Two transactions involving Hall of Famers on this date, plus eight former players born on this date.
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, 3.84 in 316 innings over 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, 3.36 in nine starts for the Dodgers, then signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent for 1970 and went 15-27 over the last two years of his career, posting an ERA over 4.00 each season.
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 a few months earlier, therefore he wasn’t seen by many scouts. This purchase turned out to be a great one, as Carey is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. The part in the local papers about when his career started wasn’t quite true. He 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.
Jarrod Dyson, outfielder for the 2020 Pirates. He signed as a 50th round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals in 2006 out of Southwest Mississippi Community College. He played that first season in the Arizona Summer League at 21 years old, where he hit .273 with 19 steals in 51 games. Injuries limited him to ten games in Low-A in 2007, but he still moved up to High-A in 2008, where he hit .260 in 93 games, with 39 steals. Dyson was suspended for 50 games during the 2009 season, though he still spent most of the year in Double-A. In 80 games that season, he batted .276 with 46 steals. He played in the Arizona Fall League after the year and hit .310 in 16 games. In 2010, he split the season between four levels in the minors, with some of that being rehab work. He spent the majority of his time in Triple-A that year. In 71 total minor league games, he batted .299 with 24 steals and he collected his first home run as a pro. In September he joined the Royals and hit .211 in 18 games, with nine steals and another home run. Dyson’s big league time was limited to 26 games in 2011. He hit .205 with the Royals and stole 11 bases in 12 attempts. In 2012 he played center field with Kansas City on a somewhat regular basis, batting .260 with 30 steals and 52 runs scored in 102 games. In 2013, he played 87 games, hitting .258 with 34 steals and 30 runs scored. He played 120 games in 2014, though he had just 290 plate appearances all year, so he was coming off of the bench a lot. Dyson hit .269 and set a career high with 36 steals.
In 2015, Dyson was a role player on the World Series champs. He batted .250 in 90 games, with 26 steals and 31 runs scored. He received just four at-bats during the three rounds of the postseason. His playing time increased a bit in 2016, when he hit .278 with 30 steals and 46 runs scored in 107 games, while setting career highs with 14 doubles and eight triples. He was traded to the Seattle Mariners after the season and he hit .251 in 111 games in 2017, with 56 runs scored and 28 steals. His 1.8 WAR on defense that year was the highest of his career. Dyson became a free agent after the season and signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was limited to 67 games his first season due to an injury, and he batted just .189, while stealing 16 bases. In 2019 he played a career high 130 games, also setting highs with 65 runs scored, seven homers and 47 walks. He hit .230 with 30 steals. He signed a deal with the Pirates during Spring Training of the shortened 2020 season. He lasted just 21 games and hit .157 with four steals. He was traded to the Chicago White Sox for international bonus pool space on August 28th and he went 3-for-10 with two steals in 11 games after the deal. Dyson signed back with the Royals in 2021, and through early August he was hitting .238 with seven steals in 65 games. In 12 years in the majors, he’s batting .245 in 955 games, with 381 runs scored, 183 RBIs and 263 steals in 308 attempts.
Oliver Perez, pitcher for the 2003-06 Pirates. He signed with the San Diego Padres in March of 1999 out of Mexico at 17 years old. Perez spent that first season of pro ball in the Arizona Summer League, where he had a 5.08 ERA in 28.1 innings, with 37 strikeouts. In 2000, he spent part of the year on loan back to Mexico, while making five starts in the Pioneer League for the Padres. In 2001, he broke out while splitting the year between High-A and Low-A. Combined that season, he went 10-9, 3.21 in 154 innings, with 160 strikeouts. In 2002 he had a 1.85 ERA in High-A, moved up to Double-A, where he posted a 1.17 ERA in four starts, then joined the Padres, where he went 4-5, 3.50 in 90 innings. Perez had a 3.02 ERA in eight starts in Triple-A in 2003. He made 19 starts with the Padres and went 4-7, 5.38 in 103.2 innings, with 117 strikeouts. On August 26, 2003, the Pirates acquired him as part of the return from the 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, posting a 5.87 ERA in 23 innings, 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 was injured for a small part of the year. He had a 7-5 record for a bad team, but it came with a 5.85 ERA in 103 innings over 20 starts. Through 15 starts in 2006, he went 2-10, 6.63 in 76 innings before he was traded to the New York Mets in a deal to bring back Xavier Nady. Perez had a 6.38 ERA in seven starts after the deal. In 2007, he had somewhat of a bounce back year, going 15-10, 3.56 in 29 starts and 177 innings pitched. However, Perez seemed to lose it on the mound any time an error was made behind him, which led to 20 unearned runs, which was more than he allowed in his four seasons with the Pirates combined. He went 10-7, 4.22 in 194 innings in 2008, picking up 180 strikeouts, which was his second best season total, but he also led the National League with 105 walks. Perez’s numbers dropped off even more in 2009-10, and he missed some time, which limited him to 21 starts and seven relief appearances during those two years. He had a 6.82 ERA in 66 innings in 2009 and a 6.80 mark in 46.1 innings in 2010. The Mets released him during Spring Training in 2011 and he spent the year in the minors with the Washington Nationals.
