One major trade and five former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date.
On this date in 1979, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded pitcher Jerry Reuss to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitcher Rick Rhoden. Reuss was a 29-year-old starting pitcher with ten season in the majors at the time of the trade, the last five with the Pirates. He won 48 games between the 1974-76 season, but his last two years with Pittsburgh weren’t up to previous standards. He went 10-13, 4.11 over 208 innings in 1977, and then pitched only 82.2 innings in 1978. He had a 4.90 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP that year. He had shoulder problems in 1978, and was unhappy about his role for 1979, so he asked for a trade. Rhoden was a 25-year-old, with a 42-24, 3.40 record in 118 games (91 as a starter) over three full and two partial seasons in Los Angeles.
Rhoden got off to a slow start with the Pirates, needing shoulder surgery in 1979 after just one outing. He finally came back healthy for an entire season in 1981, then won 72 games over his six full seasons in Pittsburgh. He ended up going 79-73, 3.51 in 1,448 innings for the Pirates. After the 1986 season, the Pirates traded Rhoden to the New York Yankees in a six-player deal that brought a young Doug Drabek back to Pittsburgh. The trade worked out just as well for the Dodgers, as they got 86 wins and 1,407 innings pitched out of Reuss over nine seasons. He made five starts during the 1981 playoffs, the last one being a complete game win over the Yankees in game five of the World Series, which was won by the Dodgers. As far as value by WAR, the Pirates got 20.5 out of Rhoden in eight seasons (includes his one game in 1979), while the Dodgers got 18.4 out of Reuss in nine seasons, making it a fairly even deal, though the Dodgers got nothing by releasing Reuss, while Rhoden brought back a Cy Young winner.
Hoy Park, infielder/outfielder for the 2021-22 Pirates. The New York Yankees signed him as an 18-year-old amateur free agent out of South Korea on July 2, 2014. He debuted in the minors in 2015 with Pulaski of the short-season Appalachian League, where he hit .239/.351/.383 in 56 games, with 48 runs, 19 extra-base hits, 30 RBIs and 12 steals. Hoy spent the 2016 season with Charleston of the Low-A South Atlantic League. He had a .225 average in 116 games, with 60 runs, 15 doubles, 12 triples, 34 RBIs, 32 steals, 67 walks and a .665 OPS. He split 2017 between Charleston (86 games) and Tampa of the High-A Florida State League (24 games), putting up slightly better results at the lower level. He combined for a .251 average in 110 games, with 73 runs, 25 extra-base hits, 35 RBIs, 25 steals, 52 walks and a .707 OPS. Hoy spent the entire 2018 season with Tampa, where he batted .258 in 103 games, with 46 runs, 17 extra-base hits, 34 RBIs, 18 steals, 68 walks and a .736 OPS. He had a .272 average in 113 games for Trenton of the Double-A Eastern League in 2019. That year he finished with 60 runs, 29 extra-base hits, 41 RBIs, 20 steals, 57 walks and a .734 OPS. He did not play during the 2020 shortened season.
Hoy played some in Double-A in 2021 (Somerset), some in Triple-A (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre) and one game for the Yankees, before the Pirates acquired him at the trade deadline in a two-for-one deal for Clay Holmes. Park played briefly for Triple-A Indianapolis with the Pirates, but he spent most of the final two months in the majors. He had a .290/.441/.491 slash line in 66 minor league games that year. He batted .197/.299/.339 over 148 plate appearances in 44 games for the Pirates, finishing with 16 runs, ten extra-base hits and 14 RBIs. Hoy split the 2022 season between the Pirates and Indianapolis, getting called up multiple times throughout the year. He hit .216/.276/.373 during his big league time, getting 60 plate appearances over 23 games. He had a .225 average and a .687 OPS in 89 games with Indianapolis. He was designated for assignment after the season, then traded to the Boston Red Sox for a minor league pitcher (Inmer Lobo). The Red Sox traded him three weeks later to the Atlanta Braves in a three-team deal. Hoy hit .202/.293/.348 in 67 games for the Pirates, while seeing playing time at second base, third base, shortstop and all three outfield spots.
