Tuesday, April 26, 2016

4/26: HBD S-Rod, Francisco & Fire Trucks, Big Innings, Expo Park Blues, More...

  • 1900 - The Bucs drew 11,000 to the newly expanded Exposition Park, the biggest Pittsburgh baseball turnout to date, with a couple of thousand more fans trying to get in. The Pirates were fortified by the recent influx of Louisville players like Honus Wagner, but dropped a 12-11 slugfest to Cincinnati as the Reds lit up Rube Waddell and Jack Chesbro. The Bucs made a game of it by rallying for seven ninth inning runs.
  • 1905 - The Cubs beat Pittsburgh at Exposition Park, 2-1 as Chicago’s Jack McCarthy became the only major league OF’er to throw out three runners trying to score in one game. All three assists were on tag-up tries and resulted in double plays.
  • 1917 - Coach Virgil “Fire” Trucks was born in Birmingham, Alabama. After a long pro career, he became the bullpen coach/batting practice pitcher for Pittsburgh in 1960 and stayed with the Pirates until 1963. Trucks later operated baseball camps for the Bucs. Jack House, sportswriter for the Birmingham News, gave him the apt moniker “Fire,” not because he chased red engines but because of his blazing heater; Trucks tossed two no-hitters for Detroit in 1952. 
Virgil "Fire" Trucks 1963 (photo Associated Press)
  • 1940 - After putting up four runs in the eighth the day before and falling just short, the Bucs crossed home seven times in the eighth this day to roll over the St. Louis Cardinals 10-4 at Forbes Field. Debs Garms and Joe Bowman both had homers and three RBI to spark the rally and earn Mace Brown his second relief win in four days.
  • 1958 - With Pittsburgh and Cincinnati knotted, 4-4, at Crosley Field heading into the eighth, Bill Mazeroski took over. First, he drilled an eighth frame solo shot to put the Pirates on top, then his three-run bomb in the top of the ninth sealed the deal, 8-4. It was the first of eight multi-homer games in his career, with his next coming less than a month later on May 10th. 1958 was also the year Maz earned his first of seven All-Star spots. Billy’s heroics gave Don Gross the win after he spun four innings of one-hit relief, with Roberto Clemente, Bob Skinner and Ted Kluszewski adding three hits apiece to aid the cause.
  • 1972 - RHP Francisco Cordova was born in Cerro Azul, Mexico. He spent his five year MLB career (1996-2000) as a Pirate, first as a reliever, notching 12 saves in his rookie year, then a starter. His slash was 42-47-12/3.96. He was part of one of the great Pirate moments on July 12, 1997, at a sold out Three Rivers Stadium when he pitched nine innings of a combined 10-inning no-hitter with Ricardo Rinc√≥n closing it out. The Pirates won the game on a three-run, pinch hit home run in the bottom of the 10th by Mark Smith.
  • 1978 - Ed Ott hit an 11th-inning home run at Shea Stadium to give the Bucs and Bert Blyleven, who pitched a complete game six hitter, a 1-0 win. It took 35 years for another Pirate, Neil Walker, to homer for the only run in a Bucco extra inning victory. 
Ed Ott 1979 Hostess
  • 1980 - The Pirates scored five times in the first inning and cruised to a 9-2 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Pittsburgh pounded out 17 hits, led by three apiece from Mike Easler and Dave Parker. John Candelaria went the distance after allowing two runs on eight hits as the Pirates split a brief two game series with Chicago.
  • 1985 - Utilityman Sean Rodriguez was born in Miami. In his career, S-Rod has played every position but pitcher and catcher. The Bucs traded for him during the 2014 off season, and he played around the field for Pittsburgh, although he saw a lot of time at the unlikely position of 1B. He was signed up again for 2016 after hitting .246 and playing six different spots in 2015.
  • 1995 - 34,841 fans at TRS disrupted a delayed Opening Day by throwing whatever was handy (mainly giveaway day Bucco pennants) on the field to show their displeasure with the freshly resolved player’s strike and some shoddy play by the Bucs. The game was delayed for 17 minutes until the announcer told the unruly crowd that the contest was about to be forfeited. Might as well have been; Montreal won the game 6-2, chasing Jon Leiber in the fifth.
Ralph Kiner's Statue (photo Kenny Muz/Flickr)
  • 2008 - Alhambra, California, dedicated a bronze statue to honor of its native son Ralph Kiner for his "accomplishments and contributions to the game of professional baseball and sports broadcasting.” The former Pirates slugger, a member of the Hall of Fame, grew up in Alhambra and graduated from its high school in 1940.

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