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Friday, April 19, 2019

Harding ‘Pete’ Peterson: General manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates during its World Series triumph, ‘a brilliant baseball mind,’ started as Rutgers catcher

Baseball lost one of their biggest icons in a trade with God on April 16, 2019 when Harding “Pete” Peterson passed away peacefully at the age of 89.

Pete will be remembered as a brilliant baseball mind, who as general manager, coordinated the World Series winning 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates. At earlier positions with the Pirates, he also was part of the championship teams of 1960 and 1971. Pete entered his baseball career as a catcher for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights when they headed to the college World Series in 1950. He was later drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates and went on to become general manager for the organization. He also had the privilege of being general manager for the NY Yankees.

Pete was born in Perth Amboy, N.J., on Oct. 17, 1929. He graduated from Rutgers University and later was inducted into the Rutgers Hall of Fame in recognition of his contributions to baseball. After retirement, Pete moved to Palm Harbor, Fla., where he enjoyed the warm weather, golfing and the daily camaraderie of friends and neighbors.

RIP.

QLE Posted: April 19, 2019 at 09:45 PM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: general manager, pete peterson, pirates, rip

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   1. Rennie's Tenet Posted: April 19, 2019 at 11:23 PM (#5833668)
Under Peterson, the Pirates leveraged their farm system to round out a pretty terrific team in 1978-79. The system dried up real quick then, and they ended up acquiring a parade of has-beens. Leaving cocaine out of it, it was a pretty dismal club by the mid-eighties.

   2. Sunday silence Posted: April 20, 2019 at 01:17 AM (#5833686)
THey were almost as amazing as the Big Red Machine at the same time period. I guess the Athletics were the most impressive with 3 conssecutive WS wins.

Free agency really killed that team it seems to me. They did all sorts of eff'd up moves after the WS win. Do you recall the Jason Thompson deal? It was some sort of three way deal, and I think it involved the Yanks and Angels; anyhow it was announced that we would get the corpse of Jim Spencer who was never more than a pedestrian first baseman at best. The Comm'r actually VETOED the trade as being uncompetitive or whatever; and we would up with Jason Thompson instead. Thompson flamed out early but did put up at least one very good season. I didnt understand it, it was like we were giving away players. The deal was so eff'd up its not even explained in baseball reference; maybe I am forgetting something but taht's how I recall it.

TRIVIA: Did you know George Sisler was "special assistant" to Danny Murtaugh on the 60 Pirates? I picked up a signed 1960 World Series program and saw his picture in it.
   3. Rennie's Tenet Posted: April 20, 2019 at 09:14 AM (#5833705)
I just had a vague knowledge that Sisler was connected to the team. He had associations with Branch Rickey that ran back into his college days at Michigan.

I think the post-Stargell teams fell apart because the farm system stopped producing. Tony Pena was maybe the best player they brought to the majors after the mid-70s until Bonds showed up in 1986, and you weren't going to be good if Pena was your best player.

   4. Sunday silence Posted: April 20, 2019 at 09:42 AM (#5833710)
They had so much talent at second base: Willie Randolph, Dave Cash, Rennie Stennet and then was it Johnny Ray? STennet shattering his ankle was a huge blow there, for much of that season him and Parker were 1/2 in NL bat. avg.

I also thought they gave away alot of talent with the deal that sent Mitchell Paige, Tony Armas and Miguel Dilone to OAK. Was it for Tanner and Sanguillen or something?
   5. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 20, 2019 at 11:01 AM (#5833717)
Free agency really killed that team it seems to me. They did all sorts of eff'd up moves after the WS win. Do you recall the Jason Thompson deal? It was some sort of three way deal, and I think it involved the Yanks and Angels; anyhow it was announced that we would get the corpse of Jim Spencer who was never more than a pedestrian first baseman at best. The Comm'r actually VETOED the trade as being uncompetitive or whatever; and we would up with Jason Thompson instead. Thompson flamed out early but did put up at least one very good season. I didnt understand it, it was like we were giving away players. The deal was so eff'd up its not even explained in baseball reference; maybe I am forgetting something but taht's how I recall it.


