- 1857 – C/OF Frank Smith was born in Fonthill, Ontario. Not much is written about Frank; he played from August through October in 1884 for the Alleghenys, hitting .250 in 10 games after arriving from the Northwest League’s Saginaw Greys as a 26-year-old. Afterward, he put in at least a season in the minors, later living in Canandaigua, New York until he passed on at the age of 70.
|Abner Dalrymple — 1887 Goodwin|
- 1886 – 29-year-old OF Abner Dalrymple was sold to the Alleghenys/Pirates, reportedly for the princely sum of $15,000, by the Chicago White Sox. A gifted hitter – he claimed four batting titles and hit leadoff for five league-winning Chicago clubs – Dalrymple had an off year in 1886 and the Bucs pried him loose. Alas, it was more than an outlier season, and he hit just .215 for Pittsburgh. After a two-year run through the minors, Abner ended his major league days in 1891 with Milwaukee of the American Association. Trivia tidbit: Dalrymple was Pittsburgh’s first NL batter when he hit leadoff in Alleghenys senior circuit opener in 1887, fittingly against his old buds, the CWS.
- 1873 - LHP Ed Doheny was born in Northfield, Vermont. Ed spent the last three seasons of his nine-year career with the Pirates (1901-03) posting a line of 38-14/2.35. After a mediocre beginning of his career with the NY Giants, Doheny was reaching his prime with the Pirates, but it wasn’t to be. He began exhibiting signs of paranoia in 1903. The team granted him a rest leave, and he returned, but so did the problems. He was sent home for care, missing the 1903 World Series (and as part of the three man rotation, possibly costing the team the championship) where he became violent and was eventually committed to an institution where he died 13 years later.
- 1890 – RHP Ralph “Commy” Comstock was born in Sylvania, Ohio (maybe; the year and place of birth vary by source). Ralph tossed in Pittsburgh twice, for the Federal League Rebels in 1915 (3-3/3.25) and the Pirates in 1918 (5-6/3.00). Frank won 11 games in three big-league seasons, but the guy was popular. He played for four major league clubs and nine farm teams in nine years of organized ball, playing for multiple nines in five of his campaigns – and that doesn’t include his semi-pro outings in local leagues. But the lifestyle finally got to him, and he retired from pro ball after the 1918 season and went to work in the insurance business in Toledo.
- 1890 - SS Harry “Whitey” (he was blonde) Wolfe was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. Whitey started his career with a four-year stint with the indie Northern League feeder Duluth White Sox before being called up by the Cubs in 1917. That would be his career year; he got into seven games with Chicago and was sold to the Pirates, where he got into three more games, going 0-for-5 with four whiffs and a walk. The Bucs optioned him to Richmond – beside the weak start, Wolfe didn’t like Pittsburgh as a destination – but he jumped back to his old indie league to finish the 1917 season with Hibbing, which outbid his old Duluth squad. After serving in the military, he played indie ball for a few more seasons before retiring to Huntington, Indiana, to the life of a bartender.
|Bob Friend – 1952 Topps|
- 1930 - RHP Bob Friend was born in Lafayette, Indiana. A three-time All-Star pitcher for the Pirates, he averaged 232 IP and 13 victories for some of the worst teams in baseball. As a 24-year-old in 1955, Friend became the first pitcher to lead his league in ERA while pitching for a last-place team. He led the NL in victories once, innings pitched twice, games started three times, and WAR for pitchers twice, going 191-218/3.55 in 15 years (1951-65) as a Buc. He also was active in local Republican politics after his career, serving as controller of Allegheny County from 1967 to 1975 and as a three-time convention delegate. Bob passed away in 2019 from a heart attack at the age of 88.
