Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2002
On this date in Pirates, history the Bucs traded 4 minor leaguers to the Yankees for Lee Mazzilli. Lee was a 27 yr. old switch hitter at the time and coming off a season where he hit .251 with 10 HR's and 13 stolen bases in 95 games. For the Pirates, he would play some center field till Marvell Wynne joined the team, then Lee became a valuable pinch hitter off the bench. Lee hit .240 with 24 RBI's in 109 games while stealing 15 bases.
The next year Lee would play 74 games in left field, backing up Lee Lacy who switched between left and right. He batted just .237 in 1984, but Lee would continue to be a valuable pinch hitter during his stay with the Pirates and in 1985 he pinch hit an incredible 72 times, batting .282 with a .425 on base % for the season. He also got an occasional stat at first base that year, but played in just 92 games total. Mazzilli started the 1986 season with the Pirates, but was released after hitting just .226 in 61 games.
Players born on this date include Hall of Famer Connie Mack, who played for the Bucs as a catcher from 1891-1896 and managed the team from the end of 1894-till the end of 1896. As a manager he had a record of 149-134, but his teams never finished higher than 6th place. As a player he platooned with Doggie Miller his first 3 years before becoming a backup when he started managing, with his last season spent mostly playing 1st base after another future HOF'er Jake Beckley was traded to the Giants.
Connie was a light hitting catcher with good speed till the wear and tear of catching took its toll on him. Three times he stole over 25 bases before joining the Bucs. He hit just 5 home runs in his 11 year career, with 3 coming in one season and he was a .245 career hitter. He later went on to manage the Philadelphia A's for 50 years,winning 5 world series, 9 pennants and over 3500 games and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1937. At the time of his election he had a winning record as manager, but eventually finished over 200 games under .500 and had ten 100 loss seasons total. Connie was born in 1862.
Matty Alou, born in 1938, played center field for the Pirates from 1966-1970 and 4 times he hit over .330 including leading the league in 1966 with a .342 average. Matty, the brother of 2 other longtime outfielders (Felipe and Jesus) who he was teammates with during his stay with the Giants, was traded to the Pirates for Ozzie Virgil and Joe Gibbons on Dec 1, 1965 after he hit just .231 the previous season.
In 1969, Alou had a career high 231 hits to lead the NL and also led the league in at-bats and doubles while making his second straight all-star appearance for the Pirates. A .307 career hitter over 15 seasons, he was a member of the 1970 team that went to the NLCS, but lost to the Reds in 3 games. Matty went 3-12 in that series with a double and a run scored.
He stole 98 bases in his 5 years with the Pirates, 3 times finishing in the top-10 in the league. Matty's 698 at-bats in 1969 is a Pirates single season record and his 231 hits ranks 3rd all-time behind Lloyd Waner (234, 1929) and Paul Waner (237,1927). Matty was traded after the 1970 season along with pitcher George Brunet to the Cardinals for Nelson Briles and Vic Davilillo.
Bob Hall, who pitched for the 1953 Pirates was born on this date in 1923. He had spent the 2 previous seasons in the minors after playing 2 years for the Braves from 1949-50. While with the Bucs who were just 50-104 on the season, he went 3-12 5.39 splitting time between starting and the bullpen. He did pitch one shutout, 1 of just 4 by the team on the season and he saved 1 game. 1953 would be his last season in the majors.
Glenn Wilson, who played for the Pirates from 1988-89 and part of 1993 was born on this date in 1958. The Pirates traded Darnell Coles to the Mariners for Wilson in the summer of 1988 and Wilson hit .270 over 35 games spent mostly in right field where he was known for his great arm. In 1989, he hit .289 with 49 RBI's over 100 games before being traded to the Astros for Billy Hatcher. Wilson would make a brief comeback in 1993 with the Pirates after not playing in the majors for 2 years, but he hit just .143 in 14 at-bats and struck out 9 times, ending his 10 year major league career with a .265 avg over 1201 games.
Finally, Lonnie Smith played for the Pirates in 1993 and was 1 of 4 players who saw significant time in left field as the Pirates tried to find a suitable replacement for Barry Bonds who left in the previous off-season for the Giants. Al Martin ended up as the most used LF, but not till after Lloyd McClendon and Dave Clark got their chances in left, with both playing over 20 games there. Smith meanwhile batted .286 with 24 RBI's and 9 stolen bases (he had 370 career) before being traded to the Orioles in Sept for 2 minor leaguers. Lonnie turns 47 today.