- 1988 – Bobby Bonilla went long from both sides of the dish in a 14-inning, 6-5, loss to the Phils at Veterans Stadium. It was the second time he’d done it, and only he and Dale Sveum had pulled off that feat for Pittsburgh before. Bonilla went 4-for-7 with five RBI; the rest of his teammates stranded 13 runners.
- 1989 – In a three-day span, the Pirates lost closer Jim Gott (elbow) and first baseman Sid Bream (knee) for the season, while CF’er Andy Van Slyke pulled his rib cage, losing a month and limiting his swing all year. A week later, catcher Mike LaValliere went down and missed much of the season, and the hobbled Pirates finished the campaign with just 74 wins.
|Andy Van Slyke – 1991 Fleer|
- 1991 -The Pirates and OF Andy Van Slyke reached agreement on a three-year contract extension for 1992-94 worth $12.65M, the fourth-richest pact in MLB at the time. The average of $4,216,667 per year fell behind only Roger Clemens, Dwight Gooden and Jose Canseco’s deals. AVS was inked for a $750K signing bonus and salaries the first two years of $4M and $4.6M, leaving $3.3M at risk in 1994, a potential lockout/strike year (and there was an August strike, so the front-loading paid off for Andy).
- 1992 – Doug Drabek outdueled Montreal’s Dennis Martinez to earn the Pirates a 2-0 win over the Expos at TRS in the Bucs home opener. Drabek helped his own cause with a two-out, RBI single in the second, that along with Spanky LaValliere’s sac fly provided the margin of victory.
- 1993 – RHP Alex McRae was born in West Allis, Wisconsin. The Pirates drafted him out of Jacksonville University in the 10th round of the 2014 draft. He worked his way through the levels and was rewarded with a July call up from Indy as a bullpen insurance policy in 2018. He returned to Indy without getting into a game after a three-day stay, but saw action during his second promotion to the show, making his debut in August and giving up a run in three innings against the Cubs. He got some more work in 2019, but went 0-4/8.78 in 11 outings. He was outrighted after that campaign, selected free agency, and signed a minor league NRI deal with the White Sox.
- 2000 – The Pirates beat the Astros 10-1 at TRS. Brian Giles went 5-for-5 with two homers, a triple, four RBI and three runs scored. Righty Francisco Cordova was every bit as hot; he didn’t give up a hit until after one was out in the eighth inning (a Mitch Meluskey double) and Giles described his stuff as “filthy.”
- 2003 – Kris Benson, with late help from Scott Sauerbeck and Mike Williams, shut out the Phillies 2-0 at Veterans Stadium on six hits and ended Jim Thome’s streak of 60 consecutive games on base, the longest since Mark McGwire reached base 62 games in a row in 1995-96. In a well-pitched game (Philadelphia’s Brett Myers K’ed 11), Brian Giles and Pokey Reese drove in the Bucco runs. Giles’ came on a potential double play ball that the Phils couldn’t turn because of Jason Kendall’s take-out slide and Reese chased a run home on a broken-bat flare to right.
|Kris Benson – 2003 Topps Total|
- 2009 – Down a pair in the ninth at Busch Stadium, the Pirates rallied with two outs against Jason Motte to beat the Cardinals 6-4. With two away and Freddy Sanchez aboard, Adam LaRoche singled and pinch-hitter Eric Hinske doubled home Steady Freddy. Brandon Moss got plunked to jam the sacks, and Jack Wilson banged a three-run double to unjam them. Matt Capps came in to get the save for John Grabow’s win in the season opener.
- 2013 – AJ Burnett lost a pitching duel to Clayton Kershaw, 1-0, at Dodger Stadium. Burnett gave up the only run in the third on an infield single, stolen base and two-out grounder through the SS hole. Four Buc pitchers combined for 11 K, but Kershaw and friends countered with a two-hitter.
- 2015 – “MLB Central” debuted on MLB Network. Not only was it the network’s first original content morning show, but it was the first to be aired from the channel’s state-of-the-art, 8,000 square foot Studio 21, named in honor of Roberto Clemente and his number 21, which was retired on this date in 1973.
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