1924 – OF Hal “Hoot” Rice was born in Morganette, West Virginia. After several season with the Cards serving as Stan Musial’s backup, he joined the Bucs for the 1953-54 seasons and started in left field for Pittsburgh after the Ralph Kiner trade. He hit .311 in that year’s audition, but was batting under .200 in June of 1954 and was shipped to the Cubs in what was his last MLB campaign. Rice gave up three years of baseball during WW2, winning a Purple Heart as a tank commander.
Hal “Hoot” Rice 1954 Topps
1928 – Pittsburgh sent RHP Vic Aldridge, who was fishing for a raise from owner Barney Dreyfuss, to the NY Giants for RHP Burleigh Grimes. Old Stubblebeard won 42 games in 1928-29 for Pittsburgh before being sent to the Braves after reaching a contract impasse. He returned in 1934 for his third Pittsburgh stint to finish his MLB career as a Pirate, the team he started with. The Hall of Famer won 48 of his 270 career victories as a Buc. As for Aldridge, he held out until late May, had a terrible year (4-7, 4.83) and was sent to the Dodgers in August. He refused to report to Brooklyn, opting to retire from baseball instead.
1974 – OF Trey Beamon was born in Dallas. The Bucs took him out of high school in the second round of the 1992 draft, and after the 1995 season, he was named the organization’s top prospect. But Trey never made much of a dent in MLB, spending 24 games with the Bucs in 1996 (.216 BA) before being traded to the Padres as part of the Mark Smith package. He got into a few dozen games with SD and was shipped to the Tigers, and that 1998 season would be his last in the bigs. He played in 98 games and hit .253 without a long ball. He played in the minors and indy leagues until 2006.
Ken Brett in the 1974 AS Game (photo Focus On Sports/Getty)
1974 – 48 players filed to settle their contracts through the newly instituted arbitration system. The only Pirate player to argue his case at a hearing was pitcher Ken Brett; he asked for $40,000 and the Bucs countered with $35,000. Brett may have lost but bore no grudge; he went on to have his only All-Star season in ‘74.
1991 – OF Cecil Espy signed with the Bucs as a FA. He spent two seasons in Pittsburgh as a reserve outfielder, hitting .254. He was a first round pick of the White Sox in 1980 (eighth overall) but was a regular just one year during his eight big league seasons, retiring after 1993.
1993 – SS Jay Bell took home the Dapper Dan Sportsmen of the Year award after hitting .310 and scoring 102 runs during the 1992 season. He also won a Golden Glove award for his fielding during the campaign. Bell played for the Bucs from 1989-96, and returned in 2013 as the hitting coach before joining the Reds as their bench coach the following year.
Jay Bell 1993 Studio
2001 – Three Rivers Stadium‚ the home of the Pirates since 1970‚ was imploded before a full complement of TV cameras and thousands of onlookers. Roberto Clemente's 3,000th hit, Mike Schmidt's 500th home run, the 1994 All Star game and a couple of World Series championships were part of the park's 30-year legacy.
2008 – IF Doug Mientkiewicz signed as a FA for $750K. The 34-year-old utility guy had a fairly solid year, hitting .277 in 125 games, and went to LA in 2009, closing out his 12 year career. He’s now a manager in the Twins minor league system.