Saturday, April 25, 2015

4/25: Haney, L-Ville, Tip O' The Hat, Wally, Willie, Kip, Pedro & More...

  • 1896 - Fred Haney was born in Albuquerque. He managed the Bucs as a favor to Branch Rickey from from 1953-1955. His record reflects the fact that he was brought in during the early stages of a youth movement, losing 104, 101 and 94 games for a 163-299 (.353) slate.
Fred Haney 1954 Topps series
  • 1899 - Pittsburgh lost to Louisville 2-1 at Eclipse Park as future Bucco SS Honus Wagner went 4-for-4 with 2 HRs‚ the second being a ninth-inning game winner. The Colonels were managed by future Pirate skipper (and player) Fred Clarke. The following season, most of Louisville’s top players followed owner Barney Dreyfuss to Pittsburgh. 
  • 1940 - The Pirates put up a four spot in the eighth inning, but came up a run short to the St. Louis Cards 10-9 at Forbes Field. Elbie Fletcher went 3-for-5 with four RBI while Lloyd “Little Poison” Waner batted 4-for-5 and scored three times. 
  • 1943 - RHP Bob Johnson was born in Aurora, Illinois. He pitched for the Bucs from 1971-73, beginning as a starter and ending in the bullpen. He went 17-16-7/3.34 as a Buc and appeared in a pair of NLCS and in the 1971 World Series. 
  • 1948 - Wally Westlake homered, doubled and drove in six runs while Ed Stevens added five more RBI to lead the Bucs to a 13-10 win over the Reds in the second game of a twinbill at Crosley Field. Pittsburgh lost the opener 7-6 in the ninth. 
Wally Westlake 1951 Topps Red Back series
  • 1970 - Willie Stargell homered over the RF roof at Forbes Field off Hoyt Wilhelm‚ the second time he'd done it in a week‚ as the Pirates edged the Braves‚ 8-7. Eighteen balls carried over the Oakland yard’s roof, with seven launched by Stargell. No one else hit more than a pair. Roberto Clemente had three hits (two were doubles) and four RBI as he stole the offensive thunder from Cap’n Willie. 
  • 1992 - In the Pirates 1-0 win over the host Cubs‚ the Bucs were helped by a wayward hat. With Kirk Gibson on first‚ Jay Bell hit a potential DP grounder that struck Gibson's helmet‚ which had flown off as he headed to second, and the Cubs had to settle for a force. Andy Van Slyke noted‚ “the play goes 7-1/2 to 4 to 5 to 6" on your scorecard. Bell then scored when Van Slyke followed with a double for the game’s only run. Randy Tomlin was the winner over Greg Maddux. 
  • 2003 - Kip Wells became the second player and first pitcher to homer into the batter’s eye at PNC Park with a third inning, 457’ blast off the Dodgers Odalis Perez. LA had the last laugh when they rallied for five ninth inning runs off Wells and Mike Williams to take a 5-2 victory. 
Kip Wells 2003 Topps series
  • 2011 - Pedro Alvarez homered in both games of Pittsburgh’s doubleheader split against Colorado at PNC Park, becoming the second Pittsburgh player in the last 22 seasons to hit home runs for the Pirates in two games played on the same day. El Toro joined Rob Mackowiak, who also went long twice in a DH on 5/28/04 against the Cubs on the memorable day his wife gave birth to their first child.
  • 2012 - The Pirates and the Rockies became the first teams in MLB history to add an extra player to the roster for their twin bill at PNC Park. The new CBA allowed teams to carry 26 on the active roster for doubleheaders to save the paper shuffling that calling up an extra pitcher entailed. The Bucs brought up Jared Hughes, who had started the season with Pittsburgh but was sent down when AJ Burnett came of the DL. 
  • 2013 - The Bucs beat the Phillies for the third straight time at Citizen’s Bank Park by a 6-4 score. It was the first time in eighteen occurrences that Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee threw back-to-back-to-back games and the Phils lost all three matches. The Pirates lost the first outing of the four game set, beaten 3-2 by Jonathan Pettibone, who was making his first MLB start.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Pirates v D-backs, Notes & Lineup (Marte Is Back)

Today's Game: Gerrit Cole faces Josh Collmenter at Chase Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 9:40 PM. Cole has won his last two outings, while Collmenter tossed a complete game goose egg for his first win on Friday. The game will be aired by 93.7 The Fan; Root Sports will pick it up right after the 7 PM Penguin game ends.

