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4/22 From 1950: Turner Signed; Brandon Claimed; 1st PNC Walk Off; Ring the Bell; Squeakin' & Streakin'; Foiles Reverse; RIP Steve

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  • 1951 – Led by Gus Bell‚ who went 5-for-5 with a homer‚ three doubles, and a single while scoring three times‚ the Pirates defeated the Reds 7-5 at Crosley Field. Ralph Kiner was 1-for-2 with a triple and was walked three times behind Bell. Bill Werle tossed 2-1/3 scoreless relief frames to claim the win. Bell must have impressed Cincy; they traded for him in the 1952 off season, and he played with the Redlegs for nine seasons, claiming four All-Star nods in that span. 
  • 1953 – As noted by Pirates Prospects John Dreker, the Pirates lost for the 12th straight time to the New York Giants’ righty Jim Hearn. The final at Forbes Field was 4-2 with Hearn tossing a four-hitter, albeit with five walks. But the worm would turn. That streak ended on this date and Hearn would go on to lose his next five decisions against Pittsburgh. He ended his 13-year career with a 21-10/3.45 slash v the Pirates. 
  • 1957 – Hank Foiles hit a 425’ triple and a 258’ homer off the RF foul pole in a 3-1 loss to the Giants at the weirdly configured Polo Grounds. Willie Mays’ two-out, three-run homer in the third off Luis Arroyo carried NY to victory. 
  • 1962 – The Pirates won their 10th straight game, 4-3, over New York, equaling the major league record to start a season. Bob Veale beat the Mets at Forbes Field; the NY nine tied a NL record going in the opposite direction by opening the year 0-9. The Pirates won it in the bottom of the eighth when Bill Mazeroski’s double scored Roberto Clemente. Pittsburgh won 93 games, but that was only good enough for a fourth-place finish in the NL, eight games behind the LA Dodgers. 
Big Bob – 1963 Topps
  • 1974 – RHP Steve Swetonic passed away at age 70 in Canonsburg. Steve was from Mt. Pleasant and Pitt, spending his entire, too-short career with the Pirates. He tossed for five years (1929-33) after coming up from the minors and was considered a hot prospect, but a variety of injuries ground his career to a halt. He had appendicitis in 1930 and missed two months. Then he had elbow surgery the following campaign that put him on ice until late June and kept him from going longer than four innings in any outing. In 32, he again had arm pain that knocked him out for three weeks and only allowed him one start from mid-August on; some feel his injury cost the Bucs a shot at the flag. They were 1/2 game behind before he was hurt and finished four games off the pace with Steve out. In 1933, he set personal highs in wins (12), starts (21) and IP (164-2/3), but had off season hand surgery and never tossed in the show again after a short-lived 1935 comeback attempt. He retired and became a salesman for the Blaw Knox company. 
  • 1978 – The Bucs did it the hard way, but they overcame a pair of late Cardinal leads to rally for an 8-7, down-to-the-wire victory at TRS. The hero was Duffy Dyer, who had been activated from the DL (he had broken his thumb) just before the game. He batted in the ninth, pinch-hitting as the last man left on the Bucco bench. After two were gone Ed Ott doubled and Phil Garner worked a walk to keep the Bucs pulse beating and give Duffy his chance. The nine-year vet came through by lining a ball barely inside the chalk in left off John Urrea to chase both runners home. Rennie Stennett had three hits, two RBI and a run; Bill Robinson added two knocks, a run driven in and plated twice, while Willie Stargell homered. Teke had tossed the ninth for the win in a game started by Bert Blyleven. 
  • 1992 – The Pirates won their ninth consecutive game, defeating Montreal 2-0 at Olympic Stadium behind Doug Drabek’s five-hitter. Expo hurler Dennis Martinez was almost as dominating, giving up just two knocks. Kirk Gibson homered off the third pitch of the game (he also had the other rap against Martinez) and Steve Buechele’s two-out single in the ninth off reliever Mel Rojas plated Andy Van Slyke with a little soft shoe – Buechele got trapped between bases, but stayed alive long enough for AVS to score. Pittsburgh’s record improved to 12-2, tying the franchise’s best 14-game start since the 1914/1902 teams. Montreal salvaged the last match of the four-game set the next afternoon, 6-3, whipping former teammate Zane Smith to snap the streak. 
  • 1993 – Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield won his second consecutive start while walking nine batters when he ended a five game Bucco skid with a 5-4 decision over the Cincinnati Reds at Three Rivers Stadium. He only allowed four hits while going the distance. Wakefield made it a nail biter by walking the bases loaded on 14 pitches after two outs in the ninth, but Barry Larkin inexplicably offered at the first pitch following that third free pass and tapped into a game-ending comebacker. Lonnie Smith led a balanced Pirates attack with two RBI and a run scored, while Carrick’s John Wehner made his first pro start in center field, replacing Andy Van Slyke.

