This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: March 15th, The Phil Garner and Mike Easler Trades

Two trades of note, plus seven former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date.

The Trades

On this date in 1979, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded minor leaguers George Hill and Martin Rivas to the Boston Red Sox for outfielder Mike Easler. There was also cash involved in the deal, going to Boston. This trade brought back Easler before he could play a game for Boston. He was sold to the Red Sox on October 27, 1978, after spending two years in the Pirates organization. At the time, Easler had already played parts of five seasons in the majors (three with the Houston Astros, one with California Angels) totaling just 57 games. Easler was the ultimate bench player during the 1979 World Series winning season for the Pirates, getting three starts over the entire year, to go along with 52 appearances off of the bench. He had one at-bat in the NLCS and two plate appearances in the World Series. Easler played for the Pirates until the end of the 1983 season, when he would be traded back to the Red Sox for pitcher John Tudor. Easler was a .302/.354/.474 hitter over 549 games with the Pirates, twice batting over .300, including his 1980 season that saw him put up a .338 average and 21 homers. He was an All-Star during the 1981 season.

On this date in 1977, the Pirates and Oakland A’s hooked up for a nine-player deal. The Pirates acquired Phil Garner, Tommy Helms and Chris Batton. They gave up six players, including Tony Armas, a 23-year-old rookie in 1976, who would go on to win two home run crowns and have a productive 13-year career. Also included in the deal was Doc Medich (who the Pirates just gave up three players for prior to the 1976 season), Mitchell Page, Rick Langford, Doug Bair and longtime reliever, Dave Giusti. Garner was the key return for the Pirates, and he was a big part of their 1979 title run, batting .293 in 150 games, with 32 doubles, 76 runs, 59 RBIs and17 stolen bases. He hit .417 in the NLCS and .500 in the World Series. Garner spent five years in Pittsburgh before being traded for Johnny Ray, which turned out to be a great deal.

While Garner really helped the Pirates, they did not win this deal. Helm was released in June, and Batton never played in the majors, so it was basically Garner for six players. Tony Armas alone would have been enough to give up. He had 13.4 WAR in Oakland before they used him as a trade chip in a similar deal to the Pirates bringing in Ray. Garner and Helms had 13.0 WAR combined. That would have been a great deal for both sides. Oakland got seven years out of Mitchell Page, including a huge rookie season that saw him earn 6.1 WAR. He was average after that point, and he finished his career with a short stint with the 1984 Pirates. Langford pitched ten years in Oakland, where he had 11.4 WAR. They would have been much better off keeping him nine years, because his final season was -1.7 WAR. Bair put in one solid season in Oakland before they traded him to the Cincinnati Reds. He eventually returned to the Pirates in 1989. Medich got off to a mediocre start, then was sold mid-season to the Texas Rangers. The Pirates gave up Willie Randolph to get him, along with pitchers Ken Brett and Dock Ellis, who both pitched better than Medich in 1976, so he was part of two bad trades in a short time. Giusti pitched well through August before he was sold to the Chicago Cubs.

The Players

Greg Allen, outfielder for the 2022 Pirates. He was a sixth round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians in 2014 out of San Diego State. He went to Mahoning Valley of the short-season New York-Penn League after signing, where he had a .244 average in 57 games, with 46 runs, ten extra-base hits, 19 RBIs, 30 steals and a .658 OPS. Allen spent the 2015 season with Lake County of the Low-A Midwest League, though he also got in three games with Lynchburg of the High-A Carolina League. He combined to hit .270 in 126 games, with 85 runs, 28 doubles, seven homers, 45 RBIs, 46 steals, 55 walks and a .745 OPS. He played for Lynchburg for a majority of the 2016 season, while also getting in 37 games for Akron of the Eastern League.  He had a .295 average that year in 129 games, putting in similar results with both teams. Allen had 119 runs, 23 doubles, seven triples, seven homers, 44 RBIs, 45 steals, 77 walks and an .830 OPS. He went to the Arizona Fall League after the season, where he hit .269/.380/.449 in 22 games. He spent half of the 2017 season with Akron. He also missed two months in the middle of the season, but still ended up playing 25 games with the Indians, without any Triple-A experience. Allen hit .264/.345/.355 in 71 games with Akron, while batting .229/.282/.343 over 39 plate appearances with the Indians.

