Five former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, plus a major trade made during the end of the 19th century.
On this date in 1897 the Pittsburgh Pirates made a seven-player trade, sending star outfielder Elmer Smith and 30-game-winner Pink Hawley, along with cash ($1,500), to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for five players. The Pirates acquired Bill Gray, Jack McCarthy, Billy Rhines, Pop Schriver and Ace Stewart in the deal.
Hawley was just shy of his 25th birthday at the time and he had a 71-61 record for the Pirates in three seasons. He went 30-58 for the St Louis Browns prior to joining the Pirates in 1895. Smith had started his career as a pitcher with the Reds going 69-50 in four seasons. He switched to offense mid-career and with the Pirates he was a great outfielder. He was a local boy from Pittsburgh (and popular with the fans), who hit .325 over seven seasons, with 644 runs scored and 174 stolen bases.
This trade didn’t really pan out for either team, at least not long-term. Ace Stewart never played for the Pirates. Pitcher Billy Rhines, who replaced Hawley in the rotation, went 12-16, 3.52 in 1898. He made just nine starts the next season, going 4-4, 6.00 before being released. Bill Gray was the everyday third base for the Pirates in 1898, but he hit just .229 in 137 games and made the second most errors in the league at his position. Despite playing everyday, that was the end of his big league career. Jack McCarthy played two full seasons in the outfield for the Pirates before the Honus Wagner trade in 1899 made him expendable. He was sold to the Chicago Orphans(Cubs) following the 1899 season. With the Pirates he hit .298 with 147 RBIs in 276 games.
Pop Schriver made the biggest impact with the Pirates among the five returning players in the trade. He was the only player who lasted until 1900, hitting .260 with 93 RBIs in 224 games, spent mostly as a catcher. Following the 1900 season he was sold to the St Louis Cardinals, leaving the Pirates with no players left from the trade three years later.
Smith hit .342 with 69 walks in 1898, but quickly went downhill. By his last season in 1901, he played just 20 games, including a brief return for four games to the Pirates. Hawley went 27-11, 3.37 the first year after the trade, then following three seasons he went 39-49, while playing for three different teams. He too saw his big league career end in 1901. The Reds got great results in 1898, though their victory in the deal was short-lived due to both players falling off quickly afterwards.
Matt Pagnozzi, catcher for the 2011 Pirates. The Pirates had a plethora of catching injuries in 2011 and Pagnozzi was one of the players who got a chance during that time. In five games, he started twice and went 2-for-8 at the plate. He played parts of five seasons in the majors, seeing action with five different teams and getting in 43 games total. Pagnozzi was originally a 40th round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs out of high school in 2001. Two years later he was taken in the eighth round by the St Louis Cardinals and signed. It took him six years to make the majors, getting a brief taste during the final week of the 2009 season. After playing 15 games for the 2010 Cardinals, he split the 2011 season between the Colorado Rockies and Pirates. Pittsburgh selected him off waivers on September 14th and he became a free agent at the end of the season. Pagnozzi played briefly for the Houston Astros in 2013 and Milwaukee Brewers in 2014. He finished his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks in the minors in 2015. He is the nephew of Tom Pagnozzi, who caught 12 seasons for the St Louis Cardinals. Both of them wore #19 in St Louis.
Junior Noboa, infielder for the 1994 Pirates. He lasted just two games with the 1994 Pirates, going 0-for-2, while playing one inning at shortstop. That ended his eight-year big league career. His final game came just a week before the season-ending strike that lasted into the start of the 1995 season. Noboa was originally signed at 16 years old as an international free agent out of the Dominican in 1981 by the Cleveland Indians. It took him just three years to make the majors, playing his first game at the end of the 1984 season before his 20th birthday. Despite the quick rise through the system, he didn’t play in the majors again until the middle of the 1987 season. Noboa played for the California Angels in 1988, the Montreal Expos (1989-91) and the New York Mets in 1992. He spent the 1993 season in Triple-A for the Cincinnati Reds and played for the Oakland A’s in April of 1994 before joining the Pirates as a free agent signing in early May. Noboa played in Triple-A until joining the Pirates in early August for his two games. He finished his career with six games in Triple-A for the Baltimore Orioles in 1995. He was a .239 hitter in 317 big league games, with one homer.
Eddie Eayrs, pitcher for the 1913 Pirates. He was a pitcher/outfielder who lasted just four games for the Pirates before going to the minors for seven seasons. Eayrs was signed as an amateur free agent in 1913 by the Pirates and joined the team in late June. He was pitching at Brown University before making his pro debut. He was just a freshman when he signed, impressing scouts as a lefty with two strong pitches, a sinker and a changeup. During his brief time in Pittsburgh, he went 1-for-6 at the plate and allowed two runs in eight innings over two games on the mound. On July 7th, just 19 days after he was signed, Eayrs was traded to a minor league team in Columbus for veteran pitcher George McQuillan, who had five seasons of big league experience. Eayrs resurfaced in the majors in 1920 for the Boston Braves and hit .328 in 87 games while also pitching seven games. He played for two teams during the 1921 season (Boston and Brooklyn), then returned to the minors for six more seasons before retiring. He was a .310 minor league hitter in 1,210 games, while also winning 41 games on the mound. He also managed for three seasons. Despite his brief big league time and versatility, he hit .306 in the majors.
Billy Earle, catcher for the 1892-93 Pirates. He was the backup to Connie Mack during his time in Pittsburgh. Earle made his pro debut at 18 years old in 1886 and played his final game 22 years later. He played in the majors in 1889 and 1890, but spent the entire 1891 season in the minors, along with most of the 1892 season. He joined the Pirates for five early season games in 1892 and did well at the plate, going 7-for-13 with four walks. The Pirates still released him in May because they had a solid 1-2 punch behind the plate in Connie Mack and Doggie Miller. The next season he played 27 games for the Pirates after rejoining the club on August 12th. He hit .253 with 15 RBIs. Earle hit .348 in 1894 in 35 games for two different teams, but despite the high average he never returned to the majors. He retired for a time, then returned to play minor league ball from 1902 until 1906, then again in 1908. He also had some managerial time in the minors and did some umpiring. Earle hit two homers for the Pirates in his 108 at-bats and they came in back-to-back at-bats, both inside-the-park homers.
Fred Roat, third baseman for the 1890 Alleghenys, who was born on the same day as the aforementioned Billy Earle in 1867. He hit .223 as a rookie in 1890, playing in 57 games. His only other big league time was eight late-season games for the 1892 Chicago Colts. He played 11 seasons of minor league ball. Roat made the Opening Day roster in 1890, but didn’t see his first game until two weeks later. He got off to a great start, but an injury, followed by an illness caused him to leave the team for a time, then a side injury in August ended his season. He was one of the few players who remained with the team after the Player’s League folded, though the Alleghenys sold him to the Cincinnati Reds in early 1891 in a strange deal. Roat had received $125 advanced pay before being sold to Cincy. The Reds agreed to pay Pittsburgh that money back, but they cut Roat before the season started and refused to make payment. During the season, the two teams went back-and-forth shaving $125 of the road gate receipts, with Pittsburgh claiming victory because they hosted the last series between the teams, though all they actually received was the agreed upon amount. Roat hit two homers in the majors and they came during the first and second game of a doubleheader on June 16, 1890. At the time, the Alleghenys had just one home run all season.