1950 – Pirates GM Roy Hamey resigned and was replaced by Branch Rickey. Hamey was a NY Yankee baseball exec who got his first GM gig in Pittsburgh in 1946. He hired Billy Meyer to manage and added players Tiny Bonham, Bob Chesnes and Hank Greenberg to go with holdover Ralph Kiner. What he didn’t develop was a farm system to stock a team lacking in depth, Rickey’s forte, or winning clubs. Rickey would falter too, but his minor league spadework helped his 1955 replacement, Joe Brown, build the successful late-50s & 60s Pirates.
Roy Hamey w/Ralph Kiner (photo The Sporting News/Getty Images)
1960 – RHP Vern Law and 2B Bill Mazeroski were named to The Sporting News MLB All-Star team, selected by 291 Baseball Writers of America Association members. The NL continued to be well represented by winning eight of the team’s 11 spots.
1962 – The Pirates traded 1B Dick Stuart and P Jack Lamabe to the Boston Red Sox for P Don Schwall and C Jim Pagliaroni. Pags appeared in 490 games over the next five years for the Bucs, batting .254 while Schwall became a multi role pitcher, tossing four years for Pittsburgh with a 22-23-4/3.24 ERA. Stu hit 103 homers in the next three seasons and then faded away, while Lamabe lasted six more seasons in the show, with strong campaigns in 1966-67.
1985 – 36 year old Rick Reuschel was named the NL’s Major League Comeback Player of the Year by United Press International. Reuschel went 14-8 with a 2.27 ERA, starting the year with Hawaii in the Pacific Coast League after signing as a free agent with Pittsburgh in February. Rick went on to win 71 more games in the next five seasons with the Bucs and Giants before running out of gas and hanging up the spikes in 1991.
Rick Reuschel (photo via Steel City Collectable)
1985 – Syd Thrift hired Jim Leyland to manage the Pirates, replacing Chuck Tanner. During his Pirate years from 1986 to 1996, Leyland won two Manager of the Year awards (1990 & 1992), finished as runner-up in 1988 and 1991 and led the team to three divisional titles (1990-92).
1987 – LHP Jeff Locke was born in North Conway, New Hampshire. He joined the Bucs in 2009 as part of the Nate McLouth trade, and the Redstone Rocket (nicknamed by a local paper, Redstone is his home neighborhood, and Jeff had a mean HS fastball, along with the timely association of NASA’s moon-launch from a Redstone Rocket) made his MLB debut in 2011, joining the rotation full time in 2013 and earning an All-Star berth that season.
2007 – Newly hired manager John Russell started to put together his staff, naming Tony Beasley third base coach, Gary Varsho bench coach and Luis Dorante bullpen coach. He later added Jeff Andrews as pitching coach, Don Long as batting coach and Lou Frazier as the first base coach.