Bobby Del Greco, outfielder for the Pirates in 1952 and 1956. He was a Pittsburgh, Pa. native, who signed with the Pirates as an amateur free agent at 17 years old in 1950. He had a quiet debut season playing for Salisbury of the Class-D North Carolina State League, where he batted .251 in 64 games, with 12 extra-base hits in 183 at-bats. He hit .302 in 1951, with 88 runs, 37 doubles, six triples, four homers, 68 RBIs, 17 steals, 83 walks and an .862 OPS in 123 games for the Hutchinson Elks of the Class-C Western Association. The Pirates brought him up to the majors to start the 1952 season. He played 90 times in center field that year (99 games total), hitting .217/.301/.279 in 385 plate appearances, with 34 runs, 17 extra-base hits, 20 RBIs and 38 walks. The Pirates finished that season with a 42-112 record. Del Greco spent six weeks of the season (August/September) playing for Toronto of the Triple-A International League, before returning to the Pirates for the last two weeks of the season. He had a .312 average and a .967 OPS over 27 games during that minor league time. He spent the next three seasons in the minors before making the Pirates Opening Day roster in 1956. He played the entire 1953 season for Toronto, where he hit .237 in 129 games, though his 74 walks gave him a .372 OBP. He had 64 runs, 15 doubles, ten triples, six homers, 48 RBIs and nine steals, while finishing with a .749 OPS. The 1954 season was spent with three different affiliates of the Pirates. He struggled with the two upper level teams, New Orleans of the Double-A Southern Association and Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League (considered to be an Open level, but basically Triple-A). He did well for Williamsport of the Class-A Eastern League, putting up a .308/.410/.462 slash line in limited time. He combined to hit .244 in 93 games, with 42 runs, 20 extra-base hits, 31 RBIs, 40 walks and a .712 OPS.
Del Greco spent the entire 1955 season with Hollywood, hitting .287 in 159 games, with 86 runs, 43 extra-base hits, 73 RBIs, 21 stolen bases, 70 walks and an .835 OPS, leading to his return to Pittsburgh in 1956. He played just 14 games for the 1956 Pirates prior to being traded to the St Louis Cardinals in mid-May, along with pitcher Dick Littlefield, in exchange for young center fielder Bill Virdon. Del Greco hit .200/.304/.500 before the trade, with four runs, two homers and three RBIs. He was a regular for the Cardinals immediately after the trade, but he played a total of 40 Major League games over the next three years. He finished off the 1956 season by hitting .215/. 308/.344 in 102 games for the Cardinals, with 29 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 18 RBIs and 32 walks. The Cardinals traded him to the Chicago Cubs in April of 1957. Del Greco split the 1957 season between the Cubs and New York Yankees, hitting .234/.390/.277 in 28 games. He ended up playing 123 games for Montreal of the International League that season, where he put up a .276 average, 66 runs, 39 extra-base hits, 49 RBIs, 70 walks and an .807 OPS. The Yankees used him sparingly off of the bench in April/May of 1958, giving him six plate appearances in 12 games. He spent the rest of the year with Richmond of the International League, posting a .268 average in 100 games, with 53 runs, 30 extra-base hits, 45 RBIs, 44 walks and a .796 OPS. He played for his fourth International League team in 1959, after being purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies from the Yankees. He hit .286 for Buffalo that year, with 109 runs, 48 doubles, 21 homers, 72 RBIs, 88 walks and an .898 OPS in 152 games. That performance proved that he was ready to be a regular contributor in the majors.
After spending all of 1959 in the minors, Del Greco was a regular with the Kansas City A’s and Philadelphia Phillies from 1960-63, playing at least 100 games each season. He never hit for a high average, but due to a strong walk rate and a little power, he managed to put up a solid OPS with the 1960 Phillies and the 1962 A’s. He hit just .237 over 100 games in 1960, but it came with 48 runs, 16 doubles, four triples, ten homers, 26 RBIs and 54 walks, leading to a .772 OPS. He batted.259 in 1961, with five doubles and two homers in 41 games for the Phillies, before being traded to the A’s. He hit .230 in 74 games for the 1961 A’s, finishing with 34 runs, 20 extra-base hits and 30 walks. He had a combined .239 average and a .685 OPS in 115 games that year. Del Greco played a career high 132 games in 1962, hitting for a .254 average, with 61 runs, 21 doubles, nine homers, 38 RBIs, 49 walks and a .772 OPS. He slumped with the A’s in 1963, batting .212 over 121 games, with 40 runs, 16 extra-base hits, 29 RBIs and 40 walks, leading to a .631 OPS. He spent the 1964 season back with Toronto, where he hit .255 in 134 games, with 74 runs, 19 doubles, 17 homers, 65 RBIs, 97 walks and an .852 OPS. After spending all of 1964 in the minors, Del Greco got into another eight games to start the season with the 1965 Phillies, which ended up being his last season in the majors. He went 0-for-4 at the plate during that stint, then spent the rest of the year with Arkansas of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, where he had a .264 average and an .851 OPS in 120 games. He had 78 runs, 26 doubles, 16 homers, 68 RBIs and 73 walks. His pro career ended the next year when he split the 1966 season between two Pacific Coast League teams (Indianapolis and San Diego). He hit .248 over 138 games that year, with 56 runs, 29 extra-base hits, 46 RBIs and 67 walks. Del Greco played 731 games over nine seasons in the majors, finishing up with a .229 average, 271 runs scored, 95 doubles, 42 homers, 169 RBIs and 271 walks. He played over 2,000 games during his 17 seasons of pro ball.
