This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: August 5th, Nelson Briles and a Trade with the Padres

Four former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date and one transaction of note.

The Transaction

On this date in 1980, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded two minor leaguers, outfielder Rick Lancellotti and infielder Luis Salazar, to the San Diego Padres for infielder Kurt Bevacqua and pitcher Mark Lee. Bevacqua had played for the Pirates in 1974, coming over in the four-player Nelson Briles trade. He was being used mostly off the bench by the Padres in 1980, getting 79 plate appearances in 62 games. Lee was 7-5, 3.72 in 102 games for the Padres between 1978-79, but he had spent all of 1980 in the minors. Neither Salazar nor Lancellotti, who were both 24 years old, had played in the majors yet.

After the deal, Lancellotti played just 36 Major League games over three seasons, 17 of those games as a member of the 1982 Padres. Salazar spent 13 years in the majors, playing for the Padres three different times. He played 1,302 Major League games, 704 while with San Diego. He was a .261 hitter with 455 RBIs and 117 stolen bases. Lee was actually a player to be named later, joining the Pirates seven days after the deal was made. He pitched 16 games for Pittsburgh over two years, going 0-3, 3.20 in 25.1 innings. Bevacqua played 51 games for Pittsburgh over two seasons before being released at the end of the 1981 season. The next April, he re-signed with the Padres, where he played his final four big league seasons.

The Players

Eric Hinske, outfielder for the 2009 Pirates. He spent seven seasons in the AL East, playing for the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, prior to joining the Pirates in January of 2009 as a free agent. He was a 17th round draft pick in 1998 of the Chicago Cubs out of the University of Arkansas. Hinske spent most of his first pro season in the New York-Penn League, where he hit .298 with nine homers and 57 RBIs in 68 games. In 1999, he spent the year in the Florida State League, hitting .297 with 28 doubles, 19 homers and 79 RBIs in 130 games. He spent the 2000 season in Double-A, where he batted .259 with 50 extra-base hits, 76 runs, 73 RBIs, 78 walks and 14 steals. He was traded to the Oakland A’s right before Opening Day in 2001 and played in Triple-A that season. Hinske batted .282 with 27 doubles, 25 homers and 20 steals in 121 games. Just eight months after they traded for him, he was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays. His best season in the majors came during his rookie year in 2002, when he hit .279 with 38 doubles, 24 homers, 84 RBIs and 77 walks, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award. Hinske batted .243 in 124 games in 2003, with an incredible 45 doubles (nearly a record pace over 162 games), while also adding 12 homers, 12 steals and 63 RBIs. In 2004, he played in a career high 155 games. He hit .246 with 41 extra-base hits and 63 RBIs.

Hinske was a third baseman during his first three seasons, then moved to first base in 2005. He batted .262 with 31 doubles, 15 homers and 68 RBIs in 147 games that year. The next season he moved to right field and split the year between the Blue Jays and Red Sox after a mid-August purchase. He hit .271 between both stops, with 32 extra-base hits in 109 games. In 2007, he played first base and the corner outfield spots, seeing less playing time as he average dropped to .204 in 84 games. He became a free agent after the season and signed with the Tampa Bay Rays. In 2008, Hinske hit .247 with 20 homers and 60 RBIs in 133 games for Tampa Bay. His time with the Pirates paled in comparison to earlier success. He was traded exactly five months after signing, hitting just .255 with one homer in 54 games for Pittsburgh. The Pirates dealt him to the Yankees for two minor league players, one turning out to be Eric Fryer, who played 52 games over three years in Pittsburgh. Hinske played with the Yankees until the end of 2009, batting .226 with seven homers in 39 games after the deal. He then spent three season with the Atlanta Braves, with his playing time dropping each year. He started with a .256 average and 11 homers in 2010. Hinske then hit .233 with ten homers in 117 games in 2011. He final season in Atlanta saw him hit .197 with two homers in 91 games, mostly coming off of the bench. He finished his career with the 2013 Arizona Diamondbacks, hitting .173 with one homer in 52 games, with three starts all season. He made it to the postseason each year from 2007 until 2010, despite playing for a different team each year. Despite being on the roster for ten rounds of the playoffs during that time, he had just nine plate appearances and never started a postseason game. Hinske hit .249 over 12 seasons and 1,387 games in the majors, with 137 homers and 522 RBIs.