Allen spent most of the 2018 season in the majors. He hit .298/.395/.409 in 47 games for Columbus of the Triple-A International League that year. He also hit .257 in 91 games for the Indians, with 36 runs, 16 extra-base hits, 20 RBIs, 21 steals and a .654 OPS. He had almost an identical split between Columbus and Cleveland in 2019. He hit .268/.358/.419 in 48 games for Columbus. He had a .229 average in 89 games for the Indians, with 30 runs, 16 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs, eight steals and a .636 OPS. The shortened 2020 season was split between the Indians and the San Diego Padres, who acquired him in a nine-player trade made on August 31st. He played just one game with the Padres, while getting in 15 games before the deal. Allen hit .154/.281/.308 in 32 plate appearances that year. He was traded to the New York Yankees in January of 2021. He played 73 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2021, hitting .326/.442/.465 during that time. He played 15 games for the Yankees that year, hitting .270/.417/.432 in 48 plate appearances. The Pirates claimed Allen off of waivers in November of 2021. His 2022 season started late due to a hamstring injury, followed by a rehab stint in the minors. He couldn’t get things going for the Pirates, who designated him for assignment in September after he hitting .186/.260/.271 in 46 games, with 17 runs, four doubles, two homers, eight RBIs and eight steals. He became a free agent after the season and signed a minor league deal in January of 2023 with the Boston Red Sox. He’s a career .232 hitter over 282 games, with 103 runs, 30 doubles, ten homers, 67 RBIs and 45 steals.

Sean Poppen, pitcher for the 2021 Pirates. He was a 19th round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins in 2016 at 22 years old out of Harvard. He signed right away, then went to Elizabethton of the short-season Appalachian League, where he went 2-3, 2.97 with 38 strikeouts and a 1.43 WHIP in 36.1 innings over eight starts. He also made four appearances (three starts) for Cedar Rapids of the  Low-A Midwest League, where he had a 2.12 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 appearances. Poppen spent a little more than half of the 2017 season at Cedar Rapids, going 6-2, 2.90 in 87 innings over 14 starts, picking up 81 strikeouts, to go along with a 1.07 WHIP. He also made 11 starts for Fort Myers of the High-A Florida State League, where he posted a 3-2, 3.63 record and a 1.25 WHIP in 52 innings. He had a 2.41 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP and 44 strikeouts in 33.1 innings with Fort Myers during the 2018 season. That was followed by a 5-7, 3.83 record and a 1.23 WHIP in 14 starts and four relief appearances for Chattanooga of the Double-A Southern League. He finished the year with a total of 123 strikeouts in 127.2 innings. The Twins switched Southern League affiliates in 2019 to Pensacola. Poppen had a 4.40 ERA, a 1.64 WHIP and 39 strikeouts in 28.2 innings for the new team. He also spent time with Triple-A Rochester of the International League, where he went 5-1, 3.84 in 61 innings over nine starts and three relief outings. He had 107 strikeouts and a 1.42 WHIP in 89.2 innings that year. The Twins called him up twice in the middle of the season. He allowed seven runs over 8.1 innings in four appearances during that time.

Poppen made six appearances for the Twins during the shortened 2020 season, allowing four runs in 7.2 innings, while striking out ten batters. The Pirates picked him up on waivers on October 1, 2020. He pitched three games for the 2021 Pirates, allowing seven runs (four earned) in 4.2 innings. He also made two appearances with Triple-A Indianapolis, before being sold to the Tampa Bay Rays. Poppen made one appearance with the Rays and retired both batters he faced. The rest of his time there was spent with Triple-A Durham before being lost on waivers to the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 2, 2021. He pitched 20 games in Arizona, posting a 4.67 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 17.1 innings. He had a 2.08 ERA over 34.2 innings in his three minor league stops in 2021. He finished with a 5.16 ERA, 26 strikeouts and a 1.76 WHIP in 22.2 innings over his three big league stops that year. Poppen split the 2022 season between the Diamondbacks and Reno of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He he a 4.62 ERA in 25.1 innings with Reno, where he spent two months in the middle of the season. His time with Arizona that year amounted to a 4.40 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP in 28.2 innings over 29 appearances. Through four big league seasons, he has a 5.08 ERA, a 1.59 WHIP and 67 strikeouts in 67.1 innings.

