Denny Neagle of Gambrills made national headlines yesterday when he was traded from the Minnesota Twins to Pittsburgh along with a minor-league outfielder for 20-game winner John Smiley, who was asking for more than the Pirates would pay.
"I have mixed emotions," said Neagle, a 23-year-old left-hander who was 9-4 with a 3.27 ERA at Triple-A Portland last season and 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA in seven starts with Minnesota. "I'm happy I'll get a good opportunity with the Pirates, but on the other hand I'll have to make a lot of new friends and get used to a new organization."
Neagle will be pitching for the team his grandfather worked for as a security guard in the 1960s and the team his mother was forced to watch growing up.
"My dad [Jim Lloyd] dragged me to all the Pirates games," said Joann Neagle, Denny's mother. "I was born in Frostburg, but we moved to Pittsburgh when I was in the eighth grade and lived there until I was out of high school when my father died. We came back to Maryland where Denny was born. Denny's a Marylander through and through and loves the Orioles, but we've always had a special feeling for Pittsburgh."
That's why Denny made sure his mother was sitting down yesterday at 11 a.m. when he telephoned her from Fort Myers, Fla., to deliver the news.
"Are you holding on to your pants?" said the youngster who pitched for Arundel High School, Johnny's and the University of Minnesota before signing with the Twins.
Joann Neagle said: "Yes. Why?"
"I've been traded to Pittsburgh," said Neagle.
"You what?" said his mother.
"Denny and I agreed that the only thing better would have been to be traded to the Orioles," said Joann. "Denny was honored in 1990 at the Tops In Sports banquet as the Upcoming Marylander in the Minors and he was thrilled to be there with Cal Ripken and some of the other Orioles."