10th anniversary: the Brian Giles trade

Today marks the 10th anniversary of a trade featuring several notable players. On Aug. 26, 2003, the Padres and Pirates engaged in a four-player deal that sent Oliver Perez, Jason Bay, and player to be named later (Corey Stewart) to the Pirates in exchange for Brian Giles.

Stewart was a minor leaguer who never made it to the show. The other three all could claim to be a star at one point or another.

At the time of the trade, Giles was the big name. He was, after all, the “one” in this three-for-one trade. A corner outfielder, Giles had first come up with the Indians in the mid-1990s, when they were utterly loaded with talent. As a result, Giles often was buried and in the background, but when given a chance, he proved he could hit. Cleveland flipped him to the Pirates in the 1998-99 offseason for reliever Ricardo Rincon, and Giles immediately made the Indians looks stupid for that one.

In his first year in Pittsburgh, Giles smashed 39 homers while hitting .315 and drawing 95 walks. Power, average, plate discipline—he could do it all. It was the first of four straight years with at least 35 homers for Giles, and he hit .298 or better each year while averaging over 100 walks a season. From 1999 through 2002, only Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa were better offensive forces in the NL.

But in 2003, Giles’ game turned south. While he still hit around .300 with plenty of walks, by late August he had just 16 homers. Now 32 years old, the Pirates figured it was time to unload him while he still had value.

The Padres, despite being well out of any pennant race and on their way to a 64-98 finish, were more than happy to get Giles.

Pittsburgh needed pitching, and San Diego had Perez, a 21-year-old hurler with a lively arm who was in the midst of a disappointing season with a 5.38 ERA. The Pirates needed another major league-ready player to even out the trade, and since losing Giles opening up a hole in their outfielder, the Padres also sent along Bay. At the time, Bay was a prospect who was a month from turning 25 years old but had played in just three big league games.

The trade turned out to be a great one for the Pirates and a terrible one for San Diego.

To be fair, Giles remained a solid offensive force. He posted a pair of .300 seasons and once led the league in walks. But in six-plus seasons, Giles hit just .279, with a homer every 10 games. His slow start in 2003 was the beginning of the end.

Meanwhile, Bay took off for the Pirates. In fact, he largely replicated Giles’ performances for the team, with about 30 homers a year, hitting around .300, with 90-100 walks a year. It wasn’t quite as good as Giles had been, but it was closer to Giles’ peak, than post-trade Giles was.

Had Bay been the only thing that came to Pittsburgh, this trade would’ve been an easy win for them, but Perez did well for them, too. In 2004, Perez went 12-10 for the 72-89 Pirates with a 2.89 ERA. He became just the second pitcher in franchise history to fan over 200 batters in a year, with 239. He soon blew his arm out and didn’t recover until he left town, but he at least had that one year.

To be fair, Giles lasted longer with San Diego than either Bay or Perez did in Pittsburgh, and park factors make Giles appear worse than he was, but any way you slice it, this trade worked out better for Pittsburgh, and this trade took place 10 years ago today.

Aside from that, many other events in baseball history today celebrate their anniversaries or “day-versaries” (which is something that happened X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim.

Day-versaries

1,000 days since the Dodgers trade Ryan Theriot to the Cardinals.

2,000 days since the A’s sign a pair of aging shortstops: Nomar Garciaparra and Orlando Cabrera.

4,000 days since Steve Finley gets his 2,000th hit.

4,000 days since Brandon Phillips makes his major league debut.

4,000 days since the U.S. Senate passes a resolution honoring Ernie Harwell.

5,000 days since Seattle signs amateur free agent Kaz Sasaki.

8,000 days since a Dodgers win pushes Tommy Lasorda’s career win-loss record 178 games over .500 (1,277-1,099), his all-time peak.

8,000 days since Oil Can Boyd appears in his last game.

10,000 days since Bobby Witt appears in his major league debut.

15,000 days since Dick Allen hits two inside- the- park home runs in one game, something no major leaguer had done since 1950. Both come against young pitcher Bert Blyleven.

Anniversaries

1873 Chick Fraser, pitcher, is born.

1879 Star outfielder Paul Hines gets six hits in a 10-inning game.

1884 Dick Burns, pitcher with an unfortunate name, throws a no-hitter, winning 3-1.

1891 An 18-year-old John McGraw makes his big league debut as an infielder.

1892 Jesse Barnes is born. He’ll lead the 1919 NL with 25 wins, and then won another 20 in 1920.

1894 Sparky Adams, infielder, is born.

1909 Cuban Giants second baseman William Bedford dies at age 23 after being hit by a bolt of lightning while playing a game.