Jack Ferry, pitcher for the 1910-13 Pirates. He was the first graduate of Seton Hall University to play in the Major Leagues since John Hayes in 1876. Ferry debuted in pro ball in 1909 at 22 years old, seeing limited time with the Jersey City Skeeters of the Class-A Eastern League (highest level of the minors at the time). He had a 1-5 record in seven games, with an 0.95 WHIP in 38 innings that season. He was purchased by the Pirates in August 1910 from Jersey City, after putting up an 8-11 record and a 1.12 WHIP in 203 innings. His ERA isn’t available, but it’s known that he allowed 3.55 runs per nine innings. Owner Barney Dreyfuss went to see Ferry pitch on the recommendation of scout Bill Murray, then completed to deal to sign him on August 15th. Ferry was supposed to finish the season with Jersey City, but the Pirates sent for him on August 31st. He made three starts and three relief appearances for the 1910 Pirates, posting a 2.32 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP in 31 innings. The 1911 season was his best in the majors. Ferry went 6-4, 3.15 in eight starts and 18 relief appearances, pitching a total of 85.2 innings. He had a 1.28 WHIP and a 27:32 BB/SO ratio. He gave up ten hits and a walk in a complete game shutout on August 8th, as the Pirates beat the Philadelphia Phillies 13-0 that day. He pitched just 11 games in 1912, including three starts. He had a 1.44 WHIP and a 23:10 BB/SO ratio, although his record didn’t show those issues, as he went 2-0, 3.00 in 39 innings. Ferry allowed four runs while recording just one out in his season debut on May 4th, then pitched a total of five innings over the next 3 1/2 months. When he finally got a chance to pitch somewhat regularly at the end of the season, he responded with a 2.18 ERA in 33 innings. That included a complete game shutout of the Cincinnati Reds on August 31st.
Ferry was used only four times in relief early in 1913, before he was sent to the minors. He never returned to the big leagues. He allowed three runs over five innings during his final big league time. He finished up the 1913 season by winning 14 games and throwing 224.2 innings for Columbus of the Double-A American Association (highest level of the minors at the time). That inning total was despite him not joining the team until being released to them by the Pirates on June 14th. At the time of his departure, the local Pittsburgh papers quoted multiple sources who said that Ferry had the greatest curveball in the game at the time, but his problem was stamina related and he wasn’t strong enough to pitch deep into games regularly. There was also word that the Pirates would get a player back from Columbus for Ferry, which eventually turned out to be veteran pitcher George McQuillan. In the end, the Pirates also had to give up pitcher Eddie Eayrs and outfielder Fred Kommers to get McQuillan.
Ferry spent the 1914-15 seasons in Columbus, before he finished his playing career in 1916 with the Shreveport Gassers of the Class-B Texas League and Springfield of the Class-B Eastern League. He is credited online with pitching briefly for Columbus of the Nebraska State League in 1914, but those stats belong to a pitcher named Guy Ferry. Jack Ferry had an 8-8, 3.83 record and a 1.44 WHIP over 138.2 innings in 1914. That was followed by a 7-11, 2.68 record and a 1.36 WHIP over 157.2 innings in 1915. Columbus released him in early March of 1916, then he went to training camp with Richmond of the Double-A International League, before they released him in early May. His 1916 stats with Shreveport are limited. They show him with a 5-5 record in 13 games. He pitched just a few games for Springfield later that season, in what said to be a favor for manager John Flynn, who was his teammate with the 1910-11 Pirates. Ferry was a player/manager for a semi-pro in his hometown of Pittsfield, MA. during the 1917 season, then a player for the team in 1918. He went 10-6, 3.02 record in 160.2 innings over 47 games (14 starts) during his time with the Pirates. His brother Alfred “Cy” Ferry, pitched two seasons (1904-05) in the American League.
