1870 – RHP Charlie Hastings was born in Ironton, Ohio. Working mostly as a fourth starter in the days when two or three were the norm, he put up a 11-14 record with a 4.51 ERA between 1896-98.
1891 – IF Walter “Rabbit” Maranville was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Hall of Famer spent four (1921-24) of his 23 big league seasons in Pittsburgh, hitting .283 during his stay. In 1922, he led the league with 746 PA and 672 AB, scoring 115 times. There are a couple of tales regarding the origin of his nickname. One is that he earned it because of his big ears. He begged to differ, claiming that the daughter of a family friend came up with it after watching him bounce around like a rabbit on the field.
1896 – CF Jake Stenzel was traded along with bench players RHP Elmer Horton, OF Tom O’Brien and IF Harry Truby to the Baltimore Orioles for CF Steve Brodie and 3B Jim Donnelly. Stenzel, who had a .360 BA over five years with the Bucs, hit .353 with 116 RBI for the O’s in 1897. Brodie was released after 1-1/2 years in Pittsburgh and Donnelly only lasted one season. Brodie was re-signed by Baltimore after the Bucs let him go and hit .308 for them through 1899, and in a bit of karma replaced Stenzel, who was traded to the St. Louis Browns after his big 1897 season.
1898 – Harold “Pie” Traynor was born in Framingham, Massachusetts. The Hall of Fame 3B played 17 seasons (1920-35, 1937) for the Pirates with a career .320 BA. He hit over .300 ten times, had over 100 RBI in a season seven times, and was considered the top third baseman of his era. The ensuing local generations may remember him for his “Studio Wrestling” promos, when he touted American Heating with his “Who Can? Ameri-Can!” line. Traynor became a scout for the Pirates when his career ended (he held that post for the rest of his life) and hosted a radio program six days a week for 20 years on KQV called “The Pie Traynor Club” where he talked baseball with local kids. Pie passed away in 1972 and is buried in Homewood Cemetery. There are several stories involving his nickname. A couple revolve around his love of pie when he was a kid, with another claiming that his round puss made him look “pie-faced.”
Art McKennan (photo via SABR)
1906 – Announcer Art McKennan was born in Oakland. Starting out as a Forbes Field errand boy, he did odd jobs around the park, working his way up to bat boy and scoreboard runner. Art got a job in the real world and continued on as an usher. He couldn’t keep that gig, though – in 1930, he was diagnosed with polio. But it didn’t stop him. Art was the voice of the Pirates at Forbes Field from 1948 until it closed, and then at TRS until 1987 (he did Sunday games after that until 1993). He also had stints with the Penguins, Pitt football and Duquesne hoops along with a 30-year career in Pittsburgh’s Parks Department. He died in 1996 at the age of 89.
1906 – Scout George Detore was born in Utica, New York. He served on Danny Murtaugh’s MLB coaching staff during 1959 season, taking the place of Jimmy Dykes when he left the Pirates to become the manager of the Detroit Tigers. Detore joined Pittsburgh in 1950 as a minor league coach, then as a New York based scout/scouting supervisor, serving in that role from 1955–58, 60-63 and once again from in 69–86.
1976 – RHP Jason Grilli was born in Royal Oak, Michigan. After signing with Pittsburgh as a minor league FA in 2011 out of the Phil’s system, the vet known as “Grilled Cheese” reinvented himself as a back-end reliever, serving as Joel Hanrahan’s set-up man before taking the closer reins in 2013 and winning an All-Star berth. In 2014, he was sent to Angels after putting up a 3-11-47 slash during his stint with the Bucs with a 3.01 ERA and 12.4 K per nine innings.
Kyle McPherson 2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects
1987 – RHP Kyle McPherson was born in Creola, Alabama. Kyle was the Pirates Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2011, and made his MLB debut in 2012, going 0-2 but with a 2.73 ERA and 1.177 WHIP. He underwent TJ surgery the following season and never regained his form, being released by the Pirates after the 2014 season and by Tampa Bay in 2016.