- 1991 – OF Cecil Espy signed with the Bucs as a NRI free agent for an undisclosed amount. He spent two seasons in Pittsburgh as a reserve outfielder, hitting .254, with much of 1991 spent on the farm at Buffalo. 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, with his last MLB campaign being in 1993. He played in the minors for a couple of seasons afterward and retired after spending 1996 in the Mexican League. Utilityman Lloyd McClendon also signed rather than face arb. He had put in for $295K, the Bucs countered with $170K, and per Baseball Reference, Lloyd won the negotiation by settling for $260K, close to his original asking amount.
|Cecil Espy – 1992 Donruss|
- 1992 – The Bucs won their arb case against SS Jay Bell, who had to accept an $875K paycheck rather than the $1.45M he was after. Bell turned down a reported settlement of $1.175M a few days before the hearing, calling it a “great offer” but deciding to go through the process. The infielder felt his .270 BA, 16 homers and 96 runs scored would help carry the day; the Pirates countered that his batting stats were pretty much league average, and that his 24 errors were tops among NL shortstops.
- 1994 – SS Jay Bell took home the Dapper Dan Sportsmen of the Year award at the annual dinner at the Hilton Hotel after hitting .310 and scoring 102 runs during the 1993 season. It was a very good year for Jay – he also was named an All-Star for the first time, won a Golden Glove award for his fielding, and started it off by signing a five-year/$20.1M deal in April. 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. He’s now a manager in the Yankees system.
- 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 baseball legacy.
- 2003 – New GM Dave Littlefield cleaned house in his scouting department by firing Mickey White, Brandon Bonifay, Ken Parker and George Zuraw, all top guns under former GM Cam Bonifay. They knew their time was short; Littlefield had raided the Marlin staff for three scouts earlier and brought in a fourth Fish, Doug Strange, a former Bucco, to replace them. The Florida scouts were in a state of flux as the team was in the process of being sold to Jeffrey Loria and Littlefield swooped in to give them a home.
|Doug Strange – 1998 Pacific Aurora|
- 2006 – Jackie Bowen was hired for a second stint as Bucco scouting suit, becoming an assistant to Dave Littlefield and later national scouting supervisor, after working from 1985-90 as a Bucco area scouting supervisor. He then moved on, working for the Reds, Giants and Mets, before returning home – he was super scout Rex Bowen’s grandson and had been raised in the City’s South Hills, graduating from Mt.Lebanon HS and Pitt.
- 2007 – The Pirates inked eight-year veteran righty Danny Kolb (Gary’s cousin) to a minor league deal. And that’s about what it ended up. He pitched three games for the Pirates in June, each with a one inning-two hits-one earned run line, and he spent the rest of the season with AAA Indianapolis before being released, pitching briefly for the Mets in 2008 before taking his final MLB bow.
- 2008 – IF Doug Mientkiewicz (aka “Eye Chart” thanks to his last name) signed on 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 Tigers minor league system after stints with the Dodgers and Twins.
- 2011 – Manager Chuck Tanner died at the age of 82 in New Castle. Captain Sunshine led the club from 1977-85 (after the Bucs had to send Manny Sanguillen to the A’s for Chuck’s services), winning the World Series in 1979 with the “We Are Family” gang and spending 10 more years as skipper for the White Sox, Athletics and Braves. The Coke Trials and consecutive last-place finishes in 1984-85 pushed him out of town, but he came back in 2007 as a Special Assistant to the GM.
|RIP Chuck – Heroes Deck|
- 2016 – The Pirates signed veteran LHP Eric O’Flaherty, 31, to a minor league deal with a camp invite that was worth $1.75M if he made the roster. He had been a strong bullpen piece until a 2013 elbow injury laid him low. The lefty didn’t make the Bucco 25-man list, but he did break camp with a MLB deal after the Pirates sold him to Atlanta in late March. O’Flaherty had enjoyed his best years there, going 13-7/1.99 in 295 games for the Bravos between 2009-13, but the reunion tour was less successful – in two seasons, he got into 61 games with a line of 1-4/7.28, was released in July of 2017, and hasn’t returned.
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