This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History, September 22nd, Danny Murtaugh Gets Sain Again

Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players have been born on this date, including a member of the 1990 NL East champs and another that played for the 1960 World Series champs. We also have two games of note.

Wally Backman, infielder for the 1990 Pirates. He was signed as a free agent in January and he hit .292 in 104 games, with 62 runs scored and 28 RBIs. Backman spent most of his time on defense at third base while occasionally starting at second base. In his ten seasons prior to joining the Pirates, he was mostly used at second base, and he had just three seasons where he was an everyday player. Backman went 1-for-7 with a walk and stolen base in the NLCS. After the season, he became a free agent and signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. In his 14-year career, spent mostly with the New York Mets, he was a .275 hitter, with ten homers and 117 stolen bases in 1,102 games. Backman helped the Mets to the 1986 World Series title by hitting .320 during the season and .333 in the World Series.

Harry Bright, third baseman, who spent three seasons with the Pirates (1958-60), playing a small bit part for the 1960 World Series champs. Bright hit .250 over 55 games during his first two seasons with the Pirates (batted .250 each year as well). He was used just four times during the 1960 season, all coming as a pinch-hitter. Bright was part of a four-player deal with the expansion Washington Senators after the 1960 season, one of three players going to Washington for pitcher Bobby Shantz. Bright remained at third base in 1961 for Washington, but he moved to first base in 1962 and saw more time there over his eight-season career than at the hot corner. He was a career .255 hitter in 336 games, while seeing time with five different big league clubs.

Bright debuted in the majors with the Pirates in 1958, but he put in a lot of work to get to that point. He really had a career worthy of some praise for battling it out to reach his dream. He was originally signed in 1946 by the New York Yankees. He went to the Chicago Cubs in 1950 and the Detroit Tigers after the 1953 season. The Pirates purchased him from the minors shortly before his big league debut. He played a total of 20 seasons in the minors and spent 12 years as a minor league manager, including 1952 as a player/manager, six years before he debuted as big league player

Ira Flagstead, outfielder for the 1929-30 Pirates. During his time in Pittsburgh, he played all three outfield positions and hit .257 in 70 games. He spent a total of 13 seasons in the majors and was a .290 hitter, who twice led the league in outfield assists. The Pirates acquired him as a waiver pickup from the Washington Senators in July of 1929. The 35-year-old Flagstead started that season with the Boston Red Sox, where he hit .306 in limited time. His time in Washington was brief, hitting .179 in 18 games. For the 1929 Pirates, he batted .280 with six RBIs in 26 games. In 1930, he was a backup on a team that included two Hall of Fame outfielders (the Waners) and Adam Comorosky, who had a season for the ages, reaching extra-base hit marks that no player has ever duplicated. Then there was the veteran Flagstead, who split the backup time between all three spots and he hit .250 with two homers and 21 RBIs in 44 games. He spent 1931 playing in the Pacific Coast League before retiring as a player.

The Games

On this date in 1909, the Pirates won 12-7 over the Boston Doves (Braves) to improve their lead in the NL to ten games, their largest lead of the season. It was the Pirates 13th win in a row on their way to 16 straight wins. The top six batters in the Pirates lineup all scored two runs apiece. Honus Wagner had a double and home run, while Dots Miller had three hits. Here’s the boxscore, which notes that just 1,364 people showed up at Forbes Field that day.

On this date in 1949, Danny Murtaugh had a big hit off of star pitcher Johnny Sain in a 1-0 victory. It wasn’t the first time that Murtaugh had a big hit against Sain, he was developing a pattern against him at that point. Here are the full details in our Game Rewind article.