This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: April 3rd, Ryan Doumit, Bobby Hill and Guy Hecker

Two Pittsburgh Pirates trades and five former players born on this date.

The Trades

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 during that rookie season, and then 154 games 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. Due to poor defensive numbers, Wynne put up 0.1 WAR during his time in San Diego. Patterson finished with 1.3 WAR in Pittsburgh, making it a fairly even trade.

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 that he split between 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.

The Players

Ryan Doumit, catcher for the 2005-11 Pirates. He was a second round draft pick of the Pirates in the 1999 amateur draft, and he lasted in the Pirates 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 short-season New York-Penn League in 2000, where he had a .313 average, 22 extra-base hits and 40 RBIs in 66 games for Williamsport. In 2001, Doumit was limited to 48 games total due to a back injury. He played for three teams, but most of his time that year was with Hickory of the Low-A South Atlantic League, where he batted .270 with six doubles, two homers and 14 RBIs in 39 games. He saw a little more time in 2002, hitting .322 with 46 runs, 21 extra-base hits and 47 RBIs in 68 games, while playing the entire season with Hickory. He was healthy in 2003 and he batted .275 with 75 runs, 38 doubles, 11 homers, 77 RBIs and 45 walks in 127 games for High-A Lynchburg of the Carolina League. He earned a trip to the Arizona Fall League after the season, then moved up to Double-A in 2004. Playing for Altoona of the Eastern League that year, Doumit hit .262 with 31 runs, 20 doubles, ten homers and 34 RBIs in 67 games. He wasn’t injured that season, but a bout of mono limited him playing time.

Doumit moved up to Triple-A Indianapolis of the International League for 2005, where he hit .352 with 41 runs, 11 doubles, 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 13 doubles, six homers, 35 RBIs and a .723 OPS. 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 that year for the Pirates and most of his playing time came at first base. Due to decent power numbers in his limit time (nine doubles and six homers in 178 plate appearances), he still put up a .711 OPS, despite the low average. 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 2007, though a stint in Indianapolis 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 33 runs, 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 71 runs, 34 doubles, 15 homers and 69 RBIs in 116 games. He set a career high with 106 games caught that season, and his .858 OPS was also his career best. Wrist surgery limited him to 75 games in 2009, and he saw a 144 point drop in his OPS. He batted .250 with 16 doubles, ten homers and 38 RBIs. Doumit 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 22 doubles, 13 homers, 45 RBIs, 41 walks and a .738 OPS. He batted .303 with an .830 OPS 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, and tied his career best with 34 doubles, while setting career highs with 18 homers and 75 RBIs. A low walk rate led to a .781 OPS, which was a number he topped three times in Pittsburgh.

Doumit played 135 games for the Twins in 2013, but he saw a drop in his production, while seeing more outfield time and fewer reps behind the plate. He hit .247 with 28 doubles, 14 homers and 55 RBIs. He drew a career high 48 walks, but he finished with a .710 OPS. He topped 500 plate appearances in each of his seasons in Minnesota, something he was unable to do with the Pirates. He was traded to the Atlanta Braves in the 2013-14 off-season and he was a bench player most of the 2014 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, leading to a .553 OPS that was easily the lowest mark of his career. 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 350 runs, 191 doubles, 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 22 doubles, nine triples, 13 homers, 82 RBIs, 81 stolen bases and 101 walks. He joined the Cubs system during the 2001 season and batted .298 with 21 steals and a .780 OPS in 60 games, seeing most of his time in Double-A with West Tennessee of the Southern League. Hill made his Major League debut in May of 2002, though he didn’t stick in the majors, returning to Triple-A Iowa of the Pacific Coast League after five weeks, before rejoining the Cubs in late August. He batted .280 with 80 runs, 34 extra-base hits and 29 steals in 92 games with Iowa. For Chicago, he batted .253 with four homers and 20 RBIs in 59 games during his rookie season. Hi spent most of 2003 in Iowa, where he hit .288 with 53 runs, 33 extra-base hits and 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, Hill played 126 games for the Pirates, 76 off the bench. He was with Triple-A Indianapolis of the International League that year for 35 games and had a .612 OPS, but he did better in the majors. Most of his playing time in the field with the Pirates was at second base, while occasionally playing third base. He made just two errors all season. In 233 at-bats, Hill hit .266 with 27 RBIs and a .693 OPS. 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. Hill spent all of 2006 in Triple-A with the Padres, putting up a .791 OPS in 96 games with Portland of the Pacific Coast League. He didn’t play in 2007 after becoming a free agent, 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 Chico Outlaws in two different leagues. In 249 big league games, he hit .262 with 67 runs, 20 doubles, 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. He played for Team USA during the 2008 Olympics and he took up coaching after his playing career ended. He’s been the head baseball coach at Mission College since 2015.

