- 1976 - Richie Hebner, the Pirates only FA, was claimed by eight teams (including Pittsburgh, which retained his rights) in the first Free Agent Re-Entry Draft. The Gravedigger could only deal with the teams that chose him, and he reached a deal with the Phillies six weeks later for three years & a tad over $600K; the Pirates had reportedly offered $270K over the same span. The Bucs selected 10 players for their wish list of free agents, including Rollie Fingers, Sal Bando and Reggie Jackson. Gene Tenace was the only one of the 10 who ever wore a Pirates uniform, and that wasn’t until 1983, his final season.
|Richie Hebner 1976 Topps|
- 1977 - Pirates Goose Gossage and Terry Forster were two of the eight players claimed (both drew the interest of 13 clubs) during the Free Agent Re-Entry Draft; Bobby Tolan didn’t get enough suitors (three or more were required), allowing him to play the field. Goose went to the Yankees, Forster to the Dodgers and Tolan took his game to Japan. The Pirates selected seven players to chase, with reliever Rawly Eastwick being their prime target. They didn’t sign any, with Eastwick inking a deal with the Bronx Bombers.
- 1978 - The Pirates had two of their free agents claimed, Duffy Dyer (who signed with Montreal) and Dave Hamilton (who went with Oakland) during the Free Agent Re-Entry Draft. Two other players, Steve Brye and Cito Gaston, drew no takers and saw their careers end after the ‘78 campaign. Pittsburgh chased 13 players, including ex-Bucco Wilbur Wood, Pete Rose, Tommy John and Mike Marshall. For the first time since the draft began three years ago, they actually signed a FA they claimed - OF Lee Lacy, who inked a six-year deal for a reported $1.05M. They took a twisty route to land RHP Dave Roberts. They picked him, but he signed with the Giants. Persistence pays; the Bucs quickly reeled him in as part of the Bill Madlock trade in June.
- 1978 - LHP John Grabow was born in Arcadia, California. Grabow, a third round draft pick in 1997, pitched from 2003-09 for the Bucs until traded to the Cubs. In 390 Pirate appearances, he went 20-15-6/4.09. In 2009, Grabow pitched for the US in the World Baseball Classic, the first Bucco to be named to the US squad. His last MLB season was 2011 with the Cubs.
|John Grabow 2009 O-Pee-Chee|
- 1982 - RHP Chris Resop was born in Naples, Florida. Resop tossed for the Pirates from 2010-12 after being claimed off waivers from the Braves and posted a line of 6-8-2/3.88 in 159 appearances, mainly as the Bucs bullpen bridge guy. He was heavily involved in civic/charity work and was voted the Pirates Roberto Clemente Award honoree in 2012. Chris retired during the 2014 season after eight years of MLB and returned to his hometown.
- 1987 - Padres catcher Benito Santiago was the unanimous selection as the NL Rookie of the Year‚ while Pirate RHP Mike Dunne (13-6/3.03 ERA) finished second. Santiago closed out his career as a Bucco, playing six games in 2005 before being released.
- 2014 - C Russell Martin and LHP Francisco Liriano became the first two Pirate free agents ever to be tendered qualifying offers ($15.3M) to retain their services for the upcoming year. Both rejected the offer. Russ signed with Toronto for $82M over five years while Frankie eventually came to terms with the Bucs on a three-year/$39M deal.