Six former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, plus one game of note that might be the most memorable game in baseball history.
On this date in 1960 the Pirates won game seven of the World Series at Forbes Field by a 10-9 score over the New York Yankees on a walk-off home run from Bill Mazeroski. The win gave the Pirates their third World Series title overall and first one in 35 years.
The Pirates took an early 2-0 lead in the game on a home run by Rocky Nelson in the first inning. In the second, Bill Virdon added two more runs with a single that scored Don Hoak and Mazeroski. Vernon Law shutout the Yankees for the first four innings before allowing a solo homer to Moose Skowron leading off the fifth inning. The Yankees scored four runs in the sixth to take the lead on an RBI single from Mickey Mantle and a three-run homer by Yogi Berra.
In the eighth inning the scoring started to pile up, with two more runs for the Yankees, followed by a five spot for the Pirates in the bottom of the inning. A three-run homer by Hal Smith made the score 9-7 going into the ninth. A one-out single by Mantle off of Harvey Haddix brought the Yankees within one run, and then a heads up base running play by Mantle helped tie the score. A hard groundout by Yogi Berra to first base could’ve ended the game, but when Rocky Nelson touched the bag first before making the throw to second base, Mantle slid back into first, while the tying run scored. That set up the bottom of the ninth for Mazeroski.
With Ralph Terry on the mound and Mazeroski leading off the inning of the tied game, the first pitch thrown was called a ball. That next pitch from Terry was swung at by Mazeroski, who sent a long drive over the left field wall, ending the series and giving the Pirates the title. It remains to this day the only game seven series-ending homer in World Series history.
Rube Waddell, pitcher for the 1900-01 Pirates He began his career with the Louisville Colonels in 1897 and pitched just 12 games over three years with the club. The Pirates actually brought him in for a tryout in 1897, but he never pitched for them. Instead, he debuted a month later with two appearances for Louisville. Waddell spent the entire 1898 season in the minors, though he left his team mid-season due to a fine that upset him. He won 26 games in the minors in 1899 and saw another ten games of action with Louisville. Rube (first name was George) was shipped to the Pirates as part of the 16-player deal that also saw three other Hall of Famers included, Jack Chesbro, Fred Clarke and Honus Wagner. Waddell made 22 starts and seven relief appearances for the Pirates in 1900 and despite an 8-13 record he led the National League with a 2.37 ERA.
Waddell was a tough player for anyone to handle, he was easily distracted and would often show up late or not at all on his days to pitch, but his talent was undeniable. The Pirates suspended him during the 1900 season, but he was so good that they decided to put up with him for as long as they could. In 1901 he made two early season starts, pitched poorly and then they decided they had enough, selling him to the Chicago Colts (Cubs). He would eventually go to the Philadelphia Athletics, where Connie Mack got the best out of him. In six seasons under Mack he won 131 games, posted a 1.97 ERA and led the league in strikeouts every year from 1902 to 1907. He finished his big league time three seasons later with a career 2.16 ERA and 193 wins. Waddell had four 20+ win seasons, as well as back-to-back seasons with 19 wins. He won the pitching triple crown in 1905 with 27 wins, a 1.48 ERA and 287 strikeouts. His 349 strikeouts in 1904 was an American League record until topped by Nolan Ryan 69 years later.
Bob Bailey, third baseman for the 1962-66 Pirates. He played 17 years in the majors, starting at age 19 with the Pirates. He was a .257 hitter with 169 homers in 1,931 games. Bailey hit .257 with the Pirates, four times collecting double digit homers, while picking up exactly ten steals for three seasons in a row. He was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Maury Wills prior to the 1967 season. Bailey went on to have big seasons with the Montreal Expos, including a 1.004 OPS in 1970, when he had 28 homers and 84 RBIs in 131 games. He also hit 26 homers in 1973, and 20 homers/100 walks in 1974. Bailey also spent time with the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox to finish out his career.