Tim Wakefield – 1993 Score Select Rookie

  • 1997 – The Pirates signed OF Turner Ward to a $300K deal after he was released by the Brewers. He had two solid years for the Bucs, including an all-time TV moment when he crashed through the TRS wall. But he hit under the Mendoza line in 1999 and was released in August. 
  • 2001 – Jason Kendall gave the Bucs their first walk off win at PNC Park with a two-run homer off Chicago’s Jeff Fassero in the 10th inning. The Cubs took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 10th on a leadoff homer by Gary Matthews. In the home half, Kevin Young answered by delivering a pinch-hit single and Kendall followed with his blast to give the Bucs and Mike Williams the win. 
  • 2010 – The Pirates were humiliated by the Brewers at PNC Park 20-0 for their worst loss in their history. Six Bucco pitchers surrendered 25 hits. The victory completed a three-game sweep of the Bucs in which the Brew Crew outscored Pittsburgh, 36-1. “It was fun…” said Brewer Ryan Braun, who homered, doubled, singled and drove in five runs. 
  • 2011 – IF Brandon Wood was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The utilityman ended up getting into 99 games during the season, starting 55, mainly at third base, although he did play all four infield spots. He got a good look, but only hit .220 and was DFA’ed at the end of the year. Wood then bounced around in various minor league systems until 2014, when he retired. 
  • 2016 – The Bucs held off the Diamondbacks 8-7 in a game that featured some epic long taters. It was in the nineties in Arizona, and the Chase Field roof was open, setting up perfect conditions for a slugfest. Each team had three homers (Welington Castillo had two) but the Buc blasts were seismic. Sean Rodriguez and Gregory Polanco hit the longest pair of back-to-back homers since official measurements began in 2009 at 458 and 461 feet. They were topped by Jordy Mercer’s launch of 466’, the longest home run of the year to date. Those bombs were three of the six longest homers hit so far during the season. Jon Niese got the win (it was the first time the vet started a campaign with a 3-0 record) and Mark Melancon earned the save.

Jon Niese – 2016 Topps

  • 2017 – The Perry Hilltop Citizens Council held the “Corner of Hope Celebration” to unveil nine revamped Negro League All-Star murals and the small park the artwork is located in at the corner of Wilson Avenue and West Burgess Street in North Side. Originally dedicated in the late nineties, the faded Negro League murals were restored by students at The Pittsburgh Project who also cleared the run-down lot with Oakglade Realty providing funding for the project. The murals are of Josh Gibson, who lived in the neighborhood, and fellow stars Ray Dandridge, Rube Foster, Gus Greenlee, Pop Lloyd, Satchel Paige, Cum Posey, Jackie Robinson, and Mule Suttles. 
  • 2019 – The Pirates were blown out by the Arizona D-Backs, 12-4, after the bullpen melted down to allow 11 tallies in the seventh and eighth innings. Joe Musgrove had left them with a 4-1 lead at PNC Park after six, which was quickly frittered away. To add injury to insult, Nick Burdi developed a nerve problem and had to go on the IL. But there was some silver lining involved: Gregory Polanco returned after being out since last September, going 2-for-4, and OF JB Shuck (he had pitched in college at Ohio State) tossed a scoreless ninth inning, giving up a hit and a walk while flashing a 91 MPH sinker. It was his second big league mop-up outing and lowered his career ERA to 4.50


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