Steven Jackson, pitcher for the 2009-10 Pirates. He was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks after being taken in the tenth round of the 2004 amateur draft out of Clemson. He had been selected in two previous drafts, taken in the 38th round out of high school by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2000, followed by a 32nd round pick of the Cleveland Indians in 2003 out of Clemson. He debuted in pro ball as a reliever, then moved to the starting rotation for the 2005 season in Low-A. He played for two short-season teams in 2004 after being drafted, seeing time with Missoula of the Pioneer League and Yakima of the Northwest League. Jackson had a 4.28 ERA, a 1.43 WHIP and 26 strikeouts in 33.2 innings over two starts and 14 relief appearances. He had a 10-5, 5.33 record, 89 strikeouts and a 1.65 WHIP in 158.2 innings over 28 starts during his first full year in the minors, spending the year with South Bend of the Low-A Midwest League. Despite that performance, he moved up to Tennessee of the Double-A Southern League in 2006, where he had a 2.65 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 149.2 innings. After posting a winning record with an ERA that was twice as high in 2005, he went 8-11 during that 2006 season. He bumped up his strikeout total that year to 125, which was the only year he reached the century mark in strikeouts. Jackson pitched poorly in the Arizona Fall League after the season, putting up a 7.11 ERA in 19 innings over six starts.

Arizona sent Jackson to the New York Yankees, along with Ross Ohlendorf, as part of the trade for Randy Johnson prior to the 2007 season. Jackson had a 5.40 ERA, 66 strikeouts and a 1.68 WHIP in 90 innings during the 2007 season, splitting the year between Trenton of the Double-A Eastern League and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre of the Triple-A International League. He made 11 starts and 17 relief appearances that season. He attended the Arizona Fall League again that year, where he got roughed up a bit as a reliever in 16 innings of work, posting a 5.63 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP. The 2008 season saw him move back to relief full-time. He once again split the season between Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He didn’t pitch well in Trenton, but he put up a 3.17 ERA in 48.1 innings, with 54 strikeouts while with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He finished the year with 4-3, 4.18 record, a 1.29 WHIP, 91 strikeouts and six saves in 79.2 innings. The Pirates picked up Jackson off of waivers from the Yankees on May 18, 2009, after he posted a 1.88 ERA in 14.1 innings at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He made his big league debut two weeks later, making 40 relief appearances for the Pirates before the 2009 season was over. He had a 2-3, 3.14 record in 43 innings, with a 1.40 WHIP and more walks (22) than strikeouts (21). He actually did poorly during his time with Indianapolis of the Triple-A International League after joining the Pirates, putting up 6.50 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP in 18 innings.

Jackson bounced between Indianapolis and the Pirates in 2010, getting called up four different times during the season. In 11 big league appearances that year, he had an 8.74 ERA and a 2.03 WHIP in 11.1 innings pitched. He went 4-0, 3.51 in 56.1 innings over 41 relief appearances for Indianapolis that year. He was let go by the Pirates after the 2010 season, then signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in March of 2011. Los Angeles released him two months later, after two rough starts for Albuquerque of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, and three poor outings for Chattanooga of the Double-A Southern League. He then signed on with the Cincinnati Reds, who traded him back to the Pirates one month later. Jackson had a 5.59 ERA in ten appearances with Louisville of the International League during his time with the Reds. He had a 5.86 ERA in 39 minor league games in 2011, pitching a total of 63 innings for four different teams. He saw most of his time that year with Indianapolis, where he had a 3.96 ERA in 36.1 innings over 24 relief appearances. That was his last season of pro ball. His final big league totals show a 2-4, 4.31 record in 54.1 innings over 51 games, with a 28:28 BB/SO ratio and a 1.53 WHIP.

