- 1877 – SS William “Wid” Conroy was born in Philadelphia. Conroy only played one year in Pittsburgh in 1902, hitting .244, but he started ahead of Honus Wagner at short. Actually, the Flying Dutchman began his career in the pasture; he was converted to part-time shortstop in 1901 by skipper Fred Clarke when Bones Ely had a forgettable year at the dish. Wid was the usual starter at short in 1902 with Wagner seeing some action too, but Conroy’s batting performance was the final straw for Clarke and he installed Wagner at the position full-time in 1903. Conroy then jumped leagues to join the NY Highlanders, playing ball through 1911 for them and the Washington Senators. The nickname “Wid,” short for “Widow,” dates to his youth. Sam Bernstein of SABR suggests that the name came about because Conroy watched over the younger members of his sandlot group like a widowed mother watched over her brood.
- 1929 – Paul Waner ended his holdout by signing a one-year deal with the Bucs after meeting for two hours with Buc owner Barney Dreyfuss at Fort Worth, where the Pirates were holding camp. The value of the agreement wasn’t disclosed, but earlier in negotiations, Waner had floated $18K as the amount he was seeking. Big Poison ended up a bargain no matter what the cost – he hit .336 with 15 HR & 100 RBIs during the season.
|Rennie Stennett – 1976 Topps|
|Candy Man – 1983 Topps|
- 1983 - John Candelaria gave up just four hits and struck out 10 in a 7-1 Opening Day win over the Cards at Busch Stadium. Lee Lacy led off with a homer, Jason Thompson iced it with a three-run blast in the ninth and Dale Berra and Lee Mazzilli went long in between. For Mazzilli, it was a strong intro to his new team as he went 2-for-2 with two walks in his first game as a Pirate. It was a welcome sign for The Candy Man, too, whose nerve damage to his arm had turned from a workhorse into a guy with just one complete game in 1981-82, although he never tossed 200 IP or had more than three CG in a season after 1980.
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