John Wasdin, pitcher for the 2007 Pirates. He was originally drafted in the 41st round in 1990 out of high school by the New York Yankees. Wasdin decided to head to college, where he was a first round draft pick in 1993 of the Oakland A’s out of Florida State. He made his Major League debut two years later as a starter. He played at three different levels during his first season, topping out at High-A. Between those stops, he had a 2.39 ERA in 67.2 innings. In 1994, he had a 1.69 ERA in 26.2 innings in High-A to start the year, then went 12-3, 3.43 in 121.2 innings in Double-A to finish the year. In 1995, Wasdin went 12-8, 5.52 in 174.1 innings for Edmonton of the Pacific Coast League. The team ERA was 5.13, so he was just under average in a high offense environment. The A’s called him up in August and he had a 4.67 ERA in 17.1 innings. He made 21 starts and four relief appearances for the 1996 A’s, going 8-7, 5.96 in 131.1 innings. He was traded to the Boston Red Sox in the off-season in an even up deal for Jose Canseco. Wasdin made seven starts and 46 relief appearances in 1997, going 4-6, 4.40 in 124.2 innings. The next year he had a similar role, with eight starts and 39 relief outings. He had a 6-4, 5.25 record in 96 innings. He pitched strictly in relief in 1999, with 45 outings and an 8-3, 4.12 record in 74.1 innings. He was traded to the Colorado Rockies in the middle of 2000 and finished the year 1-6, 5.38 in 80.1 innings, with similar results for both teams. Wasdin had a 7.03 ERA early in 2001 for the Rockies before being released. He finished the year with the Baltimore Orioles, posting a 4.17 ERA in 49.2 innings.

Wasdin headed to Japan for the 2002 season. After one year overseas, he returned to the states, signing a contract with the Pirates. He went to Triple-A, where he threw a perfect game in his debut for Nashville on April 7, 2003, in a game that included 15 strikeouts. Three months later, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for minor league outfielder Rich Thompson. After finishing 2003 with Toronto, Wasdin then pitched parts of three years for the Rangers (2004-06), going 7-8, 5.38 in 55 games (21 starts), seeing most of his time during the 2005 season. He was re-signed by the Pirates in November of 2006 and he made the 2007 Opening Day roster. He would end up pitching 12 games in relief for Pittsburgh over two separate stints with the team. He had a 5.95 ERA in 19.2 innings in the majors and got hit hard in seven minor league starts. Wasdin pitched two more years, one in the minors and one in Japan, before retiring. In 12 seasons, he had a 39-39, 5.28 record in 793.1 innings over 328 Major League games, 65 as a starter.

Bernie Carbo, pinch-hitter for the 1980 Pirates. He was a first round draft pick in 1965 by the Cincinnati Reds, the team he hit two big home runs against in the 1975 World Series. Carbo was selected out of high school in Michigan at 17 years old and he reported to Tampa of the Florida State League, where he batted .218 in 71 games, with 52 walks. He played in the Carolina League in 1966 and hit .269 with 30 doubles, 15 homers and 108 walks in 132 games. The next two seasons were spent in Double-A. Carbo batted .201 with 14 extra-base hits in 93 games in 1967, then hit .281 with 20 doubles and 20 homers in 127 games in 1968 when he repeated the level. He moved up to Triple-A in 1969 and had an incredible year for Indianapolis of the American Association, hitting .359 in 111 games, with 37 doubles and 21 homers. He came up to the Reds in September, but they gave up just three at-bats in four games. In 1970, he was the starting left fielder and he finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting with his .310 average, 21 homers and 94 walks In the 1970 NLCS against the Pirates, Carbo went 0-for-6 at the plate, following that up with an 0-for-8 at the plate in the World Series. That year ended up being his best season in the majors.

Carbo had a horrible sophomore slump, hitting just .219 with five homers in 106 games. His OPS dropped 327 points from his rookie season. In 1972, he was traded to the St Louis Cardinals in early May. He hit .251 with 21 extra-base hits and 63 walks in 118 games that year, while leading all NL outfielders with 15 assists. In 1973, Carbo platooned in right field and batted .286 with 18 doubles and eight homers in 111 games. Shortly after the season ended, he was part of a four-player trade with the Boston Red Sox that also included Reggie Smith and Rick Wise. Carbo batted .249 in 117 games in 1974, with 20 doubles, 12 homers and 58 walks. He’s most known for what happened after the 1975 season. During the regular season that year, he hit .257 with 21 doubles and 15 homers in 107 games. He wasn’t used at all in the ALCS, but he got his chance to redeem himself from his poor showing in the 1970 postseason and made the most of it. He hit a pinch-hit homer in game three, then in his next at-bat three games later, he hit a three-run homer that tied the score 6-6 in the bottom of the eighth, setting up the famous home run by Carlton Fisk.

