1873 – LHP Ed Doheny was born in in Northfield, Vermont. Ed spent the last three seasons of his nine-year career with the Pirates (1901-03) posting a line of 38-14, 2.35. After a mediocre beginning of his career with the NY Giants, Doheny was reaching his prime with the Pirates, but it wasn’t to be. He began exhibiting signs of paranoia in 1903. The team granted him a rest leave, and he returned, but so did the problems. He was sent home for care, missing the 1903 World Series (and as part of the three man rotation, possibly costing the team the championship) where he became violent and was eventually committed to an institution where he died 13 years later.
Ed Doheny (image via the Vermont Historical Society)
1890 – RHP Ralph Comstock was born in Sylvania, Ohio. He tossed for a pair of Pittsburgh teams – the Federal League Rebels in 1915 (3-3-2, 3.25) and the Pirates in 1918 (5-6-1, 3.00). His moment of glory came while working in the minors between those two stints when as a member of Birmingham in the Southern Association, he hurled a no-hitter against Nashville.
1930 – RHP Bob Friend was born in Lafayette, Indiana. A three-time All-Star pitcher for the Pirates, he averaged 232 IP and 13 victories for some of the worst teams in baseball. As a 24-year-old in 1955, Friend became the first pitcher to lead his league in ERA while pitching for a last-place team. He led the NL in victories once, innings pitched twice, games started three times, and WAR for pitchers twice, going 191-218/3.55 in 15 years (1951-65) as a Buc. He also was active in local Republican politics after his career, serving as controller of Allegheny County from 1967 to 1975 and as a three-time convention delegate.
1967 – OF Al Martin was born in West Covina, California. Martin played eight years (1992-99) for Pittsburgh, hitting .280 with 107 HR and 485 RBI. His best season was 1996, when he hit .300 with 18 HR, 72 RBI and 38 stolen bases. In Pittsburgh, he was backed by “Al’s Army,” donated thousands of tickets to various groups and even met fans at the turnstiles before the game. After his Pirate years, though, he was beset with a string of bizarre personal problems, tarnishing his image as a Bucco good guy.
Al Martin 1996 Fleer Ultra
2008 – The Pirates became the first MLB team to sign players from India when they inked pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, winners of a reality show called “The Million Dollar Arm Hunt.” Patel was cut in 2010 and returned home, but Singh made it to A ball before losing the last two years to injury, having TJ surgery in 2014. Their story was made into a movie called (what else?) “Million Dollar Arm.”
2010 – After six years as a Pirate, Pittsburgh traded LHP Zach Duke (45-70, 4.54) to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a PTBNL, RHP Cesar Valdez. Duke’s 2005 rookie year saw him post an 8-2/1.81 slash and he made the All-Star team in 2009, but never put up an ERA south of four after his first campaign. Zach reinvented himself as a LOOGY after leaving town and resurrected his career as a bullpen specialist before undergoing offseason TJ surgery. Valdez tossed creditably at Indy in 2011, then departed for the Latin leagues.