- 1847 - Albert G. Pratt, nicknamed “Uncle Al,” was born in Allegheny City, now the North Side. Pratt was a pitcher who played for three top flight Pittsburgh indy teams, the Enterprise Club, The Allegheny Club and the Xanthus. The Civil War vet also tossed a couple of years for the professional Cleveland Forest Citys and then umpired afterward, but is best remembered locally as the skipper of the first major league club in Pittsburgh, the Allegheny, which joined the American Association in 1882. Uncle Al managed the club from 1882-83, going 51-56. He was also an organizer of the Union Association, and a part owner of the National League Pittsburgh club in 1890 during the Players League revolt. Uncle Al’s biggest moment in history came on May 4th, 1871. In front of 200 paying customers, Pratt pitched in the first contest of the National Association, baseball’s initial pro circuit. His Forest City nine lost 2-0 to Fort Wayne. He got his nickname, per Frederick Lieb, author of 1948′s “The Pittsburgh Pirates,” because of the affection the Pirates’ rooters had for him.
- 1855 – LHP Denny Driscoll was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. He tossed for four big league campaigns with a pair of seasons as an Allegheny sandwiched in the middle. He led the American Association with a 1.21 ERA in 1882 for Pittsburgh and was the opening day starter in ‘83. But after spinning over 530 IP for the North Siders, he worked barely 100 frames and made just 13 starts for Louisville the next year. He didn’t pitch in 1885 and there would be no comeback as he passed away at the age of 30 from consumption in ‘86.
- 1862 – OF Billy Sunday was born in Ames, Iowa. Sunday spent three seasons (1888-90) with the Alleghenys before being traded for two players and $1,100 as an early salary dump because the team was broke. He was a flashy outfielder and speedster, supposedly the fastest player of his era, but hit just .243 for Pittsburgh. His true calling was as an evangelical preacher, and from the turn of the century until his death in 1935 he was renown for preaching non-denominational Christianity across the country. He used his reputation as a ballplayer to promote his tent revivals during his early years of spreading the Good Word.
|Billy Sunday – 2/27/1988 Pittsburgh Press|
- 1895 – OF Billy Zitzmann was born in Long Island City (Queens County, New York). He began his six-year MLB run with 11 games for the Bucs in 1919, going 5-for-26 (.192). Billy last appeared in the show in 1929 for the Reds, the only other big league he played for over the rest of his career. He didn’t get the game out of his system until 1937, retiring at the age of 41 as a minor league player/manager, though he did take a couple of lengthy breaks in between campaigns.
- 1904 - RHP Elmer Tutwiler was born in Carbon Hill, Alabama. Elmer’s MLB resume consists of two games with the 1928 Pirates, during which he gave up a pair of runs in 3-2/3 IP. The 23-year-old was sent to the Southeastern League, and then spun his final four campaigns in the Western League, stepping off the rubber for good after the 1932 campaign.
- 1912 - IF Stu Martin was born in Rich Square,North Carolina. He got his start with the Cardinals, earning an All-Star spot, and was sold to the Pirates for the 1941-42 campaigns after his stick began to wear down. He bounced back to hit .305, but struggled in ‘42, was sent to the minors and played his last season for the Cubs. He missed 1944-45 as a member of the Navy and like many guys who went to the service, Stu never made it back to the show but spent the rest of his game days in the minors. Martin retired after the 1948 season after three years as a player/manager. The decision was easy after he was beaned by Whitey Ford, who was a Class D pitcher at the time, costing him six weeks of his final campaign.
- 1938 – OF Manny Jimenez was born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. Manny was a solid minor league hitter and in parts of seven big league campaigns hit a respectable .272, but had a tough big-league row to hoe as a corner OF’er with an average glove and little power. He played for the Pirates in 1967-68, hitting .279, and he was sent to the Cubs for pitcher Chuck Hartenstein.
|Manny Jimenez – 1967 Topps|
- 1945 – OF Bobby Tolan was born in Los Angeles. Bobby spent 13 years in the show and made a brief stop near the end of his big league trail in Pittsburgh, hitting .203 in 49 games during the 1977 season after being released in June by Philadelphia. He spent 1978 in Japan and came back for 25 games with San Diego in ‘79 before hangin’ up the spikes.
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