Art Weaver, catcher for the 1903 Pirates. Weaver began his pro career in 1901, splitting the season between Omaha of the Class-A Western League (highest level of the minors at the time) and Cedar Rapids of the Class-D Three-I League, where he had a .228 average in 108 games. There are no stats available for his time in Omaha. He remained in Cedar Rapids (then a Class-B level) in 1902, hitting .278 in 118 games. He made his Major League debut for the St Louis Cardinals that September. He batted .182/.206/.242 in his 11 late season games, with two runs, two doubles and three RBIs. He was purchased by Pittsburgh from the St Louis Cardinals in June of 1903, after hitting .245/.302/.245 in 16 games as their backup catcher. He would play 11 games behind the plate and five games at first base for the 1903 Pirates. The Pirates acquired him on June 3, 1903, to help replace injured catcher Harry Smith. Weaver joined the club on June 4th, but he didn’t play his first game until June 26th, when he took over for starter Ed Phelps late in a one-sided loss. When Phelps was injured on a slide late in the first game of a doubleheader on July 4th, Weaver took over for the rest of the day. Just two days later, he was starting at first base for five games in a row when the Pirates were down to eight healthy position players for a short time. He was with the team until the end of the season, but did not participate in the first modern World Series. The Pirates let him go home for the winter on September 26th (at his own request), after the final regular season game. He played just two games after August 10th, catching the second game of doubleheaders on September 19th and September 21st, with both games being limited to six innings, after both were called early on account of darkness. Weaver hit .229/.260/.271 in 16 games for the Pirates, with eight runs and three RBIs.
Weaver was released by the Pirates on February 20, 1904. It was said at the time that he would play with the Chicago Cubs, who only had one catcher on their payroll at the time. He ended up spending the season in the minors playing for Minneapolis of the Class-A American Association, where he hit .245 in 106 games, with 14 doubles, one triple and no homers. Weaver’s next big league experience was 28 games for the 1905 St Louis Browns. He made the team on Opening Day, but he ended up back in the American Association with Minneapolis and Indianapolis to finish the season. He had a rough time in St Louis at the plate, batting .120/.129/.163 in 95 plate appearances. He batted .241 during his minor league time that year, collecting three doubles and one triple in 57 games. Weaver played 20 games for Indianapolis in 1906, and another 110 games Terre Haute of the Class-B Central League. He had a .247 average that year, with 12 doubles and four triples. He played for his hometown Wichita Jobbers of the Class-C Western Association in 1907. He hit .280 in 119 games that year (only stats available). That performance led to another shot at the majors, when he went to Spring Training trying to win a job with the 1908 Chicago White Sox. Weaver played 15 games for the 1908 White Sox, doing just slightly better than his previous big league stints. He batting .200/.222/.229 in 37 plate appearances. He debuted in early June that year, then played his final game in early September. Almost all of his playing time came during a three-week stretch in July. That ended up being his final season in the majors. He played a total of 11 seasons in the minors, finishing his pro career in 1914.
Weaver played for five different teams during his final six seasons in the minors, though he never played for more than one team in any season. He was with Wichita of the Western League in 1909, where he had a .280 average in 88 games, with seven doubles, three triples and two homers. He moved on to Denver of the Western League in 1910, where he batted .256 over 69 games, with five doubles, four triples and a homer. His online stats are missing 1911 when he had two separate stints with Denver. He had to leave the team early in the season due to asthma, which was said to hamper his play in the majors at times. He returned to Denver as a backup later in the year (no stats are available for the season). Weaver spent his last three years in the Class-D Union Association. He had a .355 average in 67 games for Salt Lake City in 1912. He batted .252 in 77 games for Great Falls in 1913, with 11 doubles and three triples. His final season in 1914 saw him hit .314 for Boise, with 28 runs, 13 doubles, three triples and eight steals in 54 games. He is currently listed as being 6’1″, but there were claims at the time (circa 1903) that he was over 6’2″, and he was the tallest player in baseball. Despite the height, he was listed at 160 pounds. That slim frame showed in his power, with just three homers (all in the minors) credited to him in over 1,000 pro games. While I couldn’t find it referenced in online newspapers, he is said to have had the nickname “Six O’Clock” because of his tall skinny frame looking like the hands on a clock at six o’clock.
