He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk...
...I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"
- 1877 - OF Del Howard was born in Kenney, Illinois. Del (short for his middle name, Elmer) spent his 1905 rookie season as a Pirate and had his best campaign, hitting .292 while playing 3B, OF and even pitching once. He spent four more years in the majors, twice appearing with the powerhouse Cub clubs that won the World Series of 1907-08.
- 1939 - The Pirates President Bill Benswanger announced a uniform change. They eliminated the script “Pirates” across the chest and replaced it with a Buccaneer logo on the left breast, the first time the team emblem was worn on a Pirates jersey.
|Frank Taveras 1979 Topps|
- 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 glove work made him expendable and he was sent to the Mets in April of 1979 for Tim Foli, a dependable fielder and contact hitter that helped jell the World Series infield. Taveras played three seasons in NY, then spent his final year (1982) with Montreal.
- 1957 - RHP Victor Cruz was born in Rancho Viejo, Dominican Republic. Cruz came to Pittsburgh as part of the Bert Blyleven deal. He lasted one season here, and tossed pretty well in 22 games going 1-1, 2.65 as a bridge man. Then he was traded to the Texas Rangers in 1982 for Nelson Norman. As it ended up, Cruz became the most useful return of a trade that sent away Blyleven, a Hall-of-Fame pitcher with 11 big-league seasons left in the tank, demonstrating that GM Harding Peterson could blow a deal as well as any Bucco exec.
- 1970 - There was a fire in the right field stands of the vacated Forbes Field. The damage this blaze caused, followed by a July 1971 fire, hastened the old ballyard’s demolition. The Christmas Eve blaze became a five-alarm fire when Pitt security guards couldn’t find the keys to the center-field gate, delaying the firefighter’s entry to the ballpark.
- 1979 - The famous Willie Stargell/Terry Bradshaw cover issue of Sports Illustrated hit the stands when the pair were named co-Sportsmen of the Year. Willie led his team to the World Series title and Terry & the Steelers won the Super Bowl, with both being named MVP.