Nellie King, pitcher for the 1954-57 Pirates. He was originally signed by the St Louis Cardinals in 1946 at 18 years old, before joining the Pirates farm system two years later. King was cut twice during his first year of pro ball, and he had to go through tryouts to get a third shot in 1947. He played one game for New Iberia of the Class-D Evangeline League in 1946. The next year he played for Geneva of the Class-D Alabama State League, where he went 8-11, 3.06 in 194 innings, with 86 strikeouts and a 1.32 WHIP. He also saw brief time with Anderson of the Class-B Tri-State League that year (no stats available). King had a 20-13, 3.14 record, 152 strikeouts and 1.30 WHIP in 284 innings during his first minor league season with the Pirates affiliates in 1948. He put up that record while pitching back in New Iberia, which was a Boston Red Sox affiliate two years earlier. He also made six appearance and threw 18 innings back with Anderson in 1948, which was also a new affiliate of the Pirates that year. King moved on to York of the Class-B Interstate League in 1949, where he had a 16-15, 2.25 record in 212 innings, with 120 strikeouts and a 1.25 WHIP. The 1950 season saw him reach Double-A New Orleans of the Southern Association for three appearances and eight innings, after going 9-10, 3.41, with a 1.25 WHIP in 145 innings for Charleston of the Class-A South Atlantic League. King spent all of 1951-52 serving in the military during the Korean War. When he returned to pro ball in 1953, he went to a relief role, pitching 50 games (two starts) for Denver of the Class-A Western League. That season he had a 15-3, 2.00 record, a 1.10 WHIP and 87 strikeouts in 99 innings.

King started the 1954 season with the Pirates, but after pitching seven innings over four relief outings, he returned to the minors. Playing back in New Orleans that year, he went 16-5, 2.25, with 66 strikeouts and a 1.08 WHIP in 184 innings. He pitched well at the beginning of the 1955 season with the Pirates, going 1-3, 2.98, with a 1.36 WHIP in 54.1 innings over 17 games (four starts), but once again he finished the season in the minors. King was sent down on June 24th and didn’t return, though he managed to pick up a big league loss four days later when a game from April 24th was resumed after he was already the pitcher of record on the losing side at the time. He played the rest of that season with Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League, which was called an Open level, though it was basically Triple-A. He went 2-3, 3.72 in 58 innings over two starts and 18 relief appearances. King would finally play an entire Major League season in 1956, throwing 60 innings over 38 relief appearances. He went 4-1, 3.15, with 25 strikeouts and a 1.22 WHIP. He also picked up five saves, which was not an official stat at the time. King injured his arm during that 1956 season. Although he pitched all of 1957 with the Pirates, he was forced to retire after the season due to that original arm injury. He was said to be suffering from a dead arm in 1955 as well, but it got worse during the following seasons. In 36 appearances during the 1957 season, he had a 4.50 ERA, a 1.63 WHIP and 23 strikeouts in 52 innings.

King retired with a 7-5, 3.58 record and six saves in 173.1 innings over 95 games (four starts). He compiled 72 strikeouts and a 1.40 WHIP. After his playing days, he became a radio announcer for the Pirates from 1967 until 1975. Before his second career, he got a job in 1958 to be the batting practice pitcher for the Pirates. Back when teams finishing in the top four spots in the division as split postseason money, the Pirates gave King a $100 share of their 1958 money, with full sums of just over $1,500 going to each player, and a half sum went to the batboy. He was mainly referred to as Nelson during his playing days, not Nellie, though any time he signed items, he used Nellie.

