Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Day In Bucco History: Openin Days & Stuff

 Opening days, a birthday, a retirement and a bridge:
  • 1866 - Happy Birthday, Bill McKechnie. He was a Pirate infielder off and on from 1907-20 and manager (1922-26; World Series winner in 1925) for whom McKechnie Field at Bradenton is named.
  • 1970 - After eight consecutive Opening Day defeats, the Mets finally won a lidlifter by beating the Pirates 5-3 at Forbes Field. It took 11 innings, but Ron Taylor, with a Tug McGraw save, beat Chuck Hartenstein. New York became the first team to have won a World Series (1969) before winning a season opener.
  • 1977 - Danny Murtaugh’s number 40 was retired on Opening Day in front of 35,186 fans the year following his death. He won a pair of World Series and was twice Manager of the Year. Known for his dry wit, The Whistling Irishman attributed his success to “brilliant managerial thinking and dumb Irish luck.”
  • 1978 - The Candy Man tossed a seven hit shutout to outduel Rick Reuschel and the Cubs 1-0 in the Pirates home opener at TRS. Bill Robinson was the hero; his hard slide into second after a Willie Stargell grounder broke up a potential inning-ending DP and allowed Frank Taveras to score the game’s only run.
  • 1999 - The Sixth Street Bridge was renamed the Roberto Clemente Bridge.
  • 2008 - The Pirates lost the first home opener of the Frank Coonelly/Neal Huntington era in exciting fashion, dropping a 10-8 decision to the Cubs at PNC Park in 12 innings. The Bucs fell behind 7-0, rallied to tie the score, and were set to win it in the ninth when Jose Bautista laid down a safety squeeze with Brian Bixler at third. Bixler lost his nerve and retreated back to the bag, costing Pittsburgh its last grab at the ring.

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