5,000 days ago, a rather one-sided trade took place. Admittedly, both sides got a good player in it, but one guy’s value was more than a little bit higher than what the other guy brought to the table.
Now, Ricardo Rincon was a quality pitcher in the bullpen. After he spent seven years in Mexico, the Pirates picked him up and got a pair good seasons of middle relief from him. And he had a number of good seasons in front of him.
Though Rincon could pitch, he couldn’t pitch much. A LOOGY, Rincon threw 443.2 innings in 565 career appearances with five teams over 11 years. He typically threw 40 innings per season. And with that little quantity, you didn’t trade away quality like Brian Giles.
In his first year in Pittsburgh, 28-year-old Brian Giles came into his own, hitting 39 homers with 115 RBIs while batting .315. Oh, he also drew 95 walks. That set the tone for Giles in Pittsburgh. In four full seasons and part of a fifth, Giles batted .308 with 165 home runs. Giles received MVP support in each of his four full seasons there.
While the trade didn’t work out for Cleveland, you can understand the Indians’ logic. Giles was a late bloomer whose 10th big league at-bat came when he was 25 years old. In 1997-98, Giles got serious playing time, and while he was good he wasn’t great. At ages 26 and 27 he hit a little under .270 with about 20 homers. He was nice, but that was it.
And the team already had guys who could hit. Manny Ramirez. Jim Thome. Yeah, they could hit a little. David Justice. Kenny Lofton. They had their advantages, too. Heck, even Travis Fryman had a good track record. Plus they had another kid coming up named Richie Sexson.
But they could use some help in the bullpen. Their only left-handed reliever of note was Paul Assenmacher. He was very good for a great many years, but he was going to be 39 in 1999. He couldn’t last forever—and in fact he fell apart completely in 1999. And Rincon was a legitimately good LOOGY.
So Cleveland dealt a strength to address a weakness. That’s just sound baseball logic right there. But it came off looking like a terrible trade when Giles suddenly metamorphasized from a good hitter to an MVP candidate.
Thus the trade is one Cleveland would probably like to have back. But it’s too late—5,000 days too late, to be precise.
Aside from that, many other events today celebrate their “day-versary” or anniversary. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d prefer to just skim through things.
2,000 days since former Orioles pitcher Steve Barber dies.
3,000 days since Luis Gonzalez hits three homers in one game. It’s the second time he’s done this in his career.
4,000 days since Craig Biggio hits his third leadoff home run in four days.
8,000 days since Dave Stieb— finally!—throws a no-hitter. He walks four and fans nine as the Jays top the Indians, 3-0.
15,000 days since Steve Carlton walks a career high 10 batters in one game.
20,000 days since the Reds say they’ll stay put instead of moving to Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City.
20,000 days since current Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is born.
30,000 days since Babe Ruth becomes the first batter to ever fan 1,000 times.
1849 Davy Force, early baseball star, is born.
1880 Hall of Fame shortstop Joe Tinker is born.
1892 Hall of Fame outfielder Joe Kelley makes his big league debut.
1893 Brooklyn purchases Wee Willie Keeler from the Giants for $800, which even back then isn’t a large sum.
1897 Hall of Fame Negro League catcher Biz Mackey is born.
1904 Giants owner John Brush and manager John McGraw say that if they win the NL pennant they have no intention of playing the AL champs. Back then, the World Series is not mandatory.
1905 Leo Durocher is born.
1906 The Detroit Free Press reports that young outfielder Ty Cobb is in a sanitarium.
1909 Minor league pitcher Pete Alexander is hit on the head while running the bases. He’ll suffer from vision problems for months.
1918 Harry Heitmann makes one of the worst debuts in big league history, getting one out while allowing four runs for an ERA of 108.00. Not only does he never pitch again, but the annoyed pitcher enlists in the Navy that very same day.
1923 Tilly Walker becomes the first person to homer 100 times for the A’s franchise. They are the fifth franchise with a 100 HR guy.
1923 Ray Boone, baseball family patriarch, is born.
1926 Wilbert Robinson notches his 1,000th managerial victory for a 1,000-975 career record.
1926 Veteran AL shortstop Everett Scott plays in his last game.
1927 18-year-old outfielder Mel Ott belts his first home run, which is an inside-the-park shot.
1928 Hall of Famer Goose Goslin gets his 100th career triple. It’s his fifth triple since July 20. He had just one triple all year prior to then. Go figure.
1928 For the last time in his career, Ty Cobb appears in the starting lineup. He singles, doubles, and is hit in the chest by a pitch against the White Sox.
1929 Jimmie Foxx’s longest career hitting streak peaks at 22 games. He has just 27 hits in this span.
1929 Charlie Root, the all-time winningest Cubs pitcher, has perhaps his best day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and four RBIs.
1932 George “Highpockets” Kelly appears in his last game. Kelly is a Hall of Famer, albeit arguably the least deserving one.
1933 The Red Sox sign veteran infielder Joe Judge as a free agent.
1933 Carl Hubbell pitches his third consecutive complete game shutout. He’s allowed 18 hits and three walks while fanning nine over 27 innings in that time.
