- 1881 - HD “Denny” McKnight resurrected the Allegheny Baseball Club of Pittsburgh (it had disbanded after the 1877 season) during a meeting at the St. Clair Hotel and joined the newly formed American Association. In 1887 they entered the NL and in 1891 morphed into the Pittsburgh Pirates after “pirating” away infielder Lou Bierbauer from the Philly A’s.
- 1887 - RHP Bob Harmon was born in Liberal, Missouri. He tossed for four seasons for the Pirates (1914-16, 1918), posting a 39-52/2.60 line while splitting his time between starting and the pen. After his baseball career ended in 1918, he became a successful dairy farmer in Louisiana and stayed active in local sports.
- 1892 - On the last day of the season, Cincinnati pitcher Charles “Bumpus” Jones no-hit Pittsburgh at League Park in his major league debut. Bumpus won 7-1, fanning three and issuing four walks. His MLB career lasted eight games and he won just one other decision. Bumpus still remains the only player to pitch a no-hitter in his first MLB appearance. Bill James, according to Wikipedia, gave him the distinction of being the “mathematically least likely pitcher ever to have thrown a no-hitter in the major leagues.”
- 1896 - RHP John “Mule” Watson was born in Arizona, Louisiana. He worked five games for the Bucs in 1920, one of three teams he played for that season. He didn’t impress, with the worst ERA (8.74) compiled for any of the four teams he spun for over a seven-year career. Mule did have a landmark moment, although in a different set of flannels - on August 13th, 1921, he started both games of a doubleheader, and did pretty well, too, winning 4-3 and 8-0 in a pair of complete game wins for the Boston Braves against Philadelphia.
|Chronicle Cup - Hall of Fame photo via Thom/Wikipedia|
- 1900 - The Pittsburgh Chronicle-Telegraph offered a silver cup to the winner of a best-of-five series at Exposition Park between the NL’s top two teams, the Pirates and the Brooklyn Superbas; Brooklyn won the 1900 title by 4-1/2 games over the Bucs during the regular season. Two future Hall of Famers faced off in the opener as NL ERA leader Rube Waddell (2.37) went against “Iron Man” Joe McGinnity, who topped the league with 28 wins. McGinnity whitewashed the Pirates for eight innings before two unearned runs in the top of the ninth cost him the shutout. Not only was he hurt by shoddy fielding, but he had been knocked out briefly the inning before during a rundown when he was accidentally kneed. He refused to come out after he regained his breath and went the distance for a five-hit, 5-2 victory. Claude Ritchey banged out a pair of knocks in a losing cause.
- 1903 - OF George “Mule” Haas was born in Montclair, New Jersey. Haas was signed as a youngster by the Bucs and worked his way to the show in 1925, getting in four games and going 0-for-3. Haas was in a wrong-time, wrong place situation - the Pittsburgh OF that season featured Kiki Cuyler, Clyde Barnhart & Max Carey. Mule (he got his nickname in the minors when after homering, a local beat man wrote that his bat had the kick of a mule) was sold to Atlanta after the season more due to the logjam than poor performance. He played 11 more seasons for the Philadelphia Athletics and Chicago White Sox, hitting .292 and playing in three World Series.
- 1925 - Before the final game of the World Series, Senators OF Goose Goslin got some column inches in the Washington Post to debunk reports that Pirates C Earl Smith had gotten under his skin by clowning around behind the dish when Goslin hit. “That’s a lot of apple sauce,” Goslin wrote. “Smith simply is one of these ‘funny boys’ who gets a big kick out of trying to get smiles from the crowd. His imitation of flopping of wings, goose calls and such seem to have worried others worse than it has me. I think my batting record, which includes three home runs and a double out of my seven hits, proves that his antics have not upset me much. The fact is that I have been kidded by experts and have paid absolutely no attention to Earl’s amateurish efforts.” Goose added that Clark Griffith, Washington’s president, had complained to Commissioner Landis “on the grounds that Smith’s actions take away from the dignity of the game” and might even lead to a brawl. “I can promise one thing,” Goslin wrote. “I don’t intend to start any trouble.” Goose and Smith evened out; each went 1-for-4 during the deciding contest.
|"Funny Boy" Earl Smith - 1925 photo Press|
- 1925 - In Game Seven of the World Series at Forbes Field, played on a muddy track soaked by a two-day rainstorm (the game was delayed a day), Kiki Cuyler laced an eighth-inning two-out, two-run, bases loaded double off Washington's Walter “Big Train” Johnson to lead the Pirates to a 9-7 comeback victory and their second World Championship, made all the sweeter by rallying from an early 4-0 deficit. Ray Kremer got the win, his second of the Series, with four innings of one-run relief after pitching a complete game win two days before. Errors by SS Roger Peckinpaugh, the AL MVP, in both the seventh and eighth innings led to four unearned runs. He had a tough Series in the field, committing a record eight errors. With the victory, the Bucs became the first team to win a World Series after being down three games to one. The deciding game was played a day late; rain had washed out the original showdown scheduled for the day before. The Series was a big financial hit, grossing a record-setting $1.2M. Winning shares were $5‚332.72 while the losers pocketed $3‚734.60. And though it would take awhile, Bucco manager Bill McKechnie would become the first MLB skipper to win a WS with two different teams when his Reds beat the Tigers in the 1940 Fall Classic.