Sunday, April 27, 2014

This Week in Pittsburgh Pirates History - April 27-May 3

This week in Pittsburgh Pirates history - 

April 27

Wally Backman
1990      Pirates infielder Wally Backman becomes the first national leaguer to get six hits (6 for 6) in one game in 15 years.

2008      In a move which cost the team over $11 million, the Pirates release Matt Morris after the pitcher lasts only 1 2/3 innings against the Phillies in his previous start. The 33-year-old right-hander had compiled an 0-4 record with a 9.67 ERA in his five outings with Pittsburgh this season.

2010      With the help of a five-run ninth inning fueled by Ryan Doumit's grand slam and Ronny Cedeno's solo shot off Trevor Hoffman, the Pirates snap a 22-game losing streak in Milwaukee with a 7-3 comeback victory over the Brewers at Miller Park. The Brew Crew's hometown hex over the Bucs was the longest held by one team over another since the Browns / Orioles lost 27 consecutive contests to the Indians in Cleveland from 1952-54.

April 29

1934      Pittsburgh becomes the last major league city to play a home game on a Sunday. Benny Frey gets the victory when the Pirates beat Cincinnati at Forbes Field, 9-5.

2000      The Pirates and Reds combine to tie a major league record in Cincinnati's 6-5 victory by hitting a total of five sacrifice flies.

April 30

Jeff King
1887      The Pittsburgh Allegheneys (later to be known as the Pirates) play their first National League game, defeating the defending league champion Chicago White Stockings, 6-2, in front of nearly 10,000 fans at Recreation Park. Pittsburgh would go on to finish in sixth Place with a 55-69 record.

1996      In the Pirates' 10-7 victory over Cincinnati at Riverfront Stadium, Jeff King hit two homers in one inning for the second time in his career. The Pittsburgh first baseman joins Andre Dawson and Willie McCovey as the only major leaguers to have accomplished the rare feat twice.

May 1

Dock Ellis
1974      Using just five pitches, Pirates starter Dock Ellis, upset with his opponent's swagger, hits the first three Reds' batters he faces. After plunking Pete Rose, Joe Morgan and Dan Driessen, the pitcher deliberately throws two pitches behind Tony Perez's head before walking the clean-up hitter, and then goes 0-2 on the next batter, Johnny Bench, before he is removed by Pittsburgh pilot Danny Murtaugh.

1980      In a game against the Montreal Expos at Three Rivers Stadium, Bill Madlock poked umpire Jerry Crawford in the face with his glove after being called out on strikes with the bases loaded. National League President Chub Feeney fined Madlock $5,000 and suspended him 15 games.  Madlock appealed the suspension and remained in uniform before finally serving the suspension on June 6, after National League umpires threatened to eject him from every game he tried to play in.

May 2

Honus Wagner
1909      Pirates' infielder Honus Wagner steals his way around bases in the nightcap of a twin bill against Chicago at Pittsburgh's Exposition Park. The Flying Dutchman's trio of thefts, three additional stolen bases, two walks, a batter hit by a pitch, two errors, and two hits all add up to a five-run first frame in the Bucs' eventual 6-0 victory and a sweep the twin bill.

May 3

1947      In a controversial move, Branch Rickey trades five Dodgers, including southerner Kirby Higby, to the Pirates for Al Gionfriddo and $100,000. Some believe 'the Mahatma' made the deal to send a message to the team about his commitment to breaking the color barrier and his support of Jackie Robinson, the first black to play in the major leagues this century.