- 1903 - The Pirates started the season off right, defeating the Reds 7-1 behind a Deacon Phillippe two-hitter. Playing before 12‚000 fans at Cincinnati’s Palace of the Fans, it was the first of four straight wins over Cincy to open a season that would eventually take the Bucs to the first World Series against the Boston Americans.
- 1903 - Pirate Hall-of-Fame OF Paul "Big Poison" Waner was born in Harrah, Oklahoma. He had a 20-year big league career, with the first 15 spent in Pittsburgh. As a Pirate, Waner compiled a line of .340/.407/.490 as one of the greats to don a Bucco uniform.
|Sly Max Carey 1912 (photo Hardeman collection/Detroit Public Library)|
- 1912 - The Bucs booked the rare 5-3-7 DP at Redland Field, with LF Max Carey sneaking behind second base to finish the twin killing. The Pirates took an 8-2 decision for their first victory of the year while handing Cincy its first loss.
- 1915 - The Pirates gave 24-year-old rookie Dazzy Vance his first and only Pittsburgh start; he lost 4-2 to the Cincinnati Reds, facing 14 batters and walking five of them. They quickly sold him to the Yankees, who also gave up on him. But Dazzy was a classic late bloomer: when he was 31, he hit his stride with Brooklyn, winning double-digit games 10-of-11 years. Vance tossed until he was 44 on the road to 190 victories and a spot in the Hall of Fame.
- 1929 - The Cubs drew their largest Opening Day crowd to date, estimated at 46,000, but lost to the Buccos 4-3 at Wrigley Field. Burleigh Grimes went the distance for the win while Pie Traynor banged out three hits and scored twice.
|Schoolboy 1935 (Photo Conlon/TSN/Getty)|
- 1935 - The Reds lobbied to have their home opener moved up to this day, and the league office agreed. In a classic case of being careful what you wish for, Pittsburgh clocked Cincinnati 12-6 in front of 27,400 at Crosley Field. Sam Byrd homered for the Bucs and Waite Hoyt picked up the win. The game was played on a cold, raw day that the Pittsburgh Press said was “...better suited for football than baseball.” The next day, the two teams travelled to Forbes Field in Pittsburgh where the original opener was scheduled, and the Reds had better luck, taking a 7-4 decision.
- 1937 - The Pirates traded 1B/RF Earl Browne to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for LHP Joe Bowman. Bowman worked five years for the Bucs with a 33-38/4.35 record, splitting his time between starting and the pen while Browne’s last big league season was 1938. Bowman swung a good stick, too, batting .281 for the Pirates as an often called-upon pinch hitter with 322 PA.
- 1953 - The Pirates beat the Phils in a 14-12 barnburner on Opening Day at Forbes Field. The Phillies scored nine runs in the top of the fifth and the Pirates came back with six in the bottom half to tie the NL record for runs in an inning at fifteen. They added five more in the sixth to pull away. It was a team effort; all nine members of Pittsburgh’s starting lineup had at least one hit. Cal Abrams led the pack with three knocks while Danny O’Connell had three RBI.
|RC Stevens 1958 Topps|
- 1958 - The Bucs opened the season by edging the defending World Series champs, the Milwaukee Braves, 4-3 at County Stadium. It took 14 innings before RC Stevens’ single chased home Dick Groat with the winner. The game was started by Warren Spahn and Bob Friend with the Bucs holding a 3-2 lead after scoring in the ninth, but the Braves tied it with three singles against the usually reliable ElRoy Face. Rookies Ron Blackburn and Curt Raydon tossed zeroes over the final four frames, with Blackburn getting the win and Raydon the save.
- 1962 - Roberto Clemente's three-run homer in the fifth propelled the Bucs to a 6-5 win over Chicago at Wrigley Field, redeeming himself for a first inning error that allowed a run to plate. Diomedes Olivo got the win in relief of Bob Veale. Bill Virdon had three knocks while Dick Groat, Dick Stuart and Don Hoak each chipped in a pair of hits.
- 1985 - Jose DeLeon tied the Bucco record for most strikeouts thrown in a game by a right-handed pitcher as he whiffed 14 Mets at TRS. He gave up four hits without a run or walk in eight innings of work. The effort fell short, though, as the Pirates went down 1-0, victims of a Ron Darling/Jesse Orosco one-hitter. John Candelaria took the loss in relief.
|Orlando Merced 1996 Fleer Ultra (back)|
- 1996 - Orlando Merced and Jay Bell both hit grand slams at Busch Stadium to lead the Bucs to a 13-3 win over the Cards. Merced had three hits and five RBI while Zane Smith earned the W.