Perez returned to the majors in 2012 as a reliever for the Seattle Mariners and did well in the lefty role out of the bullpen. He had a 2.12 ERA in 29.2 innings over 33 appearances that first year. In 2013, he put up a 3.74 ERA in 53 innings over 61 games. He became a free agent and signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who used him the same way. In 2014, he had a 2.91 ERA in 58.2 innings over 68 games. He had a 3.10 ERA in 29 innings over 48 games in 2015 before being traded mid-season to the Houston Astros. Perez struggled with a 6.75 ERA in his last 22 appearances. Free agency once again kicked in and he signed with the Washington Nationals for the 2016-17 seasons. He went 2-3, 4.95 in 40 innings over 64 games in 2016, followed by a 4.64 ERA in 33 innings over 50 games in 2017, as he settled into even more of a lefty-only reliever. During two postseasons with the Nationals, he had six scoreless appearances. In 2018, Perez joined the Cleveland Indians and stayed there through 2021. He had a 1.39 ERA in 51 appearances in 2018, throwing a total of 32.1 innings. In 2019, he had a 3.98 ERA in 40.2 innings, appearing in 67 games. During the shortened 2020 season, he pitched 21 times, putting up a 2.00 ERA in 18 innings. Perez opened 2021 with the Indians, but after 3.2 innings over five games, he moved on to Mexico to pitch summer ball, where he has a 2.63 ERA in 21 relief appearances. He has a 73-93, 4.34 record in 1,461.2 innings, with 195 starts and 501 relief appearances in 19 seasons at the big league level. He had a 5.7 WAR mark during his great 2004 season, which ranks top 50 for Pirates pitchers in a single-season. However, his other 18 years in the majors worked out to 5.1 WAR total.
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 at 16 years old. He pitched in the Dominican Summer League that year, then moved to the U.S. to the Gulf Coast League in 1992. Morel had a 4.34 ERA in 45.2 innings that season. In 1993 he pitched in the New York-Penn League, where he went 7-8, 4.21 in 77 innings over 16 starts. He was in Low-A in 1994, going 10-7, 2.83 with 152 strikeouts 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 had similar results at both levels in the minors, finishing the season with a 6-10, 3.49 record in 141.2 innings over 22 starts. His high strikeout rate in 1994 disappeared, as he finished the 1995 season with 78 strikeouts. Morel pitched 6.1 innings over five games with the Pirates that year. He was back in Double-A to begin the 1996 season and not pitching well the first two months as a starter. He had a 5.09 ERA in 63.2 innings over 11 starts. 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, allowing four runs in 7.2 innings, before being sent to the minors. He struggled in his first stint in Triple-A, posting a 5.75 ERA in 101.2 innings for Calgary of the Pacific Coast League. He was 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, pitching in China, Japan and the Dominican, including international competitions for his home country. With the Pirates, he had a 2-2, 4.98 record in 56 innings over 39 appearances.