1899 Third baseman Bill Bradley makes his major league debut.

1910 A Pirates-Dodgers game results in exactly one outfield putout all day long.

1912 The Browns beat the Senators to end Walter Johnson’s winning streak at 16 games. Johnson pitches in relief, allowing two inherited runners to score to decide the game. Under modern rules he wouldn’t get the decision, but under the rules of the era he does.

1914 Negro League pitcher Frank Wickware of the Chicago American Giants hurls a no-hitter versus the Indianapolis ABC. He walks the leadoff batter, who is then caught stealing, and then retires the next 26 men in order to win, 1-0.

1916 Bullet Joe Bush throws a no-hitter, leading the A’s to a 5-0 win over Cleveland. In that same game, future Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie last plays in the big leagues.

1918 Both the White Sox and Yankees claim Pacific Coast League pitching star Jack Quinn, but the Yankees will receive him by the decision of league president Ban Johnson. White Sox owner Charles Comiskey will never forgive Johnson for this.

1919 Eddie Collins belts the only extra-inning home run of his career, a 10th-inning blast against the Browns.

1922 Rogers Hornsby collects his 100th triple.

1923 Ty Cobb hits his 46th and final inside-the-park home run.

1926 Paul Waner gets six hits in a game, including two doubles and a triple, yet scores only one run.

1927 The Brooklyn Dodgers acquire catcher Al Lopez from Jacksonville in the Southeastern League for $10,000.

1929 Abraham Mills, NL president from 1883 to ’84 and author of the original reserve clause, dies at age 84.

1929 Norm McMillan of the Cubs hits the rare inside-the-jacket home run. He hits one down the left field line at Wrigley, and it bounces off a gutter and lands in the jacket of a relief pitcher.

1932 Carl Hubbell homers off Dizzy Dean. It’s the first of four homers for Hubbell.

1935 Zeke Bonura steals home in the 15th inning, giving the White Sox a 9-8 win over the Yankees.

1936 Eventual 200-game winner Paul Derringer loses his 100th decision, giving him a record of 87-100. He’ll go 136-112 after this date.

1936 Flint Rhem appears in his final game. He led the 1926 NL with 20 wins while pitching for the world champion Cardinals.

1938 Jimmie Foxx gets his 2,000th career hit in only his 1,673th game.

1938 19-year-old Bob Feller allows 15 earned runs in a game, something no one has done since. His line: 7 IP, 15 H, 15 R, 15 ER, 9 BB, 7 K for a Game Score of –15.

1939 It’s the first televised big league game. The Dodgers play the Reds, with Red Barber calling it for the 400 TV sets in New York City watching it.

1939 Johnny Mize draws four walks in a game for the only time in his career.

1941 Bill McKechnie becomes the fourth manager to win 1,500 games. His record: 1,500-1,321.

1946 When Ted Williams faces the Boudreau Shift, three-foot-tall Marco Songini runs on the field to occupy the empty third base position before umps chase him off.

1947 Dan Bankhead makes his big league debut, becoming the game’s first black pitcher. He also homers in his first at-bat, the first NL pitcher ever to do that (Fritz Ostermueller did it previously in the AL). In that same game, Ralph Kiner enjoys his only 5-for-5 performance as the Dodgers play the Pirates.

1947 St. Louis holds “Yogi Berra Night” on behalf of the local boy who just joined the Yankees. Berra begins the festivities by saying, “I want to thank all you people for making this night necessary.” Yeah, that’s Berra all right.

1948 Cubs fans litter the field with debris for 20 minutes after umpire Jocko Conlan calls a Phil Cavarretta shot a ground-rule double instead of a home run in a Cubs-Braves doubleheader.

1949 In the Appalachian League, the Bluefield Blue Jays’ 34-game winning streak ends.

1949 The Florida International League fines Pepper Martin $100 and suspends him for the year for choking an umpire. The punishment sounds rather light.

1950 Roy Campanella belts three home runs in one game.

1952 For the second game in a row, a Pirates prospect tosses a no-hitter. Today it’s Frank Ramsey, one day after teammate Bill Bell had one for their Bristol team. Bristol has five no-hitters on the year, including three by Bell.

1953 Dusty Rhodes enters the day hitting .167 for the Giants but hits three homers.

1955 Vic Wertz is stricken with polio, but he’ll return to baseball next year.

1956 At age 36, Early Wynn steals his only base.

1958 Lew Burdette wins his 100th game for a 100-66 record. He’ll go for 103-78 for the rest of his career.

1959 It’s Al Smith Night at Comiskey Park. Bill Veeck dreamed up the promotion to help Smith gain support with Chicago fans, who have had a problem with him because the Sox traded Minnie Minoso to get him. Under the promotion, 5,253 Smiths enter the park for free and sit by Smith in right. However, Smith has one of his worst games ever, hitting into a double play, fanning, and committing an error. His fellow Smiths loudly boo him.

