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11/19 From 1960: Chico, Groat Dealt; BB - '90 MVP; Housecleaning; Buc Bucks; Mickey Moves Up; Starg Honored; HBD Jonathan

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  • 1960 - Mickey Vernon was plucked from Danny Murtaugh’s staff to become coach of the expansion Washington Senators. It was a homecoming for Mickey, who had played 14 years in DC and won a pair of batting crowns as a Senator. He managed there from 1961-63, with a career record of 135–227. He returned to coach for the Pirates in 1964 and was a baseball nomad afterward, coaching for St. Louis, Los Angeles, Montreal and the Yankees. He managed at the AAA and AA levels of the minor leagues and served as a batting instructor in the Royals and Yankees’ farm systems before retiring from baseball. 
  • 1962 – Dick Groat was traded with P Diomedes Olivo to the St. Louis Cardinals for P Don Cardwell and IF Julio Gotay. Groat played five more years, making two All-Star teams, finishing second in the MVP vote in 1963, and won another World Series. Traded as part of a Joe Brown youth movement, Groat anticipated the deal, but wasn’t happy about it – he was born in Wilkinsburg – and didn’t associate with the team again until a 1990 reunion of the ‘60 champs.
Pittsburgh Press November 20, 1979
  • 1979 - Willie Stargell was recognized as a “Good Guy” at a luncheon in the Hilton by Gordon’s Gin Company, which presented him with a $10,000 check to fight Sickle Cell Anemia and sponsored a 12-city tour to raise funds and awareness to battle the disease. Among the speakers at his soiree were Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy and Pittsburgh Mayor Dick Caligiuri. Willie had his wife Delores with him; that seemed only fair, as it was their 13th wedding anniversary. 
  • 1982 – LHP Jonathan Sanchez was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. The lefty was a non-roster invite to camp in 2013 but when the team headed north, he had landed the #4 spot in the rotation. But what happened in Florida stayed in Florida in his case – he was rocked for seven HR in 13-⅔ IP (0-3/11.85) and after his appeal of a six-day suspension for hitting Allen Craig was denied in late April, he was done in Pittsburgh and MLB. Sanchez had a strong 2010 campaign for the Giants but couldn’t follow up during his final three seasons, giving up 124 ERs in 180 IP on 187 hits, of which 27 left the yard, and 127 walks. He has since signed minor league deals with the Dodgers, Cubs, Reds and Royals, last pitching in the US in 2014, and was last found tossing in Mexico in 2019. 
  • 1986 – Pirates president Malcolm Prine refused to divulge how much the Pirates had lost during the year, just saying that it was “…less than in the prior period…” when the Galbreaths owned the club, citing an ongoing audit. However, the Pirates reportedly lost $8M in 1985 and $10M in 1986, which was a big deal. The Bucs were under their first year of public-private ownership and started the year with $24M to play with from the investors; if the team burned through that before five years were up, the TRS lease could be invalidated and the team would be free to move on to greener pastures. Spoiler alert: they would somehow muddle through. 
  • 1990 – LF Barry Bonds won the NL-MVP in a runaway by taking the top spot on 23 of the 24 ballots cast to best teammate and runner-up Bobby Bonilla (.280/32/120). Bonds hit .301 with 23 HR, 114 RBI, and 52 stolen bases. The All-Star duo led the Pirates to 95 wins and a first place finish in the NL East, but Pittsburgh lost to the Cincinnati Reds in the NLCS. His victory gave the Pirates a clean sweep of the top NL individual honors, though, with MVP Bonds, Cy Young winner Doug Drabek and Manager of the Year Jimmy Leyland. 
Chico – 1993 Upper Deck
  • 1992 – The Pirates traded 2B Jose Lind to the KC Royals for LHP Dennis Moeller and RHP Joel Johnston. Chico was beset with personal problems and was out of baseball after the 1995 season. Johnston, once the Royals top prospect, had a solid 1993 season (2-4-2/3.38) but quickly faded and tossed his last MLB game in 1995; Moeller made 10 appearances in Pittsburgh (1-0/9.92) and those were his last big league outings. 
  • 2004 - The Pirates released vet IF Abraham Nunez along with OF JJ Davis (who was eventually traded to Washington), OF Tony Alvarez and 1B Carlos Garcia. They added seven youngsters to the 40-man: OF’s Nate McLouth, Rajai Davis & Chris Duffy; P’s Jeff Miller, Leo Nunez and Matt Peterson, and 1B Brad “Big Country” Eldred. They had earlier released pitcher Nelson Figueroa while hurlers Jason Boyd, Mark Corey, Jim Mann & Pat Mahomes all became free agents. 
  • 2010 – The Pirates DFA’ed LHP Zach Duke, 3B Andy LaRoche and IF Delwin Young to clear 40-man roster space for pitchers Michael Crotta, Jeff Locke, Kyle McPherson, Tony Watson and Daniel Moskos.


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