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. He was originally a 38th round draft pick in 1965 out of Arizona State by the Milwaukee Braves, but he decided to return to school and it really paid off. Dyer was drafted ninth overall the next year by the New York Mets. It didn’t take him long to debut in the majors. Half of his first season in pro ball was spent in Double-A, though he batted just .173 in 22 games. His first full season saw him play the entire year at Double-A, where he hit .194 with one homer in 106 games. In 1968, he batted .230 with 16 homers in 111 games in Triple-A, before joining the Mets in September, though he played just one big league game. The Mets went to the World Series and won it all in 1969 and Dyer was with the big league club for most of the year. He played just 29 games total and didn’t get a start until August 16th. He hit .257 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 79 plate appearances. In 1970, Dyer spent his first full season in the majors and hit .209 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 59 games. He played 59 games again in 1971, this time hitting .231 with two homers and 18 RBIs. He had a .231 average again in 1972, though he saw much more playing time. He set his career high with 94 games, while also setting personal highs with 17 doubles, eight homers and 36 RBIs. Dyer played 70 games in 1973, though he saw a big drop in his plate appearances, going from 363 in 1972 down to 209 in one year. His production at the plate fell off, with a .185 average and one homer. In his final season in New York, he hit .211 with no homers in 63 games.
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. 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 primary starting catcher. He hit .227 with three homers and 16 RBIs in 48 games during that 1975 season. That was followed up by a .223 average, three homers and nine RBIs in 69 games in 1976. With a chance to player regularly in 1977, Dyer hit .241 with 11 doubles, three homers, 19 RBIs and a career high 54 walks. He also led all National League catchers with a .996 fielding percentage. When Sanguillen returned the next year, Dyer saw limited time, hitting .211 with no homers in 58 games. He was let go via free agency after the season. In his four seasons with the Pirates, he batted .227 with nine homers and 57 RBIs in 269 games. Dyer moved on to back up two of the best slugging catchers in baseball history after leaving the Pirates. He hit .243 in 28 games as the backup for Gary Carter in 1979 with the Montreal Expos. In 1980-81, he was a backup for Lance Parrish with the Detroit Tigers. Dyer hit just .185 in 48 games in 1980, then his final season in the majors was limited to two late-inning defensive replacement assignments, without getting an at-bat. Since retiring as a player, he has had numerous/various coaching jobs with a number of big league organizations and even independent teams. In his 14 big league seasons, he played 722 games, hitting .221 with 30 homers and 173 RBIs.
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. He was officially signed on January 21, 1930 after Pirates pitcher Erv Brame recommended him to the team based off of what he was hearing about the college star, who lived in the same area as Brame. That recommendation actually came during the previous fall and Walter spent some time with the Pirates throwing batting practice at Forbes Field, though he never officially signed until months later. Pittsburgh used him often during the 1930 season, but that was also 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. It was said in late March of 1931 that he left home to join the Pirates during Spring Training, and on May 1st his local paper then noted that he was back home from a stint with the Wichita Aviators of the Western League due to a sore arm. He’s referred to as Bernie by most sources you see today, but he went by Bernard during his time with the Pirates, both locally in Pittsburgh and in his own local papers.
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. His contract was purchased by the Pirates on August 16, 1926 after scout Chick Fraser recommended him. Part of the recommendation was based on the fact that Peery was an outstanding hitter as well as a pitcher. The purchase came with the agreement that Peery would finish the season with Wichita and report to the Pirates the next spring. He was with the Pirates during Spring Training in 1927, but his pitching was limited due to a sore arm. He remained with the team until April 6th when he was returned to Wichita, where he went 16-8 (no ERA is available) in 222 innings over 33 games. Red (real first name was George) returned to the Pirates on September 5, 1927, but didn’t get into action right away. He made his Major League debut with the Pirates during the second game of a late season doubleheader on September 22nd, coming in for the last inning of an eventual 7-1 loss to the New York 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. He actually requested that he be allowed to return home instead of staying for the World Series, though he wouldn’t have been eligible to play. Red made the Opening Day roster in 1928, but he was returned to Wichita under option on May 2nd without making an appearance for the Pirates. He would come back to the majors for a short time in 1929 with the Boston Braves, who took him in the Rule 5 draft after the 1928 season. 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. He spent the 1902-05 seasons with Toronto of the Eastern League, and he saw his average drop every year, from a high point of .244 in 1902, down to a .190 mark in 1905. Toronto was considered to be a Class-A level league, so in 1906, he dropped down to Syracuse of the New York State League for his final four seasons. The was a Class-B league. Carr grew up and lived not far from Syracuse, also played some college ball at Syracuse University, so he was basically playing for his hometown team during that time. He didn’t do much better with the drop in competition, batting between .197 and .228 during those four seasons, though he averaged 118 games played per year. I mentioned that third base was unfamiliar to him during his time with the Pirates, but he ended up playing there often during his time in Toronto and Syracuse.
