Eight former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a significant debut of note.
Michael Martinez, utility player for the 2014 Pirates. In the middle of his seven-year big league career split with five different teams, Martinez spent one season with the Pirates. He was signed as a minor league free agent in December of 2013 and left via free agency right after the 2014 season ended. He spent most of the year in Triple-A, but he also played 26 games for the Pirates. Martinez hit .128 in Pittsburgh, going 5-for-39 with a double, two RBIs and four walks. In 294 big league games, he finished with a .194/.243/.261 slash line. He played every position except catcher and first base during his career. For the Pirates, he played all three outfield spots and second base. Despite some decent stolen base seasons in the minors, he stole just four bases in eight attempts in the majors.
Martinez began his career late for an international player, signing with the Washington Nationals in 2005 at 22 years old out of the Dominican. He debuted in 2006 and played at three levels, between short-season ball and High-A. He hit .264 with one homer in 82 games that year. He spent the entire 2007 season in Low-A, hitting .250 in 115 games, with 21 doubles, no homers and 13 steals. In 2008, he spent the entire year in High-A, where he batted .266 with 34 extra-base hits and 25 steals. In 2009, Martinez split the year between High-A and Double-A, combining to bat .259 with 33 extra-base hits in 114 games. The 2010 season saw him reach Triple-A for 33 games, while also playing 100 games in Double-A. Between the two stops, he hit .272 with 38 extra-base hits and 23 steals. The Philadelphia Phillies selected him in the December 2010 Rule 5 draft and he stayed with the club for the entire 2011 season. Martinez hit .196 with three homers and 24 RBIs in 88 games. He played six more years in the majors, but never reached double-digits in RBIs again. For the 2012 Phillies, he batted .174, with two homers in 45 games. He played 29 games for the Phillies in 2013, though he batted just 40 times, posting a .175/.175/.175 slash line thanks to no walks or extra-base hits.
After his time with the Pirates, Martinez moved on to the Cleveland Indians for the 2015 season. He batted .267 in 30 at-bats over 16 games that year. He split the 2016 season between the Indians and Boston Red Sox, though it was an odd split. He was purchased by Boston in early July and then put on waivers less than a month later, where he was claimed by the Indians. He hit .238 in 63 games between both clubs. In 2017, he split his final big league season between the Indians and Tampa Bay Rays, seeing limited time in both spots. He hit .162 in 27 games, though that was split .364 with Cleveland and .077 with Tampa. He failed to collect an RBI that season. Martinez has played 12 seasons of winter ball in his career, where he has a .244 average in 316 games. He was still active during the 2021 season, playing independent ball.
Brandon Moss, outfielder for the 2008-10 Pirates. He was an eighth round pick out of high school in 2002 by the Boston Red Sox. His debut didn’t look like one that would lead to an 11-year career in the majors. He batted .204 with no homers in the Gulf Coast League in 2002. The next year he played in the New York-Penn League, where he hit .237 with seven homers and a .720 OPS in 65 games. He split 2004 between Low-A and High-A, with great results at both levels. He combined to hit .353 with 27 doubles, 15 homers, 111 RBIs and 21 steals. The 2005 season was spent in Double-A, where he hit .268 with 31 doubles, 16 homers and 87 runs scored in 135 games. He played in the Arizona Fall League after the season and hit .236 with two homers in 22 games. Moss repeated Double-A in 2006 and hit .285 with 36 doubles, 12 homers and 83 RBIs in 133 games. He played briefly in winter ball (Dominican) that off-season, where he hit .327 with three homers in 14 games. The 2007 season started in Triple-A, where he batted .282 with 41 doubles, 16 homers and 61 walks in 133 games. He joined the Red Sox in August and batted .280 in limited at-bats over 15 games.
Moss was traded to the Pirates in July of 2008, as one of four players going to Pittsburgh in the Jason Bay deal. He hit .295 with two homers in 34 games for the Red Sox that year before the trade. He played 45 games for the Pirates during the 2008 season, hitting .222, with six homers and 23 RBIs. Moss was the starting right fielder for most of the 2009 season. He hit .236 in 133 games, with seven homers and 41 RBIs. In 2010, he was down in Triple-A most of the year, where he hit 22 homers and drove in 96 runs. He played just 17 games for the Pirates that year, putting up a .154 average. Moss was released after the season and he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, where he barely played in the majors in 2011, getting just six at-bats in five games. He split the 2012 season between Triple-A and the Oakland A’s, but he managed to hit .291 with 21 homers in 84 big league games that season. Moss showed power each of the next four seasons, though it came with a low average and poor defense.
