Plenty of trades in Pittsburgh Pirates history on this date, including two that involved Hall of Fame players and the same player getting traded in back-to-back years. We also have two former players born on this date.
1983: Marvell Wynne acquired from the New York Mets for Junior Ortiz. Wynne was a 23-year-old minor leaguer at the time of the deal. He made his debut right after the trade, spending the rest of 1983 and each of the next two seasons manning center field for the Pirates, before he was dealt to the San Diego Padres for pitcher Bob Patterson. Ortiz, the 23-year-old backup catcher for Pittsburgh, had just 12 games of Major League service in at the time. He would hit .236 with no homers and 23 RBIs in 108 games for New York before returning to the Pirates in the 1984 Rule 5 draft. Also included in this deal were two pitchers, one going each way, though neither played in the majors for their new team. The Pirates gave up Arthur Ray, while getting back Steve Senteney.
1982: Eddie Solomon traded to the Chicago White Sox for Jim Morrison. Solomon was a 31-year-old starting pitcher, in his third season with the Pirates. He pitched well the first two years, but he was struggling in 1982 with a 2-6, 6.75 record. He lasted just three weeks and six relief appearances with the White Sox before they released him, ending his big league career. Morrison was a 29-year-old infielder with some pop in his bat. In 1980 he had 15 homers and 40 doubles. At trade time, he was hitting .223 with seven homers in 51 games. He ended up playing six seasons in Pittsburgh, mostly at third base, with a .274 average, 57 homers and 241 RBIs in 552 games.
1954: Hal Rice sent to the Chicago Cubs for Luis Marquez. This was the second straight year that Rice got traded of this date. The 30-year-old corner outfielder was hitting .173 with nine RBIs over 28 games at the time of the trade. Marquez hit .197 with the Boston Braves during his rookie season in 1951, then spent the next two years in the minors. Returning to the majors in 1954, the 28-year-old outfielder had one hit in 14 plate appearances, with three stolen bases. After the deal, he also had one hit in 14 plate appearances with the Pirates, although he did take four walks. Marquez spent the next nine seasons in the minors without a return trip to the big leagues. Rice hit .153 in 51 games for the Cubs, in what ended up being his last season in the majors.
1953: Pete Castiglione traded to the St Louis Cardinals for Hal Rice. Castiglione was a 32-year-old infielder, in his seventh season with the Pirates. He had a .258 average with 24 homers and 147 RBIs in 473 games for Pittsburgh. He was hitting .208 at the time of the deal and he batted .173 afterwards in limited time for St Louis. His career lasted just five more games in 1954, without him getting an at-bat. Rice was in a platoon role in 1952 and he played well, hitting .288 with 45 RBIs in 98 games. However, with the Cardinals in 1953, he batted just eight times, all as a pinch-hitter. After the deal, Rice batted .311 with 42 RBIs in 78 games for the Pirates in 1953. Unless you skipped to this part, you likely just read how he did with the 1954 Pirates and beyond…
1940: Ray Berres sent to the Boston Bees for Al Lopez. Berres was a 32-year-old catcher, with 288 games of Major League experience, 144 with the Brooklyn Dodgers and 144 with the Pirates. His highest average in five seasons was .240, and he had one career homer. After the deal he hit .197 in 205 games for the Braves, before moving on to the New York Giants for four seasons as a seldom-used backup catcher. Lopez was 31 years old, in his 12th season in the majors. He had caught over 100 games in a season ten times, and during four of those years he got MVP votes for his work behind the plate and solid hitting. With the Pirates he hit .254 with 196 RBIs in 656 games. From 1942-44, he led the National League each year in caught stealing percentage, throwing out a high of 66% in 1942. While he had a very solid Major League career, Lopez made the Hall of Fame as a manager in 1977. The Braves also got $40,000 cash in this deal.
1917: Doug Baird traded to the St Louis Cardinals for Bob Steele. The 23-year-old Steele had a 6-18 record in two seasons for the Cardinals, despite a decent 3.36 ERA. He was even better with the Pirates, posting a 2.87 ERA, but the Pirates were a bad team and his record stood at 7-14 when he was sold to the New York Giants in July of 1918. He went just 3-6 with the Giants despite an even lower, 2.74 ERA. His final career record stands at 16-38 with a 3.05 ERA. Baird was a 25-year-old third baseman, who batted under .220 in each of his first two seasons, leading the National League in strikeouts as a rookie. In the field, he was slightly below average. At the time of the deal he was hitting .259 in 43 games, and he carried that batting over to St Louis, where he hit .253 in 104 games. He played for four different teams over the next three seasons, with his career ending in 1920.
1892: Pud Galvin dealt to the St Louis Browns for Cub Stricker. Before Stricker even played a game for the Pirates, he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for pitcher Adonis Terry. Galvin was near the end of his Hall of Fame career, winner of 360 games at the time. The 35-year-old pitcher was 5-6, 2.63 in 12 starts in 1892. After the deal, he matched his Pirates record, going 5-6 in 12 starts with the Browns, in what would turn out to be his last season in the majors. His 365 wins at the time were a Major League record. Stricker was a tiny light-hitting second baseman with a solid glove (he was 5’3″, 138 lbs, which is why he was nicknamed Cub). At age 33, he was nearly done as a player. He was hitting .204 at the time of the deal, and he played just 134 games after being dealt from Pittsburgh to Baltimore. Despite his .239 career average, the speedy Stricker was able to score at least 80 runs a year each season from 1887-1891.
