- 1947 – RHP Jim Nelson was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Jim had a brief career but his fingerprints are all over the Bucco history books. Per Wikipedia: Nelson was a 31st round pick in the 1965 draft and made a dazzling debut in 1970. He relieved against the San Francisco Giants, struck out Willie Mays, and then got Willie McCovey to bounce into a twin killing. Jim spun three perfect innings with four strikeouts and also slapped a single (he was a good hitter, batting .269). Nelson started his career with a 4-0 record (and the team won his first seven starts), a feat not equaled by a Pirates starting pitcher until Zach Duke in 2005. Nelson also was the last Pittsburgh hurler to win his first three career starts until Gerrit Cole matched the feat in 2013. More trivia: Nelson also was the starting and winning pitcher in the final game played at Forbes Field on June 28th, 1970, a 4-1 win over the Chicago Cubs. But the next season saw him develop serious control issues and he was shipped to the minors in mid-July. Jim refused to report (he was 2-2/2.34 with the team, but had made only 17 appearances) and it cost him as his teammates voted him a half-share of their 1971 World Series money but the FO stiffed him when handing out World Series rings. It was a sort of messy way to end a relationship, especially as he later had rotator cuff surgery and never got back to the majors. His lifetime line was 6-4/3.01 as a Buc from 1970-71. Nelson became a salesman after baseball, and used to hand out $5 bills to the homeless in his Sacramento community as Christmas gifts until he passed away at the age of 57.
|Jim Nelson – 1972 Topps|
- 1947 – RHP Jim Minshall was born in Covington, Kentucky. A second round pick in the 1966 draft out of HS, he tossed six games for the 1974-75 Bucs and was 0-1, even though he never gave up an earned run. Jim was a Pirates lifer; he pitched in the organization from 1966-76, closing out his career at AAA Charleston.
- 1948 – The Pirates took two from the Cubs by 5-1 and 6-2 scores at Forbes Field to reclaim second place in the NL, 2-1/2 games behind the front-running Boston Braves. Rip Sewell and Kirby Higbe gave up eight hits in the opener but only one run while Elmer Riddle tossed a four-hit complete game victory in the nightcap. Ralph Kiner and Stan Rojek led the way at the dish; each had five hits during the day. Ralph had a homer, a double and three RBI while The Happy Rabbit scored twice. As for the Pirates, they finished in fourth place, 8-1/2 games behind the Braves, but did end up 83-71 in a competitive campaign.
- 1948 – OF Wayne Nordhagen was born in Three Rivers Falls, Minnesota. Wayne put up eight years off the bench in MLB, getting into one game as a Bucco in 1982 and doing pretty well, going 2-for-4 with two RBI. Nordhagen was part of a fairly byzantine set of moves. The Blue Jays sent him to Philly for Dick Davis; the Phils quickly swapped him to the Pirates on the same day for Bill Robinson. Then a week or so later, the Bucs shipped him back to the Jays for Davis.
- 1956 – After a quick start, the Pirates dropped 15-of-19 games after a doubleheader split with the Cubs and made some moves. IF’s Gene Freese & Spook Jacobs, C Danny Kravitz and P Luis Arroyo were sent to Hollywood. In their place, the Bucs called up 20-year-old 2B Bill Mazeroski and pitchers Charlie Naranjo & Fred Waters. Six of the guys involved would be fringe players for the Bucs in the overall scheme of things, but for Maz, it was the start of a Hall of Fame career. He debuted on the 7th and never tasted the minors again, playing in seven All-Star games during his 17-year run with the Pirates.
|Billy Maz – 1956 Topps|
- 1978 - The Pirates took both ends of a twinbill from the Expos at TRS by 3-1 and 4-3 scores. The first game was all Bert Blyleven – he tossed an eight inning five-hitter, allowing a run on Ellis Valentine’s dinger, and drove in all three Pirates runs with a two-out, bases-loaded double in the fifth. Dan Schatzeder was tough, too – he gave up four hits, but all of them were bunched together in the deciding fifth frame. Pittsburgh overcame an early 2-0 deficit with three homers – a two-run shot by Bill Robinson and solo drives by Willie Stargell and Omar Moreno – to allow Don Robinson to slip past Wayne Twitchell in the closing match. Kent Tekulve saved both ends of the double dipper. The wins put the Bucs within a game of .500, and they would finish the year with 88 victories, 1-1/2 games behind the Phils.
- 1985 – RHP Jared Hughes was born in Stamford, Connecticut. The righty is a converted starter who began working out of the Pirates pen in 2011 until moving to Milwaukee in 2017 and the Reds next season (he seems to like the division). The Cal State alum was selected in the fourth round of the MLB draft in 2006 and slashed 15-13-3/2.82 for Pittsburgh while making 313 outings, mainly as a mid-inning trouble-shooter. He’s now with the Mets.
- 1987 – The Pirates beat the Dodgers 4-2 at TRS in a game oddly slotted for a 10:35 AM first pitch; the game landed on La-La Land media at 7:35 AM, not exactly prime prime although leaving plenty of time to picnic and get to the fireworks. Early bird Andy Van Slyke had three raps and Sid Bream two more to collect half of the Bucco’s 10 hits. Bob Kipper took the game into the seventh and got the win, with Barry Jones and Jeff Robinson wrapping it up.
- 1999 – C Jason Kendall tore up his ankle in a 4-3 loss to the Brewers at TRS. Kendall dragged a bunt in the fifth inning and hit first awkwardly, ripping the ankle bone from the joint. He was out for the rest of the season, and many believed he was never quite the same after the gruesome injury. Even with that severe of an injury, JK remained an ironman and caught between 118-149 games for 11 of his remaining 12 campaigns. The game itself ended up a bullpen battle with Brad Clontz dropping the decision to David Weathers.
|Ouch – 7/5/199 Pgh Press (Keith Srakocic/AP)|
- 2000 - The Pirates scored seven times in the ninth, fueled by three homers, to drop the Cubs 10-4 at Wrigley Field in front of 37,043 stunned Cubbie fans. Jason Kendall, Wil Cordero and Pat Meares had the final at-bat Bucco blasts that made a winner out of Marc Wilkins. Kendall and Cordero went back-to-back off Rick Aguilera with one down to give the Bucs the lead and Meares’ long ball was the cherry on top, a three-run, two-out drive off Daniel Garibay.
- 2001 – Brian Giles and Adam Hyzdu homered twice while Aramis Ramirez added a pair of doubles, each driving in three runs, as the Bucs put on their own fireworks display in cruising to a 14-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds at Cinergy Field. A-Ram had four hits, Giles had three and Jack Wilson went long to boost Joe Beimel to victory.
- 2009 – LHP Rinku Singh became the first Indian to appear in a pro baseball game in the US when he pitched the 7th inning and countryman Dinesh Patel followed in the 8th frame as the “Million Dollar Arms” made their debut for the GCL Pirates. Patel tossed a scoreless frame while Singh was touched up for a run against the Yankee rookies. Both claimed a K in the 4-2 loss.
- 2010 – The Bucs trailed Philadelphia, 5-2, before scoring six times in the seventh inning for an 8-5 win at PNC Park. Evan Meek picked up the win on the same day he was named to the NL All-Star team. The seventh inning fireworks featured a leadoff homer by Pedro Alvarez and two-run knocks by Garrett Jones & Delwyn Young.
|Evan Meek, All Star – 2010 Upper Deck|
- 2015 – Jeff Locke and Cody Anderson put on a show for the sellout crowd at PNC Park with the Bucs taking home a 1-0 decision over the Cleveland Indians. The Pirates had a runner on third with an out twice without scoring, finally plating the game’s only run in the sixth when Neil Walker’s single brought home Josh Harrison from second. Mark Melancon worked the final frame for the save. The Tribe threatened but twice – with two on and nobody out in the second, a DP defused the situation, and Melancon let a pair of runners reach after two outs in the ninth before getting a tapper to seal the deal. Locke surrendered just two hits; Anderson six. 37,927 fans not only witnessed a great pitching duel, but had plenty of time left afterward for fireworks – the game took 2:06 to play.
- 2016 – Juan Nicasio became the third Pirate, along with Jeff Robinson and Ross Ohlendorf, to toss an immaculate inning (three strikeouts on nine pitches) while helping the Pirates to a 4-2 win over St Louis at Busch Stadium. The righty sat down Stephen Piscotty, Jhonny Peralta and Yadier Molina. Jon Niese got the win over Carlos Martinez, with a save by Neftali Feliz. Gregory Polanco was the hitting hero, banging two homers in a game for the first time and chasing home three runs.
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