ERA in 194.1 innings over two seasons as a starter for the Padres. Perez pitched poorly in limited time during his first season in Pittsburgh after being acquired, but he broke out in a big way in 2004 at 22 years old. He had a 2.98 ERA in 196 innings, with 239 strikeouts. That’s the fifth highest single season strikeout total in team history and the highest mark since 1965. Perez struggled in 2005 and 2006 before being traded to the New York Mets. He is currently with the Cleveland Indians (his eighth team) in his 18th season in the majors and his ninth year pitching in relief. He has a 72-91, 4.37 record in 1,443 innings, with 195 starts and 478 relief appearances.
Ramon Morel, relief pitcher for the 1995-97 Pirates. He was signed by the Pirates in 1991 out of the Dominican Republic as an amateur free agent. He was in full-season ball as a starting pitcher by 1994, going 10-7, 2.83 in 168.2 innings for Augusta of the South Atlantic League. The next year, he was really rushed through the system, starting the year in High-A ball, then right after getting called up to Double-A in early July, he was called up to the majors to replace an injured Paul Wagner. Morel’s stay was short, just one appearance, but he did return to the team in September for four more relief outings. He was back in Double-A to start the 1996 season and not pitching well the first two months as a starter. That didn’t stop the Pirates from calling him up again and putting him in the bullpen for the rest of the season. In 29 appearances, Morel went 2-1, 5.36 in 42 innings. He pitched five games for Pittsburgh in May of 1997, before being sent to the minors, then eventually put on waivers in September, where he was picked up by the Chicago Cubs. Morel pitched three games for Chicago, which turned out to be his last three Major League outings. He pitched two years in the minors for the Montreal Expos (1998-99) and remained active in pro ball until 2008.
Duffy Dyer, catcher for the 1975-78 Pirates. A first round draft pick in 1966, he spent 14 seasons in the majors, including seven in New York (Mets) and four for Pittsburgh. Dyer never played more than 94 games in a season, reaching that number twice (1972 and 1977), including once with the Pirates. Pittsburgh acquired the light-hitting catcher on October 22, 1974 in exchange for outfielder Gene Clines. Dyer was a strong defensive catcher with a good arm, which is what kept him in the majors for so long, despite hitting just .221 in 722 career games. With the Pirates, he backed up Manny Sanguillen during the 1975-76 seasons, then when Sanguillen was traded to Oakland for a season, Dyer became the starting catcher. That year he hit .241 with 54 walks and he led all NL catchers with a .996 fielding percentage. When Sanguillen returned the next year, Dyer saw limited time. By 1978 he would be gone via free agency. In his four seasons with the Pirates, he batted .227 with nine homers and 57 RBIs in 269 games.
Bernie Walter, pitcher for the Pirates on August 16, 1930. Just one day after his 22nd birthday, Bernie Walter played his only game of pro ball. The story of his one game is an odd one. Walter was with the Pirates during the entire 1930 season, since day one of Spring Training, yet he pitched just one inning all year. He had attended the University of Tennessee just prior to joining the Pirates. Pittsburgh used him often during the 1930 season, but that was as a batting practice pitcher. On August 16, 1930, they played a doubleheader and two of their top pitchers, Larry French and Erv Brame, were unable to pitch. In stepped a rookie named Charles “Spades” Wood to start game one and he threw eight innings, allowing seven runs on nine walks and eight hits. He was pinch-hit for in the eighth and with a near empty bench, manager Jewel Ens went to his batting practice pitcher to throw the last inning. Walter ended up setting the side down in order, recording a strikeout. The pitching staff was soon healthy and new recruits were soon brought in to help out, ending the career of Walter with one inning pitched and a 0.00 ERA. It literally was the whole career for him, as he never played in the minors.
Red Peery, pitcher for the Pirates on September 22, 1927. He began his career with Salt Lake City of the Pacific Coast League in 1923, playing sparingly for the team over three seasons. After barely seeing action for so long, Peery moved on to St Joseph of the Western League in 1926, where he pitched often. That season, he went 15-14, pitching 49 times for a total of 247 innings. He stayed in the same league in 1927, switching teams to Wichita, where he went 16-8 with 222 innings thrown over 33 outings. Red (real first name was George) made his Major League debut with the Pirates during the second game of a late season doubleheader, coming in for the last inning of an eventual 7-1 loss to the Giants. He allowed a walk and no hits, while giving up an unearned run when left fielder Clyde Barnhart committed an error. Peery closed out the inning without further damage. The season ended shortly thereafter and the Pirates went on to the World Series for the fourth time in their existence. Red returned to the minors, coming back to the majors for a short time in 1929 with the Boston Braves. The left-hander returned to the minors in 1930 for a brief time, playing with three different clubs with very little success, in what turned out to be his last season of pro ball.
Lew Carr, shortstop for the 1901 Pirates. He didn’t start his pro baseball career until the age of 28, playing college ball well into his 20’s for Hobart and William Smith Colleges, a small college in upstate New York that has produced just two Major League players (Frank Dwyer is the other). He was playing for Troy of the New York State League, when the Pirates signed him on June 30, 1901. The Pirates had tried to sign him for a week prior, while at least two other National League teams also had their eye on Carr, who came highly recommended for his excellent fielding. In his debut on July 2nd, he went 1-for-4 with an error, singling from the seventh spot in the batting order during his first time up in the majors. Carr was brought to the Pirates to replace Bones Ely for a short time, while the regular shortstop recovered from an illness. During a July 4th doubleheader, Carr went 0-for-8 and was pinch-hit for at one point by Ely. The next day, he collected two hits but also made two errors. On July 6th, he collected a triple, much to the delight of the Pittsburgh fans, who didn’t get to see him make a single play in the field the entire game.
During the next game on July 8th, Carr collected two hits, made an outstanding play in the field and impressed bystanders with his coolness in the field, never rushing the ball on throws, which was common with new players during that time. He had one hit and one error on the 9th, then Carr was removed from the game the next day after being hit by a pitch. Ely took his place in the field and never left. At that time, Honus Wagner was on the team, but wasn’t always playing shortstop. He was at third base at the time. On July 13th, Wagner got thrown out of a game late, forcing the Pirates to throw Carr in at an unfamiliar position, and he quickly looked out of place. In his only inning that day, he flubbed two plays at the hot corner, before he switched spots on the field with Ely. That was the last Major League game for Carr, who was soon released and returned to the minors, where he played another eight seasons before retiring.