Dodgers Make Deal for Bunning

Filed under Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Uncategorized
August 18, 1969

When Al Campanis completed the deal with Pittsburgh for Jim Bunning, it was immediately labeled the new vice-president’s “second pennant deal.” The first was the acquisition from Montreal of Maury Wills and Manny Mota, both of whom have played powerful roles in keeping the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West race. It was figured this would do the job, but then Don Drysdale stunned everyone by announcing his retirement, and a fourth starting pitcher became a must.

Of course, Pittsburgh placing the 37-year-old veteran on waivers was a curious move in and of itself. The Pirates have held the top spot in the National League East for most of the summer. Bunning (11-7, 4.34) was a contributor to the Bucs’ success. Bunning let it be known that he wanted to pitch for the Dodgers. A week before the deal was made, Bunning told Dodger beat reporters in Los Angeles, “get me to the Dodgers some way.” Then he went out and went the distance in defeating the Dodgers for his 11th victory at Dodger Stadium.

Despite this, Campanis also knew the Pirates would not let the righthander move for just the $25,000 waiver price. So Campanis gave up two minor farm hands: Chuck Goggins, 26-year-old utilityman from Spokane, and Ron Mitchell, an 18-year-old outfielder with Ogden. He also gave up cash equal to more than half of Bunning’s salary and assumed the $75,000 pay check of the veteran.

“It took hours on the phone,” smiled Campanis after he had shored up the pitching staff for the stretch drive, “but only a minute for (Pirates’ general manager Joe) Brown to say yes.” Bunning is scheduled to make his first Dodger start tomorrow in Philadelphia.

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