Whitey Wietelmann, infielder for the 1947 Pirates. He played eight seasons with the Boston Braves prior to coming to Pittsburgh in a six-player deal on September 30, 1946. That deal also included future Hall of Fame second baseman Billy Herman, who finished his career in 1947 with the Pirates as a player/manager. Unfortunately for the Pirates, they gave up Bob Elliott, who would win the MVP during the 1947 season. Wietelmann wasn’t much of a hitter during his nine-year career in the majors. His highest batting average was .271 in 1945, and his career average prior to coming to the Pirates was .232, with just six homers in 532 games. He had a rough time breaking into the lineup, playing a total of 87 big league games during his first four season, including just 42 starts. He finally got playing time in 1943 when the war opened up roster spots for the players who weren’t drafted.

Wietelmann began pro ball at 18 years old in 1937, starting a 20-year career with Beaver Falls of the Class-D Pennsylvania State Association, where he hit .233 in 88 games, with 20 extra-base hits. He played for Evansville of the Class-B Three-I League in 1938, hitting .242 in 117 games, with 61 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 59 RBIs, 43 walks and a .658 OPS. Wietelmann moved up to Hartford of the Class-A Eastern League in 1939, where he had some troubles at the plate, batting .235 in 141 games, with 22 extra-base hits, giving him a .303 slugging percentage. Despite those results two levels lower than the majors, he debuted with the Braves in early September of 1939, then finished out the year as their everyday shortstop. He batted .203/.225/.217 in 71 plate appearances over 23 games. Wietelmann spent the entire 1940 season in Boston as a seldom-used backup. He didn’t get his first start until September 15th, then made seven starts over the final two weeks of the season. He hit .195/.283/.220, with three runs, a double, an RBI and five walks in 46 plate appearances over 35 games. He split the 1941 season between Hartford and Boston. He didn’t hit well in Hartford, batting .213 in 65 games, with seven doubles and four triples, but that was better than his results with the Braves. He hit .091 in the majors that year, with no extra-base hits and one walk in 16 games, resulting in a .209 OPS.

Wietelmann spent almost all of 1942 with Louisville of the Double-A American Association, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. He had a break out of sorts with the bat, hitting .260 in 133 games, with 69 runs, 21 doubles, three triples, 35 RBIs, 55 walks and a .643 OPS in 133 games. He began the year with the Braves, but after two games without a plate appearance in May, he was sent to the minors until September. When he returned, he hit .206//290/.265 in 11 games for Boston. That total performance was still enough to earn him a full-time job in 1943. Wietelmann started all 153 games at shortstop for the Braves that season, playing all but 20 innings over that entire year. He hit just .215 in 543 at-bats, finishing with 33 runs, 14 doubles, 39 RBIs and a .527 OPS. However, his 2.5 dWAR was the fifth highest total for all National League players that year. He batted .240 over 125 games in 1944, while setting a career high with 18 doubles. He had 46 runs, 32 RBIs, 33 walks, a .602 OPS and his first two big league homers. He wasn’t much of a runner, which showed that year when he went 0-for-7 in stolen bases.

Wietelmann’s .271 average over 123 games in 1945, also came with a career best .683 OPS, as well as career highs with 53 runs scored, 116 hits and four homers. He had 22 extra-base hits, 33 RBIs and 39 walks. Many players returned from the war prior to the 1946 season, leading to less playing time for plenty of players who were in the majors for that entire time holding down their jobs. Wietelmann hit .205 over 44 games in 1946, receiving only 92 plate appearances all season. He had 14 walks, but failed to pick up an extra-base hit, leading to a .531 OPS. After his trade to Pittsburgh during the 1946-47 off-season, Whitey (his first name was William) played 48 games for the Pirates in 1947, seeing time at all four infield positions (shortstop was the position he played the most during his career). He batted .234/.300/.305 for the 1947 Pirates, with 21 runs, six extra-base hits and seven RBIs in 140 plate appearances. Just hours after the last game of the season ended, he was released to Sacramento of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. That would be his last season in the majors, but his playing days were far from done. Wietelmann hit .232 over 580 big league games, with 170 runs, 55 doubles, six triples, seven homers and 122 RBIs. He had a rough time on the bases, going 14-for-33 in steal attempts during his career. He played another nine years in the minors before finally retiring at 37 years old in 1956. His first five years were all spent in the Pacific Coast League, seeing time with three different teams during that stretch. He played a total of 1,990 games in his pro career.

