Two Pittsburgh Pirates trades and five former players born on this date.
On this date in 1986, the Pirates sent outfielder Marvell Wynne to the San Diego Padres in exchange for pitcher Bob Patterson. Wynne came up with the Pirates in June of 1983 and stepped right into the starting center field role, playing 103 games that rookie season and 154 in 1984. He hit .266 with 11 triples and 24 doubles in 1984. He stole 24 bases, although he was caught stealing 19 times. He struggled in 1985, hitting .205 with a .505 OPS in 103 games. Patterson was a 26-year-old lefty reliever, who made his Major League debut in September of 1985, getting hit hard in three appearances.
Patterson bounced between the minors and majors his first four seasons in Pittsburgh. They tried him as a starter but his eventual value with the team came as a reliever for the three pennant winners from 1990-92. During those three seasons he made 169 appearances, winning 18 times and saving another 16 games. In six seasons with Pittsburgh, he had a 3.97 ERA in 331 innings over 207 games. Wynne spent 3 1/2 seasons in San Diego, getting plenty of playing time at all three outfield positions. In 468 games with the Padres, he hit .258 with 138 RBIs, 107 runs scored and 29 stolen bases (in 51 attempts). His best season came in 1988 when he hit .264 with a .752 OPS and career high 42 RBIs.
On this date in 1990, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded outfielder Billy Hatcher to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for pitcher Mike Roesler and infielder Jeff Richardson. Hatcher was 29 years old at the time, coming off a season he split with the Pirates and Houston Astros, in which he hit .231 with four homers, 51 RBIs and 24 stolen bases in 135 games. In 1987 with the Astros he hit .296 with 53 stolen bases, but never came close to that success in any other season. Roesler was a 26-year-old reliever with a 3.96 ERA in 17 appearances in 1989 for the Reds, his rookie season. Richardson was a rookie in 1989 as well. He hit .168 with two homers in 53 games for the Reds, spending most of his playing time at shortstop.
The Pirates didn’t get much from this deal. Richardson was in Triple-A at Buffalo for three seasons, getting just six games and four at-bats with the Pirates during the 1991 season. He was dealt in 1993 for Daryl Irvine, a pitcher who never played for the Pirates in the majors. Roesler pitched only six innings for the Pirates during the 1990 season, his last year in the majors. He was in the Pirates system through the middle of 1992, finishing his career in 1993 as a member of the Kansas City Royals farm system. Hatcher helped the Reds to the 1990 World Series, hitting .333 in the NLCS against the Pirates, then batting .750 in the World Series against the Oakland A’s. He hit .276 with 30 stolen bases and 68 runs scored during that regular season. He was with the Reds until July of 1992 when he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for pitcher Tom Bolton.
Ryan Doumit, catcher for the 2005-11 Pirates. He was a second round draft pick of the Pirates in the 1999 amateur draft and lasted in the system for 13 seasons. The Pirates selected Doumit out of Moses Lake HS in Washington at 18 years old. He put up a .786 OPS in 29 games in the Gulf Coast League during his first season of pro ball. He moved up to the New York-Penn League in 2000, where he had a .313 average and 40 RBIs in 66 games. In 2001, Doumit was limited to 48 games total due to a back injury. He saw a little more time in 2002, hitting .322 with 47 RBIs in 68 games, while playing for Hickory of the South Atlantic League. He was healthy in 2003 and he batted .275 with 38 doubles, 11 homers and 77 RBIs in 127 games for High-A Lynchburg. He earned a trip to the Arizona Fall League after the season, then moved up to Double-A in 2004. Playing for Altoona, Doumit hit .262 with 20 doubles and ten homers in 67 games. He wasn’t injured that season, but a bout of mono limited him playing time. He still moved up to Triple-A for 2005, where he hit .352 with 12 homers and 35 RBIs in 50 games before being called up to the Pirates in early June. In 75 games as a rookie, he hit .255 with six homers and 35 RBIs. He struggled during the 2006 season, missing time due to a hamstring injury, while limited him to 61 big league games and 15 rehab appearances in the minors. Doumit hit just .208 for the Pirates and most of his playing time came at first base. He made up some lost time playing winter ball in Mexico, where he had an .872 OPS in 35 games. That success carried over into the majors in 2008, though a stint in Triple-A early in the year came with a 1.210 OPS in 16 games, which got him a quick call back to the majors. In 83 games for the Pirates, Doumit hit .274 with 30 extra-base hits and 32 RBIs. A majority of his playing time came in right field.