Despite his heroics, Carbo was traded early in the 1976 season to the Milwaukee Brewers. He batted .235 with five homers in 86 games that season. He was traded back to the Red Sox in the off-season and hit .289 with 15 homers in 86 games in 1977. He was sold to the Cleveland Indians mid-season in 1978, and combined to hit .282 with five homers in 77 games. He became a free agent after the season and rejoined the Cardinals. By the time he reached the Pirates in 1980, he was being used mainly as a pinch-hitter. The Cardinals used him 52 times in 1979, just seven times as a starter, resulting in just 76 plate appearances all year. In 1980, St Louis used him 14 times through the end of May, all as a pinch-hitter. Carbo was released by the Cardinals in late May, then signed with the Pirates on September 1st to be a bat off of the bench down the stretch. Pittsburgh ended up finishing that year on a 13-25 run, putting them well out of first place. Carbo went 2-for-6 at the plate with a walk in his seven pinch-hit appearances. Those would be his last games in the majors. He finished his career in the minors the next year with the Detroit Tigers. Carbo was a .264 hitter with 96 homers, 358 RBIs, 372 runs scored and 538 walks in 1,010 Major League games.

Nelson Briles, pitcher for the 1971-73 Pirates. He signed with the St Louis Cardinals at 19 years old in 1963 as an amateur free agent. He began his pro career in Double-A in 1964 and it ended up being his only minor league time. He went 11-6, 2.79 in 171 innings for Tulsa of the Texas League. He was in the majors in 1965 and he went 3-3, 3.50 in 84.1 innings over 35 appearances (two starts) as a rookie. He made 17 starts and 32 relief appearances in 1966, posting a respectable 3.21 ERA in 154 innings, though it came with a 4-15 record. Things flipped for him in a hurry after that rough year for his record. Briles went 14-5 in 1967, leading the National League in winning percentage with a .737 mark. He had a 2.43 ERA in 155.1 innings, making 14 starts and 35 relief appearances. He finished 15th in the MVP voting. The next year he won 19 games and threw a career high 243.2 innings. All 33 of his games that year were as a starter. He set career bests by completing 13 games and throwing four shutouts. Once again he earned mild MVP support, finishing 20th in the voting. In 1969, Briles went 15-13, 3.52 in 227.2 innings over 33 starts and three relief outings. His 1970 season saw him split between starting (19 games) and relief (11 appearances). He went 6-7, 6.24 in 106.2 innings.

The Pirates acquired Briles in a four-player deal on January 29, 1971 that saw them give up Matty Alou. Briles had a 61-54, 3.42 record while with the Cardinals. He had 16 saves and split his time almost down the middle between starting and the bullpen, making 118 starts and 116 relief appearances.  During his first season in Pittsburgh, he made 14 starts and 23 relief appearances, going 8-4, 3.04 in 136 innings. He pitched just once in the postseason, but it was an impressive outing, throwing a complete game shutout in game five of the World Series. Briles went 14-11, 3.08 in 195.2 innings during the 1972 season. He started game three of the NLCS and got a no-decision, giving up two runs over six innings. He was even better in 1973 when he went 14-13, 2.84 in 218.2 innings. The Pirates traded him to the Royals on December 4, 1973 in a deal that included Kurt Bevacqua coming to Pittsburgh. Briles went on to pitch another five seasons in the majors, finishing his career with the 1978 Baltimore Orioles. In his first year in Kansas City, he went 5-7, 4.02 in 103 innings. The next year he was 6-6, 4.26 in 112 innings. He was traded over the off-season to the Texas Rangers and had an 11-9, 3.26 record in 210 innings during the 1976 season. Briles went 6-4, 4.24 in 108.1 innings in 1977 before being sold late in the year to the Orioles, where he pitched just twice before the season ended. In 1978 he was 4-4, 4.64 in eight starts and eight relief appearances. The Orioles released him over the off-season and he never pitched again. He had a career 129-112, 3.44 record, pitching 452 games and throwing over 2,100 innings. With the Pirates he went 36-28, 2.98 in 550.1 innings.