Today's Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Gregory Polanco RF, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2B, Starling Marte LF, Pedro 1B, Fran Cervelli C, Jordy Mercer SS, Cole P.

After being a little nicked up for the Cub set, the Bucs are back at full strength with the A Team penciled in tonight. And give the bench guys their due; the team really hasn't missed a beat due to rest or injury so far.


Cutch got his blow and is ready to go (photo: ESPN)
  • Neil Walker has a quiet little six game hitting streak going on.
  • You might remember the last series between these teams, when Ernest Frieri broke Paul Goldschmidt's hand and Cutch paid the price the next night, taking a heater in the back. We'll see how (or if) the attitudes have adjusted with Kirk Gibson gone. 
  • The Bucs have played well in the desert, winning six of their last nine games played in Arizona, dating back to 4/17/12.
  • Collmenter tossed the majors' first shutout (and first complete game) last week in San Francisco, giving up just four hits after struggling through his first two starts. He was Arizona's Opening Day pitcher this year.
  • Wandy Rodriguez is supposed to start for the Rangers tonight.

Thoughts & Notes...

One road trip and one homestand into the season, and a couple of things come to mind.

First, no matter how much they shift, the Pirate infield defense could sure step up. In spite of an impressive errorless streak, their range is not great. The good news is that Pedro and Josh can only get better with more time at the corners. Josh only has 158 big-league games at third and about the same in the minors, so he's not a polished product at the hot corner yet. Pedro still misses a few reads, taking balls from The Kid & missing bleeder covers of the bag, but he should adapt OK, too. Remember, his problem isn't playing the field, where he's fairly nimble for a big dude, and his throwing woes should be minimized at first.

In the middle, Jordy isn't terribly rangy - Baseball Reference has him at league average over the past two seasons -  but dependably steady. Neil Walker, per BR, has the same profile, but this year has shown a marked decrease in range, and although a small sample size, that will bear watching. No such question in the outfield, with three guys who can go get it.

The Three Amigos (Keith Srakcocic/Associated Press)
Second, the rotation has been quite solid; we'd just like to see the pitchers get a little deeper into games as no team can thrive by exposing their relievers early and often. We're not all that concerned with the bullpen, unless Mark the Shark is in decline rather than a slump. Two flags wave for us: Melancon's return to form and the Caminero/Antonio Bastardo flip. Bastardo hasn't shown up all that well so far, doesn't get his number called much, and there's not much back end depth in the pipeline.

Which leads us to Clint using his pen members a little more regularly - it seems pretty easy to lose the skipper's confidence - and on a more situational, match-up basis. That's not his MO, a bit surprising considering how well he incorporates game data in his decision making, but bullpen management has worked well his way in the past, using set roles and a sometimes short list of staff.

Offensively, we think these guys are for real; not the Lumber Company, for sure, but deep enough. They appear to have their heads on straight now after an embarrassing case of early-season whiffitis, with have more power and fewer automatic outs spread through the lineup & bench. When Cutch and The Kid start hitting on all cylinders, runs shouldn't be a big problem.

We like the team so far, especially as it has room to grow. They've kept the intangibles that have been a big part of their 2013-14 surge, and even though they stumbled out of the blocks in this campaign's opening week, they've clawed their way back to .500, three games behind the Cards. At this time last year, they were 9-14 and 7-1/2 games out of first, so...

  • Gregory Polanco is featured in a Sean Collier article in Pittsburgh Magazine. Right on time, too. El Coffee has 11 hits in his last seven games, five for extra bases.
  • If you're wondering how the Pirate depth guys are doing, here's Indy's stats to date. Casey Sadler has kept on keeping on, as has late cut Steve Lombardozzi. And, as John Dreker of Pirates Prospects tweets, Big John Holdzkom still has some command issues: "In 5-2/3 innings this year, he's thrown 143 pitches - 74 strikes, 69 balls."Yikes! That equals out to 227 pitches per nine innings.
  • The KC Royals may want to consider joining one of those martial art leagues. After brawling their way through the Oakland series, some yapping sparked another donnybrook with the White Sox. Even Eddie Volquez got involved in the melee and earned an ejection.