Doumit’s best season came in 2008 when he hit .318 with 15 homers, 34 doubles, 71 runs scored and 69 RBIs in 116 games. He set a career high with 106 games caught that season. Wrist surgery limited him to 75 games in 2009, and he saw a 144 point drop in his OPS. He suffered numerous injuries during his time in Pittsburgh (minors and majors), but in 2010 he was able to play a career high 124 games. It was only the second time he played over 83 games in a season. However, the extra playing time didn’t translate into results. He hit .251 with 13 homers and 45 RBIs. He batted .303 in his final season in Pittsburgh, but he was limited to 77 games due to multiple injuries. Doumit was signed by the Minnesota Twins as a free agent on November 23, 2011 and he played 134 games that first season away from Pittsburgh. The Twins got him more game by utilizing the DH role. He hit .275, tying his career best with 34 doubles, while setting career highs with 18 homers and 75 RBIs. Doumit played 135 games in 2013, but saw a drop in his production, while seeing more outfield time and fewer reps behind the plate. He hit .247 with 14 homers and 55 RBIs. He was traded to the Atlanta Braves in the off-season and he was a bench player most of the season, seeing occasional starts at the corner outfield spots. Doumit played 100 games that season, but he only caught twice. He hit .197 with five homers and 17 RBIs in 166 plate appearances. He became a free agent after the season and decided to retire at 33 years old. In 611 games with the Pirates over seven seasons, he hit .271 with 67 homers and 266 RBIs. In his big league career, he hit .264 with 104 homers and 431 RBIs.
Bobby Hill, 2B/3B for the 2003-05 Pirates. He was originally a fifth round draft pick of the California Angels in 1996 out of high school. He decided to attend the University of Miami, where he was selected in the second round in 1999 by the Chicago White Sox. Hill once again passed on signing, but instead of going back for his senior year, he decided to play independent ball. He was a second round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs in 2000, eventually signing for a $1,425,000 bonus. He spent that entire 2000 season with Newark of the Atlantic League (independent) where he hit .326 with 13 homers, 82 RBIs, 81 stolen bases and 101 walks. He joined the Cubs system during the 2001 season and batted .298 in 60 games, seeing most of his time in Double-A. Hill made his Major League debut in May of 2002, hitting .253 with four homers and 20 RBIs in 59 games during his rookie season. He spent most of 2003 in Triple-A with the Cubs, where he hit .288 with 40 RBIs in 92 games. On August 15, 2003 he was sent to the Pirates as the player to be named later in the Aramis Ramirez deal made two weeks earlier. He played a total of six big league games that season, five with the Cubs and one with the Pirates. He was shut down for the season after his first game with the Pirates on September 14th due to a stress fracture in his back. In 2004, he played 126 games for the Pirates, 76 off the bench. Most of his playing time in the field was at second base, occasionally playing third base, and he made just two errors all season. In 233 at-bats, Hill hit .266 with 27 RBIs. Hill played 58 games for the Pirates in 2005, batting .269 in 105 plate appearances, while making just 14 starts all season (all at third base). He was traded in the off-season to the San Diego Padres for minor league pitcher Clayton Hamilton. After spending all of 2006 in Triple-A, he didn’t play in 2007, then returned in 2008 to play independent ball for four seasons. His first two years were spent back with Newark of the Atlantic League, but the results were vastly different from his first time with the club. Hill batted .238 in 100 games, with two stolen bases and a .715 OPS. He lasted just 24 games with Newark in 2009, then spent his last two seasons with the Chicago Outlaws. In 249 big league games, he hit .262 with six homers and 58 RBIs. Despite 81 stolen bases during his first season of pro ball, he racked up just 88 steals over his final ten years combined, and just six of those steals came in the majors.
Miguel Garcia, pitcher for the 1987-89 Pirates. He signed with the California Angels in January of 1985 at 17 years old out of Venezuela. It took him just 27 months to make it to the majors. The Angels sent him right to Low-A ball, where he 3-2, 2.89 in 65.1 innings over 29 appearances. He moved up to High-A and had a strong performance in the hitter-friendly California League. He went 8-3, 1.61 in 72.2 innings over 43 appearances, with 75 strikeouts. The Pirates acquired Garcia and minor league third baseman Bill Merrifield from the Angels in exchange for second baseman Johnny Ray on August 29, 1987. Garcia was a player to be named later in the deal, coming over to the Pirates five days later. Prior to that, he had pitched one game in the majors (April 30, 1987), allowing four runs in 1.2 innings. In the minors during the 1987 season, he went 10-6, 2.59 in 50 relief appearances at Double-A. After joining the Pirates, he pitched one game on September 5th, retiring the only two batters he faced. Instead of remaining with the Pirates for September, he reported to Pirate City in Bradenton to participate in the Fall Instructional League a week later. In 1988 he pitched one early season game for the Pirates, then spent the rest of the year at Triple-A, where he went 6-2, 3.53 in 66.1 innings. Garcia started the 1989 season in the minors, before getting recalled in early June. He made 11 appearances, posting an ERA of 8.44 in 16 innings before being sent back down. Garcia was sent outright to Triple-A two days after his final appearance on July 22nd. He spent most of the 1990 season in Double-A for the Pirates as a starting pitcher with a stint in Triple-A as a reliever. He had a combined 8-12, 4.09 record in 143 innings. Garcia pitched briefly in China during the 1991 season. That was his last season of pro ball, except for a brief five game comeback in 1995, when he pitched at Triple-A for the Montreal Expos. He had a 7.71 ERA in 18.2 innings for the Pirates.
