- 1885 – C Art “Dutch” Wilson was born in Macon, Illinois. The backstop spent half a season with the Pirates in 1916, batting .258 in 53 games. The Bucs had purchased him from the Federal League’s Chicago Whales in February and traded him and 2B Otto Knabe to the Chicago Cubs for C Bill Fischer and OF Frank Schulte in July. Dutch played 14 big league seasons, mostly in the National League but with stints in the Junior Circuit and Federal League, too.
- 1906 - The Pirates traded veterans OF Ginger Beaumont, LHP Patsy Flaherty and 2B Claude Ritchey to the Boston Beaneaters for 2B Ed Abbaticchio. Beaumont had a great 1907 for Boston and followed with a pair of solid seasons. Flaherty and Ritchey also had two workmanlike years left in them. Abby stuck with the Pirates until 1910. He started for two years, but was a sub on the 1909 championship team and hit .253 in Pittsburgh.
- 1928 - SS Glenn “Buckshot” (his arm was strong but not entirely accurate) Wright was sent to the Brooklyn Robins for LHP Jesse “The Silver Fox” (because he didn’t really make it in the big leagues until his 30s) Petty and IF Harry Riconda. Wright, one of the top SS of the era, suffered a major shoulder injury in 1929 which affected his play in the field, but didn’t hang up the spikes until 1935 with a lifetime .294 BA after 11 big league seasons. Petty was workmanlike in 1929, but the wheels fell off in 1930, his final MLB season. Riconda got into eight games for the Pirates and was sold to the minor league Kansas City Blues in June.
|The O’Briens – photo via Sports Collectibles|
- 1930 - The O’Brien twins, Eddie and Johnny, were born in South Amboy, New Jersey. Utilityman Eddie – he played SS, 3B, OF and even pitched 16 innings – spent five years (1952, 1954-57) with the Bucs, hit .236 and had a 3.31 ERA with a 1-0 record. Johnny was a Pirate for five years (1953, 1955-58) and was a middle infielder/pitcher. He put up a .260 BA and went 1-3 with a 5.61 ERA. The O’Briens were the first twins in major league history to play for the same team in the same game. On a side note, the brothers were also strong basketball players at Seattle University, and scored 84 points between them when SU beat the barnstorming Harlem Globetrotters in 1952. With teammate Dick Groat, they formed the best backcourt in baseball.
- 1952 - Fred Haney was named as manager, replacing Billy Meyer. It was an unusual job search; Haney, the PCL Hollywood coach, was happy there (it was his home), but was the fall-back man when Branch Rickey couldn’t land anyone on his short list. The Bucs finished in last place each season under Haney’s three year reign, compiling a 163-299 (.353) record, which was more an indictment of the Pirates’ talent than Haney’s leadership. In 1957, he took a Milwaukee team that featured Henry Aaron, Eddie Mathews and Warren Spahn to the World Series title.
- 1957 – Relocation rumors are old news to Pittsburgh. Team VP Tom Johnson denied a report from the Associated Press from the day before that had the Bucs moving to the Big Apple, saying “…Mr Galbreath (team owner John) received a feeler from New York Mayor Robert Wagner’s committee (to find a new NL team after the Dodgers and Giants moved to the coast)…I can assure you that Mr. Galbreath emphatically turned down the effort to move the Pittsburgh franchise. Pittsburgh is a great baseball city, something the fans have proved over and over again.” It wouldn’t be the last time that the franchise was targeted.
|Jay Bell – 1991 Studio|
- 1965 - SS Jay Bell was born at Eglin AFB (Pensacola), Florida. Jay played SS for Pittsburgh from 1989-96, hitting .269, anchoring the infield of Jim Leyland’s 1990-92 division championship clubs and earning an All-Star spot in 1993. Bell also won a Gold Glove in 1993, breaking a string of thirteen straight NL Golden Gloves by SS Ozzie Smith. It was the first GG by a Pirate SS since Gene Alley’s back-to-back honors in 1966 and 1967. After a stint as a Reds coach, Jay is now a Yankee minor league manager.
- 1968 - OF Derek Bell was born in Tampa, Florida. The Pirates signed Bell to a two-year deal in 2001; he hit .173 in the first campaign and felt slighted when newswriters told him that he was in competition while in camp to play in 2002. Bell replied “If it is [a competition], then I’m going into ‘Operation Shutdown.’ Tell them exactly what I said. I haven’t competed for a job since 1991.” Bell left the team on March 29th, was released on March 31st, and never played in the majors again. The Pirates ate the $4.5M still due to him and Bell pulled anchor on his yacht and sailed away. New York Post writer Tom Keegan described the incident by calling Bell “the perfect Pirate given that he lives on a boat and steals money.”
- 1973 - The Pirates agreed to play two exhibition games in San Juan for the next five years to help fund a Roberto Clemente Sports Complex. It was a team effort – the Expos, Yankees, Mets and Red Sox (twice) agreed to play the series and Eastern Airlines picked up the travel arrangements. General manager Joe Brown said “We are overwhelmed by the cooperation.” The Sports City opened in Carolina, a suburb of San Juan, on land donated by Puerto Rico in 1974 with upkeep/upgrades supported by the games.
|Roberto Clemente – 2021 Custom Peregin Creative|
- 1974 - Roberto Clemente was named to the Black Athletes Hall of Fame. He, Roy Campanella and Pop Floyd were the only black baseball players included among the 14 honored. The official presentation was made in March in Las Vegas.
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