4/24: Fred Carroll, Honus, Rebels, Gashouse Gang Goes Down, Chris Jakubauskas

  • 1891 - Fred Carroll hit the first home run by a Pirate in Exposition Park (they played the year prior in nearby Recreation Park as the Alleghenys) as the Bucs defeated the Chicago Colts 11-8 for their first victory ever in Pittsburgh. They had become the Pirates in the off season, when they “pirated” Lou Bierbauer from the Philadelphia A’s. 
Fred Carroll 1887 - Buchner Gold Coin series via Library of Congress
  • 1903 - Honus Wagner was having a bad day in the field, booting three balls that helped the Cardinals head into the ninth with a 7-6 lead at Exposition Park, but his bat helped erase the deficit. He tripled in the ninth and scored the tying run on a Kitty Bransfield single. Then with two away in the eleventh, the Flying Dutchman walked, stole second and came around with the game winner on another Bransfield knock. Wagner collected four hits including two triples along with two runs scored, four RBI‚ and three stolen bases. 
  • 1915 - Pittsburgh Rebel southpaw Frank Allen tossed a 2-0 no-hitter against the St. Louis Terriers at Handlan Park in the last year of the Federal League, the short-lived (1913-15) major league “outlaw” option to the National and American Leagues. Allen went on to toss a couple more seasons for the NL Boston Braves. The Federal League was absorbed by the NL & AL, and a suit the FL filed eventually led to the still existent ruling that exempted baseball from anti-trust laws. 
  • 1934 - The Bucs rallied to defeat the Gashouse Gang from St. Louis 5-4 at Forbes Field in their home opener. Behind 4-2 going into the ninth, Freddie Lindstrom homered over the LF wall with two aboard, and his walk-off gave the Pirates the win over the future NL champs. 
Freddie Lindstrom 1934 (The Conlon Collection/The Sporting News Archives)
  • 2010 - Chris Jakubauskas, in the first inning of his first appearance of the year, was struck in the head by a liner off the bat of Houston's Lance Berkman. The 31-year old right-hander left the field on a stretcher, but was later diagnosed with just a concussion and not a fracture as first feared. Jaku wouldn’t pitch for the Bucs any more that year, but tossed for Baltimore the following season. The Pirates lost the game 5-2.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

El Coffee, Josh & Pen Lead the Way In 5-4 Win

We were at the game today, wondering exactly why we were watching baseball in a typhoon that occasionally blew a snow flake or two around, especially in the early going.

The Cubs jumped out to a 4-1 lead as Jeff Locke pitched five fairly forgettable frames. All the runs were earned, and he gave up seven hits and three walks, though he did K seven. Two runs scored on #9 hitter Jonathan Herrera's two-out triple, a double by #7 hitter Addison Russell and a bases loaded walk. The only early Bucco response was Sean Rodriguez's homer into the bullpen.

But the Pirates put up a three spot in the sixth and one in the seventh. Josh and El Coffee doubled in the sixth for the next run, while a walk and a wild pick-off throw by C Welington Castillo led to RBI knocks by The Kid and Jordy, tying the game. In the following frame, Polanco's grounder into left against the shift plated Josh with the winning run after a great at-bat. The Cubs walked PH Corey Hart to get to Gregory, and he fell behind lefty Phil Coke 0-2, but battled him to a full count and eight pitches before delivering the game winner.

El Coffee (photo: Mike James Baseball America)

Polanco went 3-for-4 with two RBI while Harrison doubled and scored twice. The Pirates bullpen showed their stuff, as Radhames Liz (who pitched two innings & got the win), Arquimedes Caminero (who struck out Jorge Soler & Kris Bryant, then got Starlin Castro on a foul pop) and Mark the Shark (working a 1-2-3 ninth for the save) tossed four shutout innings, giving up just one hit and whiffing five.

The Bucs now go on a nine game road trip, opening with Arizona. Gerrit Cole will face Josh Collmenter in tomorrow night's lid lifter.

  • Good news on the injury front - Jordy played today, and Starling Marte pinch-ran in the seventh and hung around to play some centerfield, so he should be back in action against the D-Backs.
  • It was the first MLB win for Radhames Liz since September 14th, 2008 v the Twins, when he tossed eight shutout innings. He was then with the Orioles.
  • Chris Stewart was 2-for-2 against Chicago's wanna-be base stealers today.
  • The Pirates have homered in seven straight games.
  • The Cubbies have lost back to back games for the first time this season.

