- 1890 - The Pittsburgh Alleghenys moved their home game with the New York Giants to Wheeling, WV due to attendance issues at home (they couldn’t draw flies; they went 23-113). The game at Island Grounds, home of the Wheeling Nailers, drew 1500 fans and it remains the only major league game ever played in the state of West Virginia. According to the Wheeling Daily Register, “The game was played under some slight disadvantages, as the outfield was unkempt and unshaven, the grass being so tall that the ball, and almost the players, frequently got lost. (The Giants Mike) Tiernan knocked one into the tall grass, and while some seven or eight players were still on the hunt, he modestly crossed the home plate...” for a ninth-inning, cherry-on-top inside-the-park homer. The Alleghenys lost 8-3 and the Pittsburgh Press wrote “to be sure, the local team lost to be in keeping with its record and (team owner) Mr. McNeill may rest assured that his team will establish a world record in time (for losing).” The paper was right; they were baseball’s worst until the Cleveland Spiders of 1899 finished 20-134, bumping the Alleghenys to runner-up. It would also be the last regularly scheduled Pittsburgh home game moved to a neutral site until 2017 when the Pirates played St. Louis in Williamsport to help celebrate youth baseball.
|Pgh Press 9-23-1890|
- 1893 - OF Ira Flagstead was born in Montague, Michigan. Ira closed out his 13-year career in Pittsburgh from 1929-30, a journey that had begun with the Tigers and blossomed with the Red Sox where he was a top shelf CF’er with a good stick and rifle arm. He signed with the Pirates on July 8th, 1929, bolstered by his acquaintance with Pittsburgh manager Donie Bush, whom Ira played played with in Detroit, and the suspicion that Washington, which had signed him earlier, wanted to dump his contract. He hit .257 and was released in August, 1930. Ira closed out his pro ball in the PCL in 1931. He retired to Olympia, where he grew up, and managed the local Timber League nine. “Flaggy” (he was also known as “Pete” from his teen days) was elected to both the Red Sox and Washington State Halls of Fame.
- 1894 - After tossing 12 innings in a tie game the day before, Phil “Red” Ehret threw a complete game four-hitter to salvage a doubleheader split with the NY Giants by a 4-1 score at Exposition Park. His opponent was Les German, the same pitcher whom he had squared off against the previous day. Pittsburgh lost the opener 6-2.
- 1903 - Pittsburgh's 16-game winner Ed Doheny‚ suffering from bouts of paranoia‚ was escorted home by his brother. After the World Series‚ Doheny was committed to the Danvers Insane Asylum and at the age of 26‚ his major league career was over. Not only was this a tragic turn of events for Doheny, but it cost the Bucs dearly in their World Series loss to the Boston Americans as they were short of pitching for the series. He, Deacon Phillippe and Sam Leever formed the Pirate rotation, and with Leever nursing an injury, Phillippe was forced to start five of the seven games, eventually wearing down. Poor Doheny, whose mental issues were said to be triggered after he developed a dead arm during the season, never recovered. He had some violent episodes at home and was committed full-time to the Danver asylum. He never recovered and was transferred to another institution where he died at 43.
- 1908 - The Brooklyn Superbas cashed in a run in the ninth, scoring when no one covered first on a two-out grounder to the right side, but Pittsburgh and Nick Maddox prevailed 3-2 in 11 innings at Washington Park. Alan Storke tripled home Hans Wagner with the go ahead run and scored himself on a wild throw home. Maddox gave up a homer in Brooklyn’s half, but hung on for the win as the Pirates stayed alive in their late drive for the flag, which fell a game short.
|Alan Storke 1908 - Charles Conlon/Detroit Public Library|
- 1911 - Cy Young, pitching for the Boston Rustlers (they didn’t “rustle” players like the Pirates had “pirated” them; the moniker was a play on the name of team owner William Russell; they were usually known generically as the Nationals), earned his 511th and final career victory by defeating the Pirates, 1-0. Cy scattered nine hits and fanned three at Forbes Field to best Babe Adams. Although 20 games above .500 at the time, the Bucs were well off the pace and in third place, drawing just 1,208 fans. The Pirates feasted on Boston during the season: the Rustlers (they became the Braves in 1912) won only 3-of-22 against Pittsburgh, with two of the victories coming on shutouts thrown by the 44 year-old Cyclone.
- 1929 - Utilityman Harry Bright was born in Kansas City. He played for parts of eight seasons, with the first three (1958-60) in Pittsburgh. Bright hit .237 and was traded to the expansion Washington Senators after the ‘60 season as part of the Bobby Shantz package. Harry had a long professional career, playing 20 years and in nearly 2,000 games between the show and the farm. Bright managed the PCL’s Sacramento club and in the Chicago Cubs, Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers & Atlanta Braves organizations, plus he scouted for the Montreal Expos after he retired.
- 1931 - The Phillies overcame a 2-0 ninth inning deficit to send the game to overtime, but the Pirates tacked on a run in the 13th to claim a 3-2 win at Forbes Field. Heinie Meine went the distance for the victory, tossing a four hitter. It was his 19th win, which led all NL pitchers that season. The Bucs left 20 men on base as Philadelphia pitchers allowed 10 hits and 13 walks. The workhorse logged 284 IP in 35 starts by season’s end, both marks also league highs.
- 1932 - Rookie Hal Smith recorded a six-hit shutout in his first MLB start in a 7-0 Bucs’ win at Chicago’s Wrigley Field. The Bucs got all the runs they would need by scoring five times in the third inning. Arky Vaughan and Adam Comorosky led the way with two RBI apiece while Paul Waner banged out three hits and scored twice. Former (and future) Pirate pitcher Burleigh Grimes took the loss.
|Pep Young - 1939 Play Ball|
- 1938 - Pittsburgh swept a twinbill from the Brooklyn Robins by 6-0 and 11-6 scores at Ebbets Field to take a 3-½ game lead in the race for the pennant. Jim Tobin tossed a four-hitter in the opener. Arky Vaughan had four hits, with three doubles and three RBI to go with Pep Young’s four runs driven home to power the win in the nitecap. But the 1938 NL crown would go to Chicago, which won their last ten games while the Bucs stumbled to a 3-7 finish.