- 1960 - Game Seven of the World Series at Forbes Field ended with this call by NBC’s Mel Allen “There's a drive into deep left field, look out now… that ball is going, going gone! And the World Series is over! Mazeroski… hits it over the left field fence…” Bill Mazeroski led off the bottom of the ninth with the most dramatic home run in Series history, a blast off Ralph Terry, breaking a 9-9 tie with the Yankees and bringing Pittsburgh its third World Championship. It’s still the only walk-off homer to win a seventh game in the ninth inning. Hal Smith hit a key two out, three run blast in the eighth to give Pittsburgh a short-lived lead. Harvey Haddix, the fourth Pirate hurler, recovered from a blown save to get the win thanks to Maz, who also cost Casey Stengel his job; the Ol’ Perfessor was “retired” as NY manager five days after the loss, telling the media "I wasn't retired - they fired me." Other factoids: Bobby Richardson of the Yankees was named MVP of the Series, the only time that someone from the defeated team has been so honored, and it was the only World Series game played without a strikeout recorded by either club.
|Maz rounds third...from CORBIS Images|
- 1876 - LHP George “Rube” Waddell was born in Bradford, Pennsylvania. He pitched just two season for the Pirates (1900-01), but his legend deserves mention. He wore out his welcome with Pittsburgh, getting into two games in 1901 after leading the NL in ERA (2.37) the year before with the Bucs. His eccentricities: He was a fire fanatic in a good way; Rube always wore a red t-shirt so he could join up with any fire-fighting brigade that he found in action. Though he never showed up drunk at a game, he was a heavy drinker - The Sporting News called him a “sousepaw” - and was distracted by crowds, who would mesmerize him by flashing shiny objects at him. In exhibition games, he had his teammates sit around him on the mound. Waddell wrestled alligators in the off season. Current baseball historians believe he was autistic or had ADD before the conditions were commonly diagnosed. But Rube could throw a baseball. He won 193 games and struck out 2,316 batters in his career (349 batters in 1904 alone). Rube K’ed three batters on nine pitches in 1902. He was one of the great drawing cards of early baseball, and is in the Hall of Fame. The story of his life was in the stars: Rube was born on Friday the 13th and died on April Fools Day (4/1/14)
|Rube Waddell's Hall of Fame plaque|
- 1899 - Smoky City, indeed. Per Charlton’s Baseball Chronology, the Louisville Colonels scored four runs in the ninth to take a 6-5 lead over the Pirates at Exposition Park‚ as thick‚ black smoke from the steel mills settled over the field. The game was called before the Bucs could bat because of poor visibility (darkness, technically), and the score reverted to the last full frame, the eighth inning, giving Pittsburgh a 5-2 victory.
- 1903 - Boston won the first World Series five games to three (it was best-of-nine) with a 3-0 win at the Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds in a battle between Deacon Phillippe and Bill Dinneen. The key blow was Hobe Ferris’ two run single. Dinnen tossed a four hitter, and ended the game with his seventh K, whiffing Honus Wagner. Even in that rubber-armed era, it was too much for Phillippe, who started five of the eight games (and went the distance in all of them) because of an injury to Sam Leever’s shoulder, the mental breakdown of Ed Doheny, a 16-game winner during the season, and the defection of 1902 rotation members Jack Chesbro and Jesse Tannehill to the American League. Pirate owner Barney Dreyfuss added his share of the gate receipts to the players' share, so the losing team's players actually finished with a larger individual share than the winning team's ($1,316.25 to $1,182.00). Dreyfus also gave Deacon Phillippe a bonus and 10 shares of stock in the Pirates for his yeoman efforts.
