1891 – After earlier spiriting 2B Lou Bierbauer away from Philadelphia, the Pittsburgh Alleghenys again raided the American Association by signing OF Pete Browning and P Scott Stratton away from the Louisville Colonels, further cementing its new nickname of “Pirates.” The Alleghenys were never found guilty of wrongdoing in any of the deals, and they thumbed their noses at being called piratical by rebranding themselves as the Pirates for the 1891 season. The nickname was finally stitched on the team's uniforms in 1912.
1909 – Barney Dreyfuss began construction of a stadium near Schenley Park in Oakland, to be named Forbes Field after General John Forbes of French and Indian War fame. It opened remarkably quickly, on June 30th, and remained the Bucco’s playground for decades. The Pirates won three World Series there while sharing it with Pitt, the Steelers, the circus, rallies and events of all stripes before shutting down in 1970 and moving to TRS.
Jumbo 1947 Tip-Top
1915 – RHP Nick “Jumbo” Strincevich was born in Gary, Indiana. Called “Jumbo” because he was 6’1”, Strincevich was selected to play on the 1945 All-Star team but due to wartime travel restrictions, the game was cancelled. He was a Buc from 1941-48, starting about half the games he appeared in, and compiled a Pittsburgh slash of 42-40-5/4.05.
1939 – The first Major League Broadcasting Agreement was signed just prior to the 1939 season. Prior to that, many MLB teams didn’t broadcast their games over the radio for fear of losing attendance. Afterward, all did, except for a couple of times that clubs didn’t get what they believed was a fair price for their rights. The first televised game was also aired this year, and in 1953 ABC began broadcasting a national game on Saturdays.
1953 – The Pirates opened their first and only spring camp in Havana. The Cuban government didn’t like the financial results of the experiment while the Pirates missed competing against other MLB teams based in Florida, so the original three-year deal ended up one and done by mutual agreement.
Johnny Ray 2013 Panini Hometown Heroes
1957 – 2B Johnny Ray was born in Chouteau, Oklahoma. He played seven years (1981-86) for the Bucs with a .286 BA before being moved to make room for Jose Lind. He was Rookie of the Year runner-up in 1982 to Steve Sax, playing in 162 games and hitting .318. Ray also won a Silver Slugger award in 1983.
1965 – Roberto Clemente didn’t report for spring training, suffering from malaria. He made it to camp a month later and muddled along until mid-May, rallying to win the NL batting title with a .329 BA. He did struggle all year with his power stroke, bopping just 21 doubles and 10 home runs with 65 RBI, his lowest totals since 1959.
1976 – The owners ordered a spring training lockout, which lasted 17 days. Unwilling to delay the start of the season, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn decreed training camps to open March 18th. Players agreed to open the 1976 season without a collective bargaining agreement in place, and no games were canceled. A new four-year CBA was hammered out in July that allowed for free agency, and it was ratified in August.