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7/4 From 1950: Renegade, B-Rey, Meek, Giles AS; Ty, Juan, Jeff Gems, 4th Fireworks, Game Tales; Kendall Hurt, $1M Arm; RIP Walter; HBD Jared & Brendan

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  • 1956 – After a quick start, the Pirates dropped 15-of-19 games after a doubleheader split with the Chicago Cubs and made some personnel moves. IF’s Gene Freese & Spook Jacobs, C Danny Kravitz and P Luis Arroyo were sent from Pittsburgh to Hollywood. In their place, the Bucs called up 20-year-old 2B Bill Mazeroski and pitchers Charlie Naranjo & Fred Waters. Six of the guys involved in the shuffle would be fringe players for the Bucs in the overall scheme of things, but Maz was a keeper, commencing his Hall of Fame career. He debuted on the 7th and never tasted the minors again, playing in seven All-Star games during his 17-year run with the Pirates. 
  • 1971 – RHP Brendan Donnelly was born in Washington, DC. He didn’t break into the majors until 2002, when he was 30, and ended his days as a Bucco in 2010 with a 3-1/5.58 line before being released in late July. He did have a long and well-traveled pro road: In 20 seasons, Donnelly pitched for six MLB clubs in both American and National Leagues,18 minor league teams, two indie clubs and was the winning pitcher in the 2003 ASG before his 2011 retirement. 
  • 1973 – C Walter Schmidt passed away in Modesto, California at the age of 86. He spent a decade in the show with his first nine seasons (1916-24) spent in Pittsburgh. Schmidt hit .257 during that span, with a fielding percentage of .980. In 1921, Walter led all NL catchers in fielding percentage with a .986 average in 111 games behind the plate. His older brother, Charles “Boss” Schmidt, was also a big league catcher (and a prizefighter), catching for Motown from 1906-11. 
  • 1977 – Omar Moreno was the man of the hour in the lidlifter of a twin bill at TRS, then Ed Ott and Dave Parker took over during the nightcap as the Pirates took 5-2 and 4-3 holiday victories from the St. Louis Cardinals before 22,810 fans. Moreno gave the Bucs the lead in the fourth with an RBI single and then iced the match with a two-run insurance dinger in the eighth. In the second contest, Ed Ott brought the Bucs back from a 3-1 hole in the eighth, tying it up with a two-out, two-run blast to set the stage for the Cobra, who led off the ninth with a shot into the RF stands to give the Corsairs the sweep. Jim Rooker won the first game with help from Goose Gossage and Teke Tekulve got the closing dub, following Larry Demery and starter Terry Forster. 
Bert Blyleven – 1978 Hostess
  • 1978 – The Pirates took both ends of a twinbill from the Montreal Expos at TRS by 3-1 and 4-3 scores. The first game was won on the strength of Bert Blyleven’s performance – he tossed an eight-inning five-hitter, allowing a run on Ellis Valentine’s dinger, and drove in all three Pirates runs with a two-out, bases-loaded double in the fifth. Dan Schatzeder was tough, too – he gave up four hits, but all of them were bunched together in the deciding fifth frame. Pittsburgh overcame an early 2-0 deficit with three homers – a two-run shot by Bill Robinson and solo drives by Willie Stargell and Omar Moreno – to allow Don Robinson to slip past Wayne Twitchell in the closing match. Kent Tekulve saved both ends of the double dipper. The wins put the Bucs within a game of .500, and they would finish the year with 88 victories, 1-1/2 games behind the Phils. 
  • 1985 – RHP Jared Hughes was born in Stamford, Connecticut. The righty was a converted starter who began working out of the Pirates pen in 2011 until moving to Milwaukee in 2017 and the Reds next season (he seems to like the division). The Cal State alum was selected in the fourth round of the MLB draft in 2006 and slashed 15-13-3/2.82 for Pittsburgh while making 313 outings, mainly as a mid-inning trouble-shooter. He retired before the 2021 campaign. 
  • 1987 – The Pirates beat the Dodgers, 4-2, at TRS in a game oddly slotted for a 10:35 AM first pitch; the game landed on La-La Land media at 7:35 AM, not exactly prime prime although leaving plenty of time to picnic and get to the fireworks. Early bird Andy Van Slyke had three raps and Sid Bream two more to collect half of the Bucco’s 10 hits. Bob Kipper took the game into the seventh and got the win, with Barry Jones and Jeff Robinson wrapping it up. 
  • 1997 – The Bucs celebrated the 4th at Busch Stadium with some late fireworks. Jason Kendall’s two-bagger chased in a pair of runs in the seventh inning to tie the game, then St. Louis answered with two tallies of their own. Turner Ward’s solo homer in the eighth made it a one-run game at 5-4, and then with two outs in the ninth, Jose Guillen one-upped Dennis Eckersley by spanking an 0-2 pitch into right. Two pitches later, Tony Womack lined a ball into left for a game-tying two-base knock. In the 10th, Dale Sveum (Womack and Sveum both had two raps) doubled on an 0-2 offering and Mark Smith (he had three hits) banged the next delivery over the wall in right. Rick Loiselle came in to get the save of Marc Wilkins’ win. It was the first (and last) time Eckersley was asked to get six outs during the campaign. Womack also set a team record with his 32nd consecutive steal in the first frame, breaking Max Carey’s 1922 mark; the streak ended later in the game when he was caught on a pitchout. The game was part of the Jackie Robinson/Negro League tribute weekend, with Pittsburgh wearing Homestead Gray uniforms while the Redbirds donned the colors of the St. Louis Stars. 
