- 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 was 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 did the deed 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 for business along the North Shore of the Allegheny River when its first regular season game was held just hours after Pirate icon Willie Stargell passed away. 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. Team owner Kevin McClatchy threw out the first pitch.
|PNC Opening Day (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
- 2001 - Willie Stargell, who suffered from a host of medical conditions, passed away at the age of 61. Cap’n Willie spent his career (1962–1982) as a Pirate. Over his 21 years, he batted .282 with 2,232 hits, 423 doubles, 475 home runs and 1,540 RBI, helping his team to six NL East division titles, two pennants and two World Series titles (1971, 1979). Willie was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988.
- 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. It was a case of go long or go home - the Pirates had only one other hit and never put a runner in scoring position.