Randy Tomlin, pitcher for the 1990-94 Pirates. The Pirates selected him in the 18th round of the 1988 draft out of Liberty University. Tomlin shot through the Pirates minor league system, winning 30 games, with an ERA well below 3.00, making it to the majors 26 months after being drafted. He spent the entire first season with Watertown of the short-season New York-Penn League, where he pitched 103.1 innings in 15 starts, with a 2.18 ERA, five complete games and two shutouts. He skipped to Advanced-A in 1989, going 12-6, 3.25 in 138.2 innings for Salem of the Carolina League, before moving up to Double-A Harrisburg of the Eastern League for five starts at the end of the year. Tomlin allowed just three earned runs over 32 innings after his promotion. He went 9-6, 2.28 in 126.1 innings in Harrisburg in 1990, followed by just eight innings of work in Triple-A Buffalo of the American Association. On August 6, 1990, he made his big league debut. Tomlin went 4-4, 2.55 in 12 starts and 77.2 innings for the Pirates in 1990. He was there early enough to be on the playoff roster, but he did not pitch during that postseason. The following year he made 27 starts for the National League East champs, going 8-7 with a 2.98 ERA in 175 innings, with a career high of 104 strikeouts. Tomlin started game four of the NLCS, giving up two first inning runs before shutting down the Atlanta Braves for the next five innings. He ended up with a no decision, though the Pirates won 3-2.
Tomlin won a career high 14 games (with nine losses) in 1992, as the Pirates won their third straight division title. He had a 3.41 ERA that season and he pitched 208.2 innings, making 33 starts. In the playoffs, he pitched twice in relief, allowing two runs in 2.2 innings. Tomlin ended up with one postseason strikeout in his three games and 8.2 innings pitched. He made just 18 starts in 1993, missing all of June and September. He required elbow surgery after the second time he got hurt. His record fell to 4-8, 4.85 in 98.1 innings that season. He spent half of the strike-shortened 1994 season in the minors with Buffalo, going 2-2, 5.30 in 11 starts. The rest of the season was spent with the Pirates, where he went 0-3, 3.92 in 20.2 innings over four starts and six relief appearances. The Pirates let him go following the 1994 season. Tomlin pitched for the Baltimore Orioles and the San Francisco Giants in Spring Training in 1995, but didn’t pitch again in pro ball until 1996. His career ended in 1997 without making it back to the majors. His last two seasons were split between a short stint in Triple-A with the Boston Red Sox (Pawtucket of the International League), and two independent league teams. He really struggled in 1997 with Duluth-Superior of the Northern League, putting up a 3-10, 6.31 record in 77 innings over 15 starts and a relief appearance. In five seasons with the Pirates, Tomlin went 30-31, 3.43 in 580.1 innings, with 94 starts and 12 relief appearances. He had eight complete games and three shutouts.
Mark Lee, pitcher for the 1980-81 Pirates. He was a 13th round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 1976 out of Pepperdine. It was the third time that he was drafted before signing. The Baltimore Orioles took him twice out of El Camino College, selecting him in the sixth round in 1973 and the ninth round in 1974. After he signed with the Padres, he played for Walla Walla of the short-season Northwest League, where he was 5-3, 3.00 in 54 innings, with 49 strikeouts. He moved all the way up to the Texas League (Double-A) in 1977, where he had a 10-8, 3.74 record in 113 innings for Amarillo. Despite a nice strikeout rate in his first season, he had just 59 strikeouts in 1977. He began 1978 in Triple-A with Hawaii of the Pacific Coast League, though that stay lasted just four scoreless outings. Lee made it to the majors in just under two years of pro ball, debuting on April 23, 1978. He went 5-1, 3.28 in 56 appearances as a rookie, while pitching a total of 85 innings. He had more walks (36) than strikeouts (31), though 13 of his walks were intentional. His ERA rose to 4.29 in 46 games and 65 innings of work during the next season. He had a rough start to the year, and ended up being sent to the minors with a 9.00 ERA in early May, where he stayed for two months. Lee pitched better during the final three months of the season, posting a 3.23 ERA and five saves in 53 innings, but by the start of 1980 he was back in Triple-A.
The Pirates acquired Lee as the player to be named later in an early August trade during that 1980 season. The original deal saw the Pirates get Kurt Bevacqua for Luis Salazar and Rick Lancellotti. Prior to the deal, Lee was 5-5, 4.34 in 58 innings, with 14 saves for Hawaii. He went to Portland of the PCL after being acquired and gave up two runs in nine innings. He would get a September call-up to Pittsburgh, making four appearances out of the bullpen. He allowed three runs over 5.2 innings. He was also a September recall in 1981, posting a 2.75 ERA in 12 games for the Pirates, after putting up a 4.07 ERA and 20 saves in 73 innings with Portland. During Spring Training in 1982, he was sold to the Detroit Tigers. He was released by Detroit on June 9th after posting a 7.25 ERA in 22.1 innings. for Evansville of the Triple-A American Association. Lee then rejoined the Pirates, heading back to their farm club in Portland. He spent that entire 1982 season in Triple-A before retiring from baseball in a peculiar way.
Lee came in to a game for Portland in the ninth inning on August 16th and was asked to get the final three outs. He retired the first two batters, then called the manager out and walked off the mound, throwing the ball, then his hat, then his jersey. He later said that he realized he had no chance of making it with the Pirates after he was designated for reassignment, so he wanted to retire on his own terms and he wanted to strike out the final batter he faced in baseball. When the second batter struck out, he decided to end it there. At the time, he was 0-5, 4.19 in 34.1 innings. Lee finished with a 7-8, 3.64 record in the majors, with one start in his 118 appearances. He had nine saves, including two with the Pirates, and he threw a total of 175.1 innings. There was another pitcher in the majors in the 1980s-90s named Mark Lee, though that one was a lefty.