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11/29: Terrell Signs; Canny Deal; Adieu Locke, Andy; '21, '65 Shufflin'; Fletcher Flies; Series Shares; Single ASG; HBD Hit Man, Lefty, Ed, Hutch & Little Bill

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  • 1864 – RHP “Little Bill” Sowders was born in Louisville. He pitched two of his three seasons for Pittsburgh from 1889-90, going 9-13/5.39 for the Alleghenys. Bill came from a baseball family. Two of his brothers, John and Len, also played in the big leagues. No clue as to why he was “Little Bill” as Sowders was the middle bro and fair-sized at 6’0”, although a string-bean at 155 pounds. 
Bill Sowders – 1887 Goodwin/Old Judge
  • 1884 – SS Marc “Hutch” Campbell was born in Punxsutawney. He got into his only two MLB games in 1907 with the Pirates as a 22-year-old, going 1-for-4. He had played for Lock Haven University, and after his Pirates stint, played four more years of minor league ball. 
  • 1910 – 2B Ed Leip was born in Trenton, New Jersey. He played three years for the Bucs as a pinch hitter and runner after being purchased from the Senators after his rookie campaign. He didn’t see much action, getting into 21 games w/30 at-bats and hitting .200 from 1940-42 before turning in the flannels for khaki during WW2. 
  • 1931 – LHP Paul “Lefty” Pettit was born in Los Angeles. He pitched for the Bucs in 1951 and again in 1953, going 1-2/7.34. The Bucs signed him in 1950, making him baseball’s first $100,000 bonus baby. He never really got a chance to show his stuff; he injured his arm in 1951. By 1954, it was so painful that he was sent to the Pacific Coast League and switched to the pasture where he showed a nice stick, but he eventually had to shift to first base to spare his sore wing. He retired from pro ball in 1961, becoming a high school teacher and coach. 
  • 1950 – 1B/OF Mike Easler was born in Cleveland. The Hit Man spent six (1977, 1979-83) of his 14 MLB seasons as a Pirate role player with a .302 BA. Fittingly enough, he spent his later years as a hitting coach for a handful of minor league/MLB squads. Mike, btw, is considered to be the Original Hit Man, not Don Mattingly. He picked up the name because of his aggressive style at the plate and his ability to drive the ball to all fields, leading to five .300+ seasons in the show and a .293 career BA. After his coaching days, he’s now living in Vegas. 
Mike Easler – 1983 Topps
  • 1962 – MLB & MLBPA reps agreed to return to a single All-Star Game in 1963. To compensate, the players’ pension fund was given 95% of the proceeds rather than the prior 60% haul from the two-game series. The double-dip Midsummer Classic was in place from 1959-62 (the ASG began in 1933), and it’s stayed a one-game baseball holiday since then. 
  • 1965 – The Pirates made some moves around the edges during the MLB draft. They picked up OF/1B Dave Roberts and C Jesse Gonder to strengthen the left side of their bench. That led to C Del Crandall’s release to clear a 40-man roster spot (he was claimed the same day by the Indians), and the loss of farmhands LHP Frank Carpin & OF Greg Sims (Astros), and C Orlando McFarlane (Tigers). In other news, the team announced that Frank Oceak, released from the Reds staff, would rejoin the Pittsburgh organization in some yet undetermined capacity. Also, newly retired Harvey Haddix was joining Mickey Vernon to become the pitching coach at Vancouver. A month later, the Kitten bailed out of that job and became the PC for Wes Westrum and the Mets. 
  • 1967 – Pittsburgh traded 1B/OF Mike Derrick to Detroit for C Chris Cannizzaro. Pittsburgh kept the light-hitting Cannizzaro (.241) for a season before moving him to San Diego in the middle of his 13-year career while Derrick played one MLB campaign for Boston. 
  • 1979 – You get more than glory when you win a World Series; the Pirates also got a glorious bonus check of $28,263.87 as a full share for their victory. 31 players took the whole enchilada home; three others received fractions of a share and a handful of fringe contributors were voted $250. It was the second-highest amount ever awarded to a winning club (the New York Yankees – Los Angeles Dodgers series the year before had generated more player juice). The Orioles could also afford plenty of beers to cry in with their $22,113,94 runner-up share. 

Jay Bell – 1990 Fleer

  • 1988 – GM Larry Doughty played a sad violin, announcing that the Bucco target to fill a gaping shortstop hole, FA Scott Fletcher, who had hit .276 for Texas during the past season and was the namesake for team owner George Dubya Bush’s pooch, rejected a three-year/$3M deal and re-signed the next day with the Rangers for three-years/$3.5M. It ended up that no move was a good move as Fletcher hit .239 over that contract for Texas and the White Sox. Doughty kept looking and pulled the trigger on a deal with Cleveland to land Jay Bell, who would man the spot for eight years, and also swapped with Seattle to add Rey Quinones to the mix. 
  • 1989 – The Pirates signed eight-year veteran righty Walt Terrell to a $800K deal as a free agent, and he promptly had the worst start of his career, going 2-7/5.88 before the Bucs cut him loose in July. He did go on to finish up a bit more credibly with the Tigers, tossing for them through 1992. 
  • 2010 – The Bucs sent 3B Andy LaRoche outright to Indy; he opted for free agency the following day. Laroche was a key piece of the Jason Bay trade, but hit just .226 in three Pirate seasons. The Bay deal reeled in Laroche, Craig Hansen, Brandon Moss and Bryan Morris, but they never became building blocks for Neal Huntington (although Moss & Morris developed into big league-caliber players). GM Neil Huntington was hoping to maximize the return by dealing Bay at the deadline, but later admitted he probably should have held off until the winter to hold the auction.
  • 2016 – The Pirates DFA’ed LHP Jeff Locke, who had come to Pittsburgh in 2009 as part of the Nate McLouth deal. In his six seasons with the Pirates, the lefty compiled a 35-38/4.41 slash in 644-1/3 IP. He was a 2013 All-Star, but frustratingly inconsistent and put up a 5.44 ERA during the season, although he did go 9-8 and led the team in innings pitched. He was picked up by Miami, was DFA’ed, and tore his labrum in 2017. He hasn’t pitched since. 
Jeff Locke – 2015 Topps Postseason
  • 2021 – Busy day in the office. C Jake Stallings was traded to Miami for RHP Zach Thompson and prospects RHP Kyle Nicolas and OF Connor Scott. He was a popular item thanks to a weak class of FA catchers, and reportedly the Fish outbid the Red Sox for his services. OF Ben Gamel signed a one-year/$1.8M deal in his second arb year with $200K more available in plate appearance bonuses. LHP Jose Quintana was officially added to the roster after earlier inking a one-year/$2M agreement; six-year vet LHP Steven Brault, injured for most of 2021 and up for arb, was DFA’ed to clear roster space. The same scenario played out for 1B Yoshi Tsutsugo, whose previous one-year/$4M deal was made official. Colin Moran was DFA’ed to clear the lefty-1B redundancy. It was a wash salary-wise; Captain Redbeard was projected to earn $4M in his first arb year by MLBTR. So was the Quintana-Brault swap out; Steven was guesstimated to earn $2.2M in arb.


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