- 1879 - SS Ed Holly was born in Chicago. Ed had a yo-yo career - he spent eight years in the minors, then two seasons with the NL Cardinals. After that taste, he built up a rep on the farm as a defensive whiz over the next half dozen years and in 1914, at age 34, joined the Pittsburgh Rebels, hitting .246 in 100 games and then batting .262 in a bench role behind Marty Berghammer of the Reds who had jumped leagues. After that, he did some managing and scouting. As a nod to his days on the farm, Ed was selected as a member of the International League Hall of Fame.
|Cy Blanton 1936 V-355 World Wide Gum|
- 1908 - RHP Darrell Elijah “Cy” Blanton was born in Waurika, Oklahoma. He twirled for Pittsburgh from 1934-39, going 58-51-4/3.28 and earning an All Star spot in 1937 with a dazzling array of breaking pitches. In 1935, his 2.58 ERA was the lowest in MLB, besting Lefty Grove. But his promising career was shortened by a stream of elbow injuries and physical woes, aggravated by an alcoholism, and he died at the age of 37. Throwing the curve and screwball was the likely cause of his arm issues (some believe his chronically aching arm may have driven him to the bottle), and as SABR’s Gregory Wolf posted, the pitch-until-you-drop ethos of the era didn’t help. “Ranking among the most dubious decisions in big-league history, (Pirates manager Pie) Traynor permitted Blanton, coming off an injury-riddled season, to pitch a nine-inning no-hitter in a pointless exhibition game against the Cleveland Indians in New Orleans on Easter Sunday 1939, just days before the regular season. Blanton subsequently tore ligaments in his elbow in his third start of the season, effectively ruining his career.”
- 1933 - CF Paul Waner and 3B Pie Traynor represented the Bucs in the first-ever All-Star Game held at Chicago’s Comiskey Park, won by the AL, 4-2. Pie delivered a pinch-hit double in the seventh inning off Lefty Grove while Waner played the final frame of the game in right field.
- 1938 - The Bucs sent P Mace Brown, SS Arky Vaughan and CF Lloyd Waner to the All-Star Game at Crosley Field. Brown was the only guy to play; he went three innings, giving up a run on five hits with two strikeouts, and earned a save for starter Johnny Vander Meer in a 4-1 NL win.
|Bob Elliot 1942 via Baseball Magazine|
- 1942 - 3B Bob Elliott was the sole Bucco invited to the All-Star Game at the Polo Grounds. He singled in his only at-bat during a 3-1 loss to the AL.
- 1954 - 1B Jason Thompson was born in Hollywood. He played for the Pirates for five years (1981-85) and hit .253 with 93 HR, with a particularly sharp eye that led to a .376 OBP. Thompson was an All-Star in 1982, batting .284/31/101, and spent 11 years in MLB before knee injuries took their final toll. In his early career while with the Tigers, Thompson earned the nickname "Roof Top" due to his knack of hitting balls to the top of Tiger Stadium’s right field roof. JT now operates the Jason Thompson Baseball Academy in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
- 1954 - Willie Randolph was born in Holly Hill, South Carolina. The Pirates selected him in the seventh round of the 1972 draft straight out of high school. He made his major league debut in 1975 at age 21, getting in 30 games and batting .164. He was traded in that off-season w/Ken Brett and Dock Ellis to the Yankees for Doc Medich, not because of his rookie showing but because the Pirates had a 24-year-old 2B ahead of him in Rennie Stennett. All Willie did after that deal was play 17 more years, win two World Series rings with the Yankees, appear in six All-Star games, bang out 2,200+ hits (.276 lifetime BA, .373 OBP) and gain a rep as a solid glove and great pivot man. After he hung up the spikes, he managed and coached, then gigged as an ESPN talking head.
|Omar Olivares Topps Series 2|
- 1967 - RHP Omar Olivares was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. Omar closed out his eight-team, 12-year big league career as a Pirate in 2001 with a 6-9, 6.55 line. The 33-year-old had a good run at the beginning of his career and in the late nineties, but he finished his career with back-to-back 6+ ERA campaigns.
- 1983 - The AL broke out of a two-decade long slumber and pummeled the NL 13-3 at Comiskey Park in the All Star game. 3B Bill Madlock, the only Bucco AS, went 0-for-1.
- 2002 - Houston's Daryle Ward became the first player to put a baseball in the Allegheny on the fly when he homered off Kip Wells during a 10-2 Astro win. The ball traveled an estimated 465-480'.
- 2002 - The Pirates traded RHP Mike Fetters to the Arizona Diamondbacks for RHP Duaner Sanchez in a swap of relievers. Sanchez pitched poorly for the Bucs and was released after the 2003 season, but found success with the Dodgers and Mets until a mid-season car accident in 2006 caused career-wrecking shoulder damage. Fetters was at the end of his road; he pitched one more season and then retired at age 39.
|Kevin McClatchy (photo Rich Pilling/Getty)|
- 2007 - Kevin McClatchy announced that he would step down as CEO after the 2007 MLB season, resulting in the September hiring of Frank Coonelly, He told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dejan Kovacevic that “You start to get burned out a little bit...in all honesty, it’s a natural time for a change. It’s the right thing to do for the team and for me.”