Busy day in Bucco annals:
1951 - Rik Aalbert “Bert” Blyleven was born in Zeist, Netherlands.
The Hall-of-Fame righty with the legendary hook pitched three seasons
for the Pirates (1978-80) before being traded to the Indians for some beads after locking horns with Chuck Tanner. The Dutchman went
34-28 for the Bucs with a 3.47 ERA, six shutouts and worked 697-2/3
frames for the team. Oddly, his beef was getting pulled too quickly, so
he apparently didn’t think 230+ innings/season was too much of a load.
1971 - It’s the little things that win ballgames. Before 39‚712
fans, the Pirates took a 4-2 win from the Phils at TRS’ first home
opener. Dock Ellis won and laid down three sac bunts, one being a
suicide squeeze to plate a score and another setting up an eventual run while the
Phillies self-destructed with four errors that led to two unearned runs.
Ellis went the distance, giving up eight hits and whiffing eight.
1973 - 51‚695 fans were on hand at Three Rivers Stadium as number 21
of Roberto Clemente was retired. The Pirates then beat St. Louis‚ 7-5‚
staging a eighth inning rally that saw the Bucs score five times after
two were down, keyed by a Richie Hebner double and Gene Clines
three-bagger.. Other honors for the Great One: PNC Park’s right field
fence is now known as the Clemente Wall, and reaches 21’ high to
commemorate his number while his statue sits outside the CF gates of the
yard. And the players wore the famous round #21 patch on their uniforms for
the season to commemorate Clemente after sporting black ribbons during
spring training. At the All-Star Game in Pittsburgh on July 11th, 2006, players from both squads wore yellow wristbands with the initials "RCW" in honor of Clemente. He also has a street, bridge, and park named after him, a museum, a Susan Wagner statue and a handful of awards.
1982 - The Bucs’ home opener at TRS was cancelled after an April blizzard rolled across the mideast.
1988 - Bobby Bonilla went long from both sides of the dish in a 6-5
loss to the Phils at Veteran’s Stadium. It’s the second time he’d done
it, and only he and Dale Sveum have pulled off that feat for Pittsburgh.
2000 - The Pirates beat the Astros 10-1. Brian Giles went 5-for-5
with two homers and a triple, accounting for four RBI & three runs scored.
Francisco Cordova didn’t give up a hit until after one out in the 8th
2003 - Kris Benson shut out the Phillies 2-0, scattering six hits over six innings, and helped end Jim Thome’s
streak of 60 consecutive games on base, the longest since Mark McGwire
reached base 62 games in a row in 1995-96.
2009 - Down a pair in the ninth at Busch Stadium, the Pirates
rallied with two outs against Jason Motte to beat the Cardinals 6-4.
With two away and Freddy Sanchez aboard, Adam LaRoche singled and
pinch-hitter Eric Hinske doubled home Steady Freddy. Brandon Moss got
plunked to jam the sacks, and Jack Wilson banged a three-run double to
unjam them. Matt Capps came in to get the save for John Grabow’s win in
the season opener.