This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: February 11th, Pirates Trade for a Familiar 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 WAR value for this deal ended up being -0.2 for Aldridge and 11.2 in two seasons for Grimes.

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 after signing, split between the GCL Pirates and Welland of the short-season New York Penn League, hitting .296 with six doubles and four triples in 108 at-bats. He posted a 12:9 BB/SO ratio that year. In 1993, he moved to full season ball with Augusta of the Class-A South Atlantic League, where he hit .271 in 104 games with 64 runs scored, 18 doubles, six triples, 48 walks and 19 stolen bases. Despite hitting four homers in a much shorter time as a rookie, he didn’t homer once in 1993. He jumped to Double-A Carolina of the Southern League in 1994, and hit .323 with 69 runs scored, 32 extra-base hits (five homers) and 24 stolen bases. Beamon ranked as the 43rd best prospect in baseball going into the 1995 season. He was in Triple-A (Calgary of the Pacific Coast League) that year at age 21, hitting .334 with 74 runs scored, 29 doubles, five triples, five homers and 18 stolen bases in 118 games, but he did not get a September call-up. Baseball America had him as the 90th ranked prospect going in 1996.

Back with Calgary in 1996, Beamon hit .288 in 111 games, with 62 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 16 steals (in 19 attempts, and a career high 55 walks. The Pirates called him up in early August that year and got him into 24 games. He hit .216 with six RBIs and a .528 OPS. Just prior to the start of 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 hit .262 with four doubles, five walks and a .698 OPS. 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 and 193 steals in 1,301 games over all levels of play.

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. He was with Williamson of the Class-D Mountain State League in 1941, where he hit .258 with 20 extra-base hits in 58 games. He spent part of 1942 back with Williamson, hitting .349 with 20 extra-base hits in 65 games. He also played 37 games with Asheville of the Class-B Piedmont League, where he hit .204 with a .269 slugging percentage. Rice returned to pro ball in 1946 and he hit .335 in 106 games, with 75 runs, 38 extra-base hits, 70 RBIs and 18 steals with Class-C Winston-Salem of the Carolina League. He jumped up four levels to Rochester of the Triple-A International League in 1947 and he hit .248 in 120 games, with 21 extra-base hits and 50 RBIs. 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, 73 RBIs, 47 walks 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. Rice hit .196 with nine RBIs and three runs scored.

Rice 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. He hit .310 with a .931 OPS in 114 games for Rochester in 1950, compared to a .211 average and a .565 OPS in 44 games with the Cardinals that year. In 1951, he had a 1.007 OPS in 54 games for Rochester, but all he could manage in St Louis was a .688 OPS in 69 games, though he had 38 RBIs during that time. 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 98 games, with 14 doubles, seven homers, 45 RBIs and 37 runs scored. 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. He was 2-for-8 in eight games during the first two months of the season before the deal. Rice played left field almost everyday for Pittsburgh and hit .311 with 39 runs, 16 doubles, four homers and 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 129 runs, 52 doubles, 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.