This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: February 11th, Pirates Trade for Hall of Fame Pitcher

Two former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date and one significant trade to mention.

The Trade

On this date in 1928 the Pittsburgh Pirates traded pitcher Vic Aldridge to the New York Giants in exchange for future Hall of Fame pitcher Burleigh Grimes. Aldridge was 34 years old at the time of the trade and had won 15 games for the Pirates in 1927, helping them to their fourth World Series appearance. There were signs of a drop in his stuff, as he posted his highest season ERA (4.25) that year and he got hit hard in his only World Series start. Grimes was also 34 years old and was coming off of a  19-8, 3.54 season in his only year with the Giants. He was asking to be traded due to his unhappiness over how he was handled late in the season by manager John McGraw. Grimes was a former Pirate, starting his career with the team in 1916, though he was traded after going 5-19 in his first two seasons.

This trade was a one-sided win for the Pirates. Aldridge continued his downward slide and his Major League career was done before the 1928 season ended. He went 4-7, 4.83 in 16 starts and six relief appearances. He played the next season in the minors and was out of baseball by 1931. Grimes lead the National League in wins in 1928 (25), complete games (28) and innings pitched with 330.2 while posting a 2.99 ERA. He finished third in the MVP voting as well. The following season he went 17-7 3.13 and this time finished fourth in the MVP voting. Prior to the 1930 season Grimes was holding out for more money, so the Pirates shipped him to the Boston Braves in return for pitcher Percy Jones. Grimes had two more good seasons,then bounced around between four teams during his final two seasons, finishing his career back in Pittsburgh for a third time. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1964, after compiling 270 wins.

The Players

Trey Beamon, outfielder for the 1996 Pirates. He was a second round draft pick (61st overall selection) of the Pirates in 1992 at 18 years old out of high school in Texas. Beamon was a toolsy player in high school, hitting for a .500+ average, stealing nearly a base per game, while showing off a strong arm and solid defense in the outfield. About the only thing he didn’t do was hit for power, but he was a big kid, listed at 6’4″, 190 pounds, so there was hope for a future five-tool player. He played 32 games in rookie league ball after signing, hitting .296 in 108 at-bats. In 1993 he moved to full season ball as a 19-year-old and hit .271 in 104 games with 64 runs scored and 19 stolen bases. He jumped over High-A to Double-A for 1994 and hit .323 with 69 runs scored and 24 stolen bases. He was in Triple-A by age 21 and hit .334 with 74 runs scored and 18 stolen bases in 118 games, but did not get a September call-up. Back in Triple-A for 1996, he hit .288 with a career high 55 walks. The Pirates called him up in early August for 24 games and he hit .216 with six RBIs. Just prior to the 1997 season he was part of a four-player deal with the San Diego Padres that brought Mark Smith back to the Pirates. Beamon batted .277 in 43 games for the 1997 Padres, but he had just two walks, one stolen base and no homers, leading to a .632 OPS. A month after the 1997 season ended, he was part of a five-player trade, getting sent to the Detroit Tigers. Beamon would play 28 games for the Tigers in 1998, which ended up being his final big league appearance. He was released by Detroit in December of 1998. In 95 big league games, he hit .253 with no homers (or triples), three steals and 11 walks. While his big league career was done by 24 years old, his pro career was far from over. He spent the 1999 season in the minors for the New York Mets and Chicago White Sox. He played independent ball in 2000, then signed his final affiliated deal in 2001, playing in Double-A for the Seattle Mariners. He then returned to indy ball, where he played for seven different teams over six years. His 15-year career ended in 2006 with a combined .293 average in 1,301 games.

Hal Rice, outfielder for the 1953-54 Pirates. Rice signed as a 17-year-old amateur in 1941 with the St Louis Cardinals. He played two years of low level minor league ball before joining the war effort in 1943. Rice returned to pro ball in 1946 and he hit .335 in 106 games of Class C ball. He jumped up to Rochester of the International League (equal to going from Low-A to Triple-A in one season) and he hit .248 in 120 games. Back in Rochester for 1948, he had a big season that earned him his first Major League shot. Rice hit .321 in 146 games, with 56 extra-base hits and 80 runs scored. He began his big league career in September 1948 with the Cardinals and hit .323 in eight games. He spent the entire 1949 season in the majors as a seldom used backup, getting just 49 plate appearances in 40 games. He would split the 1950-51 seasons between Rochester and St Louis, doing much better in his minor league time than he did in the majors. The Cardinals gave him another chance in 1952 and he not only stayed for the entire season, he also put up a .288 average in 96 games. Rice was with the Cardinals as a backup outfielder until they sent him to the Pirates in exchange for longtime Pittsburgh infielder Pete Castiglione on June 14, 1953. Rice played left field almost everyday for Pittsburgh and hit .311 with 42 RBIs in the last 78 games of the season. He struggled to start the 1954 season, hitting .173 through mid-June and he had played just 28 of the team’s 58 games. The Pirates traded Rice to the Chicago Cubs exactly one year after they acquired him from the Cardinals. In return they received outfielder Luis Marquez, who only played 11 games with the Pirates, though the traded ended up being an even swap. Rice played with the Cubs through the end of the season, hitting just .153 in 51 games. He then finished his pro career with two more years in the minors, retiring at 32 years old in 1956. He had a .260 Major League average with 19 homers and 162 RBIs in 424 total games. Rice wasn’t much of a runner, going 1-for-11 in stolen base attempts in the majors.