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Gene Freese Acquired by Pirates

Nov. 27, 1963 - Gene Freese (pictured) was purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates from Cincinnati today in an apparent move to get third-base help in case Bob Bailey fails. Bailey, the Pirate third baseman last season, was regarded as something less than a sensation in his rookie year. “I don’t want people to think that by acquiring Freese we have given up on Bailey,” General Manager Joe L. Brown said. “Such is not the case. Freese can play several positions.” However, Freese’s best position is third base, and it was apparent the Pirates wanted him badly. “We’re giving more money to acquire Freese than any other player in the nine years I’ve been with the Pirates,” Brown said. He refused to disclose the purchase price, and no reliable estimate was available. The Pirates traded veteran third baseman Don Hoak to Philadelphia after the 1962 season and gave Bailey a clear shot at the position this year. But the 20-year-old Californian hit only .228 with 12 home runs and 12 RBIs in 154 games and showed he has a lot to learn in order to field his position in major league style. Freese, 29, who began his major league career in Pittsburgh in 1955, was a big gun for the Reds when they won the National League pennant in 1961. He broke an ankle before the 1962 season and played in only 18 games that year. A fractured wrist sidelined him late last season, but he is reported to be sound physically.


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