- 1932 - Betty Jane “Curly” Cornett was born in the Spring Hill section of North Side. Growing up, she attended St. Ambrose, St. Mary’s, Latimer and Allegheny schools while competing at the Cowley Rec Center on Troy Hill. The tomboy played softball locally before trying out for the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. After attending rookie camp in 1949, Betty Jane played first (she got to pitch a couple of times, but gave up 10 runs in eight innings) for the Rockford Peaches, and then toured with the Springfield Sallies (1950), Kalamazoo Lassies (1951), and Battle Creek Belles (1951), even playing memorably once at Yankee Stadium. Unfortunately, she didn’t hit like the Babe, but put up a paltry .183 BA in her two seasons. She came back home, waited for her five-year professional status to expire and went back to local amateur softball. Her nickname? She got caught in the rain while at AAGPBL training camp, and her hair got soaked and dropped straight down over her face. Her teammates took one look at the Cher-like do and perversely dubbed her Curly.
- 1967 - OF Al Martin was born in West Covina, California. Martin played eight years (1992-99) for Pittsburgh, hitting .280 with 107 HR and 485 RBI. His best season was 1996, when he hit .300 with 18 HR, 72 RBI and 38 stolen bases. In Pittsburgh, he was backed by “Al’s Army,” donated thousands of tickets to various groups and even met fans at the turnstiles before the game. After his Pirate years, though, he was beset with a string of bizarre personal problems, tarnishing his image as a Bucco good guy and pretty much dropping off the radar.
- 1976 – Utilityman Mike Edwards was born in Goshen, New York. Mike closed out his three-year, 106 game MLB career with the Pirates in 2006, hitting .188 with 18 at-bats after being signed to an off season minor-league deal and spending most of the year at Indianapolis. He was in AAA for all of 2007, retired, and lives in the San Francisco area now.
|Mike Edwards — 2007 Bowman Signs of the Future|
- 1979 – The Pirates signed RHP Cecilio Guante, a member of the silver medal-winning Dominican Republic of the Pan American Games. The then 22-year-old reliever made his debut in 1982 and slashed a solid 13-17-20/3.08 in five years with Pittsburgh. He was sent to the Yankees in 1986 as part of the Doug Drabek trade and worked for them, the Rangers and Indians through 1990.
- 1980 – OF Jeff Salazar was born in Oklahoma City. Jeff spent parts of four years in MLB, closing out his career in 2009 with the Bucs. He went 1-for-23 mainly as a pinch hitter (he got into four games as an OF’er). He then spent the next three seasons with various AAA and Mexican clubs. Jeff’s now a hitting coach for the Rox.
- 1987 - LHP Kelvin Marte was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He spent nearly a decade working his way through the Giants’ system when the Pirates signed him to a minor league deal in 2016. He got his only MLB action for the Bucs, spinning the ball for two outings with no decisions and a perfect ERA. That is a little misleading though – his FIP was 12.15 as he gave up five unearned runs in 3-⅓ IP thanks to an error and back-to-back two-out homers.
- 2008 - The Pirates became the first MLB team to sign players from India when they inked pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, winners of a reality show called “The Million Dollar Arm Hunt.” Patel was cut in 2010 and returned home, but Singh made it to A ball before a rash of arm injuries; he tossed one inning between 2013-16 and returned to India, where he’s become a WWE wrestler. Their story was made into a Disney movie called (what else?) “Million Dollar Arm.”
|The Million Dollar Arms – 2009 photo by Getty Images|
- 010 – After six years as a Pirate, Pittsburgh traded LHP Zach Duke (45-70/4.54) to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a PTBNL, RHP Cesar Valdez. Duke’s 2005 rookie year saw him post an 8-2/1.81 slash and he made the All-Star team in 2009, but never put up an ERA south of four after his first campaign. Zach reinvented himself as a LOOGY after leaving town and resurrected his career as a bullpen specialist before having elbow surgery in 2016, returning to action the following campaign. Zach worked for eight clubs after leaving Pittsburgh, retired following the 2019 season and now owns Framework Athletics, a sports training facility. Valdez tossed creditably at Indy in 2011 before departing for the Latin leagues.
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