Wietelmann hit .233 over 143 games for Sacramento in 1948, with 64 runs, 22 doubles, eight homers, 43 RBIs, 64 walks and a .658 OPS. He split 149 games during the 1949 season between Sacramento and San Diego. He finished that year with a .240 average, 67 runs, 30 extra-base hits (24 doubles), 37 RBIs and 70 walks. He hit .261 over 138 games for San Diego in 1950, with 65 runs, 18 doubles, two homers, 35 RBIs, 73 walks and a .689 OPS. That was followed by a .262 average for San Diego in 1961, with 53 runs, 25 extra-base hits, 44 RBIs, 72 walks and a .756 OPS. He batted just 31 times over 23 games during the 1962 season with San Diego, but he started to do a bit of mop-up pitching, which led to a different role over the rest of his career. Wietelmann was a player-manager during his last four years of pro ball. While he had moved all the way down to Class-C ball by the end, he would have one huge season on the mound in 1955. He had some previous pitching experience before his mop-up work in San Diego, but he didn’t begin to pitch often until 1953, when he had a 3.47 ERA in 114 innings for Wichita Falls of the Class-B Big State League. He batted .279 that year in 98 games, with 60 runs, 24 doubles, eight homers, 46 RBIs, 57 walks and an .817 OPS. Prior to his big 1955 season on the mound, Wietelmann threw just 34 innings in 1954 for Lincoln of the Class-A Western League. He hit .204/.333/.279 over 65 games that year. He went 21-13, 4.86 in 257.2 innings during the 1955 season for Yuma of the Class-C Arizona-Mexico League. He also had a .791 OPS in 94 games, with 47 runs, 18 extra-base hits and 50 RBIs. Wietelmann finished up his pro career in 1956 with Yuma, posting a .754 OPS in 71 plate appearances, while going 9-7, 5.74 in 138 innings. He pitched four times in relief in the majors with Boston, giving up 14 runs in 7.2 innings.

Fred Bennett, outfielder for the 1931 Pirates. Prior to joining Pittsburgh, he had just seven games of Major League experience for the 1928 St Louis Browns. Bennett was a great minor league hitter, who never got a full chance in the majors. His lowest batting average over his first six seasons in the minors was .345, which he reached during each of his first two seasons. He wasn’t just a singles hitter though. He he combined to hit 153 homers during the 1925-29 seasons. His minor league stats are somewhat limited, with stats like runs, RBIs, walks and OPS unavailable for almost every year. Bennett debuted with Muskogee of the Class-C Western Association at 22 years old in 1924, where he played his first 2 1/2 seasons. Along with his .345 average in 1924, he had 26 extra-base hits in 48 games. He batted .345 in 149 games during the 1925 season, with 45 doubles, seven triples and 32 homers. He split the 1926 season between Muskogee (87 games) and Tulsa of the Class-A Western League (69 games), combining to hit .366 in 156 games, with 48 doubles, 13 triples and 38 homers. Bennett had a .385 average over 153 games for Tulsa in 1927, with 234 hits, 55 doubles, 14 triples and 21 homers. It was a high offense league/team, with all but one regular hitting over .300 that year. Six players had over 50 extra-base hits. After his brief stint with the Browns, in which he got no starts and two hits in eight plate appearances, he returned to Tulsa for the rest of the season. He hit .371 in 136 games that year, with 28 doubles, five triples and 35 homers. Bennett spent all of 1929 with Wichita Falls of the Class-A Texas League, hitting .368 in 154 games, with 203 hits, 39 doubles, 11 triples and 27 homers.

