1903 – Bill Dinneen struck out eleven and pitched a complete game three-hitter for the Americans as they defeated the Bucs 3-0 at the Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds in the second game of the first World Series. Patsy Dougherty homered off both starter Sam Leever, who left with an injury, and reliever Bucky Veil to provide the Boston offense.
1908 – Pittsburgh took over the NL lead by a gnat’s eyelash after sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals at Robison Field. Lefty Leifield won the opener 7-4 as Fred Clarke and Alan Storke each had three hits to lead the attack. Howie Camnitz took the nitecap 2-1, tossing a seven hitter with seven K, backed by homers off the bats of Honus Wagner and George Gibson. Two percentage points separated New York‚ Chicago‚ and Pittsburgh going into the final week of the season.
1914 – Phil Douglas of Cincinnati gave up just one hit, a single to Honus Wagner, but three walks – one with the bases loaded – and two errors in the ninth turned the tide. The Reds lost‚ 2-1 to George McQuillan and the Pirates at Forbes Field. It was the third game in his career where Hans had the only Pittsburgh hit. With a game to go, Ralph Davis of the Pittsburg Press described the last series as “…closing out the most disastrous season the Pirates have known since Fred Clarke became their chieftain.” The Bucs finished 69-85, in seventh place and 25-½ games out.
1920 – After a pair of rainouts, the Pirates and Reds played the last tripleheader of the 20th century at Forbes Field. The Reds won the first two games 13-4 and 7-3 before losing the third game 6-0 to Johnny Morrison, a six-inning affair shortened due to darkness. Buc rookie 3B Clyde Barnhart became the only player in big league history to have hits in three games in one day, as he had two knocks in game one, and one each in the other two games. Peter Harrison earned his check; he was the home plate umpire for all three games. Starting at noon, the three games took all of five hours to complete.
Johnny Morrison 1921 (photo Charles Conlon)
1971 – The San Francisco Giants scored four runs in the fifth inning off Steve Blass on a pair of two out homers by Tito Fuentes and Willie McCovey and it was just enough to drop the Pirates 5-4 in the opening game of the NLCS at Candlestick Park. Dave Cash scored twice and had an RBI while Al Oliver drove home a pair of runs in the loss.
1974 – Bob Smizik’s Pittsburgh Press game story was headlined “Pirates Blunder Into Division Title” and it was right on. The Pirates rallied from a 4-0 hole against the Cubs at TRS to get within a run in the ninth. With two gone and Manny Sanguillen on third, pinch hitter Bob Robertson K’ed on a Rick Reuschel slider. The ball got away from Steve Swisher, and his throw to first hit the plodding Robby on the back and caromed into right, allowing The Roadrunner to score. The Bucs won it in the next inning when Al Oliver tripled and scored on Sangy’s swinging bunt up the third base line. A loss would have given the St. Louis Cardinals, with a rainout to make up, a chance to tie for the lead. The fans didn’t act in championship fashion, tossing bottles at the Cub outfielders, who had to wear batting helmets in the field. Plate ump Shag Crawford told Smizik after the game that “It was the worst I’ve ever seen a big league crowd. I finally gave some thought to forfeiting in the ninth, but (manager Danny) Murtaugh really helped out…” when he went on the field and scolded the crowd into civility.
Danny used some Irish diplomacy (Topps 2002 Super Teams)
1977 – Kent Tekulve and Rich Gossage each appeared in their 72nd games to break the existing club record for most appearances in relief during a 3-2 Bucco victory over the Cubs in the second game of a twin bill at TRS. Goose got the win while Teke picked up a blown save. Dave Parker clinched his first batting title earlier in the day, finishing with a .338 average after going 1-for-4 in the opener, a 5-1 Bucco win. For the Pirates, it was a red hot finish as they won 12-of-13 games to end the season, finishing second with 96 wins to the Phils. Teke would go on to shatter the record in 1979 by appearing in 94 outings, still the club mark.
1979 – In the opening game of the NLCS at Riverfront Stadium‚ Willie Stargell ended a tight pitching battle started by John Candelaria and Tom Seaver by bombing a three run homer in the 11th inning off Tom Hume to give the Pirates a 5-2 victory over the Reds. Grant Jackson got the win with a Don Robinson save.
2005 – Zach Duke, with help from Mike Gonzalez and Salomon Torres, stopped the Milwaukee Brewers 3-1 at PNC Park. The Brewers finished at 81-81, and the loss prevented them from their first winning season since 1992, although it did end their consecutive losing season streak. The Bucco runs came on a two-run Nate McLouth homer and a solo shot by Craig Wilson. The Brew Crew did win 83 games in 2007 to finally get over the hump; it would take Pittsburgh until 2013 to do the same.