1847 – Albert G. Pratt, nicknamed “Uncle Al,” was born in Pittsburgh (actually, he was from Allegheny City, now the North Side). Pratt was a pitcher who played for three top flight Pittsburgh indy teams, the Enterprise Club, The Allegheny Club and the Xanthus. The Civil War vet also tossed a couple of years for the professional Cleveland Forest Citys and then umped afterward, but is best remembered locally as the skipper of the first major league club in Pittsburgh, the Alleghenys, which joined the American Association in 1882. Uncle Al managed the club from 1882-83, going 51-56. He was also an organizer of the Union Association, and a part owner of the National League Pittsburgh club in 1890 during the Players League revolt. Uncle Al's biggest moment in history came on May 4th, 1871. In front of 200 paying customers, Pratt pitched in the first contest of the National Association, baseball's initial pro circuit. His Forest City nine lost 2-0 to Fort Wayne. He got his nickname, per Frederick Lieb, author of 1948's “The Pittsburgh Pirates,” because of the affection the Pirates rooters had for him.
Uncle Al from the Baseball Page
1862 – OF Billy Sunday was born in Ames, Iowa. Sunday spent three seasons (1888-90) with the Alleghenys before being traded for two players and $1,100 as an early salary dump because the team was broke. He was a flashy outfielder and speedster, supposedly the fastest player of his era, but hit just .243 for Pittsburgh. His true calling was as an evangelical preacher, and from the turn of the century until his death in 1935 he was renown for preaching non-denominational Christianity across the country. He used his reputation as a ballplayer to promote his tent revivals during his early years of spreading the Good Word.
1960 – Mickey Vernon was plucked from Danny Murtaugh’s staff to become coach of the expansion Washington Senators. It was a homecoming for Mickey, who had played 14 years in DC and won a pair of batting crowns as a Senator. He managed there from 1961-63, with a career record of 135–227. He returned to coach for the Pirates in 1964 and was a baseball nomad afterward, coaching for St. Louis, Los Angeles, Montreal and the Yankees. He managed at the AAA and AA levels of the minor leagues and served as a batting instructor in the Royals and Yankees' farm systems before retiring from baseball.
1962 – Dick Groat was traded with P Diomedes Olivo to the St. Louis Cardinals for P Don Cardwell and IF Julio Gotay. Groat played five more years, making two All-Star teams, finishing second in the MVP vote in 1963, and won another World Series. Traded as part of a Joe Brown youth movement, Groat was stunned by the deal – he was born in Wilkinsburg – and didn’t associate with the team again until a 1990 reunion of the 1960 World Series Championship team.
Dick Groat 1962 Topps
1990 – LF Barry Bonds won the NL MVP in a runaway by taking the top spot on 23 of the 24 ballots cast to top teammate and runner-up Bobby Bonilla (.280/32/120). Bonds hit .301 with 23 HR, 114 RBI, and had 52 stolen bases. The All-Star duo led the Pirates to 95 wins and a first place finish in the NL East, but Pittsburgh lost to the Cincinnati Reds in the NLCS.
1992 – The Pirates traded 2B Jose Lind to the KC Royals for pitchers Dennis Moeller and Joel Johnston. Chico was beset with personal problems and was out of baseball after the 1995 season. Johnston, once the Royals top prospect, had a strong 1993 season but quickly faded and was out of baseball after 1995; Moeller made ten appearances in Pittsburgh and those marked the extent of his MLB days.
2010 – The Pirates DFA’ed LHP Zach Duke, 3B Andy LaRoche and IF Delwin Young to clear 40-man roster space for pitchers Michael Crotta, Jeff Locke, Kyle McPherson, Tony Watson and Daniel Moskos.