This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: February 11th, Pirates Trade for a Familiar Hall of Famer

Two former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, as well as one significant trade to mention, plus another transaction with a big name.

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. He 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 he was coming off of a  19-8, 3.54 record in 259.2 innings during the 1927 season, in what turned out to be 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 in 232.2 innings. That year he 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 stint with the team. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1964. He compiled a 270-212, 3.53 record in 4,180 innings. The WAR value for this deal ended up being -0.2 for Aldridge, and 11.2 WAR in two seasons for Grimes.

On this date in 1965, the Pirates acquired veteran catcher Del Crandall from the San Francisco Giants for pitcher Bob Priddy and 1B/OF Bob Burda. Crandall was an All-Star in eight seasons before coming to Pittsburgh. He received MVP votes in seven seasons, and he won four Gold Glove awards. He was just shy of his 35th birthday at the time of the deal, ready to play in his 15th big league season. He hit .231/.309/.328 in 69 games for the 1964 Giants. Priddy was 25 years old at the time of the deal, with minimal MLB experience with the 1962 and 1964 Pirates. Burda was 26 years old, with seven games of big league experience with the 1962 St Louis Cardinals.

Crandall played just one season in Pittsburgh, hitting .214/.288/.271 in 60 games, with 11 runs, four extra-base hits and ten RBIs. He was released shortly after the 1965 season ended, and he played just one more year in the majors. Thanks to his solid defense, he finished with 0.4 WAR. Priddy played seven more seasons in the majors, though some were partial seasons, including 1965, when he allowed two earned runs in 10.1 innings for the Giants. He finished 24-38, 4.00 in 536 innings during his career, which was worth 1.2 WAR. He provided great value for the Giants as a trade piece after the 1966 season, when he was one of two players exchanged for Mike McCormick, who ended up winning the 1967 Cy Young award. Burda hit .143 over 68 games for the 1965-66 Giants. He played seven seasons in the majors, finishing with -1.8 WAR, which was all accumulated after the trade from the Pirates. If not for the trade value of Priddy, the Pirates would have had the slight edge in this deal.

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 1992  after signing, splitting his time between the GCL Pirates and Welland of the short-season New York Penn League. He had a combined .296 average, with 24 runs, six doubles, four homers, 15 RBIs and an .830 OPS in 120 plate appearances. He posted a 12:9 BB/SO ratio that year. He moved to full season ball with Augusta of the Class-A South Atlantic League in 1993, where he hit .271 in 104 games, with 64 runs scored, 18 doubles, six triples, 45 RBIs, 48 walks, 19 stolen bases and a .711 OPS. Despite hitting four homers in a much shorter time as a rookie, he failed to hit a single homer in 1993. He jumped to Double-A Carolina of the Southern League in 1994, where he hit .323 in 112 games, with 69 runs scored, 32 extra-base hits (five homers), 47 RBIs, 24 stolen bases and an .815 OPS. Beamon ranked as the 43rd best prospect in baseball going into the 1995 season. He was in Triple-A with Calgary of the Pacific Coast League that year at age 21. He hit .334 in 118 games, with 74 runs scored, 29 doubles, five triples, five homers, 62 RBIs, 18 stolen bases and an .841 OPS. Despite those strong results, he didn’t get a September call-up, though he was added to the 40-man roster in November. 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, 52 RBIs, 16 steals (in 19 attempts, 55 walks and a .767 OPS. The Pirates called him up in early August that year, and got him into 24 games. He hit .216/.273/.255 in 56 plate appearances, with seven runs, two doubles and six RBIs. 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 68 plate appearances. He finished with five runs, seven doubles and three RBIs. Despite putting up a solid average, he had no homers and two walks, leading to a .632 OPS. More than half of that year was spent with Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League, where he had a .328 average and an .881 OPS in 90 games. He was sent to the Detroit Tigers a month after the 1997 season, as part of a five-player trade. Beamon would play 28 games for the Tigers in 1998, which ended up being his final big league appearance. He broke his collarbone during Spring Training, so his season didn’t start until the end of May. He hit .262/.340/.357 in 48 plate appearances for the Tigers, with four runs, four doubles, two RBIs and five walks. That was better than the .237 average and .638 OPS he had with Triple-A Toledo of the International League. He was released by Detroit in December of 1998. He hit .253 in 95 big league games, with 16 runs, nine doubles, no homers (or triples), 15 RBIs, three steals and 11 walks.