The Pirates signed him the day after he graduated high school, giving him a six-figure bonus in the $125,000-$175,000 range, outbidding numerous other teams in the process. Bailey started immediately in Low-A ball, then jumped to Triple-A in his first full season in the minors. There he hit 28 homers, scored 109 runs and picked up 108 RBIs, then joined the Pirates in September of 1962 for 14 games. By age 20, he was the everyday third baseman for the Pirates, playing 154 games as a rookie in 1963. He batted .281 in 1964, though he saw less time at third base, playing 36 games in left field, while also making two starts each at shortstop and right field. He saw time in left field in 1965 and 1966, though his main position was still third base. That trend continued throughout his career. Bailey ended playing 1,194 games at third base and 408 in left field. He hit .279 with 13 homers in 126 games in 1966, before moving on to the Dodgers. He put up a .227 average in each of his two seasons in Los Angeles, before moving on to Montreal for his career breakout seasons.
Frank Smykal, shortstop for the 1916 Pirates. His big league career consisted of six late season games with the Pirates. He hit .300, walked three times and was hit by a pitch, giving him a .500 OBP. Smykal played a total of seven seasons in the minors. His time with the Pirates was actually the end of his pro career. He joined the Army shortly after his final game, then later became a doctor in Chicago until his passing in 1950. The Pirates gave him a trial while both Honus Wagner and Alex McCarthy were injured, leaving them short two infielders. Smykal was said to be a solid fielder, with a bat that left something to be desired. He started four straight games, playing a doubleheader on his first day in the majors. Smykal started the next two days, then was used as a ninth inning defensive replacement on September 2nd. That was followed by his final game eight days later, in which he came into the game late and started a rally that saw the Pirates win with sixth runs in the ninth.
Xavier Rescigno, pitcher for the 1943-45 Pirates. He played his entire big league career with the Pirates, debuting after his 30th birthday, and going 19-22, 4.13 in 21 starts and 108 relief appearances. Rescigno played eight years in the minors before his debut and he won 23 games in 1942. His best season in the majors was 1943 when he had a 2.98 ERA in 132.2 innings, making 14 starts and 23 relief appearances. His ERA went up to 4.35 in 124 innings in 1944. He made just six starts that season, though he also appeared in 42 games in relief. He finished second in the NL with his 48 pitching appearances that year. Rescingo pitched 44 times (one start) in 1945, good for sixth most in the league. However, he finished with a 5.83 ERA in 78.2 innings. His big league career was over at that point, especially with all of the players returning to baseball from the war in 1946, but he still played another six seasons of pro ball before retiring. Rescingo won 150 games in the minors.
Dick Barone, shortstop for the 1960 Pirates. As a late season call-up, he went 0-for-6 in three games. That turned out to be his only big league time. He spent ten seasons in the minors total, with eight of those seasons coming before his big league trial. Barone debuted with the Pirates on September 22, 1960 as a pinch-runner. He got his lone start five days later and put in some overtime, going 0-for-5 in 13 innings before leaving for pinch-hitter Smoky Burgess. Three days later, Barone came in during the eighth inning of a one-sided loss and got his final big league at-bat. Barone was with the Pirates during the spring in 1956 and 1957, but he was sold to a minor league team in the Pacific Coast League. After the 1959 season, the Pirates traded infielder Harry Bright to Salt Lake City to reacquire Barone. The Pirates originally acquired him in 1955 from the Hollywood Stars (PCL) for two players and cash.
Hayden Penn, pitcher for the 2010 Pirates. In his fourth season in the majors in 2010, he pitched three early season games for the Pirates, giving up eight runs in 2.1 innings. That ended up being his final big league time. The Pirates selected him off waivers from the Florida Marlins right before Opening Day in 2010. He was sent to the minors following his three games in Pittsburgh, then they released him in July. Penn went on to pitch three years in Japan, before finishing his pro career in independent ball in 2013. The Baltimore Orioles drafted him in the fifth round in 2002 out of high school and he was in the majors just three years later. The Orioles gave him eight big league starts before his 21st birthday, then another six in 2006, which had disastrous results. Penn had a 15.10 ERA and a 2.59 WHIP in 19.2 innings. He next appeared in the majors in 2009 with the Marlins, where he had a 7.77 ERA in 16 appearances. Penn finished with a 9.51 ERA in 82.1 innings in the majors, picking up more walks (57) than strikeouts (53).