1884 – RHP Harry Camnitz was born in McKinney, Kentucky. He worked once for the Pirates in 1909, going four innings and giving up a pair of runs, but that was long enough for him to became an early brother act with teammate sib Howie, who won 109 games with the Bucs. Harry did have a strong minor league career, once winning 27 games for the McKeesport Tubers.
Judy Johnson (photo via the Negro League Museum)
1899 – 3B William Julius “Judy” Johnson was born in Snow Hill, Maryland (This is the generally accepted date; there are a couple of others floating around). The Hall-of-Famer spent the twenties as a stalwart of the legendary Philadelphia Hilldale Darby teams, then played and managed for the Homestead Grays in 1929-30. He was also with the Pittsburgh Crawfords, serving as team captain from 1932-1936. He retired after 17 seasons with a career .290 BA. The New York Times wrote that “…as a third baseman, Johnson was often compared with Pie Traynor,” and the paper recalled Philadelphia Athletics owner Connie Mack’s comment about Johnson: “If Judy were only white,” Mack said, “he could name his own price.” He acquired his nickname early in his career as a Hilldale Star, inherited from a veteran Hilldale player named “Judy” Gans.
1983 – LHP Frankie Liriano was born in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. One of the Pirates most notable reclamation projects, the southpaw went 41-36 with a 3.67 ERA from 2013-16 for the Bucs and won the 2013 “Comeback Player of the Year” award. In the midst of a dismal 2016 campaign, Frankie was traded to Toronto at the 2016 deadline.
1989 – RHP Diomedes Mateo was born in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. John Dreker in Pirates Prospects “This Date In Pirate History” noted that the Bucs were hoodwinked by Mateo, who they signed under the false pretense that he was a 16-year old player named Yoldi Sierra instead of the 20-year old Mateo. The MLB found out, suspended Mateo for two seasons, and he was out of organized ball following the 2012 season.
Bye Bye Barry (image from Pittsburgh Baseball Heroes deck)
1992 – It was a dark day for Pirates fans as Barry Bonds and Doug Drabek both declared for free agency. Bonds was a two-time MVP (1990, 1992) and Drabek a Cy Young winner in 1990. Barry signed a six-year/$43.75M deal with the San Francisco Giants while Doug inked a four-year/$20M contract with the Houston Astros.