- 1869 - 2B “Bad Bill” Eagan was born in Camden, New Jersey. Per David Nemec of SABR, “He got the nickname ‘Bad Bill’ the hard way: He earned it through regular, rowdy behavior.” Eagan was like many old-timey players - a heavy drinker, gambler, and general thorn in the side of umpires & management. He was also a ball magnet, even practicing getting hit by pitches in BP by crowding the plate, leading umps to often allow him to get brushed a couple of times before yielding to the inevitable and awarding him a base. Though he was briefly the Bucs starting second baseman and hit .328 in 1898, he was sent down to the minors after a drinking bout. It was a familiar pattern; in his 13-year pro career he wore out his welcome often and only got three years and 107 games in the majors. Bad Bill, after a tumultuous private life, died of consumption in 1905.
- 1887 - RHP Harry Gardner was born in Quincy, Michigan. His MLB career consisted of 14 outings with the Pirates from 1911-12 with a 1-1/4.46 line. Harry did have a long baseball stint, pitching 16 minor league seasons and winning 206 games. He spent his last nine years working in the Pacific Coast League before retiring at age 37 after the 1924 season.
|Sometimes a good ump is hard to find - Steve Moore 1992 United Press Syndicate|
- 1897 - The Pirates were cruising along with a 7-0 lead in the sixth at the Polo Grounds when the NY Giants put up four runs and were still going when an ump show broke up the game. A Giant runner was tagged on the way to second on a grounder. Umpire McDermott, with whom the Pirates had a run-in with the previous game and had a history of controversy, didn’t make a call. The runner, Lucky Holmes, held second, the ump eventually ruled him safe and according to the Pittsburgh Press “...he (Lucky) laughed uproariously and danced a jig.” The resulting discussion over the call led to the ejection of four players. One of the Pirates bench subs was injured, and that left Pittsburgh one shy of a full nine. McDermott then forfeited the game to the Giants. The Pirates protested to no avail, and the Press headline the following day read “An Immense Steal - Umpire McDermott Robbed The Pirates Of Yesterday’s Game. His Work Was The Worst Exhibition Ever Seen On Any Ballfield.”
- 1899 - 1B Al Niehaus was born in Cincinnati. He started 15 games for the 1925 Pirates, batting .219, before he was traded to the hometown Reds. Niehaus hit .299 there but was replaced by a vet and sold to St. Paul after the season. He was in the minors from 1921-29 and had several .300+ campaigns, but his glovework - he made 11 errors between the Pirates and Reds in 1925 - held him back. The DH arrived a few decades too late to help him along.
- 1901 - The Bucs lost to the Reds 4-3, following a disputed call by rookie umpire Bert Cunningham, a pitcher whom the Pirates got in an off-season trade and then cut to end his playing career. Cunningham ruled Kitty Bransfield out at first on a questionable bang-bang call, costing the Pirates the tying run and ending the game. 2,000 fans stormed the field at Exposition Park after the decision, suspecting a bit of payback figured in the ump’s call, and Cunningham had to be led to the locker room by Fred Clarke and Honus Wagner to escape mob justice. It made the front page of the Pittsburgh Press which described the scene: “...an angry crowd followed umpire Cunningham and the Cincinnati players and despite the efforts of the Pittsburg players to protect the official and their visitors managed to land a few blows...The disgraceful scene occurred under the very eyes of President NE Young of the National League, who came here yesterday to investigate the reports about the poor umpiring of Nash (Cunningham’s partner in blue) and Cunningham, two recent additions.”
- 1911 - LHP Lou Tost was born in Cumberland, Washington. Lou had tossed for the Braves in 1942 (he also tossed in three games in ‘43 before becoming a sailor) and got a final appearance for the Bucs in 1947, giving up a run on three hits in his last MLB outing. He was another wartime guy who lost 1943-45 to the service; the Bucs purchased him from the Braves Sacramento club in the PCL after the 1946 season. In all, he played pro ball from 1934-49 except for his service years.
|Lou Tost with Oakland - 1949 Remar Baking|
- 1936 - C Hal Smith (not the Pirates World Series Smith but a Redbird namesake) was born in Barling, Arkansas. Smith was a Cardinals catcher from 1956-61 before he was forced to retire and enter the coaching ranks with a heart condition. Smith appeared in four games in July 1965 for the Bucs as a player-coach after Jim Pagliaroni, Del Crandall and Ozzie Virgil were injured, catching 12 frames and going 0-for-3 before returning as a member of Harry Walker's staff. He left to join the Milwaukee Brewers after the ‘67 campaign and finished his career as a scout for the Cardinals.
- 1939 - Pittsburgh beat Philadelphia in the Phillies’ first night game at Shibe Park, 5-2, as Rip Sewell took the W. The Bucs only had seven hits, but eight walks and a beaned batter gave them plenty of runners. Bill Brubaker homered while Paul Waner & Arky Vaughan scored the other four runs from the top of the order.