1867 – 3B Bill Niles was born in Covington, Kentucky. He only played 11 games in Pittsburgh in 1895, hitting .216, and never landed in the show again, but he did have an interesting journey. He was cut by the Pirates in 1894, and NL clubs Cleveland and Washington put in claims for him while a handful of minor league clubs offered him a deal. Apparently intrigued enough by Niles’ potential to not want to lose him to a league foe, manager Connie Mack took him off waivers and loaned him to Milwaukee, then in the minor Western League, for the year. Mack brought Bill back to the Bucs for the next campaign. He was sent back to the farm after the season and toiled in the minors through 1901.
Silver King (photo via SABR)
1868 – P Silver King was born in St. Louis. King only played one season in Pittsburgh, but it was a big deal when he signed. King won 110 games from 1888-90 and signed with the Pirates for $5,000, becoming the highest paid player in the game. The investment fizzled; the Bucs got a 14-29 record (although he wasn’t all that bad; he made 44 starts and tossed 384 innings to a 3.11 ERA). But problems were looming. The Bucs released him, and the early sidewinder had one more good year with the Giants before the rules committee chopped him down to size. He threw sidearm from the far right of the pitcher’s circle, making the ball appear to be launched from third base. In 1893, the rubber was introduced and he lost his territorial advantage, never posting an ERA south of four afterward. His nom de guerre is combination nickname and writer’s Anglicizing: His real name was Charles Koenig, but his prematurely white hair gave him the nickname of Silver; King was the English translation of Koenig.
1890 – Hall of Fame OF Max Carey was born in Terre Haute, Indiana. He played 17 seasons in Pittsburgh, compiling a .287 BA while stealing 688 bases, leading the NL in that category 10 times. He was at his best during the 1925 World Series, hitting .458 as the Pirates dethroned the Washington Senators and Walter “Big Train” Johnson in seven games.
1890 – 1B Mickey Keliher was born in Washington DC. He spent his two-year MLB career in Pittsburgh, striking out five times in seven at bats. Mickey was a career minor leaguer; he spent 18 years on the farm, where unlike his major league performance he hit .304 lifetime. He was a player/manager for his last three MiLB campaigns before dying young after a car accident.
Lloyd McClendon 1993 Topps
1959 – Utilityman and later manager Lloyd McClendon was born in Gary, Indiana. McClendon spent five years (1990-94) as a player in Pittsburgh where he hit .251, mainly off the bench. He was named Buc manager in 2001, and in his five seasons as skipper, McClendon compiled a 336–446 record and famously “stole” a base. A side note: In 1971, as a 12-year old, McClendon earned the nickname “Legendary Lloyd” when he hit five home runs in five at bats, all on the first pitch, and was walked in his other five plate appearances in the three games he played in the Little League World Series.
1972 – OF Jermaine Allensworth was born in Anderson, Indiana. Allensworth spent the first 2-1/2 years of his four-year career as a Bucco, hitting .272 from 1996-98 and seeing considerable time in the pasture; he even was portrayed on Saturday Night Live by Tracy Morgan in 1997. He was traded to KC for a minor leaguer, and they moved him to the Mets. His bat went cold and he was out of MLB after the 1999 season, playing a couple of years on the farm followed by a long stint of indy ball.
1973 – This is a red letter day in baseball history. The owners voted to allow the AL to use a designated hitter, drawing a line in the sand that still exists between the junior and senior circuits. On April 6th, 1973, Ron Blomberg of the Yankees became the first regular season DH in major-league history, drawing a bases-loaded walk off the Red Sox’s Luis Tiant.
Warren Morris 2000 Pacific Invincible
1974 – 2B Warren Morris was born in Alexandria, Louisiana. He made his major league debut in 1999, going from non-roster invitee in spring training to starting second baseman early in the season for the Bucs. Morris had a sharp rookie campaign, hitting .288 with 15 home runs, 73 RBI and earning a spot on the 1999 Topps All-Star Rookie team at second base. It went downhill fast, and the Pirates released him before the 2002 season; his last MLB campaign was in 2003 and he formally retired in 2006.
2013 – Andrew McCutchen was voted to be the cover athlete on the baseball video game “MLB 13: The Show.” Cutch gathered 108,147 votes from fans via Twitter and Facebook, while NY Yankees' pitcher CC Sabathia came in second place with 89,054 votes.