- 1866 - 3B Denny Lyons was born in Cincinnati. He played four seasons for Pittsburgh (1893-94; 1896-97) and put up a .299 BA as a Buc. He put together a 52-game hitting streak, largely ignored because back in the day, a walk was considered the same as a hit. Still, it was a pretty impressive on-base skein. Lyons played for 13 campaigns, quitting only after a fastball thrown by Amos Rusie broke two of his fingers, which never fully healed.
|Denny Lyons (image via the NY Public Library)|
- 1894 - The Pittsburgh Pirates issued free season tickets for ladies, good for Tuesday and Friday games at Exposition Park, per Baseball Almanac. The New York Gothams introduced the ladies day concept in 1883 and Pittsburgh bought into the concept.
- 1899 - OF Ewell “Reb” Russell was born in Jackson, Mississippi. Russell started as a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox in 1912 and was a good one, but developed arm trouble in 1918 and was released. While in the minors, he converted to playing the outfield and became an accomplished hitter. Reb got back to the show with Pittsburgh in 1922-23, and in 511 at-bats hit .323 with 21 HR and 113 RBI. His downfall was that though he hit like an outfielder, he played the outfield like a pitcher. Still, Russell returned to the minor leagues American Association and was a highly paid star in the AA through age 40, and even won the league batting title when he was 38 years old with a .385 BA. Ewell was nicknamed “Reb” for his Mississippi roots.
|Reb Russell (image via Historic Findings)|
- 1930 - RHP Vern "The Deacon" Law was born in Meridian, Indiana. The righty pitched 16 years for the Pirates (1950–1951, 1954–1967), putting up a 162-147/3.77 line and winning the Cy Young in 1960 with a 20-9/3.05 mark for the World Series champs. Law infamously hurt his ankle during some horseplay after clinching the pennant. A true trooper - he pitched through it during the Series, won twice and left Game #7 with a three run lead - he tore muscles in his shoulder while compensating for the ankle. Both injuries lingered on for most of the remainder of his career, and his arm woes led him to briefly retire in '63. He had one more strong campaign afterward, going 17-9/2.15 in 1965 when he was named the Comeback Player of the Year. Law was also selected twice as an All-Star. "The Deacon" came by his nickname honestly; a devout Mormon, Vernon was a church deacon.
- 1979 - LHP Dave Williams was born in Anchorage, Alaska. He spent four seasons (2001-02, 2004-05) with the Bucs, going 17-26 with a 4.25 ERA, and got to play with high school teammate Ian Snell. Williams was traded to Cincinnati for Sean Casey after the 2005 season. He had surgery for a herniated disc in his neck in 2007 and never was sharp afterward. Williams ended his career after the 2009 season following a 2008 stint in Japan, then a year in the minors.
|Dave Williams 2001 Bowman|
- 1980 - OF Chuck Klein was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. Klein batted .320 over a 17-year career with the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, and one season with the Pirates, 1939, when he hit .300. He was inducted on August 3rd.