- 1876 – IF Charlie Kuhns was born in Freeport. The local lad made his MLB debut in 1887 for the Bucs as a 20-year-old one-game fill-in, going 0-for-3 with a walk. He almost lost that line: the game he played in was at Philly, and the Pirates were losing but threatening weather was rolling in. Warming up between innings, the ball was zinged over his head and into the crowd, and the Bucs went on a recon mission to find it. Philadelphia pleaded their case to the ump that the Pirates were playing a delay game, hoping for the storm to hit. The ump agreed, but Pittsburgh remained a bit leisurely despite his warning, so he called the game in favor of the Phillies. Pity – the rains came shortly after the field was cleared; the Bucs likely would have got their wish for a washout if they played it straight. As for Kuhns, he got a cup of coffee at Boston the next season and ended up with nine minor/indie league campaigns under his belt, mostly in the Eastern League, before retiring and heading back home.
|Ed “Rube” Albosta – photo via Saginaw County HoF
- 1918 – RHP Ed “Rube” Albosta was born in Saginaw, Michigan. The Bucs drafted Ed from the Dodger system in 1942 after he had made a couple of September starts for Brooklyn, but he entered the service afterwards and was in the military from 1942 through 1945. Albosta spent the entire 1946 season with Pittsburgh and made 17 appearances. He finished with an 0-6 record and 6.13 ERA, ending his MLB days. Although he had a strong campaign or two in the minors, he never got another call up and retired from baseball after the 1954 season. After baseball, Ed returned home and went to work for Grey Iron Steering and he was selected to join the Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame.
- 1922 – OF Ralph Kiner was born in Santa Rita, New Mexico. He led the NL in home runs for seven straight seasons as a Buc. Kiner hit 301 bombs, drove in 801 runs, and had a .971 OPS in his eight Pittsburgh seasons (1946-53) and was named an All-Star six times. Ralph was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975 and the Pirates retired his #4 in 1987.
- 1924 – 1B Charlie Grimm, LHP Wilbur Cooper and SS Rabbit Maranville were traded to the Chicago Cubs for RHP Vic Aldridge, 1B George Grantham and rookie 1B Al Niehaus. Cooper was near the end of his career, Maranville would have two more strong seasons with Boston, and Grimm played for Chicago for the next dozen years, hitting .296 with 1,079 RBI and became their player-manager. Grantham hit .300 over six seasons with Pittsburgh, Aldridge won 40 games in his three-year Bucco tenure and Niehaus, a key to the deal as a highly rated minor league infielder, split 1925 between the Pirates and Reds in what would be his only MLB campaign.
- 1935 – According to Charlton’s Baseball Chronology, a touring group of AL All-Stars topped the Negro League champion Pittsburgh Crawfords 7-2 in Mexico City in the final match of a three game stand. Rogers Hornsby drove in three runs against Bert Hunter‚ and he drove in three more the day before when the All-Stars won 11-7. The first game ended in a 6-6 tie. The AL squad featured Hornsby, Jimmie Foxx‚ Ted Lyons‚ and Vern Kennedy while the Crawfords roster included Josh Gibson‚ Judy Johnson‚ and Cool Papa Bell.
|Spud & a no-doubt well-earned shiner – photo via Detroit Public Library
- 1939 – The Pirates purchased C Spud Davis from the Phils. Spud caught 99 games in 1940, but in 1941 Al Lopez took over the Pirates starting catcher’s role. The next season, Spud became a coach for the Pirates before returning to the active roster in 1944-45 due to player shortages of WW2. In his four Pirate seasons, he hit .301 and continued as a Bucco coach (he also served as the manager for a short stint after Frankie Frisch resigned in 1946) and a scout. He then played minor league ball and coached for the Cubs until retiring from the game in 1953.
