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9/23 From 1955: Pud Dedication; '13-'14-'15 Playoff Clinchers; Leyland Contract; TSN - Cobra; Scoops Debut; Game Tales; HBD Chris & Jim

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  • 1956 – With the Dodgers leading the Pirates, 8-3, 44,932 fans, the largest crowd in Forbes Field’s history (with several thousand turned away at the gates) who were lured by a “prize day” promotion, left early when a ninth-inning rain delay postponed the game with two outs, triggering the Sunday curfew with the Dodgers up, 8-2. Brooklyn officially won the game the next day. Don Newcombe got the win in a match that saw seven Bucco hurlers take the bump. 
  • 1958 – Pittsburgh loves a parade, and they threw one for their Buccos. Finishing in second place after being cellar-dwellers the year before was plenty enough reason, and a motorcade rode through town at lunchtime bearing various Pirates, coaches, suits and announcers. An estimated 75-100,000 people lined the streets, with others watching from their office windows, all the while cheering and showering their baseball heroes with roses and confetti. Lee McInerney of the Post Gazette wrote ”Caesar, returning victorious from the Gallic Wars, couldn’t have had a sweeter reception than the one given at noon time to the Pirates.” The hour-long affair featured the players tossing baseballs to the crowd and some speechifying at the City-County building portico by team members and Mayor Dave Lawrence. It was the first time since 1944 that the Bucs finished that high in the standings and presaged the bedlam that would occur in town a couple of years later. 
Manager Danny & Mayor Davey – 9/24/1958 Press photo
  • 1959 – RHP Jim Winn was born in Stockton, California. A first round draft pick (14th overall) of Pittsburgh in 1981, the reliever never quite panned out, plagued by a series of injuries. He tossed from 1983-86 for the Bucs with a 7-11-4/4.47 line, then spent a couple of years in the AL to end his career, which was short-circuited by TJ surgery back in the day when it was a new and not always successful procedure. After his baseball days were done, he became a salesman. 
  • 1968 – In his Bucco debut, Al Oliver spanked his first MLB hit in the second game of a twilight doubleheader at Forbes Field, singling and scoring off Clay Carroll in the fourth inning of a 2-1, 10-inning win over the San Diego Padres. He started in right field and got into four games that season after a September call-up. Al would spend a decade in Pittsburgh and collect 1,490 hits with a .296 BA here. In all, Scoops put together an 18-year, seven-team MLB run and piled up 2,743 hits, a lifetime .303 average, seven All-Star caps and a World Series ring (1971). 
  • 1974 – Jim Rooker threw nine shutout frames as the Bucs beat the St. Louis Cards, 1-0, in 10 innings at Busch Stadium, with Dave Giusti working the last frame for the save. The Bucs scored when pinch hitter Paul Popovich singled and was replaced by Miguel Dilone on the basepaths. He was bunted to second and came around on Richie Hebner’s single. The win moved the club to just 1/2 game behind the Cards in a see-saw pennant race that Pittsburgh eventually eked out. 
  • 1978 – Dave Parker was featured on the cover of The Sporting News for the story “Peerless Pirate.” He would win the MVP and his second batting crown (.334) despite playing with a football-like mask on his helmet after breaking his jaw in a plate collision in late June.
  • 1986 – Barry Bonds hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off Philadelphia’s Steve Bedrosian to give Pirates a 6-5 walkoff win at TRS. The slumping Bonds (he hit .223 in his rookie ‘86 campaign) had tried to lay one down to set up Bobby Bonilla (Jim Leyland told Bob Hertzel of the Pittsburgh Press that “I almost passed out when he tried to bunt.”) before he decided to swing away. The Bucs scored five times in the last two frames. Mike Diaz was the other hitting hero, with a two-out, two-run single in the eighth to give him three RBI on the night. Four Pirate relievers tossed 6-2/3 innings of shutout ball, with Barry Jones getting the win. 
  • 1986 – RHP Chris Volstad was born in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. A first-rounder of the Marlins in 2005, he worked seven MLB seasons with a 37-58/5.00 line as a starter. His Bucco career was two scoreless relief innings in 2015 after serving a 2014 stint in Korea. His last 100+ IP big league season was 2012, although he lasted into  2018 with the White Sox. 
  • 1988 – Manager Jim Leyland asked for a two-year contract (he had been working season-to-season from ‘86-88) with two requirements. He wanted $250 K/year (a bit under the average manager’s salary but double his ‘88 paycheck) and that all his coaches be rehired (Rich Donnelly, Gene Lamont, Milt May, Ray Miller & Tommy Sandt). GM Syd Thrift agreed to the terms. The Pirates would hit a bump in the first year of the new deal with just 74 wins, but followed with three straight division titles and Manager of the Year honors in 1990 & ‘92 for Leyland. 