1935 Lefty Grove smacks the only grand slam home run of his career. In the same game, he allows 21 hits, easily his most. He pitches 14.2 innings in the game.
1937 Joe Medwick hits his 100th home run.
1937 Indians hurler Mel Harder loses his 100th decision for a 118-100 record.
1938 For the second straight game Hank Greenberg homers twice. He has four homers in four at bats, tying a record.
1941 Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Gordon conks his 100th home run.
1941 Red Ruffing wins his ninth straight decision, his longest career winning streak.
1942 The leftist paper New York Daily Worker says that the Pirates owner Benny Benswanger arranged for the tryout of Negro League stars, including Roy Campanella.
1945 The Cubs purchase Hank Borowy from the Yankees for $97,000.
1947 Jake Jones of the Red Sox hits a six-foot triple. He’s awarded third base when the Browns pitcher tosses his glove at it trying to get it go foul.
1947 On his 50th birthday, former Negro Leagues catcher Biz Mackey appears in the East-West Game, making him the oldest man to ever appear in it.
1948 Joe Tinker dies on his 68th birthday.
1948 Hank Arft has a great big league debut, tripling and homering for three RBIs in a 4-0 Browns win over the Yankees. It’s all downhill from here for him.
1950 Phillies star Del Ennis gets seven RBIs in two innings (the seventh and eighth) in their 13-3 win over the Cubs.
1950 Stan Musial goes hitless, ending his hit streak at 30 games.
1952 Bob Lemon loads the bases with no outs in the fourth versus the Senators and then fans three straight to escape the jam unscathed.
1952 Orioles second baseman Rich Dauer is born.
1953 The Tigers release former ace pitcher Hal Newhouser.
1955 Len Barker, Indians pitcher, is born.
1955 Shane Rawley, southpaw pitcher, is born.
1956 Roy Campanella hits the rare walk-off GIDP for a 4-3 Dodgers win over the Cubs in 10 innings. There won’t be another walk-off GIDP in the major leagues until 1973.
1959 New York attorney William Shea announces the formation of the Continental League.
1960 Fast-throwing Reds pitcher Jim Maloney makes his big league debut.
1961 Hank Aaron has his first sacrifice bunt since 1956, and his last one ever as a Brave.
1962 Al Kaline experiences his best ever WPA game: 0.840 WPA. He’s 1-for-4 with a walk, reached on error and two RBIs in a Tigers 4-3 win over the Angels. He hits a two-run single in the bottom of the ninth for a walk-off win.
1963 Former Tigers workhorse Hooks Dauss dies.
1964 Reds manager Fred Hutchinson enters the hospital for cancer treatment.
1965 The Japanese League lowers the number of foreigners allowed to be on a team from three to two.
1965 Warren Spahn loses his ninth straight decision, his worst losing streak.
1966 The Wisconsin Supreme Court overrules a lower court’s decision that prevented the Braves from moving to Atlanta. The higher court says the state lacks the jurisdiction to prevent them from leaving.
1968 Steve Carlton homers and pitches a complete game shutout in a 4-0 Cardinals win over the Phillies. Carlton will have three more SHO/HR combos in his career.
1968 Former Pirates pitcher Babe Adams dies.
1968 Denny McLain wins his 20th game. He’s 20-3 on the year.
1969 Leo Durocher tells the Cubs he’s feeling ill, and then travels to Wisconsin to visit his son in camp.
1975 Tommy Davis gets his 2,000th career hit.
1975 Alex Rodriguez is born.
1975 Ron Guidry makes his big league debut.
1975 The Mets release Cleon Jones after previously suspending him for insubordination.
1975 Shea Hillenbrand is born.
1976 Fergie Jenkins wins his 200th decision for a 200-147 record. He does it despite allowing a career worst 14 hits.
1976 Dock Ellis intentionally beans Reggie Jackson in the face with a fastball. It’s the first time Ellis has faced Jackson since the 1971 All-Star Game, when Jackson hit a famous homer off Ellis. Today, Ellis looks at Jackson’s crumbled body by the plate and nonchalantly asks, “Is he dead?”
1977 Billy Martin and Earl Weaver square off against each other for 100 times.
1978 Catfish Hunter has the worst start of his career: 0 IP, 3 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, and 0 K for a Game Score of 17.
1978 Duane Kuiper legs out two bases-loaded triples in the second game of a doubleheader for a 17-5 Indians win over the Yankees.
1978 Mike Cubbage hits for the cycle.
1978 It’s Reggie Candy Bar Day at Milwaukee’s County Stadium. In the game, after a brushback pitch, Reggie tosses his bat at the mound and gets into a fight.
1978 George Steinbrenner has a secret meeting with Billy Martin about the latter coming back to manage the Yankees. Steinbreinner is floored by the fan backlash over Martin’s recent “resignation.”