Dick Conger, pitcher for the 1941-42 Pirates. He was signed as a teenager by the Detroit Tigers in 1940 after one season at UCLA, and he went right to the majors to start his career. After two appearances, in which he allowed one run over three innings, Conger went to the minors to finish the season. He pitched for Beaumont of the Texas League, where he went 8-10, 4.28 in 120 innings. The Pirates picked him up in the Rule 5 draft in October of 1940. He pitched two seasons with the Pirates, spending most of the time in the minors. Conger competed for a bullpen job during Spring Training in 1941, before being cut on April 7th, when the Pirates sent him to Portland of the Pacific Coast League. After just 22 innings, he was transferred to Albany of the Eastern League, where he went 6-9, 3.44 in 116 innings. He joined the Pirates on September 4th and made two scoreless appearances. In 1942, Conger once again competed for an Opening Day spot, only to lose out on April 6th, when he was optioned to Toronto of the International League. He went 6-3, 3.39 in 114 innings over 49 appearances, then rejoined the Pirates on September 9th and made two appearances. He had no record and a 1.46 ERA in 12.1 innings with Pittsburgh over his two September trials. After the 1942 season, he was traded to Toronto of the International League in exchange for the rights to Burgess Whitehead, a veteran second baseman who was serving in the military at the time. The deal for Whitehead was actually made months earlier, but Conger didn’t get released to Toronto until October 19th. Conger was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies during the 1943 season and finished his Major League career later that year with a 6.09 ERA in 54.2 innings over ten starts and three relief appearances. He spent another seven seasons in the minors before retiring from baseball, playing those first three years for Los Angeles of the Pacific Coast League. He then went to Nashville of the Southern Association for two years, then back to the PCL to play for Sacramento. Conger finished his career in 1950 with Oklahoma City of the Texas League. He had 74 wins in the minors. His stats are missing the 1945 season, though he spent most of that season serving in the military during WWII.
Guy Hecker, pitcher/1B and manager for the 1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenys. He had a 175-146 record as a pitcher in nine seasons in the majors, one of those seasons was a very special one though. In 1884, Hecker, while pitching for the Louisville Colonels of the American Association, had one of the best overall seasons in baseball history. He won an amazing 52 games, led the league with a 1.80 ERA, 670.2 innings pitched and 385 strikeouts. For reference, most baseball sources will quote the single season strikeout record to be Nolan Ryan with 383 in 1973, but that is just a modern record. Hecker also batted .297 with 42 RBIs that season and led all AA pitchers in assists and putouts. His season was worth 15.5 WAR as a pitcher and 2.3 WAR as a hitter.
Hecker played amateur and semi-pro ball until he was 26 years old, with just a short stint in pro ball back in 1877, before he made his big league debut five years later. He started his big league career off strong in 1882 during the first year of the American Association. He went 6-6, 1.30 in 104 innings, while also playing first base regularly, where he hit .276 in 78 games. He broke out as a pitcher in 1883, going 28-23, 3.34 in 469 innings. After his huge 1884 season, Hecker went 30-23, 2.18 in 480 innings in 1885. In 1886, Hecker won 26 games and led the AA with a .341 batting average. He qualified for the batting title by playing first base and outfield when he wasn’t pitching. On August 15, 1886 he hit three homers in one game. He scored 76 runs in 84 games. Hecker was almost as good at the plate in 1887. when he hit .319 in 91 games, with 89 runs scored, 31 extra-base hits and 48 stolen bases. He didn’t have the best season on the mound that year (at least by his standards), going 18-12, 4.16 in 285.1 innings. He improved his ERA to 3.39 in 1888, but it came with an 8-17 record. Louisville went 40-70 when he didn’t get the decision, so the team had a lot to do with the record. Hecker had a 5.59 ERA in 151.1 innings in 1889, though he batted .284 in 81 games. Late in the 1889 season, with his skills declining, he was released by Louisville. He took up some umpiring after being released.
He signed on December 7, 1889 with the Alleghenys, who lost most of their team to the newly formed Player’s League. He was originally announced as the third baseman for the team. He wasn’t officially announced as the manager until early February. The Alleghenys were one of the worst teams in baseball history and Hecker suffered through the whole season at the helm of the team. For a time, owner J. Palmer O’Neil was in charge of the club, though most of the on field decisions throughout the year were made by Hecker. The team went 23-113 to set a still-standing franchise record for losses, while Hecker went 2-9, 5.11 in 119.2 innings on the mound and he hit .226 in 86 games. He didn’t actually play during the preseason other than an intrasquad contest at the start of the schedule. He didn’t even play a regular season game until May 7th, the 12th game of the year. It was thought for a time that he would stick around for the 1891 season as a manager, but the 1890 season would be his last one in the majors. He played minor league ball until 1895. Hecker finished with a 175-146, 2.93 record in 2,924 innings. He was a .282 hitter in 705 big league games.