Bucs Take 4-3 Win; Recap & Getaway Day Lineup & Notes

Last Night's Game: Good start to this one. Francisco Cervelli hit an RBI double and Jung Ho Kang followed with a sacrifice fly in the second inning to get the Pirates on the board, followed by Pedro's sac fly in the third and an El Coffee homer in the fifth, a bullet that seemed to clear the Clemente Wall before Polanco could even get out of the box.

And thanks to a Houdini by Tony Watson, it was just enough. Vance Worley put together a gum-and-duct tape start, giving up six hits and two walks but just one run through 5-2/3 frames and 106 pitches. The key was the fifth, when he retired Kris Bryant on a sweet running grab by Polanco after falling behind 3-0 with the bases loaded, thanks to back-to-back two out walks.

At any rate, it was another short if effective start. Rob Scahill finished the sixth for Worley, and Arquimedes Caminero tossed a clean seventh. Jared Hughes took the ball in the eighth (Mark the Shark was unavailable after a 25 pitch outing Tuesday), and had a rough time of it. A single, wild pitch and walk were followed by a couple of soft hits, leaving the bases loaded with no outs in the eighth inning of a 4-2 game. Enter Houdini.

Tony Watson came up big yesterday (photo: Getty Images)

Watson let one run in on a fielder's choice (Kang made a heads up play, forcing the runner at third), but otherwise shut the door. And then he went out in the ninth, allowing a two-out single but closing the deal for the Bucs.It took him 30 pitches to get six outs, so he'll be sitting out today's game.

Game notes: Starling Marte was plunked in the hand with a pitch. It was diagnosed as a bruise, and it's yet to be seen how that will affect his status. Kang continues to look more comfortable hitting as he gets some at-bats under his belt. Last night was the third career two-inning save for Watson. And just what you need in April - there was a brief sleet/snow squall during the Cubs' seventh inning.

Looking for another Locke-down day (photo: Associated Press)

Today's Game: Jeff Locke takes on Kyle Hendricks. Locke has been sharp in the early going while Hendricks has not; let's hope that's a trend that continues as the Bucs go for the split. Should be interesting - in his last 11 starts at PNC Park, Locke has put up a 2.77 ERA, while Kendricks had his most solid outing of the young season last time out. The game starts at 12:35 and will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

Today's Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Andrew Lambo RF, Gregory Polanco CF, Neil Walker 2B, Pedro 1B, Jordy Mercer SS, Sean Rodriguez LF, Chris Stewart C, Locke P.

Some delay in posting the shake-and-bake lineup today; Clint was waiting to see how Starling Marte's mitt felt after BP (not so hot). Jordy's back, Cutch is sitting during a scheduled rest day, and Fran Cervelli is catching a night-to-day game blow. Maybe Pedro will have one of his big daylight games...

  • Surprising (to us, anyway) stat: Jeff Locke will try to win three straight outings for the first time in his career today.
  • Tony Watson's two-inning save was the first multi-inning save for the Bucs since June of 2013 when Ryan Reid turned the trick against the Brewers. Reid's save was of the cherry-picker variety; he went the final three innings of a 10-3 win. The close was Tony's fifth career save; three have been two-frame gigs.
  • Following the game today, the Pirates embark on a 10-day, nine-game road trip to Arizona, Chicago and St. Louis.
  • Charlie Morton is scheduled to make a 65-pitch start in a Pirate City game today. If that goes well, he'll go on a rehab assignment, likely for the entire 30 days allowed.
  • Indy won 8-6 yesterday despite 11 walks from Chris Volstad, Charlie Leesman, Brad Lincoln and Blake Wood. Wood at least earned all four of his outs via the K, hitting 95-98 on the gun.
  • Who'd thunk it? The Mets have won 10 in a row.

4/23: Big Crowd, Big Bet, Quick Starts, Genie, Cotton, Happy Jack & Babe...