1960 Yogi Berra belts a walk-off home run, giving him at least one such blast in three different decades. It’s the seventh and last walk-off of his career.

1961 Frank Robinson connects for his 200th home run.

1962 Minnesota’s Jack Kralick throws a no-hitter against the A’s and nearly has a perfect game. He retires the first 25 batters only to walk pinch-hitter George Alusik. (Random fact: future Kansas City Royals manager Dick Howser then pinch runs for Alusik.) That’s the only base runner as Minnesota wins, 1-0.

1964 Willie Mays plays third base for the only time in his career. After Mays starts the day in his normal center field slot, he plays nearly six full innings at third, handling one chance.

1965 Outfielder Matty Alou takes the mound as an emergency pitcher—and strikes out Willie Stargell. Twice.

1966 Cubs manager Leo Durocher is so infuriated by an Astrodome scoreboard cartoon lampooning him, he rips the dugout phone from the wall and hurls it onto the playing field.

1966 Mickey Mantle hits a walk-off, pinch-hit, two-run homer for a 6-5 Yankee win over the Tigers. Of his 12 walk-off shots, this is his only pinch-hit one.

1968 Major league baseball features seven shutouts, tying a record that will be topped in 1972.

1968 San Francisco’s Gaylord Perry nearly throws a perfect game against the Cubs, allowing only a seventh-inning single by Glenn Beckert.

1968 It’s a good day for the Perry brothers all around, as Jim Perry has the best Game Score of his career: 91. His line: 9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, but it’s a no-decision as his team loses, 1-0, in extra innings.

1969 Tom Seaver records his 50th career win.

1970 Star pitcher from the 1920s Eddie Rommel dies.

1970 For the only time in his career, Roberto Clemente ends a game by fanning with the bases loaded. The Expos prevail over Pittsburgh, 2-1.

1972 Ron Santo joins the 2,000-hit club in style: 4-for-5 with two home runs, two runs and four RBI. Meanwhile, teammate Billy Williams has his best WPA game: 0.679 WPA by going 5-for-6 with two homers, two runs, and four RBIs in Chicago’s 10-9 win over the Giants.

1972 Leo Durocher becomes manager of the Astros.

1972 Danny MacFayden, journeyman pitcher from mid-century, dies.

1972 Joe Torre draw two bases-loaded walks in one game.

1973 Paul Blair gets an inside-the-park home run when Amos Otis and Steve Hovley collide in midair trying to catch the ball.

1975 The first eight Pirates all hit safely in a game versus the Braves, tying a record set just three weeks earlier by the Phillies. The Pirates win, 8-2.

1975 A Cardinals win pushes Red Schoendienst’s career managerial record 113 games over .500, his all-time best (927-814).

1975 Morgan Ensberg is born.

1977 Tom Seaver wins despite allowing a career-worst eight walks in one game. However, he gets the win anyway, allowing just two runs in nine innings.

1977 Robin Yount suffers through his worst WPA game. He’s 0-for-4 with a GIDP and a strikeout in Milwaukee’s 4-2 loss to the White Sox for a WPA of –0.488.

1980 Burnt-out phenom Steve Busby last pitches in a baseball game.

1980 The Padres give out six intentional walks to the Mets, who hand four to San Diego. The 10 are one shy of the record, set in 1955. The Padres win, 8-6.

1981 It’s an infamous day for young St. Louis star shortstop Garry Templeton. When the crowd boos him, he gives the fans the middle finger. Manager Whitey Herzog immediately benches him and then fines him $5,000. Templeton will soon be traded to the Padres for Ozzie Smith.

1985 Eddie Murray belts three homers in a game for a career-high nine RBI.

1987 The Reds trade Bill Gullickson to the Yankees for Dennis Rasmussen.

1987 Paul Molitor’s hitting streak ends at 39 games as the Brewers win, 1-0 over the Indians in 10 innings. Milwaukee starter Teddy Higuera has a Game Score of 94 in his complete-game shutout, and Indians starter John Farrell has a Game Score of 86 for his nine innings (in which he allowed only three hits).

1988 The Angels release Donnie Moore.

1989 For the fifth time in his career, Dave Stieb tosses a complete-game one-hitter, the hit being a Robin Yount single with two outs in the sixth. Stieb has zero no-hitters so far in his career, but he’ll get one eventually.