1979 Bert Blyleven goes 0-for-5 with five Ks in one game, his worst day at the plate.
1979 Cecil Cooper hits three home runs in one game.
1980 A quake rocks the upper deck and press box during an A’s-Tigers doubleheader.
1982 Cal Ripken hits his first career walk-off home run.
1982 Nolan Ryan wins his 200th decision for a record of 200-183.
1983 Gaylord Perry becomes the fourth pitcher in history to get to 3,500 career Ks. Three of the four did it this year: Perry, Nolan Ryan, and Steve Carlton.
1983 It’s Whitey Herzog at his most Whitey Herzog, as the Cardinals are 9-for-9 in stolen base attempts in their 7-6 win over the Giants.
1984 Charlie Hough completes his sixth straight start, his most ever.
1984 Mike Torrez appears in his final game.
1984 Pete Rose gets career single No. 3,053, passing Ty Cobb for the most ever.
1985 The Astros allow 16 runs, but incredibly they are all unearned. The Mets top them, 16-4.
1985 At age 95, Smokey Joe Wood dies.
1986 The A’s top the Blue Jays 1-0 in 15 innings on a walk-off walk. It’s the latest 1-0 game to end on a walk-off walk since at least 1950.
1987 Hall of Fame shortstop Travis Jackson dies.
1987 Gene Mauch becomes the third manger to lose 2,000 decisions. Connie Mack and Bucky Harris are the first two to do it. Mauch’s record is 1,877-2,000.
1987 Minor league squad the Salt Lake City Trappers lose, ending their 29-game losing streak, a professional record.
1988 Texas signs amateur free agent Ivan Rodriguez.
1988 Tommy John makes three errors on one play. He bobbles the ball, tosses it into the outfield, and then after cutting off a throw from the outfield, throws it to the backstop when he tries to nail a runner attempting to score.
1989 Dale Murphy hits two home runs in one inning for the Braves.
1991 Denny Neagle makes his big league debut.
1992 The Astros begin a 26-game road trip while the Astrodome hosts the Republican National Convention.
1993 A Met fills a water gun with bleach and fires it at three reporters. Two weeks later Bret Saberhagen will admit it was he.
1993 Cal Ripken hits the best WPA home run of his career, a 0.592 WPA blast. It’s a two-out, three-run blast in the top of the eighth with Baltimore trailing Toronto 3-2.
1993 Frank Thomas experiences his best game according to WPA. He’s 4-for-4 with a pair of homers and five RBIs in Chicago’s 7-4 win over the Indians for a 0.669 WPA.
1994 Garret Anderson makes his big league debut.
1995 Hall of Fame catcher Rick Ferrell dies.
1996 Paul Molitor gets career triples No. 100 and 101, not bad for a month less than a month away from his 40th birthday.
1996 Joe Carter hits a 483-foot home run to the Skydome’s upper level. He’s the third man to hit one there.
1996 Orel Hershiser sets a personal worst with a Game Score of 5. His line: 5.1 IP, 11 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 4 BB, and 3 K.
1997 At a Reds-Braves game, the on-field temperature on the turf is 152 degrees.
1997 The Rockies trade Craig Counsell to the Marlins.
1997 Detroit retires No. 16 for Hal Newhouser.
1998 Andruw Jones lays down what is still his last sacrifice bunt.
1998 Sammy Sosa finally gets his first grand slam, which is career home run No. 248.
1998 Pittsburgh’s Tony Womack sets a record with his 888th consecutive at-bat without a GIDP.
1999 It’s the first Turn Ahead the Clock Night as the Pirates top the Mets 5-1 in futurist uniforms. They are ugly.
1999 Fred McGriff gets his 2,000th career hit.
2000 Jim Fregosi notches his 1,000th managerial win for a record of 1,000-1,064.
2001 Tampa trades Fred McGriff to the Cubs.
2001 John Olerud hits home run No. 200.
2002 Alex Rodriguez has a very enjoyable 27th birthday when he hits a walk-off grand slam. It’s the first walk-off home run of his career.
2004 Gary Sheffield gets his 400th career home run.
2004 Seattle releases professional hitter John Olerud.
2007 The White Sox trade Tad Iguchi to the Phillies.
2007 Shea Hillenbrand celebrates his birthday by finding out the Padres have just signed him as a free agent.
2007 Texas trades veteran center fielder Kenny Lofton to the Indians.
2008 A’s rookie Brad Ziegler has now thrown 27 innings in his career and has yet to allow a run, a record scoreless streak to start a career.
2009 Nationals player Josh Willingham hits two grand slams in their 14-6 win over the Brewers.
2010 Jason Kendall catches his 2,000th career game.
2010 Nationals uber-prospect Stephen Strasburg is a late scratch with shoulder tightness for tonight’s game with the Braves.
2011 The White Sox trade Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen to the Blue Jays for Jason Frasor and Zach Stewart. Then Toronto trades Octavio Dotel, Jackson, Corey Patterson, and either three players to be named later or cash to the Cardinals for Colby Rasmus.
2011 Former big league pitcher Hideki Irabu commits suicide at age 42.
2011 Anaheim’sErvin Santanapitches a no-hitter over the Indians. He allows a first-inning run off an error, stolen base, productive ground out, and wild pitch. He later walks a batter in the game.