- 1854 – 2B Sam Crane was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Sam got around, playing for eight big league clubs in seven seasons over an 11-year span, with his last hurrah partially spent as an Allegheny in 1890 when he was 36-years-old. He hit just .195 in 22 games and closed out his career playing four games with the Giants. He signed with the Bucs after he was cleared in a trial that accused him of taking another mans’ wife (and $1,500), though he shouldn’t be confused with the infamous Sam Crane who played 25 years later and was imprisoned for shooting his girlfriend and her companion. (It was apparently a pretty hot-blooded period in America, at least for Sam Cranes.) Our Sam umped a little afterwards, but found his retirement niche as a widely respected sports writer for the New York Evening Journal. Crane covered the beat for 25 years, earning the sobriquet “the dean of baseball writers.”
- 1858 – RHP Jack Neagle was born in Syracuse, New York. Jack tossed for the Alleghenys between 1883-84, going 14-38/4.28 (the Allies were pretty poor during those seasons; they only won 61 games as a team). He also played a few games in the outfield but that was no better than his mound work as he hit just .165. His Pittsburgh tenure finished out the last two years of his career after he had previously worked for Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Baltimore.
|John Coleman – 1887 Goodwin/Old Judge|
- 1888 – John Coleman, who had retired briefly, re-signed with the Alleghenys. He was recovering from a bad arm and an undisclosed illness, plus he was said to be under family pressure to stay retired for health reasons (this excuse was widely seen as a play to bump up his salary, undisclosed for ‘88 but $1,500 in 1887). He played RF and 1B and was up-and-down in his performance, with his bad wing taking him out of contention as a swing pitcher. That led to his release in 1889 (Philly picked him up), though he did return to Pittsburgh for a brief three-game spell in 1890 that closed out his MLB career. Jack played off-and-on in the minors/semi-pro leagues through 1907.
- 1892 - RHP George Boehler was born in Lawrenceville, Kansas. George spent parts of nine campaigns (he never appeared more than 18 times in any single season) in the majors over a 15-year period. He worked 10 games for the 1923 Pirates, going 1-3/6.04. He had a long, strong minor league career spanning 1911-30. George won 38 games one year, 27 in two others, and topped the 20-win mark seven times with 248 farm victories (and his record is missing a couple of seasons), mostly hurling in the Western & Pacific Coast Leagues.
- 1893 - OF Jesse Altenburg was born in Ashley, Michigan. His MLB career consisted of the 19 games he played as a Pirate from 1916-17, with a .290 BA. Jesse had a strong September in his rookie campaign, but faltered in the second go-round. He did have a long run in baseball, spending 10 years in the minors and hitting .300+ in at least five of those seasons.
|Jesse Altenburg – photo Pgh Daily Post 4/8/1916|
- 1894 - C Bill Wagner was born in Jessup, Iowa. The light-hitting reserve (he also played 1B) was a Bucco from 1914-17, putting up a .205 BA in 80 Pittsburgh games. He was then sold to the Boston Braves, and 1918 was his last MLB season. He retired to Waterloo, Iowa, passing on a few days following his 57th birthday in 1951.
- 1929 – RHP Ed Wolfe was born in Los Angeles. Ed served for two years as an Army paratrooper after high school and following his discharge, he played at Fullerton JC before the Pirates’ signed him. He spent eight years with the organization, pitching at Indianapolis, Modesto, Bartlesville, Charleston, New Orleans and finally in Hollywood. He got his moment in the sun when he was with the Pirates in April of 1952, going 0-1/7.36 in three outings.
- 1962 - Bill and Milene Mazeroski’s first son, Darren, was born at West Penn Hospital. He wasn’t a Hall of Famer, but did play in college and the low minors, managed the Gulf Coast CC nine while bird dogging for the Bucs, and became a full-time Pirates scout in 2006, inking Adam Frazier, Kyle McPherson, Clay Holmes, Phil Irwin, and Alex Presley among others. He’s now an area supervisor based out of Florida.
- 1975 – RHP Jeff Suppan was born in Oklahoma City. “Sup” spent 17 years in the majors and made 417 starts; 21 of those were for the Pirates in 2003, when he went 10-7/3.57 after signing as a free agent. That performance got him flipped in a package deal to the Red Sox at the deadline, netting the Pirates a gift-wrapped return of IF Freddy Sanchez and LHP Mike Gonzalez.
|Mike Williams – 2003 Topps Platinum|
- 2002 – The Pirates officially signed a two-year deal with RHP Mike Williams worth $5.5M, getting him back from the Astros after he was swapped at the ‘01 deadline for Tony McKnight. Following an All-Star campaign in 2002 (46 saves/2.93 ERA), Williams faded the next season, collecting another 25 saves but with a 6.27 ERA. He was traded to the Phillies, and 2003 was his last MLB season. His saving grace in Pittsburgh was his swing-and-miss stuff as Williams whiffed 250 batters in 222-2/3 IP as a Buc.
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