Moss had his best season in 2013, batting .256 in 145 games, with 23 doubles and career highs of 30 homers, 87 RBIs and 73 runs scored. In 2014, he hit .234 with 23 doubles, 25 homers, 81 RBIs and 67 walks in 147 games. A faster start to the season led to his only career All-Star appearance. He was traded to the Cleveland Indians in the off-season and then they dealt him to the St Louis Cardinals in July of 2015. He hit .226 that year in 145 games, with 24 doubles, 19 homers and 58 RBIs. He spent the 2016 season with the Cardinals, batting .225 with 19 doubles, 28 homers and 67 RBIs in 128 games. He wound up his career in 2017 with the Kansas City Royals, hitting .207 with 22 homers and 50 RBIs in 118 games. Moss finished his career with a .237 average, 160 homers and 473 RBIs in 1,016 Major League games. He hit 145 homers over his final six seasons. Despite the power, his final career WAR finished at 5.0 in 11 seasons.
John Ericks, pitcher for the 1995-97 Pirates. He was a first round pick of the St Louis Cardinals in the 1988 draft out of the University of Illinois. He debuted in 1988 with Johnson City of the Appalachian League, where he went 3-2, 3.73 in 41 innings. In 1989, he was 11-10, 2.04 in 167.1 innings, with 211 strikeouts for Savannah of the South Atlantic League. In 1990, Ericks was limited to eight starts due to elbow surgery, with strong results in High-A in four outings and very poor results in Double-A (9.39 ERA in four starts). He was a top 100 prospect in baseball prior to the 1990 and 1991 seasons, but he hit a real stumbling block at Double-A. He spent the entire 1991-92 seasons in Double-A with Arkansas of the Texas League. He went 5-14, 4.77 in 139.2 innings in 1991 and 2-6, 4.08 in 75 innings in 1992. The Cardinals released him after the 1992 season and he signed a minor league deal that winter with the Pirates. Ericks was inactive during the entire 1993 season while recovering from shoulder surgery. He returned in 1994 and split his season between High-A and Double-A, making 16 starts and 12 relief appearances. He went 6-6, 2.88 in 109.1 innings, with 135 strikeouts. By the following June, he was making his big league debut after just five starts in Triple-A. In 18 starts and one relief outing for the 1995 Pirates, he went 3-9, 4.58 in 106 innings. Ericks pitched mostly in relief in 1996, including some closing work, while splitting the season between the majors and Triple-A. For the Pirates, he went 4-5, 5.79 in 46.2 innings over 28 games, with eight saves. The 1997 season was more of the same, though he also spent time on the disabled list. He pitched very poorly in the minors that year, but he had success in his ten relief appearances with the Pirates, allowing two runs over 9.1 innings, while picking up six saves.He missed part of the season due to a neck injury. Ericks was released after the season and he signed with the Cleveland Indians for 1998, but he never pitched in pro ball again. He had shoulder surgery on January 9, 1998 and was rehabbing the entire season. He had an 8-14, 4.78 record in 162 innings with the Pirates, making 22 starts and 35 relief appearances.
Scott Medvin, reliever for the 1988-89 Pirates. He was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Detroit Tigers in 1983 just after his 22nd birthday. He attended Baldwin Wallace University, a school that has produced just three big league players and he’s the last one. Medvin debuted in 1984 in the Midwest League, where he went 4-2, 3.56 in 65.2 innings over 40 relief appearances. His split the 1985 season between the Florida State League (A-Ball) and Double-A Birmingham of the Southern League. He had an 8-7, 2.89 record in 74.2 innings over 44 relief outings. Medvin was traded to the San Francisco Giants in December of 1985, as the player to be named later in a six-player deal made two months earlier. He played for Shreveport of the Double-A Texas League for all of 1986 and part of 1987. He went 8-6, 2.40 in 93.2 innings over 49 appearances in 1986. He went 7-1, 1.72 in 78.2 innings over 37 games in 1987 with Shreveport, then got bumped up to Triple-A before the Giants traded him to the Pirates in a deal for Rick Reuschel on August 21st. Due to the late timing, he pitched just one game (in Triple-A) after the deal.
Medvin was selected in the Rule 5 draft by the Houston Astros in December of 1987, but he was returned to the Pirates just before the 1988 season started. He was back in Triple-A to start 1988, though he made his big league debut in early May with the Pirates. While he didn’t stick in the majors during that first stint, Medvin had 17 appearances that season for the Pirates, going 3-0, 4.88 in 27.2 innings. Most of his time came after he was recalled when rosters expanded in September. He saw less time in Pittsburgh in 1989, making six April appearances before being sent to the minors for the rest of the season. He gave up five runs in 6.1 innings that year with the Pirates. He was in Triple-A in early 1990 and pitching well, with a 1.46 ERA in 24.2 innings through mid-May. Pittsburgh then traded him to the Seattle Mariners to acquire pitcher Lee Hancock. Medvin pitched five times for Seattle, allowing four runs in 4.1 innings, in what ended up being his last Major League action. He spent his last three seasons playing pro ball in Mexico (1991-93). In 23 appearances with Pirates, he had a 5.03 ERA in 34 innings.
