This Date in Pirates History: December 17
Born on this date in 1959 was Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Marvell Wynne, who was with the team from 1983 to 1985. He signed with the Kansas City Royals as an amateur free agent in 1978 then moved to the Mets in a 1981 trade. He was acquired by the Pirates from the Mets in a four player deal on June 14,1983 with Junior Ortiz going to New York in the deal. Wynne made his major league debut the day after the trade, playing center field, a position he would play another 101 times that season. He batted .243 with 66 runs scored and 12 steals in his rookie season.
The following season he was the everyday CF for the Pirates, playing 154 games and getting 702 plate appearances, a total that has been topped just three times since then by a Pirates player. He hit .266 with 11 triples, 77 runs scored and 24 steals. In 1985 the Pirates won a major league low 57 games and Wynne struggled, hitting .205 with a .505 OPS in 103 games. He would be traded to the Padres for lefty reliever Bob Patterson prior to the 1986 opening day. Marvell played eight seasons in the majors, scoring 300 runs with 80 steals and a .247 average in 940 games.
Also born on this date, in 1967, was staring pitcher Steve Parris who played for the 1995-96 Pirates. Steve was a 5th round draft pick of the Phillies in 1989 and he played for three organizations before joining the Pirates in June of 1994. He started the 1995 season in the minors and went 9-1, 2.51 in 14 starts at AA before the Pirates called him up for his major league debut in late June. He went 6-6, 5.38 in 15 starts, although his ERA went up 1.28 in his last two starts, games in which he allowed 15 runs in 7.1 innings. On August 15 he threw a 6-0 shutout over the Padres. In 1996 Parris missed a portion of the season due to a shoulder injury. He pitched just 6 minor league games and eight games for the Pirates, posting a 7.18 ERA and 0-3 record. He was released prior to the 1997 season. He went 11-4 for the 1999 Reds, then followed it up with a 12-17 season in 2000.
Born on this date in 1947 was Charlie Sands, a member of the world champion 1971 Pirates team. The Pirates acquired him following the 1970 season in a six player deal with the New York Yankees. Sands was the only player with major league experience involved in the trade and he was the only one that played in the majors following the trade. He was with the Pirates most of the 1971 season but started just two games, both of them being the second game of a doubleheader. He made 25 appearances as a pinch hitter, going 5-for-18 with six walks. He spent nearly the entire 1972 season in the minors, except for one pinch hitting appearance for the Pirates in mid-September. Just prior to the start of the 1973 season the Pirates traded Sands to the Detroit Tigers for veteran pitcher Chris Zachary.
Also born on this date, in 1896, was catcher Jim Mattox, who played for the 1922-23 Pirates. He played his first season of pro ball in 1921 as a 24 year old and hit .344 for Rochester of the International League. He joined the Pirates at the beginning of the 1922 season and as the third string catcher he hit .294 in 29 games. He started just nine games, playing another 12 at the position off the bench. In 1923 he received even less playing time in the same role, starting three games and getting into another 19 off the bench. He hit .188 in 32 at-bats in what would be his last season in pro ball. His brother Cloy played four season in the minors and got into three major league games with the 1929 Philadelphia Athletics.
Finally, born on this date in 1879 was Cy Falkenberg, a starting pitcher for the 1903 Pirates team that played in the first World Series. He played college ball until 1902 then signed a minor league contract, going 18-11 for Worcester of the Eastern League. The Pirates signed him for the 1903 season but he was seldom used, starting just six games, two very early in the season then another four in August. He went 1-5, 3.86 in 56 innings before returning to the minors to finish the season. Cy would become a star pitcher but not until the 1913-14 seasons when he won a combined 48 games. He won 130 major league games in his career and 131 minor league games.