Doggie Miller, catcher for the 1884-93 Pittsburgh Alleghenys/Pirates. The first player to spend ten seasons with the Pirates franchise, he joined the club in the American Association and stuck with them through the rough 1890 season, sticking around until 1893. His real name was George, which was used much more often than Doggie, which is how he is known now. He got that nickname because he owned dogs that were considered show quality. Some wrongly believe the nickname came from his looks. His more common nicknames as a player were foghorn and calliope, because he was very vocal during games, as well as midget, due to his short stature (listed as 5’6″, 145 pounds). At 18 years old in 1883, he played for Harrisburg of the Interstate League and he hit .231 in 55 games. He was rushed to the majors with a very bad 1884 Pittsburgh Alleghenys team that finished with a 30-78 record. Being on a bad team allowed him to play full-time in the majors at 19 years old and he hit .225 with 12 extra-base hits in 89 games. The Alleghenys were much better in 1885 when they combined with the Columbus roster of the American Association. Columbus folded after the 1884 season and their roster was sold to the Alleghenys. Miller lost playing time with all of the new players, but luckily for Pittsburgh, they stuck with him despite a .163 average in 42 games.
The Alleghenys had a strong season in 1886, finishing with an 80-57 record in second place. Miller played 83 games that year and hit .252 with 35 steals, 43 walks and 70 runs scored. On April 21st, he became the first player in team history to hit two homers in the same game and to this day he remains the youngest player ever to accomplish that feat for the Pirates. What might be more impressive is that he only hit one other homer during his first five seasons in the majors. The Alleghenys switched to the National League in 1887, though everything else remained the same with the team. Miller played 87 games that year and hit .243 with 17 doubles, 33 steals and 58 runs scored. In 1888, he hit .277 in 103 games, with 17 doubles, five triples, 27 steals and 50 runs scored. In 1889, he batted .268 in 104 games, with 77 runs scored, a career high 25 doubles, six homers and 56 RBIs.
When the Player’s League formed in 1890, almost the entire team jumped to the new league. Miller was one of the holdouts and he ended up playing all 138 games that year for a Pittsburgh team that finished with a 23-113 record (two ties). He was able to do that because he only caught ten games, spending time everywhere else on the field except first base. In an interesting note, he actually pitched once, but he currently isn’t credited for that appearance, which will hopefully be changed in the future. When the Player’s League ceased operations after one season, most of the players returned to their old team. Miller became an interesting footnote in franchise history at this point. He was signed for the 1891 season before the players rejoined their new clubs, but the Alleghenys and the Pittsburgh Player’s League club (referred to now as the Burghers, which was not a name they used) actually formed a brand new club and the 1882-90 Alleghenys team folded. That’s right, the Pirates you root for now came along in 1891, despite what I tell you elsewhere here. Miller found out about that the hard way, as he was informed that his previous contract was no good and he had to sign with the new club. During that 1891 season, he batted .285 with 29 extra-base hits, 80 runs scored, 35 steals and 57 RBIs in 135 games.
In 1892, Miller played a career high 149 games. He set high marks with 103 runs scored, 12 triples and 69 walks. He batted .254 with 59 RBIs and 28 steals. In 1893, Miller was used strictly as a catcher, platooning with Hall of Fame manager Connie Mack at the position. Miller batted just .182 in 41 games that year. He was suspended by the team in July and left for his home, later player back in Harrisburg. He signed with the St Louis Browns in 1894 as a player-manager and had an incredible bounce back season during a huge year for offense around baseball. Miller hit a career best .339 in 127 games, also setting person highs with eight homers and 86 RBIs, while scoring 93 runs. However, he finished with a 56-76 record in what turned out to be his only big league managerial spot. Offense dropped slowly back towards league average and he had a strong season in 1895 as well, hitting .291 with 81 runs scored and 74 RBIs in 122 games. He was sold to the Louisville Colonels in 1896, where hit batted .275 in 98 games, during his final season in the majors. Miller went on to play another seven years in the minors, five as a player-manager. In his 13-year big league career, he hit .267 with 839 runs, 33 homers, 567 RBIs and at least 260 steals, though stats aren’t available in that category for his first two seasons. He caught 637 games and played 22+ games at every other position except pitcher.