- 1874 - RHP Jim Gardner was born in Pittsburgh. He pitched for the Alleghenys in 1895, then again from 1897-99, going 24-20/3.91. He had an aversion to traveling; in his first season, he didn’t go to any away games at all. His career was cut short when he was beaned late in the 1989 season. Jim didn’t hit much, but did play a couple of dozen games at 2B, 3B and the outfield.
- 1902 - The Pirates wanted to get their last game of the year in despite the rainy weather, as they were going for a record 103rd win; the Cincinnati Reds, according to the Pittsburg Press “...wanted to go out and place a few bets on the races.” The game went on, and to show their chagrin the Reds pitched their first baseman, put a pitcher behind the plate, and player-manager Joe Kelley even stepped up to bat with a cigarette dangling from his mouth, until threatened with ejection by ump Hank O’Day. Pittsburgh won easily 11-2. According to Ralph Davis of the Pittsburg Press, owner Barney Dreyfuss refunded the fans’ money, and when the Reds business manager came looking for his teams’ share of the gate, Dreyfuss just pointed to the now empty cash drawer.
Barney Dreyfuss - undated via Seamheads
- 1905 - Charlie Case and the Pirates lost to the Boston Beaneaters and Chick Fraser 1-0 in 13 innings at Exposition Park. Pittsburgh had nine hits, but baserunning blunders cost them dearly. Heinie Pietz tripled but was called out for missing first base, Steamer Flanagan overslid second and was tagged out, and later made the last out of the game trying to steal second.
- 1908 - Everyone remembers the Cubs and Giants “Merkle” playoff game for the 1908 pennant, but it was the Bucs that were ahead by ½ game on their final day when they lost to Chicago and Three Finger Mordecai before 30‚247 fans‚ the largest crowd ever at Chicago's West Side Grounds. Down 5-2 in the ninth, 2B Ed “Batty” Abbaticchio lined a ball down the line and over the fence with Honus Wagner aboard (the bases weren’t loaded, as sometimes reported for dramatic effect), but the drive was ruled foul. The Pirates argued that it was a HR, but ump Hank O'Day stood his ground and with that call went the Pirates last chance of taking the flag. There’s an urban legend that a lady in the stands was hit by the ball and later sued Batty. She claimed she was in fair side of the seats when the blast conked her, but that tale has never been substantiated. It was a tough loss; the Bucs had won eight in a row to get a half game lead on the Cubs going into the final game. Chicago had to win the next day to clinch, and the Bruins beat the NY Giants 4-2 to finish 99-55 to Pittsburgh’s 98-56 in one of history’s hottest pennant races.
Ed Abbaticchio circa 1910 American Tobacco Company series
- 1970 - Pittsburgh fell behind in the NLCS two games to none after being held to five hits by three pitchers and losing to the Reds 3-1 at TRS. Roberto Clemente drove in Dave Cash for the Bucs only tally. Bobby Tolan had three hits, including a homer, three runs and an RBI for Cincinnati.
- 1975 - Don Gullett hurled a complete game‚ then added a HR‚ a single‚ and three RBI at the dish to lead Cincinnati to an 8-3 win over Pittsburgh in the opening game of the NLCS at Riverfront Stadium. The Pirates had an early 2-0 lead, then the Reds chased Jerry Reuss and ran up a four run fifth inning off Larry Demery to leave Pittsburgh in the dust.
- 1988 - The Pirates fired GM Syd Thrift. He and the Buc ownership rarely saw eye-to-eye during his 1985-88 term, but he hired Jim Leyland and helped lay the foundation for the successful early nineties teams, flipping veterans for young talent.
- 1990 - The Reds wasted no time jumping on the Pirates, taking a 3-0 first inning lead at Riverfront Stadium in the opener of the NLCS. But the Bucs had the last laugh, chipping their way to a 4-3 victory. Bob Walk, who got the win, settled down to toss shutout ball after a rocky start, handing the game off the bullpen in the seventh, with Ted Power nailing down the save. The Pirates tied the game in the fourth inning thanks to Sid Bream’s two-run homer. Andy Van Slyke drove home the winner in the seventh when he banged a two out, ground rule double to left off Norm Charlton to score Gary Redus.
Bob Walk 1992 Pinnacle series
- 1992 - Tim Wakefield and three other Pirate pitchers spun a three hitter to win a pitching battle against Bret Saberhagen and the Mets by a 2-0 count at Shea Stadium, ending the season with the Bucs easy pennant winners in the NL East. Barry Bonds’ solo homer and Alex Cole’s sac fly brought home the runs.
- 2010 - John Russell was fired as manager of the Pirates. He equaled a franchise record for most losses by a manager in three seasons, compiling an 186-299 record. The other Buc skipper with as many defeats in the same span was Fred Haney, posting a 163-299 record from 1953-55.
- 2013 - After being trounced in the opener of the NLDS by the Cards, rookie Gerrit Cole fired two-hit ball for six innings in a 7-1 win over St. Louis at Busch Stadium to square the series. Pedro Alvarez and Starling Marte cracked home runs while Russell Martin added a pair of RBIs. Alvarez went 2-for-4 with the homer and a double, scoring twice and driving in a pair of runs. El Toro became the first Pirate since Willie Stargell in 1974 to go yard in back-to-back playoff games.
Gerrit Cole USA Today - Ed Absalon