- 1887 - The National Colored League opened with a game at Central Park in the Hill, located at the corner of Chauncey Street and Humber Way and designed by African American architect Louis Bellinger (it was demolished in 1925). The NY Gorhams beat the Pittsburgh Keystones 11-8 before a crowd of 1‚200. Because of rainouts and small crowds, the poorly financed NCL‚ which was recognized by the National Agreement as a legitimate minor league‚ folded just days later on May 23rd. Though the league failed, the Keystones stuck around as an indy squad and played in 1921-22 in the National Negro League before disbanding for good in 1923.
Pittsburgh Keystones from Out of the Ballpark
- 1906 - The Pirates became the first team to use a canvas tarp to cover the infield when it stormed at North Side’s Exposition Park during a damp 5-1 loss to the Cubs. Bucco skipper Fred Clarke was granted a patent for the tarp, calling it a “diamond cover.”
- 1914 - OF Ed Lennox of the Pittsburgh Rebels recorded the only cycle ever hit during the Federal League’s existence against the KC Packers in a 10-4 win, hitting two homers. A cycle with two long balls wouldn’t be duplicated again until 1937 by The Yankee Clipper, Joe DiMaggio.
- 1921 - RHP Bob Chesnes was born in Oakland California. He’s a story of what coulda been. As a 27 year old back from the service, he spent three years dazzling minor league hitters before the Pirates bought his contract from the San Francisco Seals for $100,000 and four players in 1947. He went 14-6 the next season with 15 complete games and a 3.57 ERA /.275 BA (he was a former SS). But he only won 10 games in the next two seasons, the victim of a burned out arm, and was done as an MLB player by 1950.
- 1926 - IF Dick Cole was born in Long Beach. Cole played for Pittsburgh in 1951 and again in 1953-56, batting .253 mostly as a bench player, although he was a regular in 1954.
- 1951 - Cliff Chambers pitched the second no-hitter in Pirates' history, a 3-0 victory in the nitecap of a doubleheader at Boston’s Braves Field. He wasn’t exactly on top of his game, walking eight and uncorking a wild pitch, but was untouchable when a ball went into play. Warren Spahn won the opener handily for the Braves by a 6-0 tally. It was Chambers’ last W as a Bucco; he was traded to the Cards a month later with 3-6/5.58 line.
- 1992 - Jose Lind’s 16th-inning single over a drawn-in infield drove in Don Slaught, who had tripled ahead of him, with the winning run as the Pirates bested the Braves 4-3 at TRS. Bob Patterson claimed the win, being the last in a chain of five relievers who worked 11-⅔ innings of near perfect ball, giving up just one unearned run. The Pirates twice rallied with two down, getting hits from Cecil Espy in the ninth and Jay Bell in the 13th to erase Brave leads.
- 1994 - The Bucs proved to be a good luck charm to Chicago, ending a couple of Chi-Town losing streaks. The Cubs' 10-1 victory over the Pirates ended pitcher Anthony Young's personal 27-game losing streak and also snapped Chicago’s record 14 game drought at Wrigley.
- 2000 - The Pirates put up six runs in the ninth inning to rally past the Cubs at Wrigley Field by an 11-9 count. With two down in the final frame and still down a run after scoring three times, Wil Cordero tripled on a 1-2 pitch to tie it, Pat Meares doubled in the go-ahead run and Mike Benjamin’s single added an insurance tally. Brian Giles and Luis Sojo homered earlier in the contest and had five RBI between them to help counter three Cub homers.