The 1930 season helped Bennett earn a job for the following year with the Pirates, though it was actually well below his norm. He was playing at the top level of the minor league system for the first time that year, spending the first half of the season with Milwaukee of the Double-A American Association (the Triple-A level came along in 1946). He hit .302 in 92 games, with 23 doubles, seven triples and four homers. There was some controversy over Bennett’s signing with the Pirates that ended in a court case with commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis. During July of the 1930 season, Landis ruled that the Browns farmed Bennett out too many times without asking waivers on him, so he became a free agent immediately, which ended his season early with Milwaukee. However, he couldn’t sign with any team until the suit was settled. He didn’t officially join the Pirates until the second week of the 1931 season, signing a deal immediately after the case was settled on April 25th. The Browns appealed the decision, but Bennett debuted with the Pirates just three days later as a pinch-hitter. He sat the bench for almost all of late April and May in 1931, before getting more time in June, making his first start on June 2nd. He collected a total of seven hits against the New York Giants in consecutive games on June 10th-11th. He ended up playing 32 games for the 1931 Pirates before being released outright to Fort Worth of the Texas League on July 29th. Bennett hit .281/.333/.371 for the Pirates, with six runs, five doubles, a homer, seven RBIs and seven walks in 97 plate appearances. That would end up being his last season in the majors. He batted .281 with Fort Worth in limited time after departing the Pirates, then finished the year with Newark of the Double-A International League, where he hit .357 in 17 games. He had seven doubles and three homers in 99 minor league at-bats that year.

Bennett played minor league ball until 1939, finishing with a career .342 average over 1,369 games. He finished his pro career at 37 years old playing Class-D ball, which would be the same as playing for a short-season team now, five levels below the majors. He moved around a lot after leaving the Pirates, seeing time with 12 teams in seven years, and that doesn’t include the 1936-37 seasons when he wasn’t playing pro ball. Bennett split the 1932 season between Reading and Buffalo of the International League, hitting .324 in 94 games, with 26 doubles and 11 homers. He played briefly for Buffalo in 1933, as well as seeing brief time with Jersey City of the International League, and 97 games for Dallas of the Texas League. He combined to hit .325 in 112 games, with 25 doubles, three triples and seven homers. He dropped down to a .263 average for Dallas in 1934, finishing with 21 doubles, four triples and six homers in 102 games. His time in 1935 was limited to a .179 average over 14 games for Little Rock of the Class-A Southern Association before being released in early May. There’s no record of him in 1936, , before making a comeback in 1938 with Marshall of the East Texas League, though that lasted just six games. He then he played for two other teams during the season, seeing brief time with Nashville of the Southern Association, before settling in with Greenwood of the Class-C Cotton States League, where he hit .340 in 95 games, with 70 runs, 31 extra-base hits, 70 RBIs and a .933 OPS. He finished up with two games for Richmond of the Class-B Piedmont League in 1939, as well as 17 games that year for Kannapolis of the Class-D North Carolina State League. His listed nickname now is “Red”, but he had the nickname “Powerhouse” during part of his time in the minors.

Bill Hallman, outfielder for the 1906-07 Pirates. He had played two previous seasons in the majors prior to joining the Pirates, 1901 for the Milwaukee Brewers and 1903 for the Chicago White Sox. Hallman debuted in pro ball in 1894 at 18 years old, playing for two different teams in the Pennsylvania State League (Easton and Philadelphia), though he’s credited with playing one game for each team. He tried his hand at pitching during the 1895 season, going 16-13, 2.95 in 256 innings for Portsmouth of the Class-B Virginia League. He also hit .250 in 66 games that year, with 35 runs and ten extra-base hits. He was a pitcher for part of 1896 as well, posting a 2-7 record while throwing 72 innings that year, before taking up outfield full-time. Hallman pitched just three games during his final 18 seasons of pro ball. He played 96 games in 1896, split between Portsmouth and Petersburg/Hampton of the Virginia League. His stats are incomplete, but in 96 games he’s credited with a .244 average, 60 runs, 17 extra-base hits and 19 steals. He played for Reading of the Class-B Atlantic League and Bloomsburg of the Class-F Central Pennsylvania League during the 1897 season. The only stats available show him going 1-for-7 in two games with Reading. The following year was split between Newark of the Atlantic League and Canandaigua of the New York State League. There are no stats available for the 1898 season. Hallman bounced around a lot during his first five seasons of pro ball, before settling down with Utica of the New York State League in 1899, where he hit .299 in 116 games, with 62 runs, 41 extra-base hits and 36 steals.

