1959: Green for Pearson

May 26, 1959

Albie Pearson had made a name for himself as a rookie for the Nats in 1958. At 5’5″ 140 pounds, he was one of the smaller players in the league, but he had enough of a reputation that he won rookie of the year honors after batting just .275/.354/.358 in 610 plate appearances.

Another rookie center fielder came along for the Twins in 1959, however. Bob Allison had a handful of plate appearances in 1958, but inherited a lot more playing time in early 1959 when Pearson was struggling with injuries. Allison eventually earned the job with a .282/.333/.509 batting line with nine home runs as of May 24. He was basically Pearson with power at that point, meaning that the 1958 rookie of the year became expendable due to the success of the eventual 1959 rookie of the year.

Pearson didn’t help his cause, either. He batted .188/.309/.200 in 97 plate appearances through May 24. On May 26, he was informed that the Twins had made a move. Pearson was sent to Baltimore in exchange for Lenny Green.

Green, a corner outfielder, was batting .292/.346/.417 for Baltimore at the time of the trade.

It looked like it might be a lopsided deal on paper, and initially it turned out that way. Pearson did not work out for the Orioles, who let him go to Los Angeles in the 1961 expansion draft. It took Pearson a couple of years to become a decent hitter, primarily accomplished when he began to use his size to take walks. He had a few good seasons with the Angels, and ended his career in 1966 with a total of 103 OPS+.

Green paid immediate dividends for the Senators. After slumping his way to a rough finish in 1959, he was one of the team’s more valuable players in 1960. He was an above average player for the club in its first few years in Minnesota, but fell off a cliff in 1963. He lost his starting job because of a stacked Minnesota outfield, and didn’t really seem to take well to being a late-inning player. In the middle of the 1964 season, the Twins traded  Green to the Angels in a complex deal that netted the Twins Frank Kostro and Jerry Kindall. Green had one very good season with Boston in 1965, but that was his last as a regular.

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