This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: June 9th, Dave Parker, Bill Virdon and Julio Gotay

Three former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, plus one trade of note.

The Trade

On this date in 1935, the Pirates traded pitcher Jack Salveson to the Chicago White Sox for outfielder Bud Hafey. The Pirates were getting a 22-year-old, who had just two games of Major League experience, both as a pinch-runner. Despite the young age, Hafey actually had five seasons in at the minor league level already. He played four season in the Double-A Pacific Coast League (highest level of the minors at the time), making his debut at age 17 with the Mission Reds. At the time of the deal, he was in the Double-A International League, where he had a .230 average in 25 games, with ten extra-base hits (six homers) in 25 games. Salveson was 21 years old, with parts of three seasons in at the majors. He went 3-3, 3.65 in 69 innings for the 1933-34 Giants, before coming to the Pirates in a trade for veteran pitcher Leon Chagnon in December of 1934. At the time of the deal, Salveson had pitched five games in relief for the Pirates, allowing 12 runs over seven innings.

Salveson pitched 20 games for the 1935 White Sox, posting a 1-2, 4.86 record in 66.2 innings. He then went to the minors for seven seasons, before finally returning to the big leagues in 1943 with the Cleveland Indians. He got a wartime job and missed the 1944 season, then returned to the Indians during the middle of the 1945 season. Salveson only won nine Major League games, but he was a much better pitcher than that fact would indicate. He spent 18 seasons pitching in the minors, playing the last 15 in the Pacific Coast League, where he won 204 games. Many star players of the day, especially ones who were from the west coast, chose to play in the Pacific Coast League over the Major Leagues, which never expanded west of the St Louis during the early years of the league. Some of the better players actually made more money in the Pacific Coast League, so they never left the league, making it a closer second talent-wise to the majors than your average Triple-A (now)/Double-A (then) league.

Hafey played two years for the Pirates, though his bat never came around. He hit .222/.284/.397 in 97 games over the 1935-36 season, before being traded traded in December of 1937 to the St Louis Cardinals. The Pirates got him back the next July, although he was in the minors until being dealt to the Cincinnati Reds for three players in July of 1939. He played his last 24 big league games during that 1939 season. He got into 123 Major League games total, which was 45 more than his brother Tom, but well short of what his cousin Chick Hafey accomplished en route to his Hall of Fame career.

The Players

Dave Parker, outfielder for the 1973-83 Pirates. He was a seven-time All-Star during his 19-year Major League career. He also won three Gold Glove awards, three Silver Sluggers, and he was named the National League MVP in 1978. Parker was drafted in the 14th round out of high school by the Pirates in 1970. He did well in his pro debut in the Gulf Coast League at 19 years old, batting .314 in 61 games, with 34 runs, 17 extra-base hits, 41 RBIs and an .802 OPS. He moved up to A-Ball the next year, where he did great for Monroe of the Western Carolinas League. He finished his time there with a .358 average, 49 runs, 16 doubles, 11 homers, 48 RBIs, a .972 OPS and 18 steals (in 19 attempts) over 71 games. The Pirates aggressively pushed him to Waterbury of the Double-A Eastern League that season, where he hit .228 in 30 games, with no homers, one steal and a .585 OPS. Parker played for Salem of the Class-A Carolina League in 1972, where he hit .310 in 135 games, with 91 runs, 30 doubles, 22 homers, 101 RBIs, an .866 OPS and 38 stolen bases in 45 attempts. He skipped right over Double-A in 1973, hitting .317 in 84 games for Charleston of the Triple-A International League, with 44 runs, 20 doubles, nine homers, 57 RBIs and an .871 OPS. The Pirates called him up in July, and he never returned to the minors. Parker hit .288 in 54 games for the 1973 Pirates, with 17 runs, nine doubles, four homers, 14 RBIs and a .761 OPS. Despite the high average, he had just two walks in 144 plate appearances, limiting him to a .308 OBP.