While Beamon’s 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 (Binghamton of the Double-A Eastern League) and Chicago White Sox (Charlotte of the International League). He combined to put up a .243 average and a .653 OPS in 89 games, with most of his time coming with Binghamton. He played independent ball in 2000 with Allentown of the Northern League East, where he put up a 1.010 OPS in 82 games. Beamon then signed his final affiliated deal in 2001, playing in Double-A for the Seattle Mariners with San Antonio of the Texas League, where he had a .657 OPS in 64 games. He then returned to indy ball, where he played for seven different teams over six years. He played for New Jersey of the Northern League East for part of 2001, putting up a .348 average and a .902 OPS in 38 games. The 2002 season was split between Joliet and Sioux Falls of the Northern League Central. He combined to hit .276 in 89 games, with a .685 OPS. Beamon played part of 2003 for Sioux City of the Northern League, while spending the rest of the year with Atlantic City of the Atlantic League. He had a .256 average, and matched his .685 OPS from the previous season, while playing a total of 57 games. Beamon played for Gary of the Northern League in 2004, though he lasted just 17 games, while putting up a .533 OPS. He played 65 games for Elmira in the Canadian-American League in 2005. He finished with a .231/.308/.362 slash line. His final season was spent with Alexandria of the United League Baseball, where he had a .306 average and a .772 OPS in 80 games. His 15-year career saw him put up a combined .293 average and 193 steals in 1,301 games, spread 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 in 58 games, with 20 extra-base hits. He spent part of 1942 back with Williamson, where he had a .349 average and 20 extra-base hits in 65 games. He also played with Asheville of the Class-B Piedmont League, where he hit .204 in 37 games, with five doubles and a triple. After three years in the service, Rice returned to pro ball in 1946. That year 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, where he hit .248 in 120 games, with 42 runs, 21 extra-base hits, 50 RBIs and a .662 OPS. He had a big season back in Rochester for 1948, which earned him his first Major League shot. Rice hit .321 in 146 games for Rochester, with 80 runs, 36 doubles, 13 triples, seven homers, 73 RBIs, 47 walks and an .852 OPS. He began his big league career in September 1948 with the Cardinals, where he hit .323/.364/.484 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/.245/.348 that year, with three runs, four extra-base hits and nine RBIs.

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 had a .310 average and 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. He had 87 runs, 21 doubles, eight triples, 17 homers, 79 RBIs and 67 walks for Rochester that season. His big league time saw him put up 12 runs, six extra-base hits and 11 RBIs. He had 30 extra-base hits and a 1.007 OPS over 54 games for Rochester in 1951, but all he could manage in St Louis was a .254 average and 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 did well. He put up a .288 average in 98 games, with 37 runs, 14 doubles, seven homers, 45 RBIs and a .766 OPS. Rice was with the Cardinals as a backup outfielder in 1953, until they sent him to the Pirates in exchange for longtime Pittsburgh infielder Pete Castiglione on June 14th. 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, where he hit .311/.350/.416, 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/.295/.284 through mid-June, while playing just 28 of the team’s first 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 trade ended up being an even swap.

Rice played with the Cubs through the end of the 1954 season, hitting just .153/.235/.153 in 81 plate appearances over 51 games. That was the end of his big league career. He then finished his pro career with two more years in the minors, retiring at 32 years old in 1956. He played for Los Angeles of the Pacific Coast League in 1955, which was considered to be an Open level at the time, but it was basically Triple-A. He hit .262 that year in 142 games, with 69 runs, 21 doubles, 25 homers, 78 RBIs and a .780 OPS. Rice’s final season was split between three teams, as he saw time with Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League, Richmond of the Triple-A International League, and Denver of the Triple-A American Association. He combined to hit .218 in 116 games, with 49 runs, 23 doubles, 12 homers, 56 RBIs, 60 walks and a .733 OPS. 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. He’s credited with 48 steals in the minors, though that stat is missing from his first two seasons.