1920 – The spitball, shineball, and emeryball were outlawed by the AL/NL Joint Rules Committee. Seventeen pitchers, including off-and-on Pirate Burleigh Grimes, were grandfathered so they could continue to toss a wet one. Grimes, who finished his career in 1934 with Pittsburgh, was the last man to legally throw a spitter.
Burleigh Grimes 1928 (photo Getty Images)
1939 – RHP Bob Klinger exhibited his flipper to Pittsburgh Press beat writer Les Biederman and told him that “You are now looking at the arm that belongs to the fellow who is going to win 20 games…this year.” Klinger had gone 12-5, 2.99 in 1938 with a gimpy arm, then underwent off season treatment for neuritis. He did get 33 starts, but finished 14-17, 4.36 and 0-1 as a prognosticator. Apparently his arm remained chronically cranky. The Pirates switched him to spot starter/reliever in 1940, and he didn’t rejoin the rotation full-time again until 1943. He was in the Navy from 1944-45, then went to the Boston Red Sox at age 38 and was their closer from 1946-47 as part of the Bosox 1946 World Series club.
1971 – The Pirates made one of their better deals when they sent minor league lefty Danilo Rivas to the Mexico City Reds for LHP Ramon Hernandez. The southpaw was a bullpen anchor from 1971-76, going 23-12-39 with a 2.51 ERA before being sold to the Red Sox in 1976. The trade was a homecoming; the Pirates had originally signed Hernandez as an 18-year-old out of Ponce De Leon, Puerto Rico, in 1959.
1975 – 3B Judy Johnson was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Negro League Committee. Playing in the 1920s and 1930s, Johnson was a defensive whiz who batted .309 over a 17-year career, including stints with the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords. He was inducted on August 18th. His nickname came from his first Negro league club, the Hilldale Daisies, because he resembled Chicago American Giants’ player Judy Gans.
Judy Johnson 1998 Perez-Steele Celebration
2001 – C Jason Kendall was honored as the Dapper Dan 2000 Sportsman of the Year. He made rehabbed a gruesome ankle injury and came back to hit .320, score 112 runs and steal 22 bases, then made a long-term commitment to the Pirates by signing a six-year contract extension. He was the first Pirate to win the award since Jim Leyland in 1990.