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5/21 From 1960: Lloyd's 300th; Good & Bad Wandy; TRS Strike; Top Heavy; Game Tales; HBD Tony, Steve & Rodolfo

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  • 1961 – Tony LaCava was born in Pittsburgh. He never made the show as a player, but won a state championship at Central Catholic HS and went on to play at Pitt. The local boy made good not in a uniform but a suit. He signed with the Bucs out of college, and after a couple of years struggling in the low minors, Tony began scouting for the Angels, Braves, Expos and Indians. The Blue Jays hired him as an assistant to the GM in 2002, and he served as GM for a season with Toronto; he’s now their VP of Baseball Operations & Assistant General Manager. LaCava, an Oakmont resident, was interviewed and considered to be one of the top candidates for the Bucs GM spot in 2007 that eventually went to Neil Huntington.

Tom Sturdivant – 1962 Topps

  • 1962 – The Bucs beat the Cubs 8-4 at Forbes Field behind the top two guys in the order, Bill Virdon and Dick Groat. The duo went 8-for-9 with a walk, two doubles, scored twice and drove in six runs. Tom Sturdivant earned the win with 6-⅓ shutout frames in relief of Earl Francis. 
  • 1965 – The Bucs broke an eight-game losing streak with a 6-1 win over the Phils at Forbes Field. Vern Law and Al McBean combined for a five-hitter, backed by Bill Mazeroski’s two hits and three RBI, Donn Clendenon’s three knocks and a big two-run pinch hit by Jerry Lynch. The Pittsburgh Press sports banner read “Brace Yourself – Pirates Win One.” Beat man Les Biederman noted “In the clubhouse, the players were shaking hands with one another and cutting up for the first time in ten days.” 
  • 1968 – OF Steve Pegues was born in Pontotoc, Mississippi. Steve joined the Bucs in 1994 after starting the year with Cincinnati and stayed through 1995, getting into 89 games and hitting .264. Steve was a toolsy guy but it never translated in the bigs. He was drafted by the Tigers in the first round of the 1987 draft (21st overall) and spent 11 years in the minors with another campaign in an indie league, but his 94-95 campaigns were his only MLB years. 
  • 1976 - The Pirates tried to come back from a 5-0 hole but fell 5-4 to the Cubs at Three Rivers Stadium. The bigger issue was the supporting cast. The regular crew in blue passed on the game, supporting the striking TRS vendors, so the Bucs lined up some sandlot guys. By all reports, they did an acceptable job. Also out were the ground crew and other union workers – “everyone but the players,” per one newspaper – but the club got through it as things returned to normal after a two-day work stoppage. 
Strike – 5/22/1976 Post Gazette
  • 1997 – The Bucs ended a four-game tailspin by edging the Cards 3-2 at Busch Stadium, scoring on a balk, a bases-loaded walk and blooper, with a couple of sidebars to the story. In the second inning, with Bucs on the corners, Jason Kendall checked off ball four as Joe Randa headed to second. The Cards threw to second and beat The Joker to the bag, but since it was ball four…or was it? The Redbirds asked for a confirmation by the first base ump, who overruled the plate ump and called Kendall’s wiggle a swing, so instead of the bases loaded with no outs, the Bucs had a runner on third with two away. He did score on a balk, but not before coach Pete Vukovich was ejected and manager Gene Lamont protested the game. In the eighth, Mark Johnson was thrown out at home by two steps, slapping C Mike Difelice in the noggin on the play. The two then tussled, Kevin Young knocked Tony La Russa’s glasses off during the ensuing melee, and he joined Johnson and Difelice in the shower. The winning vibes were provided by the Pirates pitchers – Francisco Cordova, Matt Ruebel and Rick Loiselle – who made the three runs stand up. 
  • 1999 – IF Rodolfo Castro was born in Los Llanos, Dominican Republic. Despite never playing above High A, Castro was called off the alternate camp team to the big squad in late April, 2021, to replace Anthony Alford after flashing some power during spring training. The Pirates wasted little time getting him in action – he joined the team during a twin bill and started the second game during his brief stay. He was sent to Altoona after a week’s visit. 
  • 2002 – Brian Giles hit a three-run, opposite-field, inside-the-park homer to highlight a 12-1 Bucco win at Wrigley Field in the lidlifter of a twin bill. It was his first inside-the-park blast and the first by a Pirate in three years. Kevin Young had a homer and two doubles while Chad Hermansen went long and added a two-bagger in support of Jimmy Anderson and Sean Lowe’s three-hitter to drop Chi-Town. The Cubs rallied to take the nightcap 4-3. Pittsburgh jumped off to a 3-0 first-inning lead but Sammy Sosa’s three-run shot in the sixth off Josh Fogg earned a split for Chicago. 
  • 2005 – Before a sellout crowd of 37,504 at PNC Park, Ollie Perez surrendered a pair of hits and two runs while striking out eight batters in five innings on the bump as the Pirates beat the Rockies, 8-3. C Humberto Cota did the heavy work at the dish with a pair of hits, including a double, and four RBI. The victory was Lloyd McClendon’s 300th as the Pirates’ skipper. 
Humberto Cota – 2005 photo Ezra Shaw/Getty
  • 2013 – The Cubs scored first and last, but the Bucs scored enough in the middle, keyed by a sixth-inning Travis Snider grand slam, to eke out a 5-4 win. Snider’s grannie was his first ever and the first Buc pinch hit salami at PNC Park since Craig Wilson’s in 2003, rallying the Pirates from a 3-0 hole to a 5-3 victory. Wandy Rodriguez got the win over Matt Garza. 
  • 2014 – Neither Pirates starter Wandy Rodriguez nor the Orioles Chris Tillman made it through the first two innings of the game. It was the first time in either club’s history that both starters were removed so early in a game; the quick hooks were also a first in interleague play. (Rodriguez was designated for assignment the following day after giving up six runs in 1-⅔ innings.) The score was 8-6 Pittsburgh after two frames; the O’s tied the game late, then the Pirates rallied to take a 9-8 decision at PNC Park. The middle of the Buccos order – Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, Starling Marte and Ike Davis – went 11-for-17 with six runs scored and chased home six more. Tony Sanchez delivered the game-winning hit and Bryan Morris claimed the W.


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