Parker was a platoon player in 1974, when he batted .282 in 73 games, with 27 runs, ten doubles, four homers, 29 RBIs and a .731 OPS. He started just three games against left-handed pitchers that season, but the Pirates gave him a full-time role the next year and he proved his worth. Parker became a star in Pittsburgh in 1975, when he hit .308 in 148 games, with 75 runs, 35 doubles, ten triples, 25 homers, 101 RBIs and an .898 OPS. He led the league in slugging, while finishing third in the National League MVP voting. However, he had his struggles in the postseason, which carried over from the previous year. In the 1974-75 NLCS series combined, Parker went 1-for-18 with a single and a walk. He hit .313 in 1976, with 82 runs, 28 doubles, ten triples, 13 homers, 90 RBIs, 19 steals and an .824 OPS, which earned him mild MVP support, finishing 20th in the voting. He led the NL with 215 hits, 44 doubles and a .338 average during the 1977 season. He hit 21 homers, drove in 88 runs and he scored 107 runs, his first of three straight seasons with 100+ runs. His .927 OPS was a career best to that point, which he would soon top. Parker did well on the bases in 1976 (19-for-26 in attempts), but he was thrown out stealing in 19 of his 36 attempts in 1977. He made his first All-Star appearance in 1977, while also winning his first Gold Glove. He finished third in the MVP voting.

Parker won back-to-back batting crowns with his .334 average in 1978. He hit 32 doubles, 12 triples, 30 homers, stole 20 bases, drove in 117 runs and scored 102 runs. He led the league with a .585 slugging percentage and a career best .979 OPS. He won his second Gold Glove and he was named as the NL MVP. Despite that great season, he wasn’t part of the All-Star game. That was because he was injured in a home plate collision on June 30th, which kept him out of action until after the All-Star break was over, though he still played 148 games that season. During the 1979 season, he set career highs with 109 runs scored and 45 doubles, while also stealing 20 bases in 24 attempts. Those stats went along with a .310 average, 25 homers, 94 RBIs and a .906 OPS. Parker broke his postseason drought, hitting .333 in the NLCS and .345 during the World Series. He finished tenth in the MVP voting that year, while making his second All-Star appearance.

Parker hit .295 in 1980, with 71 runs, 31 doubles, 17 homers, 79 RBIs and a .785 OPS in 139 games, while participating in his third All-Star game. He hit .258 during the strike-shortened 1981 season, with 29 runs, 14 doubles, nine homers, 48 RBIs and a .742 OPS in 67 games. He was elected to the All-Star game for a third straight year. That was followed up by playing just 73 games in 1982, when he had a .270 average, with 41 runs, 19 doubles, six homers, 29 RBIs and a .776 OPS. Between the 1981-82 seasons, he had four separate injuries that cost him playing time. Parker hit .279 in 1983, with 68 runs, 29 doubles, 12 homers, 69 RBIs and a .722 OPS in 144 games. He reached the end of a five-year contract at the close of the 1983 season, then signed a free agent deal with the Cincinnati Reds in 1984.

Parker hit .285 during his first season in Cincinnati, with 73 runs, 28 doubles, 16 homers, 94 RBIs and a .738 OPS in 156 games. He then followed that up with a huge year. He batted .312 in 1985, with career highs of 34 homers and 125 RBIs in 160 games. He led the National in RBIs, doubles (42) and total bases (350), which helped earn him his first Silver Slugger award, his fifth All-Star appearance and a second place finish in the MVP voting. His .916 OPS that year was his third best career season behind his 1977-78 seasons with the Pirates. Parker hit .273 in 1986, with 89 runs, 31 doubles, 31 homers, 116 RBIs and an .807 OPS, earning him another Silver Slugger, another All-Star appearance, and a fifth place finish in the MVP voting. He played all 162 games that season. His OPS that year was his second highest mark over his final 12 seasons in the majors. He led the league that year with 304 total bases. In his final season with the Reds, he hit .253 in 153 games, with 77 runs, 28 doubles, 26 homers, 97 RBIs and a .744 OPS. Despite previous health issues, Parker played in all but 17 games over his four years in Cincinnati.

