- 1963 – SS Sam Khalifa was born in Fontana, California. Khalifa was a first round pick (#7 overall) from Arizona’s Sahuaro HS, but in his three year MLB career, all as a Pirate (1985-87), he hit just .219. He’ll go down in the history books as the first player of Egyptian ancestry to play major league baseball.
- 1966 – Coach Tony Beasley was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia. A minor league infielder who spent time with the Pirates, Beasley became a farm coach/manager in the Bucco organization after his playing days. Starting out as a player/coach and roving batting instructor in 1998, Beasley then managed in the Pirates system for the next five seasons, making the playoffs every year. Tony became the Pirates roving minor league infield instructor (he was considered instrumental in the transition of Neil Walker into a second baseman) and was named third base coach in 2008 by John Russell. After JR left after 2010, Beasley spent four seasons in the Washington organization before getting the call from Jeff Banister to become the third base coach of the Texas Rangers. In 2016, he was diagnosed with cancer. After surgery and chemo, he was back in uniform at Arlington, albeit primarily as a quality control coach, and later reclaimed his third base box.
|Tony Beasley — Pirates Promo card|
- 1973 – The Pirates did some addition by subtraction: LHP Luke Walker was sold to the Tigers, RHP Chris Zachary was sent to the Phils for UTIL Pete Koegel (whose last MLB outing was in 1972, with no more to come) and a couple of days later, RHP Bob Johnson was flipped to Cleveland for career minor leaguer OF Bill Flowers. Johnson worked 29 more games in two seasons, Walker lasted one year with Motown, and Zachary never appeared in another MLB game.
- 1978 - 37-year-old Pete Rose signed a four-year, $3.2 million deal with the Phillies. He had been hotly pursued in free agency by several clubs including the Bucs, and owner Dan Galbreath had even invited Rose to his Columbus home & the Darby Dan stables in Lexington. The Pirates admitted that their cash offer was half that of the Phillies (4years/$1.6M), and their equine lure fell short. Rose had told the Pittsburgh Press a week earlier that “The Galbreaths may offer me a couple of horses, but in the end it will come down to dollars and cents.”
- 1978 – Pitchers Enrique Romo and Rick Jones along with shortstop Tom McMillan were sent to the Pirates by Seattle for pitchers Rafael Vasquez, Odell Jones and shortstop Mario Mendoza in return. Romo pitched four years for the Pirates (1979-82) pretty effectively, going 25-16-26/3.56 and was part of the 1979 World Series club. Romo only tossed six seasons total in the MLB, but with good reason – he started late. He pitched 11 seasons in Mexican baseball prior to making his major league debut for the Mariners in 1977 at the age of 29. McMillan and Rick Jones both ended up minor league players. Odell Jones tossed six more years, including a brief 1981 return to Pittsburgh, Mendoza played for four more seasons and Vasquez appeared in nine 1979 games for Seattle.
- 1978 – The Pittsburgh Press published a rumor mill report that the Pirates had offered the Red Sox Jerry Reuss for Andy Hassler. That swap fell through, but the Bucs came up roses when they traded the lefty to LA in April of 1979 for Rick Rhoden and then signed Hassler as a free agent to work the 1980 campaign.
|Jerry was popular — 1979 Topps|
- 1982 – Pitching coach Oscar Marin was born in Los Angeles. He took a roundabout route to the show, never tossing pro ball but jumping straight from playing/coaching college baseball to a job with the Rangers as their minor league pitching coordinator in 2010. He worked a variety of minor league jobs, then became an MLB’er with the Rangers in 2019 when he was named their bullpen coach. Marin was hired to join Derek Shelton’s staff in December 2019 to replace Ray Searage.
- 1990 – The Atlanta Braves signed Bucco free agent 1B Sid Bream to a three year/$5.6M contract. The Pirates reportedly offered three years/$4.5M, with the FO leery of Sid’s knees, and his request for a no-trade clause. Manager Jim Leyland was a fan of his, and told the Pittsburgh Press that “I just feel terrible that he left. I think it was a mistake not signing him…I’m not looking at this like we lost Babe Ruth. But he stood for something,” referring to Bream’s All-American demeanor helping to restore the Pirates image after the drug scandals. The heir-apparent at first was bench bat Carmelo Martinez going into camp, but he lost the job to Orlando Merced.
- 2011 - Pirates coach Joe Lonnett, 87, passed away in Beaver Falls after battling Alzheimer’s Disease. Joe, who spent four years in MLB, met future Bucco manager Chuck Tanner in 1957 on a barnstorming tour. The two were about the same age, born 25 miles apart (Lonnett in Beaver Falls, Tanner in New Castle) and hit it off. Chuck told him that if he made it as a manager, he’d call. Tanner did both and Joe was with him beginning in 1971 at Chicago, Oakland and Pittsburgh (1977-84). Lonnett handled third base and as an ex-catcher tutored Ed Ott and Steve Nicosia. After Tanner left Pittsburgh, Joe dabbled a little in managing at the lower levels and then spent his later years as a scout and roving instructor for Pittsburgh and Toronto. He was inducted into the Beaver County Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.
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