  • 1890 - The Pittsburgh Alleghenys beat the Cleveland Spiders 20-12 at Recreation Park in front of a crowd of 17 - with six paid in a yard that held 17,000. Smart fans - the team finished last in the NL with a record of 23–113, 66-1/2 games behind the first place Brooklyn Bridegrooms.  According to Wikipedia, Recreation Park was also known as Union Park and later, the Allegheny Athletic Association Grounds. It was tucked between Allegheny Ave, Pennsylvania Ave, Galveston Ave and Behan St in Allegheny West. No pictures of it as a baseball field are known to exist, though there are a couple of newspaper shots of Pitt playing football there. The baseball team left for Exposition Park in 1891 and Pitt followed suit years later, in 1904.
  • 1902 - St. Louis Cardinals owner Frank Robison put up a $10‚000 challenge that the Pirates wouldn’t repeat as NL champions. Pittsburgh players pooled their money to meet the bet, and then collected easily as they won the pennant by 27-1/2 games. St Louis finished sixth, 44-1/2 games off the Pirates’ pace.
  • 1917 - RHP Gene “Genie” Smith was born in Ashley, Louisiana. He pitched for the the Homestead Grays between 1946–1947. During his career, he threw a no-hitter, played in the East-West All Star game and in the Negro World Series, although not with Homestead.
  • 1922 - Second baseman Cotton Tierney collected a career-high five hits, doubled three times and knocked in a game-high four runs in Pittsburgh’s 14-3 rout of the Cubs in Chicago. The Bucs broke the game open with an eight run second inning and then added two more runs an inning later to make it 10-0. It was Pittsburgh’s sixth straight win after beginning the season with losses in each of the first three games. Hal Carlson took the win at Wrigley.
Cotton Tierney 1921 (photo: Bob Dorman)
  • 1946 - RHP “Happy Jack” Chesbro was elected to the Hall of Fame. A spitballer who won 41 games in 1904 for the NY Highlanders, he tossed for the Pirates at the beginning of his career from 1899-1902, with a line of 70-38/2.89. Also selected was Rube Wardell, a colorful hurler who began his career with Pittsburgh in 1900-01. They were inducted on June 12th.
  • 1946 - The Bucs sold 1B Ellsworth "Babe" Dahlgren to the St. Louis Browns. Dahlgren hit .271 with 176 RBI in his two year stint with the Bucs, but faded badly with the Browns as a 34-year old, and ‘46 was his last season in the show. He’s famous as the man who replaced Lou Gehrig in 1939 while with the Yankees.
  • 1947 - The Bucs were out of the gate in a hurry, winning their sixth of the first seven games of the season by an 8-5 count over the Cards at Sportsman’s Park. Billy Cox and Eddie Basinski each homered and combined for seven RBI. Ed Bahr tossed 6-1/3 shutout innings, giving up just three hits, to win in relief.
Billy Cox & Hans in 1947 (Associated Press photo)
  • 1962 - The Bucs record setting ten game, season-opening winning streak was derailed by the Mets and Jay Hook at Forbes Field. It was the first regular season victory ever for NY as they won 9-1, and it started the Pirates on a spiral of losing 13-of-17 games.
  • 1966: The Pirates scored three times in the ninth inning to pull out a 5-4 win against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Pittsburgh trailed 4-2 heading into the ninth before Bob Bailey, Jim Pagliaroni and Jose Pagan each hit solo homers off Dennis Aust and Hal Woodeshick to power the Bucs past the Cards.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Pirates v Cubs, Lineup & Notes

Today's Game: Vance Worley goes against Jason Hammel. Vanimal is undefeated against the Cubs, with a 2-0 record/2.39 ERA in four career starts, with two strong showings and two that were meh. Hammel is 4-3 in eight career games v the Pirates with a 3.88 ERA. The game begins at 7:05, with no TV (Bucs & Pucks nite) but will be broadcast on 93.7 The Fan.

Today's Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Gregory Polanco RF, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2B, Starling Marte LF, Pedro 1B, Fran Cervelli C, Jung Ho Kang SS, Worley P.

Fran Cervelli is starting his 12th game and hitting .306 (photo: Gene Puskar/AP)
Standard lineup, minus Jordy who is out another day. Kang is making his third straight start and looks like he's getting a little bit comfortable in the box with a nice arm in the field, but doesn't cover nearly as much dirt as Mercer does. Clint may book some downtime for Jared Hughes and/or Tony Watson. Both have appeared in 4-of-6 games and been called on eight and nine games respectively.