- 1909 - The Pirates broke out the bats at Forbes Field to take a 3-2 lead in the World Series with an 8-4 win over the Tigers. Fred Clarke had a homer and three RBI to lead the offense while Babe Adams cruised to his second WS win.
|Babe Adams - Dan Austin Virtual Card Collection|
- 1925 - Pittsburgh evened the World Series at three games each as they downed the Washington Senators 3-2 at Forbes Field. Ray Kremer bested Alex Ferguson, giving up six hits, among them a homer to Goose Goslin and a RBI double to Roger Peckinpaugh. Leadoff man Eddie Moore had two hits, including a homer, two runs scored and an RBI; Pie Traynor and Clyde Barnhart drove in the other tallies. All the scoring was in the first five innings. The Sens’ Joe Harris doubled with an out in the ninth, but Kremer routinely retired Joe Judge and Ossie Bluege to seal the deal.
- 1925 - The Pirates purchased SS Hal Rhyne and OF Paul Waner from San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League, then an unaffiliated independent organization. Rhyne played a couple of years for the Bucs and had a seven year MLB career while Big Poison went on to the Hall of Fame after spending 15 of his 20 big league seasons with Pittsburgh.
- 1937 - The Bucs got OF Johnny Rizzo from the Cards for 1B Bernard Cobb, C Tom Padden, OF Bud Hafey and cash. The rookie Rizzo hit 23 homers in 1938, a team record that lasted for nearly a decade, but was traded early in 1940 for Vince DiMaggio.
|Johnny Rizzo 1939 Play Ball series|
- 1942 - 3B Bob Bailey was born in Long Beach. He began his 17 year pro career in Pittsburgh (1962-66) where he hit .257 with occasional power. Bailey had his best years with Montreal in the early seventies, with three 20+ HR seasons and three more with 80+ RBI.
- 1967 - Larry Shepard was named manager, replacing Danny Murtaugh, who in turn had replaced Harry Walker earlier in the year.
- 1971 - Roberto Clemente had three hits while Milt May drove in the winning run with a pinch-hit single in the eighth as the Pirates rallied to defeat the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 in Game Four of the Fall Classic. Luke Walker gave up three runs in the first frame before heading to the showers with two outs, but Bruce Kison came to the rescue, tossing 6-⅓ one hit innings, then Dave Giusti saved it by pitching perfect ball over the last two frames. It was the first night World Series game in baseball history and evened the Series at two games at TRS before a house of 51,378.
- 1979 - The Bucs took a 6-3 lead into the eighth against the Orioles in the fourth game of the World Series, but they and 50,883 fans were stunned by a six run eighth by the O’s and a 9-6 loss snatched from the jaws of victory at TRS. Kent Tekulve, inheriting a mess from Don Robinson, gave up a pair of two run doubles to Terry Crowley and John Lowenstein to take the defeat. The Pirates banged out 17 hits, but stranded 10 with two DP, a caught stealing and a throw-out at home. Willie Stargell had three knocks, including a homer and double, but Pittsburgh fell into a three games to one deficit against Baltimore.
- 1985 - Saul Finkelstein sat at the base of the flagpole by the Forbes Field wall outside Schenley Plaza and listened to a taped NBC radio broadcast of Chuck Thompson and Jack Quinlan calling the seventh game of the 1960 World Series on his boombox. Since that day, it has since evolved into an annual ceremony open to all under the auspices of the Game Seven Gang, often drawing members of the championship team.
|They still celebrate...Photo via Historic Pittsburgh|
- 1991 - Pittsburgh evened the NLCS at two games with a 10 inning, 3-2 win at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium over the Braves. Mike LaValliere’s two out, pinch hit single off Mark Wohlers scored Andy Van Slyke, and Stan Belinda tossed two scoreless frames for the win. Steve Buechele's three hits gave him five straight over two games to tie an NLCS record.
- 1992 - The Pirates pounded the Braves 13-4 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium to even the NLCS series at three games each. Tim Wakefield won his second game while Jay Bell, Barry Bonds and Lloyd McClendon homered. The Bucs ran away with the game after an eight run second inning, featuring a pair of hits by Bonds And McClendon during the frame.