According to BBREF they traded Mickey Mahler and Ed Ott for Thompson. Mahler pitched 14 innings for the Angels, Ott played 75 games at 59 OPS+. The Thompson deal worked out very well for the Pirates.
   6. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 20, 2019 at 11:07 AM (#5833718)
I also thought they gave away alot of talent with the deal that sent Mitchell Paige, Tony Armas and Miguel Dilone to OAK. Was it for Tanner and Sanguillen or something?


Phil Garner.
   7. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 20, 2019 at 11:16 AM (#5833721)
Do you recall the Jason Thompson deal? It was some sort of three way deal, and I think it involved the Yanks and Angels; anyhow it was announced that we would get the corpse of Jim Spencer who was never more than a pedestrian first baseman at best. The Comm'r actually VETOED the trade as being uncompetitive or whatever; and we would up with Jason Thompson instead.


The Yankees tried to trade Jim Spencer and two prospects plus $850,000 to the Yankees for Thompson, whom the Pirates had just acquired from the Angels. But Bowie Kuhn had a rule limiting the amount of cash in any trade to $400,000, and the Yanks and Pirates couldn't come to an agreement about how to restructure the trade, so the Pirates ended up stuck with Thompson.
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: April 20, 2019 at 11:19 AM (#5833723)
I also thought they gave away alot of talent with the deal that sent Mitchell Paige, Tony Armas and Miguel Dilone to OAK. Was it for Tanner and Sanguillen or something?


Not Dilone, but they did also send Rick Langford with Page and Armas and some others. Langford was a pretty good pitcher until Billy Martin blowtorched his arm in '81-82 (he threw more complete games in those two seasons than all of MLB in 2018).

   9. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 20, 2019 at 11:22 AM (#5833724)
Depending on who the prospects were, that worked out well for the Pirates. Spencer was a -2 WAR player from 1981 till the end of his career a year later. Thompson produced 10 for the Pirates.
   10. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 20, 2019 at 11:25 AM (#5833725)
Sanguillen was traded to Oakland FOR Tanner. The next year, they traded Dilone to get Sanguillen back.
   11. asinwreck Posted: April 20, 2019 at 11:47 AM (#5833728)
I had no idea he was still alive or was that young when he ran the Pirates.
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: April 20, 2019 at 11:53 AM (#5833729)
That should have been 80-81 for Langford. 46 CG in not even two full seasons (given his 18 CGs were in a strike-shortened season).

   13. asinwreck Posted: April 20, 2019 at 01:43 PM (#5833750)
Billy Martin's pitcher usage in 1980 seemed insane even at the time. The rotation:

Rick Langford 28 CG, 290 IP
Mike Norris 24 CG, 284 IP
Matt Keough 20 CG, 250 IP
Steve McCatty 11 CG, 221 IP
Brian Kingman 10 CG, 211 IP

All young guys. Norris was a blast to watch that year, but I don't know if even Art Fowler thought that was sustainable.

   14. Howie Menckel Posted: April 20, 2019 at 11:13 PM (#5833893)
yes, that is 93 CG. and Bob Lacey started 1 - and completed it.

the 5 SPs accounted for 1257.1 IP, leaving only 214 IP for all other pitchers.

Lacey got 80 of those in 47 games (with a club-leading 6 SV for an 83-79 team).

Jeff Jones got 44 more IP in 35 G, with 5 of the remaining 7 A's SV.

so 7 pitchers, and we have accounted for all but 90 IP.

Dave Hamilton, with an 11.40 ERA in 30 IP before his MLB career justifiably ended.

so 8 pitchers, only 60 IP left and an 0-3 record to go.

those were split by 7 other pitchers - and only 20-year-old Dave Beard among them had an ERA below 4.50 (3.38).

it was a different era

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