- 1930 - After a contract clash and spring holdout, spitballer Burleigh Grimes was sent to the Boston Braves for lefty Percy Jones and “a considerable amount” of cash. Grimes was then flipped to the Cards later in the season. St. Louis made to the Series in ‘30, losing to the Philadelphia Athletics and Lefty Grove. They took it all the following year as Grimes won 17 games for them and another pair in the Series as the Cards dethroned the Athletics in the rematch. Grimes had an oddball relationship with the Pirates; he started, spent the middle, and ended his career with Pittsburgh, spending five of his 19 MLB seasons with the Bucs.
- 1937 - The 1936 batting champ‚ Paul Waner‚ ended his holdout and signed his 1937 contract. No official announcement was made of the amount, believed to be in the ballpark of $16,000. Big Poison went on to hit .354 and earn, at age 34, his last All-Star berth.
|Paul Waner 1934 Goudey|
- 1953 - In an exhibition game at Forbes Field‚ Mickey Mantle crushed a Bill MacDonald curve and launched it over the RF roof‚ joining the Babe and Ted Beard as the only hitters at the time to accomplish that since the upper deck was added in 1925. In all, 18 balls would fly over the roof, seven put in orbit by Willie Stargell. Mantle cleared the stands again during the 1960 World Series.
- 1963 - The Bucs and Braves traded ninth inning runs during the season opener, with the Bucs rallying for a 3-2 win in front of 29,615 faithful. With two down in the ninth, Pittsburgh banged back-to-back-to-back hits from Bill Virdon, Bob Bailey and pinch-hitter Ted Savage to win the game for ElRoy Face, who had worked out a bases-loaded, no out pickle in the Milwaukee ninth.
- 1979 - Dave Parker was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated for the story “Who’s Best?” The Cobra wasn’t the best, but he was good, with a slash of .310/25/94. He followed with a .341 BA in the postseason as the Pirates did end up best.
- 1990 - The Bucs turned Doc Gooden every which way but loose as they won 12-3 at Shea Stadium behind Doug Drabek’s arm and homers by Andy Van Slyke (2 HR, 2B) and Bobby Bo. That pair plus Jay Bell and Jose Lind collected three hits each. At 0-1, Gooden had a losing record for the first time in nine seasons. It’s also the first time in 21 years that the Mets lost a home opener.
- 1999 - Rookie RHP Kris Benson beat the Cubs 2-1 in his first MLB start. He became the second #1 draft pick to win his debut, following Texas’ David Clyde who was the first in 1973. Benson went six innings, giving up a run on two hits with three walks and three K.
- 2001 - PNC Park, the fifth home of the Pittsburgh Pirates since 1887, opened along the North Shore of the Allegheny River hours after Pirate icon Willie Stargell passed away from a stroke in Wilmington, NC at the young age of 61. Local boy Sean Casey had four hits and five RBI to lead the Reds to an 8-2 win in the park’s debut match against Todd Ritchie. The game was played in summerlike 77 degree weather and 36,954 came out to catch the action. Kevin McClatchy threw out the first pitch.
|PNC Park Opening Day handout via Pittsburgh Post Gazette|
- 2014 - The Pirates hit five homers at Wrigley Field but lost the game 7-5 to the Cubs. Pedro Alvarez and Russ Martin each had a pair of long balls while Travis Snider added a dinger. All, sadly, were solo shots. It was the first time since 2004 that two Bucs had multi-homer games during the same contest. The Pirates had only one other hit and never put a runner in scoring position.