John Ganzel, first baseman for the 1898 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball with New Castle of the Class-C Interstate League in 1896 at 22 years old. No stats are available from that year, but that season earned him a promotion of two levels in 1897 to play for the Grand Rapids Bob-o-links of the Class-A Western League, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. That year he hit .322 in 125 games, with 87 runs, 25 doubles, ten triples, eight homers and seven steals. Two seasons after making his pro debut, he made his Major League debut with the 1898 Pirates. The Pirates purchased his contract on September 15, 1897, on the same day they acquired Sam Leever, one of the greatest pitchers in team history. Ganzel’s stay with the Pirates wasn’t long. He was sold to the Detroit Tigers of the Western League a month into the schedule. Ganzel hit .133/.220/.133 in 45 at-bats for Pittsburgh, although he struck out just one time in 50 plate appearances. He had five runs, six singles and four walks. When he was released to Detroit on May 27th, the local papers noted that he was hampered by a Spring Training injury, but he could return to the Pirates in 1899. On September 25th, it was noted that he was rejoining the team with 12 games left. It was said a week later that Detroit paid $600 to acquire him, with the understanding that the Pirates could buy him back for $400 at the end of the season. They purchased him back, though he never played for them at the end of the year. The Pirates acquired Jimmy Slagle and Jimmy Williams from Kansas City of the Western League at the end of the 1898 season, as part of a deal in which they agreed to send three players back to Kansas City. Ganzel was eventually named as one of those three players, along with pitcher Charlie Hastings and young infielder Jesse Hoffmeister. Ganzel batted .313 over 75 games with Detroit in 1898, finishing with 35 runs, nine doubles, five triples, one homer and four steals.
Ganzel stayed with Kansas City until May of 1900, when he made it back to the majors with the Chicago Orphans (Cubs), coming to the team in a trade for three players. Season stats are unavailable for the Western League in 1899. Ganzel played 22 games for Kansas City in 1900, putting up a .391 average and 11 extra-base hits. He batted .275 for Chicago that year, with 29 runs, 22 extra-base hits, 32 RBIs and a .710 OPS in 78 games. The Cubs sent him to the New York Giants in a three-for-one deal in January of 1901, with Jack Doyle going back to Chicago. Ganzel hit .215 for the 1901 Giants, with 42 runs, 18 extra-base hits, 66 RBIs and a .518 OPS in 138 games (out of 141 team games). That was his only season with the Giants, then he returned to the minors for the 1902 season. He had a .366 average in 1902, with 37 doubles, 15 triples and seven homers in 124 games with Louisville of the Class-A American Association. He ended up back in New York with the Highlanders in the rival American League after his strong minor league season. Ganzel had his best season in the majors in 1903. He put up a .277 average in 129 games that year, with 62 runs, 35 extra-base hits, 71 RBIs and a .714 OPS. He batted .260 for the 1904 Highlanders, with 50 runs, 32 extra-base hits and 48 RBIs in 130 games, finishing with a .686 OPS. Ganzel spent the next two years as a player-manager for Grand Rapids of the Class-B Central League, before making it back to the majors again. His stats are limited from that time. They show that he collected 47 hits over 55 games in 1905. That was followed by a .323 average in 1906, with 27 doubles, 11 triples and 13 homers in 138 games. That performance earned him a job with the Cincinnati Reds.
Ganzel batted .254 for the 1907 Reds, with 61 runs, 38 extra-base hits, 64 RBIs and a .660 OPS in 145 games. He led the National League that year with 16 triples. Ganzel managed the Reds in 1908. He also played 112 games that year, finishing with a .250 average, 32 runs, 27 extra-base hits, 53 RBIs and a .639 OPS. His only other big league managerial job was with the Brooklyn Tip-Tops of the Federal League in 1915, when he took over at the end of the year and led them to a 17-18 record during his tenure at the helm. Ganzel also spent another 14 seasons managing in the minors. After leaving the Reds in 1909, he was a player-manager for two seasons with Rochester of the Class-A Eastern League. He had a .305 average and 34 extra-base hits (30 doubles) in 119 games during the 1909 season. That was his last year seeing regular playing time. He batted .225 over 29 games in 1910, collecting three doubles. He remained with the Rochester through early 1915, but only played during the 1912 season, when he went 5-for-12 at the plate in 11 games, with no extra-base hits. Ganzel is credited online with playing for two Class-D teams in 1914, but he was with Rochester all season. Those stats belong to a player named Wes Ganzel. John Ganzel played his last minor league game at age 44 in 1918 with Kansas City of the American Association. He managed his last game 21 years later. In seven big league seasons, he hit .251 in 747 games, with 281 runs, 104 doubles, 50 triples, 18 homers, 336 RBIs and 48 stolen bases. He had a brother Charlie, who played 14 seasons in the majors, and a nephew named Foster “Babe” Ganzel, who played two years (1927-28) for the Washington Senators.