Pirates and Cardinals make 4 player deal the trade is key to 1971 Championship

Jan 29, 1971 | Transactions

On January 29, 1971, the Pittsburgh Pirates acquire pitcher Nellie Briles and outfielder Vic Davalillo from the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder Matty Alou and pitcher George Brunet. Briles and Davalillo will play important roles in the Bucs’ 1971 World Championship.

Alou was the big piece in the deal. He hit .327 over five seasons with the Pirates, winning a batting title in 1966 and leading the league in doubles and hits in 1969. Brunet was a 35-year-old pitcher who had a 9-7, 4.21 record in 36 games in 1970. The Pirates acquired him mid-season that year from the Senators. Briles was 27 and had a 61-54, 3.42 record in six seasons with the Cardinals, which included 19 wins in 1968. Davalillo was a 34-year-old outfielder, who hit .311 in limited at-bats with the Cardinals in 1970.

Davalillo played well for the Pirates. He hit .285 with 48 runs scored in 99 games in 1971, then followed it up with a .311 average in 117 games the next season. Briles went 36-28 over his three seasons with the Pirates, winning 14 games in both 1972 and 1973. Brunet made just seven relief appearances for the Cardinals, in what would be his last season in the majors. Alou hit .315 with a career high 74 RBIs in 1971, then followed it with a .314 average in 1972, before the Cardinals traded him away late in the season. Less than two years later he was released by the Padres, his fourth team in three years, which was the end of his Major League career. While Alou’s bat would have looked good in Pittsburgh for two more seasons, the Pirates won the 1971 World Series and Briles threw a shutout in game five.