Parker was traded to the Oakland A’s after the 1987 season. He helped Oakland get to the World Series during both of his seasons with the team. Playing mostly as a DH, he hit .257 in 1988, with 43 runs, 18 doubles, 12 homers, 55 RBIs and a .720 OPS in 101 games. He then batted .264 in 1989, with 56 runs, 27 doubles, 22 homers, 97 RBIs and a .741 OPS in 144 games. He homered three times in the playoffs, as the A’s won the World Series title in 1989. He signed as a free agent with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1990, where he had a .289 average, to go along with 71 runs, 30 doubles, 21 homers, 92 RBIs and a .781 OPS in 157 games. He won his third Silver Slugger award, made his final All-Star appearance, and even received some mild MVP support, finishing 11th in the voting. The Brewers traded him to the California Angels during Spring Training in 1991. Parker batted .232 that year for the Angels, with 45 runs, 22 doubles, 11 homers, 56 RBIs and a .638 OPS in 119 games, before being released in September. He signed with the Toronto Blue Jays a week later, where he played his final 13 big league games. He had a .333 average and an .844 OPS in 40 plate appearances, helping Toronto to a playoff appearance.

Parker finished his career with a .290 average, 339 homers and 1,493 RBIs, to go along with 1,272 runs scored, 2,712 hits, 526 doubles and 154 steals. Despite the strong stats and numerous awards and recognitions during his career, Parker never garnered serious Hall of Fame consideration from the BBWAA. The highest he finished was with 24.5% of the votes in his second year on the ballot, which is well below the 75% needed to gain induction. While with Pittsburgh, he hit .305 in 1,301 games, with 166 homers and 758 RBIs. He is sixth in team history in homers, ninth in slugging and tenth in RBIs. He finished with 40.1 career WAR, which is fringe Hall of Fame material. He compiled 34.8 of that WAR while with the Pirates, which is the 14th best total among position players in team history (18th best overall). His 1977 season was his best on defense (2.0 dWAR) and earned him his first Gold Glove, but the rest of his career was well below average, resulting it a career -14.8 dWAR. He had a strong arm, compiling 143 assists, but he also made a lot of errors (142 total), leading all National League outfielders in errors five times. He still has a chance to make the Hall of Fame through the Veteran’s Committee, which has put in similar players to his overall value recently.

Bill Virdon, outfielder for the 1956-65 and 1968 Pirates. He spent four seasons in the minors for the New York Yankees before being traded to the St Louis Cardinals. Virdon debuted in pro ball in 1950 at 19 years old. He hit .268 that year, with 45 extra-base hits in 119 games for Independence of the Class-D Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League. He also hit .342 over 14 games that year for Kansas City of the Triple-A American Association, just one step below the majors, and five levels higher than Class-D. Despite that brief success at a high level, he wasn’t on the fast track to the majors. Virdon played for Norfolk of the Class-B Piedmont League in 1951, three levels lower than the American Association. He hit .286 that year, with 91 runs, 30 extra-base hits, 48 RBIs, 73 walks and a .761 OPS in 118 games. He moved up one level in 1952, playing for Binghamton of the Class-A Eastern League, where he hit .261 in 122 games, with 13 doubles, nine triples and two homers. The 1953 season saw him play for Birmingham of the Double-A Southern Association, while also seeing time back with Kansas City. He combined to hit .261 in 137 games that season, with 78 runs, 35 extra-base hits, 39 RBIs, ten stolen bases, 51 walks and a .711 OPS.

Virdon was traded to the Cardinals prior to the 1954 season. He played the year at Rochester of the Triple-A International League, where he batted .333 in 139 games, with 85 runs, 28 doubles, 11 triples, 22 homers, 98 RBIs and a .948 OPS. Virdon made the Cardinals Opening Day roster in 1955, then had a solid year that earned him some hardware. He batted .281 in 144 games, with 58 runs, 18 doubles, six triples, 17 homers, 68 RBIs and a .755 OPS. After winning the Rookie of the Year award in 1955, the Cardinals traded Virdon to the Pirates just 24 games into the 1956 season. He was hitting .211/.269/.324 at the time, with ten runs, two homers and nine RBIs. The Pirates gave up two players to acquire him, Bobby Del Greco and Dick Littlefield, but it turned out to be a great deal. He served as the everyday center fielder for the Pirates for ten straight seasons, playing strong defense, combined with a decent bat. Virdon would bat .334/.374/.462 over the final 133 games of the season with the Pirates. He finished the year with 77 runs, 23 doubles, ten triples, 46 RBIs and a career high ten homers. His .806 OPS that season was also the highest of his career. He received mild MVP support for the only time in his career, finishing 18th in the voting.

