This Date in Pirates History: April 9

On this date in 1930, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded away Hall of Fame pitcher, Burleigh Grimes, to the Boston Braves in exchange for veteran pitcher Percy Jones and cash. It was the second time they had traded away Grimes. The Pirates had reacquired Burleigh in February 1928 in a trade covered here. In 1928, Grimes led the NL in wins(25) innings pitched(330.2) complete games(28) and shutouts with four. He went 17-7 3.13 in 232.2 innings in 1929. Grimes was 36 years old at the time of the trade while Jones was 30 years old. Percy had pitched eight season in the majors prior to 1930. In 1929 he went 7-15 4.64 for the last place Braves. The year before, he had a 10-6 4.03 record for the Cubs.

This trade didn’t work out well for the Pirates except for the cash part of the deal. Grimes wasn’t a star pitcher anymore, but Jones lasted just two months in Pittsburgh and never pitched in the majors again. In nine games, two as a starter, he went 0-1 6.63 in 19 innings. Grimes lasted another five years, although he had just two good seasons left in him. He won 16 games in 1930, then 17 the next year but was 12-23 the last three season. The last eight games of his career were spent with the Pirates in 1934. The Braves only got three wins from Grimes before they shipped him to the Cardinals for two pitchers in June of 1930.

Only one former player born on this date:

Claude Passeau(1909) Pitcher for the Pirates on September 29,1935. He pitched four seasons in the minors before making his major league debut for the Pirates on the last day of the 1935 season. Claude had pitched for Des Moines of the Western League that year, going 20-11 in 244 innings. The Pittsburgh paper at the time referred to him in the game recap and boxscore as Passo, saying he also goes by the name Passeau. The 6″3 righty lasted just three innings before he was chased from the game. He took the loss, allowing seven hits, four runs, two walks and he struck out one batter. Shortly after the season ended, the Pirates traded him, along with catcher Earl Grace, to the Philadelphia Phillies for catcher Al Todd. The deal would not work out well for the Pirates as Passeau had 162 wins in his career, including ten straight seasons with double digit win totals. He ranks sixth among pitchers in most wins after leaving the Pirates. The leader in that category is the aforementioned Burleigh Grimes.

On this date in 2001, the Pirates opened up PNC Park against the Cincinnati Reds. They had spent the last thirty-one seasons playing their home games at Three Rivers Stadium. The Pirates had opened the season by going 3-3 on the road before coming home for their season opener in Pittsburgh. On that Monday afternoon, 36,954 fans showed up to see the Pirates lose to the Cincinnati Reds by an 8-2 score. Chris Reitsma and three relievers shutdown the Pirates that day. Pittsburgh would win their first game at the new stadium two nights later, coming back from 3-0 and 5-3 deficits to win 6-5. The mood wasn’t all festive before the game, earlier that day Willie Stargell had passed away at age 61.

The Pirates lineup that day was:

Adrian Brown CF

Derek Bell RF

Jason Kendall C

Brian Giles LF

Aramis Ramirez 3B

Kevin Young 1B

Pat Meares 2B

Jack Wilson SS

Todd Ritchie P

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About John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.
  • jfredland

    For a more pleasant April 9 game memory…

    The correlation between a season opener and the rest of the year is usually low.  Consider the Pirates’ stirring performances in Game One of the 2007-11 seasons, or Dennis Martinez one-hitting the 96-win 1991 Bucs at Three Rivers on opening night.  Sometimes, however, an opener does fit within the season’s storyline, like when Pirate fans threw promotional flags on the field after a multiple-error play on opening night of the 58-win 1995 season.

    April 9, 1990 was such an opener, but in a happier sense.  With the season pushed back a week because of a lockout, the Pirates opened in Shea Stadium on a Monday afternoon.  Both teams had followed their 1-2 finish in 1988 with disappointing 1989 campaigns, but this was still one of the better rivalries in the game.  And the Dwight Gooden-Doug Drabek pitching matchup was one of the better pairings that an NL East game would feature at that time.

    The Pirates came out that day and, as Nuke LaLoosh might say, “announced their presence with authority.”  Shelling Gooden and six relievers for 17 hits, the Bucs rolled to an impressive 12-3 victory.  Andy Van Slyke led the attack with two home runs and a double, and the 2-3-4 hitters (Jay Bell, Van Slyke, Bobby Bonilla) combined for nine hits in 18 at-bats.  Van Slyke and Bonilla punctuated the victory with back-to-back home runs in the ninth inning.  Jose Lind added another three hits from the #8 position.

    Drabek, most likely limited by the lockout-caused cancellation of almost all of spring training, came out after five innings and 88 pitches, and four Pirate relievers held the Mets to just one hit and one walk over the last four innings.

    The rest of the 1990 season would not be free of struggles for the Pirates, but they eventually held off the Mets in September and earned their first NL East title in 11 seasons.  By then, the season-opening victory in Flushing seemed a harbinger of the success that followed it.

    Here’s the box score:

    Here’s the Pittsburgh Press’ account of the game: