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5/5 From 1960: Clemente Unhappy; Security Issues; Clines Dangled; Stairs Swat; Rallies & Game Tales

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  • 1960 – Things looked bleak after six innings for the Bucs at Wrigley Field with the score 7-2 Cubbies. But the Buccos put up a five spot in the seventh (Roberto Clemente’s two-run homer was the biggest blow) to tie it and Bill Virdon won the game with a two-out, two-on triple in the ninth as the Pirates rallied for a 9-7 win. The real heroes were pitchers Jim Umbricht, Fred Green and ElRoy Face who combined to hold Chicago to one run over the final seven frames. 
Roberto was in the news OTD – Topps 1963
  • 1965 – Roberto Clemente made the front page of the Post Gazette when he told the beat gang “I wouldn’t care if they traded me. I’m unhappy here…because the team is going badly (they were 7-13) and I seem to be getting blamed for it because I’m not hitting.” The trigger for the outburst was being held out of the lineup for a game at Chicago by Harry Walker. Clemente had a bout of malaria in the off season and lost 20 pounds, and The Hat decided a rest would help Arriba, with the off day giving him three straight days of respite because of a break in the schedule. The pair got together the next day and cleared the smoke during a breakfast meeting, and the time off probably helped. Clemente was hitting .264 at the time, but after a slow week or two, he regained his strength and was batting over .300 by the end of the month, finishing the campaign with a .329 BA, tops in the league. 
  • 1968 – Thanks to a three-run eighth inning, the Pirates defeated the Phils 5-2 at Connie Mack Stadium behind Luke Walker, Dave Wickersham (the winner), and Bob Moose, backed by a 12-hit attack that saw every position player but Donn Clendenon collect a hit. Jerry May led the offense with two hits and two RBI; Roberto Clemente, Maury Wills and Manny Mota also added a pair of knocks. The game ended an unusual losing streak – the Bucs had dropped the first six televised games of the campaign before finally claiming a broadcast contest. 
  • 1972 – Dock Ellis, along with teammates Rennie Stennett and Willie Stargell, missed the team bus to Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium. When they arrived late, the security guard asked for identification. None of the trio had any proper papers on them, but they all had their World Series rings engraved with their names and tried to use that as ID. The guard refused to accept that as legit, Dock verbally abused the officer (“I gave him a thousand bleep-bleeps” he told the Pittsburgh Press), had a gun pulled on him (quickly holstered) to quiet him down and then was maced when the guard claimed Ellis cocked his fist at him. The guard also alleged that Ellis was drunk and had a bottle of wine with him; Dock denied that charge. They all eventually got in and Dock was later hauled into Cincinnati Municipal Court for disturbing the peace (the charges were later dropped). GM Joe Brown said the players didn’t have team ID with them because the club had never issued any, not seeing a need for them. Quickly after the incident, the Pirates issued identification cards to all the players, with their pictures on the back. To make it a perfect day, the Bucs lost the game 5-4, their eighth defeat in 10 outings. 
Gene on the market – 1973 Topps
  • 1973 – The Pittsburgh Press floated trade rumors with San Diego, who dangled C Pat Corrales and then P Steve Arlin for OF Gene Clines. Clines remained a Buc through 1974 (and he was more than open to being traded as he was buried on the bench), then was swapped to the Mets in the off season for C Duffy Dyer. Corrales called it a career after hitting .208 in ‘73 while Arlin lasted until ‘74, pitching to a 5.51 ERA. 
  • 1985 – The Pirates beat the Dodgers 3-2 at TRS by using their eyes more than their bats. Joe Orsulak and Johnny Ray drew bases-loaded walks off Tom Niedenfuer in the eighth inning to plate the tying and winning runs. Bill Madlock went 3-for-3 with a walk while Bill Almon and Orsulak had a pair of raps. Rick Rhoden got the win after allowing two runs in eight innings with John Candelaria pitching a clean ninth for the save. 
  • 1987 – Behind four long balls, the Bucs defeated the Padres 10-8 at Jack Murphy Stadium. The four-baggers were smacked by Barry Bonds, Andy Van Slyke, RJ Reynolds and surprisingly, Rafael Belliard, his first career shot. Belliard had two hits and three RBI, and wouldn’t hit his second and final MLB home run until a decade later in 1997. 
  • 1998 – Feliz Cinco de Mayo! The Pirates defeated St. Louis, 5-2, at Three Rivers Stadium as Francisco Cordova became the first Mexican born Pirate pitcher to start a game on Cinco de Mayo for the Bucs since Vicente Padilla (who didn’t factor in the decision) in 1992. Francisco got the win and his Veracruz amigo Ricardo Rincón picked up a hold. Jermaine Allensworth had a pair of hits and two RBI to go with Jose Guillen’s homer in a game the Bucs led from the first inning onward. 
  • 2003 – Matt Stairs homered off Houston’s Wade Miller, launching a blast that was estimated to travel 461’ to become the longest ball hit in the history of Minute Maid Park. It was Pittsburgh’s only bright spot as the ‘Stros mauled Kris Benson on the way to an 8-1 victory. Miller carried a perfect game into the sixth until it was broken up by a one out Pokey Reese single and tossed an eight-inning three hitter. 
Matt muscles up – 2003 Topps Home Field Advantage
  • 2019 – Jordan Lyles and Oakland’s Frankie Montas hooked up in a great pitching duel at PNC Park. The Bucs scored in the second inning by manufacturing a run off a Josh Bell two-bagger, ground out, and Colin Moran sac fly. The Pirates missed a sixth-inning golden opportunity, blowing a first-and-third, no-out set up and the A’s then tied it in the seventh with two outs when the eight hitter doubled and former Bucco farmhand Robby Grossman singled him home. Each team’s bullpen kept the zeroes coming through 12 innings without any major uprisings. Tyler Lyons, in the second inning of his Pittsburgh debut, walked the first two batters in the 13th; they both scored and he avoided more damage when a bases loaded, one-out shot up the middle deflected off him to Jung Ho Kang, who stepped on third and threw to first for an inning-ending DP. Fernando Rodney got the first out, then sandwiched a walk between two singles, making it 3-2 with Bucs on the corners. His next pitch was hammered by Starling Marte into the left-center field bullpen, and the Bucs walked off with a 5-3 win in a game that morphed from a pitcher’s delight to a slugfest in the blink of an eye. It was Starling’s fifth walk off long ball, one shy of the franchise mark.


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