Tuesday, April 8, 2014

4/8: Opening Day Shutouts, A-Ram, Kiner Statue Unveiled, Clint-Foolery Follery, Extra Inning Wins, B-Days and More...

Opening Day Shutouts, A-Ram, Kiner Statue Unveiled, Clint-Foolery, Extra Inning Wins, B-Days and More... 
  • 1850 - Middle infielder John Peters was born in New Orleans. He played the final three years of his 11 season MLB career (1882–84) with the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, batting .273. 
  • 1915 - RHP Kirby Higbe was born. He pitched for Pittsburgh at the tail end of his career as a mainstay of the rotation in 1947 and a swingman in 1948, but began losing it by 1949. The Bucs traded him to the Giants that season, and after 1950, he hung 'em up. The hard partying righty had a solid career - in a dozen seasons, he claimed 118 wins and won a World Series with Brooklyn. 
  • 1938 - RHP Tom Butters was born in Delaware, Ohio. He spent his brief four year MLB career (1962-65) with Pittsburgh, compiling a modest 2-3 record with a 3.10 ERA. The fireballer was signed at age 17, and spent six years in the minors trying to master the strike zone. He looked like he was going to get his shot after a the 1964 season (2-2, 2.38 ERA) under Danny Murtaugh, but he was hurt in a car accident going to camp the following year and retired two months into the season because of the injury. Butters did go on to have a very successful career as a Duke athletic administrator after baseball. 
  • 1968 - Because of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., the Pirates voted not to play games on Monday, the day of the scheduled opener (which ended up cancelled league-wide) or Tuesday. They opened on Wednesday the 10th at Houston. 
  • 1969 - The Pirates took a since-eclipsed NL opening-day record 14 innings to defeat St. Louis 6-2, tying their own 1958 benchmark. They scored four times in the 14th on five consecutive two out singles, with Manny Sanguillen and Matty Alou each driving in a pair of runs to earn Bruce Dal Canton the win, with a Chuck Hartenstein save, at Busch Stadium. 
  • 1984 - Rod Scurry checked into a 30-day drug rehabilitation program to battle his cocaine demons. He returned to action on May 13th. 
  • 1991 - The Bucs were one-hit on Opening Day by the Expos Dennis Martinez and a couple of relievers at TRS as Doug Drabek and the defending division champs went down 7-0. Barry Bonds had the only knock, a seventh inning single. 
  • 1997 - The Pirates quieted the Padres 2-0 behind Steve Cooke‚ Rich Loiselle‚ and John Ericks. They teamed up to toss a one-hitter, a single off Cooke by Steve Finley. Tony Womack was the Buc batting hero, driving in two eighth inning runs with a double to beat Sean Bergman at Qualcomm Stadium. Ericks was a swingman who was injured early in the season and never pitched again. 
  • 2001 - The Pirates whipped the Astros 9-3 at Enron Field behind the smokin’ bat of 3B Aramis Ramirez, who slammed three HRs and drove in six runs. Joe Beimel was the winning pitcher.

Aramis Ramirez 1998 Bowman's Best series

  • 2002 - Lloyd McClendon’s Pirates earned a 1-0 victory against the Reds in their home opener. Ron Villone, Mike Fetters and Mike Williams combined on a four hit shutout, running the Bucs season winning streak to five and breaking a nine game home opener losing streak. The run was set up by Reds pitcher Elmer Dessens. With Brian Giles on second base, Dessens balked. Giles was awarded third base, and scored on Aramis Ramirez’s sacrifice fly. 
  • 2003 - The Bucs honored Hall of Famer slugger Ralph Kiner by unveiling a commemorative sculpture at their home opener. The bronze artwork is a bit oddball, showing just Kiner's hands gripping a Louisville Slugger bat. It’s in the left field rotunda, near the Willie Stargell statue. 
  • 2011 - The Bucs outlasted the Rockies 5-4 in a 14-inning, 5 hour, 11 minute overnighter when Jose Tabata doubled with two outs off Franklin Morales to score Josh Rodriguez. Rockies' manager Jim Tracy decided to work on JT rather than walk him, even though Pirate pitcher Garrett Olson was on deck and the Bucs didn't have any position players left to pinch-hit. The wily Clint Hurdle had Cutch swinging in the on-deck circle (he was the leadoff hitter) and some suspect a con job was being pulled. Still, the bullpen was the story of the game - six pitchers tossed 11-1/3 frames of six hit shutout ball as starter Ross Ohlendorf only lasted three innings after giving up a three run bomb to Jason Giambi in the opening round. The game was played in front of 29,192 at PNC Park; most had hit the gates for home and read about the dramatic finish in the morning paper. 
  • 2012 - Down 4-1 to the Phillies in the seventh at PNC Park, the Bucs found their two-out mojo. The Bucs scored twice in the seventh with two away, tied it in the eighth on Matt Hague’s first MLB hit, a two-out knock, and won in the ninth on Cutch’s drive to center over Shane Victorino’s head with two gone, his third hit. Casey McGehee was the glue man, coming in late to go 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles, driving in one score and later touching home with the winning run.

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