Mark Parent, catcher for the 1995 Pirates. He played 13 years in the majors total, seeing time with seven different teams. He was originally signed by the San Diego Padres as a fourth round draft pick out of high school in 1979. It took him seven years before he debuted in the majors and he played sporadically in the minors through the 1993 season, finally sticking in the majors for good in 1994. Parent debuted in pro ball at 17 years old in 1979, playing that year for Walla Walla of the Northwest League. He hit .190 with one homer in 40 games that season. In 1980, he moved up to the California League for part of the season, though a majority of his work was back in the short-season Northwest League. He hit .222 with seven homers and 44 RBIs in 96 games that year. Parent played for Salem of the Carolina League in 1981, hitting .235 with six homers in 123 games. Most of 1982 was spent back in Salem, though he played 26 games in Double-A that season. Between both stops, he hit .218 with 28 extra-base hits and 54 RBIs in 125 games. The 1983-84 seasons were spent with Beaumont of the Texas League (Double-A). He hit .252 with seven homers in 81 games in 1983 and .287 with seven homers and 60 RBIs in 111 games in 1984. Parent moved up to Triple-A Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League in 1985 and hit .241 in 105 games, while finishing with seven homers for the third straight season. He repeated Triple-A in 1986 and batted .288 in 86 games. He got a trial for the Padres that September and hit .143 in eight games.
Parent saw little time in the majors in 1987, going 2-for-25 in 12 games. He got a bigger chance in 1988 as the backup for Benito Santiago. Parent batted .195 with six homers and 15 RBIs that season in 41 games. He played 52 games (36 starts) in 1989, hitting .191 with seven homers and 21 RBIs. He saw more time in 1990 and responded with a .222 average, three homers and 16 RBIs in 65 games. Parent was traded to the Texas Rangers in December of 1990 and that turned out to be a setback. He played just three big league games that year and had one at-bat, before becoming a free agent at the end of the season. He signed with the Baltimore Orioles as a free agent and saw limited playing time in two seasons, going to the plate 101 times over 39 games between the two years. He signed with the Chicago Cubs as a free agent and got a better chance there, hitting .263 with three homers and 16 RBIs in 44 games during the strike-shortened 1994 season.
Parent was a waiver pickup by the Pirates from the Cubs after the 1994 season. He played 69 games for the Pirates in 1995, hitting .232 with 15 homers and 33 RBIs. On August 31, 1995, he was traded back to the Cubs. He hit a total of 18 homers total during the 1995 season (shortened to 144 games due to the strike), yet never hit more than nine in any other season in the majors. Parent played for the Orioles and Detroit Tigers during the 1996 season, combining to hit .226 with nine homers and 23 RBIs in 56 games. He signed a free agent deal with the Philadelphia Phillies in December of 1996 and spent his last two seasons of pro ball there as a backup. Parent hit .150 with no homers in 39 games in 1997, followed by a .221 average, with one homer and 13 RBIs in 34 games during the 1998 season. He finished his 13-year career as a .214 hitter, with 53 homers and 168 RBIs in 474 games.
Chuck Brinkman, catcher for the 1974 Pirates. Brinkman was a 1966 draft pick of the Chicago White Sox, selected in the 16th round out of Ohio State. He debuted in pro ball with Lynchburg in the Carolina League (A-Ball), where he .186 with no homers in 47 games. He moved to Appleton of the Midwest League in 1967, another A-Ball team. Brinkman hit .260 with 15 doubles and 28 RBIs in 103 games that season. He was back in Lynchburg in 1968, where he .204 with one homer in 76 games. Despite the lack of success at the lower level, it didn’t take long before he was in the majors. In 1969, Brinkman played 28 games in Double-A, 23 in Triple-A and 14 with the White Sox. He was mainly used off of the bench in his first big league trial, getting three starts and 18 plate appearances, with just one hit to show for his effort. In 1970, he batted .231 with no homers and 30 RBIs in 115 games at Triple-A, then played nine games with the White Sox, seeing time in May and September. He spent the entire 1971 season with the White Sox, though he barely played, getting into 15 games total, with five starts and 24 plate appearances. Brinkman saw a little more time in 1972, when he batted .135 in 35 games, with no RBIs and one run scored. The 1973 season was his big year in the majors. He played 63 games and got 48 starts, hitting .187 with seven of his eight career extra-base hits.
