- 1970 – LHP Ricardo Rincon was born in Cuitlahuac, Mexico. Rincon, signed as a veteran of the Mexican leagues, pitched for the Pirates from 1997-98. He went 4-10-50/3.17 with 135 K in 125 IP. Rincon was part of a combined no-hitter on July 12th, 1997 when Francisco Cordova threw nine innings of hitless ball and RR pitched a clean 10th. He was traded for Brian Giles in 1998.
- 1976 – The Bucs promised a Lumber Company for the fans, and came through in the home opener at TRS with a 14-4 win over St. Louis, hammering out thirteen hits to go with twelve walks. Dave “The Cobra” Parker homered and collected five RBI, Al “Scoops” Oliver had three hits and three RBI while Manny Sanguillen had the only three-walk game of his career and touched home three times. Jerry Reuss had a no-hitter going into the sixth and went the distance for the victory.
- 1983 – 1B Steve Pearce was born in Lakeland, Florida. An eighth-round pick in the 2005 draft, he spent bits and pieces of five seasons (2007-11) in Pittsburgh, hitting .232, and was a magnet for nagging injuries. He carved out an MLB role in the AL, playing for Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Toronto and Boston, before announcing a soft retirement after the 2019 season and then hanging ’em up for good the next year.
- 1986 - AT&T SportsNet first hit the air as the Pirates Cable Network, operated by TCI. Its first telecast was on that date, featuring a game between the Pirates and Chicago Cubs from Three Rivers Stadium, an 8-0 Bucco win announced by Mike Lange. It didn’t remain so for long. The network rebranded on April 24th as the KBL Entertainment Network to reflect that other sports besides baseball (mainly the Penguins) were to be included in the network. KBL’s first regular broadcast was against the New York Mets in early June. In 1994, it became Prime Sports KBL, then two years later Fox Sports Pittsburgh, followed by Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh and once more as FSN Pittsburgh. That whole Fox thing lasted until 2011, when it became Root Sports. In 2017, it flipped to its current network, AT&T SportsNet.
- 1987 – Barry Bonds was featured on the cover of The Sporting News for the story “Blossoming Buc.” Although he was still a couple of seasons away from breaking out, he went on to hit .261 with 25 homers, 99 runs, 59 RBI and 32 stolen sacks in the 1987 campaign.
- 1988 – The Pirates took over first place for the first time since 1983 with a convincing 7-0 win over the Phils at TRS. Brian Fisher took a five-hitter into the eighth, with Jim Gott coming on to coax the final four outs while Chico Lind and Spanky LaValliere had five hits between and scored five of the Bucco runs. Sadly, it was a long season, and the Bucs finished in second with 85 wins but far off the pace of the Mets 100-win campaign. Al Pedrique will remember the day as the one when an unidentified lady fan leap over the railing in the eighth and told Al “You’re a good looking guy and I’d like to shake you hand” and that’s what they did, leading to some joshing post-game by his teammates that he didn’t end up with a smooch. Fisher said “Al’s not married and in that situation…you’ve got to get a little peck at least.” Another unwritten baseball rule…
- 1996 – Carlos Garcia took Montreal lefty Jeff Fassero deep for the 8,000th home run in Pirate history during a 9-3 Buc win at TRS. His fourth-inning blast opened the floodgates – Jeff King, Jay Bell, and Mark Johnson all went yard after him. Garcia had three hits and Paul Wagner worked seven innings of five-hit shutout ball for the win, although the pen wasn’t exactly efficient in closing it out after him.
- 2006 – OF Jody Gerut informed the team that he was going to have knee surgery two weeks after he had been sent to the minors from camp. The Pirates got him in August of 2005 from the Cubs for Matt Lawton, and he took just 18 at bats that campaign because of his cranky knee. Both sides agreed he had tendinitis, but the Pirates, unlike Gerut, didn’t believe surgery was necessary. It was a potentially costly decision for Jody; since the Bucs didn’t approve it, he went on the restricted list, where he was ineligible to collect his $875K salary or payments towards the surgical procedure while also putting a stop to his service accrual time (they did reach an agreement of sorts after the MLBPA filed a grievance). It was the end of his Pirates days, too, as he did eventually have surgery, missing all of 2006 and then was released in camp in 2007. He played for the Brewers and Padres from 2008-10, averaging 225 at bats per season and hitting .259 before retiring.
- 2009 - Zach Duke pitched a four-hit, complete game shutout at PNC Park as the Pirates defeated Houston 7–0 in the home opener. Both the Bucs and the Astros wore Pittsburgh Police hats in honor of three officers who were shot and killed on April 4th. The pre-game ceremonies honored the trio, including a flyover by four Apache helicopters, as well as former pitcher and current broadcaster Steve Blass for his 50th season with the team. Adam LaRoche had three hits, including a homer, and Freddy Sanchez banged out three doubles.
- 2010 – The Pirates flashed some leather to beat the Giants 6-5 at AT&T Park. Paul Maholm hit the ground to snag Aubrey Huff’s ball and in one motion shoveled it and his glove to 1B Jeff Clement while doing a backflip. The game icer in the bottom of the ninth came when Garrett Jones, at 1B after a double switch, made a diving grab of Pablo Sandoval’s liner to end the game after Octavio Dotel had already surrendered two ninth-inning runs. Jones had Kung Fu Panda’s number; he also threw him out at the plate from RF earlier in the game. Every win was precious; the Bucs only had 57 of them that campaign, costing John Russell his job.
- 2015 – Josh Harrison became the third Pirate (RJ Reynolds & Billy Cox were the others) to hit a leadoff homer to begin the Home Opener and it set the tone in the Bucs 5-4 win over Detroit at PNC Park. Pedro Alvarez and Corey Hart also went long in the victory. Gerrit Cole got the win and Mark Melancon finished up, although the Shark was touched for three ninth-inning tallies and had the tying run aboard with nobody out before finally nailing it down.
- 2019 – Pat Corbin was doing it all for Washington at National Stadium. He struck out 11 and his only major mistake over seven innings was a solo shot given up to Josh Bell. The lefty also stroked a two-run, two-out knock off Trevor Williams and he left the DC nine with a 2-1 lead after seven innings. Starling Marte stroked a two-run single in the eighth against the beleaguered Nats pen, but the short-lived lead was erased when Anthony Rendon homered off Kela Keone, his second long fly of the night. The game went into the 10th when Colin Moran came off the pine and banged a three-run blast (the Bucs first game-winning, extra-inning, pinch hit dinger since 1998) to put the Pirates up 6-3. Felipe Vazquez nailed it down to give Nick Burdi his first MLB victory.
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