1990 Bo Jackson comes off the DL and homers on the first pitch he sees. It’s his fourth consecutive home run, tying a record. The pitcher is a young Randy Johnson.

1991 The Braves win, putting Bobby Cox’s career record over .500 (729-728), where it will remain the rest of his career.

1991 Bret Saberhagen pitches a no-hitter, beating the White Sox, 7-0.

1991 Amateur draft pick Brien Taylor signs a record $1.55 million contract with the Yankees.

1992 Baseball has its first knuckler-vs-knuckler game since 1982, as Tom Candiotti faces Tim Wakefield.

1993 The Mets announce that Vince Coleman will remain on “administrative leave” for the rest of the season. He threw a firecracker that injured fans earlier in the summer.

1993 Wade Boggs gets his first sacrifice hit since June 6, 1987.

1995 Greg Maddux ties a record held by Denny McLain, Cal McLish and Richard Dotson by winning his 16th straight road decision.

1996 The Mets fire Dallas Green and replace him with Bobby Valentine.

1997 Johnny Oates manages his 1,000th game (517-482).

1999 Jeff Kent gets his 1,000th hit. In a nice bit of symmetry, it’s his 1,000th game.

1999 Vladimir Guerrero’s hitting streak peaks at 31 consecutive games. He hit .386/.431/.756 during it with 12 doubles, a triple and 11 home runs.

2002 Baseball has its first video streaming coverage, as 30,000 see the Yankees top the Rangers, 10-3.

2002 Joe Torre manages his 3,000th game. He’s 1,557-1438 for his career.

2002 Manny Ramirez belts his 300th home run.

2003 The Padres trade outfielder Rondell White to Kansas City.

2004 Billy Koch plays in his last big league game.

2006 Carlos Beltran swats his 200th home run.

2007 Houston retires No. 5 for Jeff Bagwell.

2007 At 44 years old and a supposed weight of 248 pounds, David Wells beats out a bunt for an infield single against the Mets and their pitcher, John Maine.

2008 Carlos Zambrano gets a hit in his 13th straight game, tying Johnny Sain for the longest hitting streak by a pitcher since 1924 (when Wilbur Cooper went 16 straight games).

2009 Three home plate umps sees duty in a Blue Jays-Rays game. Jerry Crawford is struck by a foul tip, and Tom Hallion is hit by a fastball. Brian O’Nara completes the game without further incident.

2010 Albert Pujols belts his 400th home run in the same game he receives three intentional walks.

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Comments

  1. Dave Cornutt said...

    Donnie Moore’s story is one of the great baseball tragedies.  Angels fans never forgave him for giving up the home run to Dave Henderson in Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS, and he was booed unmercifully in every appearance after that.  Kansas City signed him to a minor league contract for the 1989 season and asssigned him to AA Omaha, but they cut him after he posted a 6.39 ERA in seven appearances.  A few weeks later, on July 18, he committed suicide.

  2. Geoff Young said...

    Chris, I respectfully disagree with your characterization of this trade as a terrible one for the Padres. Aside from the fact that Giles became one of the most productive hitters in franchise history and almost single-handedly carried the team to the playoffs in 2005, there are two important factors missing from your discussion.

    First, Giles is from San Diego. Second, and oddly related, the Padres were moving into Petco Park the following season. With lawsuits delaying the new downtown ballpark’s opening by two years, the Padres felt the need to bring in a marquee name that folks in town would know and embrace. Not only was Giles a star, he was a star who had grown up here. This was a savvy move for a team that needed to win back some goodwill in the community.

    Although Giles wasn’t the home-run threat in San Diego that he had been in Pittsburgh, at least his entire game didn’t disappear on leaving the cozy NL Central (hello there, Ryan Ludwick). He ranks among the Padres career top 5 in R, H, 2B, BB, and RC, and among the top 10 in OBP, OPS, TB, 3B, RBI, OPS+, RE24, and WPA.

    There’s no way of knowing for sure, but given that only two right-handed batters have hit as many as 25 homers in a season while playing half their games at Petco Park, I doubt very much that Jason Bay would have hit 30+ a year in San Diego. Given his minor-league numbers and pedigree (the Padres had acquired him as part of a package for Jason Middlebrook and Steve Reed), it’s hard to imagine that anyone envisioned him becoming the player he did.

    Bay’s contributions to the Pirates should not be underestimated, but neither should the fact that Giles did a lot for the Padres and the city of San Diego. Ten years later, it is good to remember Giles’ importance to his hometown team and his place in that franchise’s history.

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