Brinkman played just eight games through the first three months of the 1974 season, and just three of those games came as a starter. He was purchased by the Pirates from White Sox in July of 1974, and he went 1-for-7 in four games over a three-week stretch. Those turned out to be his last games in the big leagues. The Pirates needed a catcher to replace the injured Mike Ryan, who was serving as the backup to Manny Sanguillen. Brinkman didn’t make his first appearance until 18 days after being acquired. After Ryan returned in August, Brinkman was sent to Triple-A, where he played the final 12 games of his pro career. The Pirates tried to trade him to the Minnesota Twins in the off-season, but he decided to retire instead. He was a career .172 hitter in 149 games, with one homer and 12 RBIs. He was a solid defensive catcher, who made 81 starts and was used as a defensive replacement 66 times. His brother Ed Brinkman played 15 years in the majors and was also known more for defense than his bat.
Con Dempsey, pitcher for the 1951 Pirates. The Pirates purchased the 28-year-old Dempsey from the San Francisco Seals (PCL) following the 1950 season. He was returned to San Francisco in early May of 1951 after he posted a 9.00 ERA in two starts and one relief appearance. He actually pitched well in the relief outing, throwing two shutout innings. That ended up being his only big league experience. According to reports, Dempsey was a sidearm pitcher and Pirates GM Branch Rickey tried to get him to throw overhand instead, which didn’t work. Dempsey later said that the Pirates ruined his arm by making the change. The Pirates purchased him in a conditional deal, where they had until May 17, 1951 to decided whether to keep him and pay the reported $65,000-$75,000 price tag, or return him for nothing. They made that decision to return him on May 13th. He also got a trial with the Philadelphia Phillies during Spring Training of 1952, which didn’t pan out. Before playing pro ball, he served four years in the Navy during WWII and was a highly decorated soldier. Dempsey began his pro career in Salt Lake City in 1947 at 24 years old, playing Class-C ball in the Pioneer League. He went 16-13, 2.95 in 241 innings, with 173 strikeouts. He moved up to San Francisco the next year, which at the time was a jump of four levels in the minors. During the 1948 season, Dempsey went 16-11, 2.10 in 219 innings, with 171 strikeouts. Back with the Seal in 1949, he had a 17-14 record, though his ERA doubled to a 4.23 mark in 262 innings. His walks nearly doubled from 61 to 113, while his strikeouts dropped to 164, despite adding 43 innings. In 1950 for San Francisco, he went 9-9, 4.36 in 194 innings, with 78 walks and 100 strikeouts. After the Pirates returned him, he finished the 1951 season with the Seals by putting up a 3.91 ERA in 92 innings. The Phillies took him in the Rule 5 draft after the season and after he couldn’t pitch during Spring Training due to an arm injury, they tried to sell him to Seattle of the Pacific Coast League. When he reported there still injured, the deal was called off and Dempsey sat out the entire season. He attempted to return in 1953 with Oakland of the Pacific Coast League, but he retired after posting a 4-10, 5.18 record in 106 innings.
Sam Moran, pitcher for the 1895 Pirates. He was a 24-year-old, lefty-throwing rookie, who joined the Pirates in August of 1895. Moran started his pro career in Altoona in 1893, though records show that he played just two games. He spent the following two seasons playing for Nashville of the Southern Association, while also seeing a bit of time with Lynchburg of the Virginia League in 1894. While full stats are missing for his 1894 season, the records show that he had a 7-4 record for Nashville in 1894, completing ten of his 13 starts, with one being a shutout. Moran was said to be the best pitcher in the Southern Association when the Pirates picked him up in mid-August of 1895. Manager Connie Mack was reportedly trying to purchase his contract for two months prior to Moran joining the Pirates on August 21st. Besides strong pitching, he was also said to be a good hitter and an excellent fielder. Moran came highly recommended by Pirates pitcher Brownie Foreman, who saw him pitch in Lynchburg in 1894. Moran struggled in his late-season trial with the Pirates, but they gave him plenty of chances to show his stuff over that last month of the season. His first start came two days after his debut in relief. On August 30th, during the second game of a doubleheader, he faced the powerhouse Baltimore Orioles team, winners of three straight National League pennants (1894-96). He got no support on offense and was defeated 10-0. Moran made six starts and four relief appearances that season for the Pirates, going 2-4, 7.47 in 62.2 innings, with 78 hits allowed and 51 walks. That turned out to be his only big league experience. He was back in the minors in 1896 with Toronto of the Class-C Eastern League. The Pirates signed him to an 1896 contract before adding to their pitching, so Moran was sent to Toronto on loan. That season was followed by a partial season with Batavia of the Class-C New York State League in 1897 after he originally signed with Columbus of the Western League, but ill health led to him returning home to Rochester, NY. The Batavia team was able to secure his services, though he was taken on more in the coaching role. He passed away at 26 years old in August 1897 from chronic nephritis (kidney failure).
Our first ever Game Rewind article covered the Major League debut of the great Willie Stargell, which happened on this date in 1962. You can read the full recap here. Stargell had a chance to win the game, coming up with Bill Mazeroski on second base and a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the tenth inning. He struck out for the second out, before Smoky Burgess hit a walk-off homer.