Saturday, December 17, 2016

12/17 Birthdays: HBD Cy, Rebel, Jim, Charlie, Marvell & Steve

  • 1879 - RHP Fred “Cy” Falkenberg was born in Chicago. He worked his 1903 rookie campaign for the Pirates, going 1-5 with a 3.86 ERA. It would be the fewest wins and highest ERA compiled in a single season for ol’ Cy, who tossed 12 big league years, winning 130 games (20+ victories twice) with a 2.68 lifetime ERA. Those 20-win tallies in 1913-14 were sparked by a new pitch that he came up with - a scuffed “emery” ball. The delivery was declared illegal after the 1914 season, and Cy was out of MLB two years later (in justice, hitting the age of 38 probably had as much with his descent as did the rulebook). So far as the Cy moniker, SABR’s Eric Enders speculates that it was another Cy Young knock-off, the old-timey ace whom many promising youngsters were likened to.
Rebel Oakes 1915 Cracker Jack
  • 1883 - CF Ennis “Rebel” Oakes was born in Lisbon, Louisiana. He played five years for the Reds and Cards, then jumped to the Federal League when it was established in 1914. After two seasons as the player-manager for the Pittsburgh Rebels, perhaps named in his honor, the league folded and Oakes never returned to MLB despite his .295 BA. SABR writer Phil Williams believes “Rebel Oakes was effectively blacklisted” after the Federal League’s demise. Btw, he didn’t earn his nickname by being particularly iconoclastic. When he was in the minors, an Iowa sportswriter dubbed him Rebel because of his Deep South birthplace.
  • 1896 - C Jim Mattox was born in Leesville, Virginia. Jim was a back-up in 1922-23 for the Pirates, hitting .253 off the bench. He was released after the year and retired rather than report to the minors again. Jim may have missed his true calling - in 1919, he was an All-Conference quarterback at Washington and Lee.
  • 1947 - C/PH Charlie Sands was born in Newport News, Virginia. Charlie played for the Bucs in 1971-72, going 5-for-33 (.192). He hung around the league for three more seasons, but only got into 63 more games.
Charlie Sands 1972 Topps
  • 1959 - CF Marvell Wynne was born in Chicago. He started his career with the Pirates, playing from 1983-85. Projected as a leadoff hitter, he stole 46 sacks but batted just .245 with an OBP of .297 before being traded to San Diego for Bob Patterson. Marvell’s last season was 1991, played in Japan. His son, also named Marvell, became a pro jock, too, but as a MSL soccer player.
  • 1967 - RHP Steve Parris was born in Joliet, Illinois. Steve started his eight-year MLB run in Pittsburgh between 1995-96 with a 6-9/5.82 slash as a starter. After a year in the minors, he tossed three solid seasons with the Reds and three not-so-solid seasons with Toronto and Tampa Bay.


WilliamJPellas said...

Marvell Wynne was a very good defensive center fielder and could steal a few bases. He also had a little bit of pop, but his on-base percentage is what really washed him out of the big leagues in the end. I think he was most properly a fourth outfielder type, and hey, he lasted into his early 30s and that's not bad. Interesting that his son made it in pro soccer. Thanks for the memories, Ron!

WilliamJPellas said...

One more point about Wynne. Wasn't he a Rule V acquisition by the Pirates? Or it not Rule V, was he a six year minor league free agent? One thing the Pirates organization has done well over the years is work the Rule V and six year minor league free agent end of the bog. Players like Al Martin, Garrett Jones, Whatsisface-the-pitcher they got from Tampa Bay a few years ago, and so on. I'd like to see them look for some pitching in those out of the way places this winter. You only have to get one or two usable guys that way and you get a whole lot of bang for your buck!

Ron Ieraci said...

Right on the OBP, Will - it was .297 lifetime, not much for a guy w/o pop. He came to the Bucs in '83 from the Mets as part of the Junior Ortiz deal.

The FO got Evan Meek and Donnie Veal in their first two rule 5 picks; since then, they've pretty much built their depth with fringy DFA guys in the off-season; maybe they got gunshy after Veal and decided for MLB ready (if only for the bench) guys in rule 5.