- 1948 – Manager Billy Meyer was selected as The Sporting News MLB Manager of the Year, edging out Boston’s Billy Southworth by an 89-87 vote tally. After 22 years in the minors, he improved the hapless Pirates by 21 games to fourth place with an 83-71 record, 8-½ games behind Southworth’s first place Braves (and just 2-½ out on 9/12 before a late season nosedive). The glow wore off quickly after new GM Branch Rickey dealt the vets and rebuilt; Meyer and his Pirate puppies lost 112 games in 1952, and Billy resigned.
- 1952 – RHP/coach Pete Vuckovich was born in Johnstown. In his 11 year MLB career, he never tossed for the Pirates, but in 1992 he was hired by Pittsburgh as a pitching instructor. Vuckovich served as the pitching coach during the 1997–2000 seasons for Gene Lamont, then worked his way through the organization to become the Special Assistant to the General Manager until joining the Seattle organization in 2012. Pete also had a role in the movie “Major League,” uttering the snarky “How’s your wife and my kids?” line. Vuckovich is a member of the Clarion University Sports Hall of Fame, the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame and the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
- 1953 – IF UL Washington was born in Springtown, Oklahoma. He closed out his 11-year big league visit in 1986-87 with the Pirates,batting .207 off the bench. After ending his playing career, Washington coached in the minors for the Pirates (1989), Royals (1991–98), Dodgers (1999), Twins (2001–02) and the Red Sox (2003–present). Two UL factoids: UL isn’t shorthand for anything; it’s actually his given name. Also, the toothpick he always had in his mouth was a by-product of Astroturf. UL had always played with a blade of grass in his mouth until he got to the pros and there were no more grass fields; he substituted a toothpick.
|Mike Dunne – 1988 Topps Wide|
- 1962 – RHP Mike Dunne was born in South Bend, Indiana. The US Olympian from 1984 came to the Pirates as part of the Tony Pena trade and paid immediate dividends, going 13-6 with a 3.03 ERA in 1987 and finishing second to Benito Santiago in the Rookie-of-the-Year balloting. He then encountered arm problems and couldn’t match his first-year numbers, winning just eight more games before being traded to Seattle in 1989. His Pittsburgh slash was 21-18/3.65. Dunne’s last MLB campaign was in 1992 with the White Sox, and he went on to coach at his alma mater, Bradley University.
- 1973 – RHP Jason Johnson was born in Santa Barbara, California. He was signed by the Pirates in 1992 out of high school and made his debut in 1997, working six innings and giving up four runs before being lost to Tampa Bay in the expansion draft. He turned into a journeyman, working 11 seasons for eight teams and spending another year in Japan. Jason played through lifelong Type 1 diabetes; he was the first MLB player to wear an insulin pump on the field.
- 1978 – LHP Jon Niese was born in Lima, Ohio. After working eight years as a Met, Niese was traded to Pittsburgh for Neil Walker in 2016. He was 8-6 for the Bucs, but a 4.91 ERA and 1.545 WHIP were more indicative of his performance than wins and losses. On August 1st, the Pirates sent him back to NY for Antonio Bastardo, a trade tree Neal Huntington would like to forget about. The Mets bought him out after the season, and he signed a minor-league deal with the Yankees but was let go in June. He didn’t have any better luck in 2018, signing with the Rangers but being released in camp.
- 1998 – Per the NY Times, President Bill Clinton signed the Curt Flood legislation that overturned part of baseball’s 70-year-old antitrust exemption, putting baseball on a par with other professional sports on labor matters after Congress approved it unanimously earlier in the month. The new law overrode part of a 1922 Supreme Court ruling that exempted baseball from antitrust restrictions on grounds that it was not interstate commerce. The law took three sessions of Congress to pass and revoked the antitrust exemption only for labor relations, not for matters involving relocation, league expansion or the minor leagues.
|Steverino – 2019 Bobblehead|
- 2005 – Color man Steve Blass signed a one-year deal with an option while analyst John Wehner inked a straight one-year contract to broadcast with FSN Pittsburgh. They joined Lanny Frattare, Greg Brown and Bob Walk, who were already signed for the upcoming season, in the booth.
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