1881 – C/1B Fred Carisch was born in Fountain City, Wisconsin. Playing between 1903-06, the reserve hit .229 for the Pirates. Fred became the center of a storm in 1923, when as a Tigers' coach, he was forced to catch when his team's final receiver was ejected. A protest was filed, but the Cleveland Indians rallied to win in the tenth, making the point moot.
Stan Rojek 1951 Bowman
1947 – The Bucs bought SS Stan Rojek, 29, from the Dodgers with plans to make him the starter in Pittsburgh; he was blocked by Pee Wee Reese in Brooklyn. He played 156 games and hit .290 in 1948, but faded after that season, became a backup in 1950 and was traded to the Cards in 1951. They also purchased 1B Big Ed Stevens from Brooklyn, who played from 1948-50 and hit .253 as a Pirate.
1967 – RHP Paul Wagner was born in Milwaukee. A 12th round draft pick in 1989, he pitched for the Pirates for six campaigns, from 1992-97, mainly as a starter, and went 26-40/4.58 during that span. Wagner came close to capturing a little magic – in 1995, he had a no-hitter broken up against the Colorado Rockies with two out in the ninth on an Andrés Galarraga single.
1978 – OF Xavier Nady was born in Salinas, California. The X-Man played for the Bucs from 2006-08, hitting .301 as a Pirate. He had been on the Pirate radar for awhile – GM Dave Littlefield tried to pry him from the Padres in 2003, and settled on Jason Bay instead when SD wouldn’t deal Nady. The Friars were that high on him – Nady went straight to the majors without playing minor league ball in 2000 while with San Diego, though the stay didn’t last long, as he was sent to the farm after one game.
Xavier Nady 2006 Upper Deck
1990 – RHP Doug Drabek, who posted a 22-6 record and a 2.76 ERA, was named the NL Cy Young winner and became the first Pirate since Vern Law in 1960 to take home the award. He received 23 of 24 first-place votes and 118 of a possible 120 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
1996 – The Pirates sent 2B Carlos Garcia, 1B/OF Orlando Merced and P Dan Plesac to the Toronto Blue Jays for P Jose Silva, IF Abraham Nunez, and OF Craig Wilson plus prospects SS Brandon Cromer, P Jose Pett and P Mike Halperin. Merced had four good seasons remaining, Plesac lasted in the show through the 2003 season and Garcia was a bench guy in the AL. Silva spent five years in Pittsburgh, but his ERA during that span was 5.44 (he was 24-28-4 for the Pirates), Wilson and Nunez were in and out of the lineup and the other players were minor league material.
2013 – Andrew McCutchen won the NL-MVP easily over Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt, taking 28 of 30 votes. He became the Bucs first MVP since Barry Bonds in 1992, which also was the last time the franchise had posted a winning record until this season. It was a year w/o a dominant player as Cutch posted a passel of well-rounded numbers. He hit .317 with 21 HR, 84 RBI, 97 RS and 26 SB and was second in WAR at 8.1. Andrew had finished third in 2012.
AJ Burnett (photo by AJ Burnett/Twitter)
2014 – RHP AJ Burnett returned to the Pirate flock, signing a one year contract valued at $8.5M after a dismal season (8-18/4.59) in Philadelphia. He told the media that “This is where I want to finish my career, playing for this team and for this city. I want to win a ring, and I want to do it in Pittsburgh.” Burnett left $4.25M on the table for the reunion by turning down a player option worth $12.75M with Philadelphia to become a FA, and had his agent negotiate solely with the Pirates. AJ had pitched in 2012-13 for the Bucs, winning 26 games with a 3.41 ERA before moving across the state. He finished with another solid season, going 9-7 with a 3.18 ERA tho slowed down by a late year injury.