- 1963 – LHP Ravelo Manzanillo was born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. Ravello tossed for three years in the show, two with Pittsburgh (4-2-1/4.19 in 51 outings between 1994-95). He also tossed in the minors from 1981–2005, including stints in Korea, Taiwan, Mexico and indie baseball. Manzanillo also played winter ball in the Venezuelan and Dominican Leagues. His younger brother, Josias, pitched for Pittsburgh, too, from 2000-02.
- 1964 – OF Carson “Skeeter” Bigbee passed away in Portland, Oregon, dying in his sleep at the age of 69. He spent his 11-year MLB career entirely with the Bucs (1916-26), hitting .287 lifetime, with a personal best .350 BA in 1922 to finish fourth in the NL (that’s the year Rogers Hornsby hit .401). He even got to play a year (1921) with his brother Lyle. Skeeter left the team after the “ABC” affair (he was the “B”) when he, Babe Adams and Max Carey staged a short-lived protest over management overkill. After a couple of seasons in the PCL, he worked as a salesman, farmer and shipyard worker, while squeezing in a couple of campaigns managing in the All-American Girls Pro League.
|Mark Johnson – 1997 Pinnacle|
- 1967 – 1B Mark Johnson was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. Mark was a good glove, power-hitting guy who made his MLB debut at the advanced age of 27. His .239 BA in three years (1995-97) with the Pirates didn’t cut it as he lost his job to Kevin Young. Johnson was an effective pinch hitter and closed out his career with the NY Mets, playing until 2002. He did pretty well after baseball, using his Dartmouth degree to become a Wall Street trader.
- 1969 – C Chris Tremie was born in Houston. Chris got four wham-bams in the majors; his stop in Pittsburgh was in 1999 when he got into nine games and went 1-for-14 in a year that the Pirates rostered six different catchers (Tremie, Jason Kendall, Keith Osik, Joe Oliver, Tim Laker and Yamid Haad). Baseball has been Chris’ career canvas – he spent 14 seasons in the minors and was a manager in the Indian’s system since 2007. Not a bad resume for a kid who was drafted by the White Sox in the 39th round (#1,100 overall) in 1992.
- 1971 – Steve Blass hurled a four-hitter and Roberto Clemente homered as the Pirates won Game Seven of the World Series, 2-1, at Baltimore, earning Pittsburgh its fourth World Championship. The winning run scored in the eighth, when Jose Pagan doubled home Willie Stargell. Clemente hit safely in all seven games of the series, a feat he also accomplished in 1960 against the Yankees, extending his consecutive Fall Classic hitting streak to 14 contests. He also became the first Latino player to earn World Series MVP honors after batting .414. Bruce Kison and his best man Bob Moose were taken from Memorial Stadium by helicopter to a waiting Lear Jet to get to his wedding at Pittsburgh’s Churchill Valley CC (even so, the groom arrived 33 minutes late). And though it was a bright moment for the club, it wasn’t for some fans. After the game, 40‚000 people ran wild downtown; many were arrested and at least 100 were injured in one of the City’s not-so-proud moments.
- 1979 – In Game Seven at Baltimore, President Jimmy Carter opened the game with a ceremonial pitch (his first and only opening pitch while prez) and Willie Stargell finished it by going 3-for-4 with his third World Series homer, lifting the Pirates to a 4-1 win and their fifth World Championship. Captain Willie gave the Bucs a 2-1 lead in the sixth with his two-run blast. Kent Tekulve worked out of a bases loaded jam in the eighth and Pittsburgh tacked on a pair of ninth inning insurance runs to take a 4-1 victory, with Grant Jackson earning the W. Pops was named Series MVP after the Pirates erased a three-games-to-one deficit to rally past the Orioles. 60,000 fans greeted the team at the airport when they arrived home at 3AM, with thousands more lining the parkway. Baltimore, which planned a victory parade two games prior, still held one the next day and drew 125,000 for their beloved but bedraggled Birds. The game was big – an estimated 80 million people, then the largest TV audience in the history of the World Series, watched the showdown.
|Willie Stargell – Fleer Million Dollar Moments
- 1991 – In Game Seven of the NLCS, Brian Hunter’s two-run shot in the first inning off John Smiley was all John Smoltz needed as he tossed a 4-0, six-hit whitewash against the Bucs at TRS. Atlanta won their first NL pennant since their move from Milwaukee in 1966 as the Pirates failed to score in the last 22 innings of the series. The Braves lost the World Series to the Minnesota Twins four games to three in one of the most dramatic championships in the MLB annals.
- 2014 – After a 29-year affiliation with the Pirates, starting as a player and spending the last five as the Bucs bench coach, Jeff “Banny” Banister left the organization to become the 18th manager of the Texas Rangers. It was, in a way, a delayed PTBNL deal involving coaches turned skippers; the Pirates took their manager, Clint Hurdle, from Texas in 2011. The Rangers won the AL West title during Banny’s first two seasons but lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALDS both times. His next two campaigns finished south of .500 and he was let go with a year remaining on his contract, returning to Pittsburgh as a special assistant. The job didn’t last very long; he was released in June, 2020, as part of a FO staff reduction.
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