Hallman ended up with the Milwaukee Brewers of the American League in 1900, the year before the league reached Major League status. It was a Class-A league in 1900, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. He batted .219 for Milwaukee that year, with 13 runs scored, four doubles and two steals in 29 games. Part of that 1900 season was also spent Sioux City of the Class-B Western League, though no stats are available. Hallman remained with the Brewers in 1901, where he hit .246 during his rookie season in the majors, with 70 runs, 27 doubles, 47 RBIs, 41 walks and a .629 OPS in 139 games. The Milwaukee franchise moved to St Louis (Browns) after just one season, but Hallman stayed in town, playing minor league ball for Milwaukee of the American Association, where he hit .324 in 1902, with 190 hits and 40 extra-base hits in 143 games. That earned him his second look in the majors, playing for the 1903 Chicago White Sox. Hallman batted .208 in 63 games for Chicago, with 29 runs, seven doubles, four triples, 18 RBIs, 11 steals, 31 walks and a .600 OPS. He was back in the American Association in 1904, where he put up a .307 average and 35 extra-base hits in 143 games for the Louisville Colonels. He stayed with Louisville for all of 1905 and most of 1906. He batted .280 over 123 games in 1905, with 11 doubles and five triples, resulting in a .325 slugging percentage. In 147 games with Louisville in 1906, he had a .343 batting average, 196 hits, 22 doubles, 11 triples and one homer. The Pirates purchased his contract on August 17th, though he didn’t join them until his minor league season was over three weeks later.  Over the last 23 games of the 1906 season with the Pirates, Hallman hit .270/.375/.360 in 105 plate appearances with 12 runs, five extra-base hits, six RBIs and 15 walks. He split his playing time over all three outfielder positions in 1907, getting into 94 total games. He hit .222 that year, with 39 runs, eight extra-base hits, 15 RBIs, 21 stolen bases, 33 walks and a .560 OPS. Off-season conditioning was apparently a major issue, and it was thought that the added weight kept his performance down.

Hallman was returned to the American Association in 1908, playing for the Kansas City Blues, which started a stretch of seven more years in the minors before he retired as a player. Those first five years saw him play with four American Association teams, including Toledo, Indianapolis and back to Louisville. He played for Montgomery of the Class-A Southern Association for part of 1912, and then his final two years were spent with Bridgeport of the Class-B Eastern Association. He hit .218 over 144 games for Kansas City in 1908, with 62 runs, 20 extra-base hits and 32 steals. Hallman batted .264 over 153 games for Kansas City in 1909, collecting 71 runs, 24 extra-base hits and 22 steals. He split 1910 between Kansas City and Toledo, batting .279 in 148 games, with 13 doubles and three triples. The 1911 season was split between Toledo and Indianapolis. He hit .306 in 136 games, with 19 doubles, seven triples and four homers. The 1912 season was split between Indianapolis and Louisville. He also played 21 games for Montgomery that year. Hallman batted .250 in 69 games, with two doubles and three triples. He hit .261 over 50 games with Bridgeport in 1913, finishing with six doubles and a homer. In his final season in 1914 at 38 years old, he batted .400 in 125 games, with 70 runs, 25 doubles, two triples and 26 steals. Hallman played a total of 18 years in the minors. He batted .235 in his 319 Major League games, including a .233 average in his 117 games with the Pirates. Over his four seasons, he had 150 runs scored, 43 doubles, 13 triples, three homers, 86 RBIs and 47 steals. His uncle, also named Bill Hallman, played 14 seasons in the majors, with a pro career that stretched from 1886 until 1909. They were both in the American League for a short time in 1901. On April 29th, they were on opposing sides, with the elder starting at shortstop for the Cleveland Blues, while the nephew was in left field for the Brewers.