Tony Womack – 1997 Fleer Gold
  • 1999 – C Jason Kendall tore up his ankle in a 4-3 loss to the Brewers at Three Rivers Stadium. Kendall dragged a bunt in the fifth inning and hit first base awkwardly, ripping the ankle bone from the joint. He was out for the rest of the season, and many believed he was never quite the same after the gruesome injury. Even with that severe of an injury, JK remained an ironman and caught between 118-149 games for 11 of his remaining 12 campaigns. 
  • 2000 – The Pirates scored seven times in the ninth, fueled by three homers, to drop the Cubs, 10-4, at Wrigley Field in front of 37,043 stunned Cubbie fans. Jason Kendall, Wil Cordero and Pat Meares had the final at-bat Bucco blasts that made a winner out of Marc Wilkins. Kendall and Cordero went back-to-back off Rick Aguilera with one down to give the Bucs the lead and Meares’ long ball was the cherry on top, a three-run, two-out drive off Daniel Garibay. 
  • 2001 – Brian Giles and Adam Hyzdu homered twice while Aramis Ramirez added a pair of doubles, all three hitters driving in three runs, as the Bucs put on their own fireworks display in cruising to a 14-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds at Cinergy Field. A-Ram had four hits, Giles had three and Jack Wilson went long to boost Joe Beimel to victory. It was a good news day all around: Giles was rewarded with his second All-Star berth as Pittsburgh’s sole rep. 
  • 2009 – LHP Rinku Singh became the first Indian national to appear in a pro baseball game in the US when he pitched the seventh inning and countryman Dinesh Patel followed in the eighth frame as the “Million Dollar Arms” made their debut for the GCL Pirates. Patel tossed a scoreless frame while Singh was touched up for a run against the Yankee rookies in a 4-2 loss. 
  • 2010 – The Bucs trailed Philadelphia, 5-2, before scoring six times in the seventh inning to rally for an 8-5 win at PNC Park. It was a double your pleasure day for Evan Meek, who picked up the win on the same day he was named to the NL All-Star team. The seventh inning fireworks featured a leadoff homer by Pedro Alvarez and two-run knocks by Garrett Jones & Delwyn Young. 
Evan Meek – 2010 Upper Deck
  • 2015 – Jeff Locke and Cody Anderson put on a show for the sellout crowd at PNC Park with the Bucs taking home a 1-0 decision over the Cleveland Indians. The Pirates had a runner on third with an out twice without scoring, finally plating the game’s only run in the sixth when Neil Walker’s single brought home Josh Harrison. Mark Melancon worked the final frame for the save. The Tribe threatened but twice – with two on and nobody out in the second, a DP defused the situation, and Melancon let a pair of runners reach after two outs in the ninth before coaxing a tapper to seal the deal. Locke surrendered just two hits and Anderson six. 37,927 fans not only witnessed a great pitching duel but got home early from the fireworks night – the game took 2:06 to play. 
  • 2016 – Juan Nicasio became the fifth Pirate, along with Jeff Robinson, Ross Ohlendorf, Colin Holderman and Johan Oviedo, to toss an immaculate inning (three strikeouts on nine pitches) while helping the Pirates to a 4-2 win over St Louis at Busch Stadium. The righty sat down Stephen Piscotty, Jhonny Peralta and Yadier Molina. Jon Niese got the win over Carlos Martinez, with a save by Neftali Feliz. Gregory Polanco banged two homers and chased home three runs. 
  • 2021 – Hurlers Tyler Anderson (seven IP, three hits, six whiffs), David Bednar and Richard Rodriguez (11th save) combined for a 2-0 shutout of Milwaukee and Freddy Peralta at PNC Park. The win reversed a pair of trends: the Pirates ended their six-game losing skid while the Brewers 11-game win streak went by the wayside. Pittsburgh eked out just enough offense on Kevin Newman’s first-inning solo shot and Wilmer Difo’s sixth-inning two-bagger that chased home Ben Gamel; both sides left the bases loaded one time, each having the pitcher end the frame. As an added bonus, OF Bryan Reynolds was added to the All-Star roster, joining starter 2B Adam Frazier. 
  • 2023 – Bats were booming at Chavez Ravine; at the end of six frames, it was 6-6 and the 51,487 fans at Dodger Stadium were getting their money’s worth of fireworks. But after Luis Ortiz was yanked in the fourth, charged with all six runs, the Bucs sent five more pitchers out, holding LA to one run. Unfortunately, that tally came on a solo shot in the eighth that put the City of Angels up by a score. But the young guns had one more hurrah left. With an out, Jack Suwinski and Nick Gonzales walked and Jared Triolo’s single knotted the score. Pinch hitter Josh Palacios fell behind 0-2, then he dropped a two-bagger the opposite way to give Pittsburgh a 9-7 lead. Dave Bednar got the last five outs for the dub, adding a little drama by stranding runners on the corners before ending the game with a punchout. Gonzales collected three hits while Suwinski, Triolo and old dependable Bryan Reynolds had two knocks each. In a good day for the Pirates, Bednar was added to the All-Star roster, replacing an injured Clayton Kershaw to join Derek Shelton & Mitch Keller, and the Renegade left a few iced brews in the Dodger dugout pregame to thank Kershaw.


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