- 1901 - SS Glenn Wright was born in Archie, Missouri. He played five years (1924-28) for Pittsburgh, hitting .294, and was considered one of the league’s elite shortstops until a shoulder injury suffered in 1929. Wright was a member of the 1925 and 1927 World Series clubs, and was named a Sporting News All-Star in ‘25 while finishing fourth in the NL-MVP vote.
|Glenn Wright 1925 (photo National Photo Company via Library of Congress)|
- 1926 - 1B Dale Long was born in Springfield, Missouri. Long played four seasons for the Pirates (1951, 1955-57), hitting 27 homers in 1956 and earning a spot on the All-Star team. He put his name in the record books that year by hitting eight home runs in eight consecutive games between May 19th and May 28th, still the MLB standard, tied but never topped. Long was one of the few lefties that caught (though not much) in the majors. The big guy had a choice of careers; he turned down an audition with the Green Bay Packers to focus on baseball.
- 1927 - C Smoky Burgess was born in Caroleen, NC. He spent six years (1959-64) as Pirate platoon catcher, hitting .296 as a Buc and was a key part of the 1960 World Series club. People sometimes forget what a nice player Smoky was. Burgess was a six-time All-Star who led NL catchers in fielding percentage three times, while his MLB record of 145 career pinch hits (a late career specialty) wasn’t broken until 1979 by Manny Mota. Smoky also called every pitch during Harvey Haddix’s legendary 12 inning perfecto against the Milwaukee Braves in 1959.
- 1949 - LF Richie Zisk was born in Brooklyn. A third round pick in the of the 1966 draft, he spent six years in Pittsburgh (1971-76), hitting .299 as a Buc before being traded to the Chicago White Sox as part of the Goose Gossage deal. He made post-season appearances with the 1974 and 1975 Pirates, batting .400 in the playoffs, and hit for the cycle against the Giants in 1974.
|Richie Zisk 1975 Topps|
- 1987 - 3B Pedro Alvarez was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. El Toro, who played at Vandy, was drafted in the first round (second overall) of the 2008 MLB draft. A last minute signing, complicated by some posturing by the FO and Scott Boras along with a suit filed by the MLBPA, was resolved and he joined the club, ultimately receiving a $6.4M bonus. He’s developed into a middling average, high strikeout, middle-of-the-order boomer since his 2010 MLB debut. Pedro tied for the NL lead in homers in 2013 with 36, also netting an All-Star berth, but spent 2014 with a bad case of the yips at the hot corner, triggering a switch to first base in 2015. That didn’t work out, and he was non-tendered in the off season.
- 2013 - Two-time All Star Andrew McCutchen was honored with the Dapper Dan Sportsman of the Year Award. He hit .327/.400/.533 with 31 home runs in a break out 2012 season. A total of 18 Pirates have received the Dapper Dan SOY honor, but McCutchen was only the second in the past 20 years, and the first since Jason Kendall in 2000.
- 2013 - The Pirates signed free agent LHP Jonathan Sanchez to a minor league deal. He broke camp as the fifth starter, but was released on May 8th after posting an 0-3/11.85 line. Known as “The Comeback Kid,” he may be all out of bounce backs. He hasn’t pitched in the majors since, although he has inked a couple of minor league contracts.
|Jonathan Sanchez 2013 (photo Dilep Vishwanat/Getty Images)|
- 2014 - Manager of the Year Clint Hurdle was honored as the Dapper Dan Sportsman of the Year. Hurdle joined Andrew McCutchen, Ralph Kiner, Danny Murtaugh, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Dave Parker as winners of the award. Cutch was the 2013 winner, and it was the first time Pirates had won back-to-back Dapper Dans since The Cobra in 1978 and Cap’n Willie in 1979.
- 2014 - Pirate Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner passed away at the age of 91. He was the game’s greatest home run hitter following World War II, elected to six All-Star Games and led or tied for the NL lead in home runs in his first seven seasons in baseball. Kiner finished with 369 HRs, 1,015 RBIs, 1,451 hits, a .279 BA, and walked 100 or more times in six of his 10 MLB seasons. After his ball playing days, Ralph closed out his career with a 52 year gig calling NY Mets’ games.