Virdon hit .251 in 1957, with 59 runs, career highs of 28 doubles and 11 triples, along with eight homers, 50 RBIs and a .675 OPS in 144 games. He played 144 games in 1958 as well, putting up a .267 average, with 75 runs, 24 doubles, 11 triples, nine homers, 52 walks and a .712 OPS. The 144-game mark was popular for Virdon, who ended up with the same number of games for three straight seasons (1957-59). He had a .254 average and a .684 OPS in 1959, finishing with 67 runs, 24 doubles, eight homers, 41 RBIs and a career high 55 walks. Virdon hit .264 over 120 games during the 1960 season, with 60 runs, 16 doubles, nine triples, eight homers and 40 RBIs. His .732 OPS was his highest in a full season with the Pirates. He then batted .241/.267/.345 during the World Series, collecting two runs, three doubles and five RBIs, helping the Pirates to their third title.

Virdon batted .260 in 1961, with 81 runs, 22 doubles, eight triples, nine homers, 58 RBIs and a .682 OPS in 146 games. He led the National League with ten triples during the 1962 season, while winning his only Gold Glove award. He also set a career high that year with 82 runs scored, to go along with his .247 average, 27 doubles, six homers, 47 RBIs and a .631 OPS. He was never a huge stolen base threat, and didn’t run often most years, but he attempted 18 steals during that 1962 season, Unfortunately for Virdon, he led the league with 13 caught stealing. He hit .269 in 1963, with 58 runs, 36 extra-base hits, 53 RBIs and a .695 OPS in 142 games. He then had his toughest season at the plate in 1964, when he finished with a .585 OPS in 145 games. He batted .243 that year, with 59 runs, 17 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs and 30 walks. He bounced back a bit in 1965, hitting .279 in 135 games, with 58 runs, 31 extra-base hits, 24 RBIs and a .692 OPS. The Pirates ended up releasing him after the 1965 season. He retired from playing, though he got into six more big league games for the 1968 Pirates, after they ran low on players in July. He batted just three times during that final stint, and his lone hit was a homer.

Virdon spent a total of 12 seasons in the majors. He was a career .267 hitter in 1,583 games, with 735 runs scored, 1,596 hits, 237 doubles, 81 triples, 91 homers and 502 RBIs. He is 11th all-time on the Pirates games played list with 1,415, four games ahead of Hall of Fame shortstop Arky Vaughan, and one spot behind Hall of Fame outfielder Fred Clarke. He led National League center fielders in fielding three different times with the Pirates. He took up coach after his playing days, though his last six games as a player in 1968 came after he began his coaching career. Virdon had a 163-128 record as the Pirates manager during the 1972-73 seasons. He managed 1,918 Major League games total with the Pirates, New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Montreal Expos, going to the playoffs three times, while winning 995 games. He also served as a bench coach with the Pirates in the 1980s, plus he appeared as a special instructor during Spring Training up until 2021. He passed away at the age of 90 on November 23, 2021.

Julio Gotay, infielder for the 1963-64 Pirates. He came to the Pirates in the November 1962 trade that sent Dick Groat to the St Louis Cardinals. Gotay signed with St Louis in 1957 at 18 years old out of Puerto Rico. He made the majors just three years later. He didn’t have the strongest debut in pro ball though, hitting just .229 over 52 games in the lowest level of the minors in 1957 (Class-D), splitting the year between Whytheville of the Appalachian League and Daytona Beach of the Florida State League. Despite the low average, he had 36 runs, nine doubles, seven homers, 37 RBIs and a .702 OPS. He took just one year to put himself on the prospect map. Moving up one level to Class-C ball in 1958, he hit .323 in 115 games for Winnipeg of the Northern League, finishing the year with 96 runs, 23 doubles, 24 homers, 95 RBIs, 17 steals, 57 walks and a .975 OPS. Gotay jumped over two levels in 1959 to Tulsa of the Double-A Texas League. He batted .284 that year in 124 games, with 88 runs, 11 doubles, 17 homers and 64 RBIs. His .772 OPS was 203 points lower than the previous season.