Charlie Morton – 2013 Topps Update
  • 2013 – For the first time in 21 years (their last playoff squad was fielded in 1992 with Jim Leyland at the helm), the Pirates clinched a playoff spot with a 2-1 win over Chicago at Wrigley Field. Charlie Morton tossed seven innings of three-hit ball and was up, 1-0, on Neil Walker’s first inning homer. The Cubs tied the contest in the eighth on a ball that scooted through a drawn up infield, but the Bucs retook the lead in the ninth on Starling Marte’s two-out, two-strike homer deep into the bleachers. The drama wasn’t quite over; with two outs and Nate Schierholtz on first, Ryan Sweeney blooped a ball into right that bounced off Marlon Byrd’s mitt. Schierholtz was waved around, but an Andrew McCutchen-to-Justin Morneau-to-Russ Martin relay and tag beat his dash to the dish. Mark Melancon earned the win and Jason Grilli was credited with the save. 
  • 2014 – The Pirates guaranteed themselves a playoff berth with a 3-2 win over Atlanta at Turner Field, but it wasn’t easy. Down 2-0 after two innings, and saved from a bigger hole thanks only to bad Brave baserunning and a bases loaded, no-out DP, Gerrit Cole belatedly found his rhythm and retired 17 straight Bravos. Andrew McCutchen scored on a delayed steal of home when the catcher’s throw to second was high in the fourth, then Travis Snider tied it with a leadoff homer in the fifth. Doubles by Cutch and Starling Marte gave the Pirates their first lead in the sixth. Cole worked seven innings and struck out eight for the win, with Jared Hughes picking up a hold and Tony Watson earning the save. To earn their playoff spot, the Pirates won 15-of-18 games after being written off following a sweep by the Cardinals in early September.
  • 2015 – The Bucs defeated the Colorado Rockies, 13-7, at Coors Field to clinch a postseason spot not only for the third straight year, but on the same 9/23 date, too. The Pirates jumped out to a 7-1 lead after a first inning bloop and third inning blast by Neil Walker, who ended up going 4-for-5 with career best six RBI. But Charlie Morton couldn’t stand prosperity and was yanked in the fifth after a homer cut the lead to 7-6. The Buc bullpen took over, putting up zeros until the batsmen put up a six spot in the ninth, keyed by Sean Rodriguez’s bases loaded, bases clearing double on an 0-2 pitch. Joe Blanton, one of five Buc twirlers, claimed the win. 
S-Rod – 2015 Topps Heritage
  • 2016 – Pittsburgh rallied to defeat the Washington Nationals, 6-5, in 11 innings at PNC Park on a pair of do-or-die knocks. With two gone in the ninth and down by a run, Sean Rodriguez doubled home Pedro Florimon to send the game into extras. The hit was off former Bucco closer Mark Melancon, making his first appearance versus Pittsburgh since a deadline trade, only to earn his first blown save as a Nat. With the bases loaded and two away in the 11th, the Pirates sent up their last bench player, September call-up Jake Stallings. He fell behind 0-2, worked the count full and then singled home the winning run for his first MLB walkoff hit on just the second knock of his career. The game lasted 4:36 and featured 44 players, 17 of which pitched, leading Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle to quip “That’s your snapshot of a September, expanded-roster game.” 
  • 2017 – SABR held a remembrance of the life of Hall of Famer Pud Galvin. The event was at Calvary Cemetery in Hazelwood (Greenfield Jimmy Smith and Crawford Bucky Williams are also interred there), where Pud’s flat stone marker was replaced by a headstone. Galvin’s resting spot was the third grave topped with a new tombstone by the SABR 19th Century Grave Baseball Marker Project. The dedication ceremony featured the life story of Galvin, prepared by his biographer Chip Martin, as well as a gathering of other baseball notables, members of the Galvin family and fans. 
  • 2020 – Adam Frazier and Ke’Bryan Hayes went long to open the game against the Cubs at PNC Park, the fifth time in franchise history that the Pirates have led off a game with back-to-back dingers. The last time the deed was done was in September of 2013 when Jose Tabata and Neil Walker lost balls to open a contest. The blasts answered Anthony Rizzo, who banged a ball over the fence in the Chicago first. It ended up that solo shots were key; the 2-1 score held up, with Trevor Williams notching the win and Richard Rodriguez picking up the save.


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