1922 – Ralph Kiner was born in Santa Rita, New Mexico. He led the NL in home runs for seven straight seasons as a Buc. Kiner hit 301 bombs, drove in 801 runs, and had a .971 OPS in his eight Pittsburgh seasons (1946-53) and was named an All-Star six times. Ralph was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975 and the Pirates retired his #4 in 1987.
1924 – 1B Charlie Grimm, LHP Wilbur Cooper and SS Rabbit Maranville were traded to the Chicago Cubs for RHP Vic Aldridge, 1B George Grantham and 1B Al Niehaus. Cooper was near the end of his career, Maranville would have two more strong seasons with Boston, and Grimm played for Chicago for the next dozen years, hitting .296 with 1,079 RBI and became their player-manager. Grantham hit .300 over six seasons with Pittsburgh, Aldridge won 40 games in his three year Bucco tenure and Niehaus split 1925 between the Pirates and Reds in what would be his only MLB campaign.
Vic Aldridge 1925-27 (Conlon Collection/Detroit Public Library)
1935 – According to Charlton’s Baseball Chronology, a touring group of AL All-Stars topped the Negro League champion Pittsburgh Crawfords 7-2 in Mexico City in the final match of a three game stand. Rogers Hornsby drove in three runs against Bert Hunter‚ and he drove in three more the day before when the All-Stars won 11-7. The first game ended in a 6-6 tie. The AL squad featured Hornsby‚ Jimmie Foxx‚ Ted Lyons‚ and Vern Kennedy while the Crawfords roster included Josh Gibson‚ Judy Johnson‚ and Cool Papa Bell.
1939 – The Pirates purchased C Spud Davis from the Phils. Spud caught 99 games in 1940, but in 1941 Al Lopez took over the Pirates starting catcher's role. The next season, Spud became a coach for the Pirates before returning to the active roster in 1944-45 due to the player shortages of WW2. In his four Pirate seasons, he hit .301 and continued as a Bucco coach (he also served as the manager for a short stint after Frankie Frisch resigned in 1946) and a scout. He then played minor league ball and coached for the Cubs until retiring from the game in 1953.
1952 – P Pete Vuckovich was born in Johnstown. In his 11 year MLB career, he never tossed for the Pirates, but in 1992 he was hired by Pittsburgh as a pitching instructor. Vuckovich served as the pitching coach during the 1997–2000 seasons for Gene Lamont, then worked his way through the organization to become the Special Assistant to the General Manager until joining the Seattle organization in 2012. Pete also had a role in the movie “Major League,” uttering the snarky “How’s your wife and my kids?” line to the catcher while at bat.
Pete Vuckovich (image from “Major League” via Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame)
1962 – RHP Mike Dunne was born in South Bend, Indiana. He came to the Pirates as part of the Tony Pena trade and paid immediate dividends, going 13-6 with a 3.03 ERA in 1987 and finishing second to Benito Santiago in the Rookie-of-the-Year balloting. He couldn’t match his first-year numbers down the road, winning just eight more games before being traded to Seattle in 1989. His Pittsburgh slash was 21-18/3.65.