  • Jung Ho Kang's bases loaded (and clearing) double last night was his first MLB extra-base hit and RBIs.
  • The Bucs have scored in the first inning in four straight games.
  • The Pirate PR guys found out everything you want to know about Bucco leadoff homers: Josh Harrison hit his second leadoff home run of the season Tuesday night, the fourth of his career. The last Pittsburgh player with more than two home runs leading off the first inning in one season was Andrew McCutchen, who hit four in 2009. Harrison is now tied for eighth on the club’s all-time list for leadoff home runs, trailing Barry Bonds (20), Al Martin (10), Cutch (8), Bob Bailey (7), Cal Abrams (5), Omar Moreno (5) and Bill Virdon (5). Bob Bailey?
  • The Oakland A's Ike Davis did it Pittsburgh-style yesterday. In a 14-1 game, he came in to pitch an inning and retired the side 1-2-3, all on grounders. Ray Searage should be proud!

Old Formula Not Working As Cubs Rally Past Bucs 9-8

The Pirate success of the past couple of years has been based on shortening games and allowing the back end of the bullpen to close the gates. Sure didn't work that way against the Reds, and sho' 'nuf didn't work that way last night. Frankie Liriano got through some command issue with nastiness, striking out nine in his five frames.

But Jared Hughes, Radhames Liz and Tony Watson each gave up a run in their inning of work (although in justice Hughes was unearned; more on that later). Then the much discussed Mark the Shark came on in the ninth with a two run lead; that quickly went by the boards.

He only gave up two well-hit balls, and one found a glove. But he threw his knuckle curve into the dirt several times and was nicked for hits off it a couple more times. His cutter again didn't hit 90, and  looked like it was coming in flat, without its trademark dive.

A couple of nicely placed soft hits not withstanding, Melancon is a guy looking for answers right now, and that doesn't bode well. Various folk have noted that his release point is noticeably lower than it was in the summer of 2014, and  his velocity has dropped along with his arm. Whether that's just mechanical or a reaction to a possible injury or soreness, the Shark looks like a pitcher that should be on a short leash; we can't imagine that he's not a candidate for some less leveraged innings.

Kang comes through (photo: via MLB.com)
The Buc bats were the only thing working last night. Corey Hart made a couple of miscues at first, one on a throw and another on a grounder, Josh booted one, and and two or three balls made it through the infield that should have been converted into outs.

But the boys flashed some lumber last night. Harrison and Starling Marte homered, Fran Cervelli chipped in with a two-run knock, and Jung Ho Kang had a big, bases clearing double to plate three with two outs (and after Marte was intentionally walked to get to him). 

The Bucs have gone through streaks where they've had up-and-down hitting, and survived with dependable fielding and back-end pitching. They're still trying to recapture that winning combo.

  • The Cubs' young 'uns have played as advertised. Anthony Rizzo (25), Jorge Soler (23), Kris Bryant (23) and Starlin Castro (25) combined to go 9-for-18 with six runs scored and six RBI.
  • Jordy Mercer did some soft-tossing; he's still day-to-day with a bruised chest.
  • Each team had a pair of homers; the wind was blowing, sometimes briskly, toward the river.
  • The Pirates drew 13,680 to the game.

4/22: Expo III Opens, Terrible Ted's B-Day, Opening Day Celebrations, The Big Hurt & More

