- 1893 - RHP Burleigh Grimes was born in Emerald, Wisconsin. The Hall of Famer spent five years with the Bucs (1916-17, 1928-29, 1934), beginning and ending his career in Pittsburgh with a couple years in the middle. He was a modest 48-42/3.26 as a Pirate, but in a 19 year career with seven different clubs, Old Stubblebeard (he didn’t shave on gamedays) won 269 decisions. He was also the last player that was allowed to legally throw a spitball.
|Buleigh Grimes (Hariwell Collection/Detroit Public Library)|
- 1893 - RHP Bernie Duffy was born in Vinson, Oklahoma. He joined the Pirates briefly in 1913 as a highly touted arm, but in three outings (two starts), the 19-year-old lasted just 11-⅓ IP and gave up 18 hits while putting up a 5.56 ERA. He spent the next several years going from farm club to farm club, and after the 1917 season did what any self-respecting Oklahoman would do: he hung up the spikes and struck out as a wildcatter in the oil fields.
- 1897 - LHP Roger Bowman was born in Amsterdam, New York. He closed out his five-year MLB career with two stops in Pittsburgh in 1953 and 1955, slashing 0-7/5.66. Bowman did have a long career in the minors, working from 1946-61 and once tossing a seven-inning perfecto, and also tossed in the Cuban and Venezuelan Leagues. He was a well-rounded fellow, playing sax for area big bands in the Adirondacks, turning an art degree into an upholstery business after his ball-playing days and earning a pilot's license.
- 1930 - Carl Barger was born in Lewistown, Pennsylvania. A corporate lawyer at Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott, he helped form and lead the Pittsburgh Associates to keep the Pirates in Pittsburgh after they were put up for sale by John Galbreath's family in 1985. He was president of the Pirates from 1987 to 1991 when he resigned to help his friend, Wayne Huinzenga, put together the Florida Marlins franchise. He died of a ruptured aorta while attending the winter meetings in 1992, before the Marlins had even played their first game. The Fish retired number 5 in his honor (though a long-time Pirates fan from his youth, Joe DiMaggio was his favorite player) then controversially unretired it for Logan Morrison in 2012, leaving a couple of practice fields named after him.
|Carl Barger (photo via Sports E-Cyclopedia)|
- 1934 - The Great One, Roberto Clemente, was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico. The Hall of Famer and humanitarian compiled a lifetime .317 BA, hitting over .300 in 13 of his last 14 seasons, and collected 3,000 hits in eighteen years as a Pirate. He was a two-time World Series champ, 15-time All-Star, won 12 Golden Gloves, was an NL & WS MVP and had his number retired.
- 1940 - Homestead Grays’ P Ray Brown was part of the East All-Star staff that shut out the West 11-0 at Comiskey Park in the Negro League AS game. Teammate Buck Leonard added three hits and three RBI for the winners.
- 1940 - IF Paul Popovich was born in Flemington, West Virginia. The WVU player (he was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 2013) closed out his 11-year career with Pittsburgh, hitting .211 in 1974-75 as a bench player for two division-winning clubs.
- 1952 - The Pirates sent IF George Strickland and RHP Ted “Cork” Wilks (he was called Cork in his St Louis days because he was the club’s “stopper” from the pen) to Cleveland for Johnny Berardino‚ minor leaguer Charlie Sipple and $50‚000. For Berardino‚ it was his second stint in Pittsburgh, a stopping off point before his more lucrative career in movies and as a soap opera star, notably playing Dr. Steve Hardy on “General Hospital.” The deal was a win for the Tribe; Strickland ended up with eight years for the Tribe as a defensive whiz, playing 734 games while hitting .233.
|Dr Steve Hardy in his true calling...|
- 1959 - Branch Rickey resigned as chairman of the Pirates board of directors to become president of the Continental League, a proposed third major league. The league disbanded in 1960 without playing a single game, but it helped to accelerate the expansion of MLB. Owners who were opposed to the CL approved expansion clubs in Houston, Minnesota and New York, all CL cities, to draw membership away from the new league, eventually killing it.
- 1960 - C Mike LaValliere was born in Charlotte, NC. Spanky caught for the Bucs from 1987-93, putting up a .278 BA, and was part of three Jim Leyland-led division winning teams (1991-93) that couldn’t get past the NLCS. He picked up his nickname because his teammates thought he looked like Little Rascal Spanky from “Our Gang.”
- 1987 - LHP Justin Wilson was born in Anaheim, California. A fifth round pick in 2008 from Fresno, he didn’t sign him until two days before the deadline. A starter throughout his career (he was involved in a pair of no-hitters at AAA Indy), he was converted to a multi-purpose pen arm in the show, making his debut in 2012 and now toiling for the Cubs. He went 9-5/2.99 during his Pirates stint (2012-14) before being traded to the Yankees for Fran Cervelli.
|Justin Wilson 2013 Topps|
- 1989 - The Pirates traded OF Glenn Wilson to the Astros for OF Billy Hatcher. Wilson had hit well for the Bucs before the deal, but flopped with Houston. Hatcher didn’t hit at all for Pittsburgh and was traded after the season.