- December 23, 1871 - RHP Sam "The Goshen Schoolmaster" Leever was born in Goshen, Ohio. He was a Pirate mainstay on the hill from 1898-1910, with a record of 191-100 with a 2.47 ERA, spending his entire career with Pittsburgh. Leever won 20 games or more four times and led the league with seven shutouts in 1903. Sadly for Sam, he went 0-2 in the 1903 World Series, trying to pitch through a shoulder injury, and didn’t appear in the 1909 World Series.
- December 23, 1968 - RHP Rick White was born in Springfield, Ohio. White, a 15th round draft pick of Pittsburgh in 1990, began his 12-year MLB career as a Buc in 1994-95, and made another Steel City stop in 2005. He went 10-15-8 with a 4.03 ERA as a Pirate.
- December 24, 1949 - Frank Taveras was born in Las Matas de Santa Cruz, Dominican Republic. The SS spent eight years (1971-72, 1974-79) with the Pirates as a top-of-the order guy, swiping 206 bases with a streak of four seasons with 44+ steals, including an NL-leading 70 in 1977. But his bat (.253), OBP (.306) and not-so-steady glovework got him sent to the Mets in April of 1979 for Tim Foli, a dependable fielder and contact hitter that helped jell the World Series infield.
- December 24, 1970 - There was a fire in the vacated Forbes Field. The damage this blaze caused, on the heels of a July blaze, hastened its demolition. It was a five-alarmer that started under the RF bleachers and was contained to that area.
- December 25, 1856 - RHP James Galvin was born in St. Louis. The Hall of Famer was MLB’s first 300 game winner and may have had the most nicknames of any player ever, going by "Pud," "Gentle Jeems," “Gentleman James” and "The Little Steam Engine." He threw 6,003 IP and 646 complete games, both of which are second only to Cy Young. Pud tossed seven years (1885-89, ‘91-92) for the Pirates, with the 1890 campaign lost when he jumped to the Pittsburgh Burghers of the rogue Player’s League. He was 126-110 with an ERA of 3.10 during his Buc career.
- December 25, 1946 - Gene Lamont was born in Rockford, Illinois. After serving stints as Jim Leyland’s 3B coach, he took over the team reins in 1997. In his first year Lamont finished second with a young, inexperienced team (“The Freak Show”) that was widely predicted to finish last, and he came in second for the manager of the year behind Dusty Baker. That was the highlight; after the 2000 season, Lamont was fired and replaced by Lloyd McClendon after a record of 295–352.
- December 26, 1950 - IF Mario Mendoza was born in Chihuahua, Mexico. In five seasons (1974-78) with the Pirates, the reserve infielder put up a .204 BA. About the Mendoza line: "My (Seattle Mariner) teammates Tom Paciorek and Bruce Bochte used it to make fun of me," Mendoza told Dave Seminara of the St. Louis Post Dispatch in 2010. "Then they were giving George Brett a hard time because he had a slow start that year, so they told him, 'Hey, man, you're going to sink down below the Mendoza Line if you're not careful.' And then Brett mentioned it to Chris Berman from ESPN, and eventually it spread and became a part of the game."
Merry Christmas to all...