  • 1891 - The Pirates played their first game at Exposition Park, located on the North Shore of the Allegheny River across from downtown Pittsburgh, not far from where PNC Park sits. Pittsburgh lost to the Chicago Cubs 7-6. The Pittsburg Press printed a special “Sporting Edition” that included a game story and illustrations. The 16,000 seat yard featured 400-foot foul lines and a 450-foot center field fence. It was their home field until 1909, when Forbes Field opened in Oakland. 
Exposition Park (undated photo from the Historical Society of Western PA)
  • 1892 - The Pirates set a franchise record when they scored twelve times in the first inning against St. Louis at Expo Park, beating the Browns 14-3. The game provided this footnote: Pittsburgh OF Elmer Smith worked a pair of free passes in that opening frame, the first time a player was walked twice in one inning. 
  • 1898 - Cincinnati's Ted Breitenstein tossed a no-hitter against the Pirates, winning easily by an 11-0 count at League Field. He struck out two, walked one, and another runner reached via error. All in all, the Pittsburg Press saw fit to call it “...a wonderful feat.”
  • 1902 - The Pirates and their opponents, the Cincinnati Reds, marched in a raucous parade from the Monongahela House hotel to Exposition Park for the Home Opener that was seen by thousands, the Pittsburg Press wrote on the front page. The Bucs raised their 1901 pennant flag over the ballyard in front of a record 15,000 fans and then edged the Reds 4-3, overcoming an early three run deficit. Tommy Leach scored the winning run in the eighth, singling and then advancing from first-to-third on a bunt. He scored on starting and winning pitcher Sam Leever’s sac fly. 
Sam Leever display (Goshen Ohio Historical Society)
  • 1903 - Theodore Roosevelt “Terrible Ted” Page was born in Glasgow, Kentucky. The speedy and gritty OF’er played for the Homestead Grays (1931-32) and Pittsburgh Crawfords (1932-34). He grew up in Youngstown, and turned down a football scholarship offered by Ohio State to focus on baseball. The lefty Page batted .335 for his career, but injured his knee in 1934, leading eventually to his retirement in 1937. He stayed in Pittsburgh, and his sports focus switched. After baseball, Page ran bowling alleys, including Meadow Lanes (he was hired to work there by former teammate Jack Marshall), and wrote a bowling column for the Pittsburgh Courier. He met a tragic end, beaten to death at home during a robbery, and is buried at Allegheny Cemetery. 
  • 1913 - Manager Fred Clarke was suspended for five days after a “run in” with umpire Brick Owens, who rang up a Red at Forbes Field for the final out of a Bucco win on 4/19, only to change his mind and decide it was a ball, after all. The Pirates had started to trot off the field, allowing a runner to scoot to third while the club was in disarray. It became a moot point when the Bucs held on for a 6-5 win over Cincinnati. Afterward, Clarke admitted that he had used “forceful language” in arguing his case, but given the circumstances, was upset with the time off. First-place Pittsburgh was already missing injured stars SS Hans Wagner and C George Gibson, and would shortly start a slide that dropped them out of contention. 
  • 1937 - Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Truijillo signed several players from the Crawfords including Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige, to his Dragones of Ciudad Trujillo squad. It was the blow that eventually brought down the Pittsburgh team as a powerhouse Negro League club. The Crawfords were sold in 1939 and moved to Toledo. 
  • 1941 - Pitcher Mace Brown was sold to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Mace had spent seven years as a Pirate, doing everything from starting to closing, but with Brooklyn was converted to one of the first full-time relievers. He was fairly effective over the next three years, but lost 1944-45 to the war while serving in the Navy, and 1946 was his last MLB campaign.
Mace Brown 1941 Double Play series
  • 1949 - The Pirates won their home opener‚ beating the Reds‚ 5-4. Ralph Kiner's 3rd-inning grand slam was the key blow. The Bucs had fallen behind 4-0 in the first, but Bill Werle tossed 7-2/3 frames of scoreless relief to claim the win. 
  • 1951 - Led by Gus Bell‚ who belted a homer‚ three doubles and a single while scoring three times‚ the Pirates defeated the Reds 7-5 at Crosley Field. Bill Werle tossed 2-1/3 scoreless relief frames to claim the win. 
  • 1957 - Hank Foiles hit a 425’ triple and a 258’ homer off the RF foul pole in a 3-1 loss to the Giants at the weirdly configured Polo Grounds. Willie Mays hit a two-out, three-run homer in the third off Luis Arroyo to carry NY to victory. 
Hank Foiles 1957 Topps series
  • 1962 - The Pirates won their tenth straight game since Opening Day, 4-3, equalling the major league record to start a season. Bob Veale beat the Mets at Forbes Field; the NY nine tied a NL record going in the opposite direction by opening the year 0-9. The Pirates won it in the bottom of the eighth when Bill Mazeroski’s double scored Roberto Clemente.
  • 1997 - The Pirates signed OF’er Turner Ward to a $300K deal after he had was released by the Brewers. He had two solid years for the Bucs, including an all-time TV moment when he crashed through the TRS wall. But he hit under the Mendoza line in 1999 and was released in August,. 
  • 2001 - Jason Kendall gave the Bucs their first walkoff win at PNC Park with a two-run homer off Chicago’s Jeff Fassero in the 10th inning. The Cubs took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 10th on a leadoff homer by Gary Matthews. But in the home half, Kevin Young delivered a pinch-hit single and Kendall followed with his blast to give the Bucs and Mike Williams the win.
  • 2010 - The Pirates were humiliated by the Brewers at PNC Park 20-0 for their worst loss ever. Six Bucco pitchers surrendered 25 hits. The victory completed a three-game sweep of the Bucs in which the Brew Crew outscored Pittsburgh, 36-1