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 full-season ball, playing for Quad Cities of the Class-A Midwest League, where he went 3-2, 2.89, with 50 strikeouts in 65.1 innings over 29 appearances (one start). He moved up to Palm Springs (Advanced Class-A) and had a strong performance in the hitter-friendly California League. He went 8-3, 1.61 in 72.2 innings over 43 relief appearances, with 75 strikeouts and nine saves. During the 1987 season, he went 10-6, 2.59, with five saves and 67 strikeouts over 87 innings, making 50 relief appearances at Double-A Midland of the Texas League, which was also a hitter-friendly park. 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 the trade, he pitched one game in the majors (April 30, 1987), allowing four runs in 1.2 innings. After joining the Pirates, he pitched one big league 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, Garcia pitched one early season game for the Pirates, then spent the rest of the year at Triple-A Buffalo of the American Association, where he went 6-2, 3.53 in 66.1 innings over 25 games. He was cut from Spring Training on March 28th, but returned to the Pirates on April 12th when Mike Dunne was placed on the disabled list. In his only big league game that year, he allowed two runs (one earned) in two innings. He was with the Pirates for 15 days before being returned to Buffalo. He rejoined the Pirates on September 5th only to leave the team days later to get a tonsillectomy, so he did not get into any games. Garcia started the 1989 season in Buffalo, before getting recalled in early June. He made 11 appearances for the Pirates, posting an ERA of 8.44 in 16 innings before being sent back down. Garcia was sent outright to Buffalo two days after his final appearance on July 22nd. He finished with a 4.37 ERA in 59.2 innings with Buffalo that year. He spent most of the 1990 season in Double-A Harrisburg of the Eastern League for the Pirates as a starting pitcher, with a stint in Buffalo as a reliever. He had a combined 8-12, 4.09 record in 143 innings, striking out just 58 batters. Garcia pitched briefly in China during the 1991 season, struggling in five games. 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 originally joined the team as a replacement while the players were still on the strike that ended the 1994 season, but he lost his Triple-A job on April 27th when the Expos had to set their Opening Day rosters. 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 Class-A 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 Double-A Pacific Coast League (highest level of the minors at the time). After just 22 innings, he was transferred to Albany of the Class-A Eastern League, where he went 6-9, 3.44 in 116 innings. He joined the Pirates on September 4th and made two scoreless appearances, totaling four innings. One of those games was a start, but he was pulled after allowing two hits and three walks in two innings.

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 Double-A International League. He went 6-3, 3.39 in 114 innings over 49 appearances (five starts), then rejoined the Pirates on September 9th and made two appearances, including a start in which he allowed three runs in 6.2 innings and the game ended after seven full innings in a 3-3 tie. 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 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. At the time of his purchase, he had an 11-6, 1.96 record in 156 innings. 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, which was reclassified as Triple-A in 1946. He then went to Nashville of the Double-A Southern Association for two years (1947-48), then back to the PCL to play for Sacramento in 1949-50. Conger finished his career in 1950 with Oklahoma City of the Double-A Texas League. He had 74 wins in the minors, topping out at 13 wins during the 1944 season. 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, and 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. He completed 72 of his 73 starts and tossed six shutouts. Hecker also batted .297 with 42 RBIs that season and led all American Association pitchers in assists and putouts. His season was worth 15.5 WAR as a pitcher and 2.3 WAR as a hitter. His win total was the third highest ever in baseball history, but it gets overshadowed by the fact that Old Hoss Radbourn set the record with 60 wins that season. He also has the third highest innings pitched total for that year, finishing just 9.1 behind the record. His 72 complete games is tied for third most, sharing that spot with Pittsburgh Hall of Famer James “Pud” Galvin.

Hecker played amateur and semi-pro ball until he was 26 years old, with just a short stint in pro ball back in 1877 with Champion City of the League Alliance, 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 (66 games). He hit .276 with 62 runs in 78 games. He broke out as a pitcher in 1883, going 28-23, 3.34 in 469 innings. He was fifth in the league in wins, tenth in ERA and fourth in innings pitched. He batted .271 in 81 games, with 59 runs scored. After his amazing 1884 season mentioned above, Hecker went 30-23, 2.18 in 480 innings in 1885. He finished second in ERA, fifth in wins and fifth in innings. He batted .297 in 78 games, with 53 runs, 26 extra-base hits and 42 RBIs, putting together a .754 OPS.

In 1886, Hecker accomplished something amazing in a season that was average for him on the pitching side. He won 26 games and led the American Association 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 also had 76 runs, 48 RBIs and 25 steals in 84 games. His .848 OPS was the third best in the league. His pitching record was solid at 26-23, 2.87 in 420.2 innings. 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 pitching that year (at least by his standards), going 18-12, 4.16 in 285.1 innings. He also played more first base that season, seeing 43 games there and 34 games in the pitcher’s box. He improved his ERA to 3.39 in 223.1 innings in 1888, but it came with an 8-17 record. Louisville went 40-70 when he didn’t get the decision, so the quality of the team had a lot to do with the record. He had a rough year at the plate, at least by his standards. For a pitcher, it was still a solid year, with a .227 average in 56 games, with 32 runs and 29 RBIs. Hecker had a 5.59 ERA in 151.1 innings in 1889, though he batted .284 in 81 games and finished with a .709 OPS. Late in the 1889 season, with his skills declining, he was released by Louisville. He took up some umpiring after being released.

Hecker 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, and he hit .226 in 86 games, playing 69 games at first base and seven in the outfield. 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 before retiring as a player. Hecker finished with a 175-146, 2.93 record in 2,924 innings. He completed 312 of his 322 career starts, including all 57 starts during the 1886-87 seasons. He was a .282 hitter in 705 big league games, with 504 runs scored, 117 doubles, 47 triples, and 19 homers. He had 278 RBIs, though that stat wasn’t tracked during the 1882-83 seasons. He also stole 123 bases, which is missing his first four years of stats.

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