The 1960 season was split between Tulsa, Rochester of the Triple-A International League, and three big league games with the Cardinals, after joining the club in August. He did much better in Tulsa than he did in Rochester, hitting for a .302 average and 13 homers at the lower level, while batting  .224/.284/.295 in 49 games with Rochester. Gotay batted .307 over 115 games at Triple-A in 1961 with San Juan/Charleston of the International League. He had 61 runs, 25 extra-base hits, 39 RBIs, 17 steals and a .788 OPS. He spent a brief time with the Cardinals in June, getting into ten games over an eight-day span due to three doubleheaders. He batted .244/.292/.333 during that brief stint, with four doubles and five RBIs. Gotay played just 13 games with the Cardinals between 1960-61, before playing full-time in 1962. He hit .255 that year, with 47 runs, 15 extra- base hits, 27 RBIs, seven steals and a .625 OPS in 127 games, with 120 games played at shortstop. He was sent to Pittsburgh in a four-player deal after the 1962 season. In addition to Gotay, the Pirates acquired pitcher Don Cardwell in the deal for Dick Groat, while also giving up reliever Diomedes Olivo.

Gotay would be on the Pirates bench to start 1963, and that is where he stayed for the better part of the first month, as Dick Schofield and Bill Mazeroski manned the middle infield positions everyday. Gotay was sent to the minors in May, where he hit .250/.326/.417 in 30 games with Columbus of the International League. He played four games with the Pirates that year, and he batted just twice. A knee injury limited him to 34 total games that season. He would hit well in Spring Training during the 1964 season, but he received just three pinch-hit at-bats during the regular season, before being sent to Columbus again. He batted .277/.311/.427 in 85 games for Columbus. The Pirates traded Gotay to the California Angels for outfielder Bob Perry early in 1965. While Perry never played in the majors again, Gotay played parts of five more seasons in the big leagues, the last four with the Houston Astros. He batted .247/.284/.338 in 82 plate appearances over 40 games for the 1965 Angels. Part of the year was spent with Seattle of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, where he had a .311 average and a .758 OPS in 48 games. He then spent the first half of 1966 in the minors, before being traded to Houston on June 27th for a minor league player. The Astros had him up for just four games in 1966, but he saw significant bench time over the next two seasons. He split 88 games during the 1966 season between Seattle and Oklahoma City of the Pacific Coast League, hitting for a .302 average, with 37 runs, 23 extra-base hits and 38 RBIs. He went 0-for-5 during his big league stint.

Gotay batted .282 over 77 games in 1967, making a total of 52 starts around the infield. He had 30 runs, 14 extra-base hits, 15 RBIs and a .697 OPS. Despite the playing time, he still spent about two months in the minors, where he had a .711 OPS over 46 games with Oklahoma City. He hit .248 in 75 games for the 1968 Astros, with all 35 of his starts coming at second base. He had nine runs, four extra-base hits, 11 RBIs and a .555 OPS. He spent the entire season in the majors, though he played/started less often than the previous season. Gotay started just 11 games of his 46 games in 1969, when he batted .259/.318/.321 in 88 plate appearances. He only played ten games with Oklahoma City that year, so most of the season was spent on the big league bench. Gotay finished his Major League career with a .260 average, 106 runs scored, 38 doubles, six homers, 70 RBIs and 12 steals in 389 games, spread out over ten seasons. He spent his last two years of pro ball (1970-71) in the minors, playing a total of 998 games down on the farm over 13 seasons. He had a .279 average and a .690 OPS over 85 games for Oklahoma City in 1970. He finished up back in Tulsa for the first time in 11 years, though this time the team was in the Triple-A American Association. It was still an affiliate of the Cardinals. Gotay did well that year, hitting .302/.384/.375 over 90 games. His time with the Pirates was limited to seven games (all off of the bench), and he played in the field just once for two innings at second base. His nephew Ruben Gotay spent four seasons in the majors, seeing time with three different teams.