Four former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, plus two significant trades of interest.
On this date in 1976 the Pittsburgh Pirates traded outfielder Richie Zisk and pitcher Silvio Martinez to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for pitchers Goose Gossage and Terry Forster. Martinez was a minor leaguer at the time while the other three were just one year away from free agency. By 1978 none of the four players were with their new team. Zisk hit 30 homers and drove in 101 runs for the White Sox, while Gossage pitched 133 innings in relief, posting a 1.62 ERA with 26 saves and 11 wins. We took a closer look at Gossage’s season here. Forster had a 4.43 in 33 games for the Pirates while Martinez pitched just ten games with the Sox in 1977, then was traded to the St Louis Cardinals in the off-season. He looked like a rising star by 1979 when he won 15 games as a 23-year-old, but he won just seven more Major League games.
On this date in 1965, the Pirates traded longtime pitcher Bob Friend to the New York Yankees for relief pitcher Pete Mikkelsen and cash. Friend was 35 years old at the time of the trade, and had an 8-12, 3.24 record in 1965. In 15 seasons in Pittsburgh, he won 191 games, the fourth highest total in team history. He is the teams all-time leader in strikeouts, innings pitched and games started. Mikkelsen was 26 years old at the time of the trade and he had a 3.42 ERA with 13 saves in 91 games for the Yankees. Friend struggled with the Yankees, going 1-4, 4.84 before they sold him to the New York Mets in mid-June. He finished the year with the Mets and was released in October, ending his Major League career. Mikkelsen had a strong first season for the Pirates and was used a lot, going 9-8, 3.07 with 14 saves in 126 relief innings. He didn’t pitch as well in 1967 and was put on waivers by early August, where he was taken by the Cubs.
Pedro Florimon, infielder for the 2015-16 Pirates. Over two seasons, he played 42 games with Pittsburgh and posted a .149 average. During that time he wore four different uniform numbers (17, 18, 23 and 51). He has played every position except catcher and first base in his career, though he only played shortstop and second base with the Pirates, with most of that time at shortstop. Florimon has played eight seasons in the majors (2011-18) and hit .211 in 321 games. He spent the 2019 season in Triple-A for the Atlanta Braves and is currently playing winter ball in the Dominican. He was originally signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic by the Baltimore Orioles in 2004 at 17 years old. Florimon debuted in the majors with the Orioles in September of 2011, playing four games. Over the 2011-12 off-season, he was lost on waivers to the Minnesota Twins. The majority of his big league time came in Minnesota, where he batted .205 with ten homers and 55 RBIs in 210 games. In September of 2014, the Washington Nationals picked him up off of waivers, but two months later, the Pirates got him off of waivers from the Nationals, so he never actually played there. Florimon went 2-for-23 at the plate in 24 games during the 2015 season. He did a little better in 2016, going 5-for-24 in 18 games. He was granted free agency after the season and played 65 games over two years with the Philadelphia Phillies. During his brief time with the 2017 Phillies (15 games), he put up a .348 average.
Bob Priddy, pitcher for the Pirates in 1962 and 1964. He had a 3.86 ERA in 37.1 innings over 21 appearances in two seasons with the Pirates, before being traded to the San Francisco Giants for All-Star catcher Del Crandall on February 11, 1965. The Pirates also included minor league outfielder Bob Burda in the deal. Priddy played nine years in the majors, seeing time with six different clubs. He had a 4.00 ERA in 536 innings. His best season came in 1968 when he had a 3.63 ERA in a career high 114 innings, though that came with a 3-11 record for an eighth place Chicago White Sox squad. He was a Pittsburgh, PA. native who signed with the Pirates at 19 years old in 1959. It took him four seasons to make the majors, debuting with the Pirates on September 20, 1962. He had just two appearances that season, throwing three innings, with one run allowed. Priddy struggled with Triple-A Columbus in 1963, going 5-2, 5.06 in 64 innings over 40 appearances. He split the 1964 season fairly evenly between Triple-A and the majors, though he was a starter in the minors and pitched in relief for the Pirates. Priddy made 19 appearances between May 15th and July 13th. He was called up two days before his first appearance and sent back down to the minors on July 15th, two days after his last appearance. Priddy was not called up in September when the rosters expanded. He turns 81 years old today.
Stan Gray, first baseman for the 1912 Pirates. He played just six games in the majors, debuting in mid-September of 1912 at 23 years old. He went 5-for-20 with a triple at the plate and handled all 39 chances in the field without an error. He was with the Pirates for two weeks before he got his chance to play after first baseman Dots Miller suffered a hand injury. Prior to starting four straight games (September 28 – October 1), his only playing time was two pinch-hitting appearances. The interesting part about his trial with the Pirates is that he was a .230 hitter in the minors, while pitching 192 innings. He also threw 226.2 innings in 1911, though he had a .315 average for San Antonio of the Texas League that year, so he seemed like a potential two-way player. Since he was a Rule 5 pick by the Pirates in September of 1911, then that means that they were the ones who had him being used as a pitcher that year for Springfield of the Central League. Despite that fact, he didn’t get a chance to pitch in the majors. His pro career didn’t last long after his time with the Pirates either. He played back in San Antonio in 1913, then his only other known records say that he finished his career in 1915 with a low-level D-League team from El Paso in the Rio Grande Association. Gray went to Spring Training in 1913 as a pitcher and he got an early start to help his chances of winning a spot, but he developed a sore arm late and pitched poorly. On April 9th, he was shipped to the minors. He got the nickname “Dolly”, which was part of an odd early baseball ritual of giving players with the same last name the same nickname. Dolly Gray was a Major League pitcher from 1909 until 1911.
Frank Shugart, shortstop for the 1891-93 Pirates. In 1892, he played 137 games, batting .267 with 14 triples and 94 runs scored. He batted .268 and drove in 127 runs in 264 games for the Pirates. Shugart played eight years in the majors between 1890 and 1901 and he hit .267 in 745 games. His career in pro ball stretched from 1888 when he was 21 years old, until 1908. He was from Luthersburg, PA., the only Major League player born in that town. Shugart debuted in the majors in the Player’s League in 1890, where he batted .189 in 29 games. He began 1891 with Minneapolis of the Western Association, before joining Pittsburgh in July. He hit .336 in 69 games in the minors and his team was said to have a $4,000 price tag for his release at the start of July. The local papers were calling him the finest shortstop ever developed in the league. The two teams finally settled for $5,000 on July 7th according to reports, though a few days later it was said that they “only” paid $2,800 and the initial price was inflated to fool the public. Shugart was signed after Pittsburgh owner J. Palmer O’Neill went to see him play first-hand. He joined the Pirates on July 10th and hit .275 with 30 extra-base hits and 21 steals in 75 games. After his strong 1892 season, Shugart lasted 52 games with the Pirates before he was traded to the St Louis Browns for veteran shortstop Jack Glasscock. He played through the 1894 season in St Louis, spent 1895 with Louisville, then also got big league time in with the 1897 Philadelphia Phillies and the 1901 Chicago White Sox.