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 Pittsburgh 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 ground out 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 bottom of the ninth 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 pro 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, allowing five earned runs in 14 innings. Waddell spent the entire 1898 season in the minors, going 4-4 in 71 innings for Detroit of the Western League, though he left the team mid-season due to a fine that upset him. He won 26 games in the minors in 1899, splitting the season between two Western League clubs. At the end of the season, he saw another ten games of action with Louisville, where he went 7-2. 3.08 in 79 innings. Rube (first name was George) was shipped to the Pirates in December of 1899 as part of a 17-player deal that also saw three other Hall of Famers included, Jack Chesbro (going to Louisville), 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. He had 130 strikeouts in 208.2 innings.
Waddell was a tough player for anyone to handle, as 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 gave up 12 runs in 7.2 innings with the Pirates, then had a 14-14, 2.81 record in 243.2 innings with the Colts, recording a total of 172 strikeouts on the season. Waddell pitched a lot in 1902, beginning the season on the west coast with Los Angeles of the California League, where he went 11-8, 2.42 in 167.1 innings. He would land with the Philadelphia Athletics in late June of 1902, 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.
Waddell didn’t debut with Philadelphia until June 26, 1902, but he still managed to finish with a 24-7, 2.05 record in 276.1 innings, giving him over 440 innings for the season. He had 210 strikeouts to lead the league for the first of six straight seasons. In 1903, he went 21-6, 2.44 in 324 innings, with 302 strikeouts. Not only was he the first to 200 strikeouts in the American League, he reached 300 before anyone else could reach the 200 mark. He was even better in 1904, going 25-19, 1.62 in 383 innings, with 349 strikeouts. His strikeout total that season was an American League record until topped by Nolan Ryan 69 years later. He missed winning the ERA crown (not an official stat at the time) by three points to Hall of Famer Addie Joss. In 1905, Waddell won the pitching triple crown with 27 wins (ten losses), a 1.48 ERA and 287 strikeouts. He threw 328.2 innings. The A’s had a winning record in 1906, but Waddell finished 15-17, despite a 2.21 ERA in 272.2 innings. His strikeout total dropped to 196, but it was still enough to lead the league. In 1907, he went 19-13, 2.15 in 284.2 innings, with 232 strikeouts.
Prior to the 1908 season, Philadelphia sold Waddell to the St Louis Browns. He went 19-14, 1.89 during his first season in St Louis, with 232 strikeouts in 285.2 innings. He finished second in strikeouts, 27 behind Hall of Famer Ed Walsh, who threw 178.1 more innings that season. Waddell went 11-14, 2.37 in 220.1 innings in 1909, while playing for a team that had a 61-89 record. He pitched just 33 innings for the Browns in 1910, his last season in the majors. He went to the minors that year, where he played until 1913. He became sick and passed away on April 1, 1914 at 37 years old. He finished with a 193-143, 2.16 record in 2,961.1 innings, completing 261 of his 340 starts, while throwing 50 shutouts. He struck out 2,316 batters. His ERA ranks 11th all-time for pitchers with 1,000+ innings, one spot ahead of Walter Johnson. Waddell was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1946 by the Old Timers Committee.
Bob Bailey, third baseman for the 1962-66 Pirates. He played 17 years in the majors, starting at age 19 with the Pirates. The Pirates signed Bailey 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. He started immediately in Low-A ball in 1961, playing for Asheville of the South Atlantic League, where he hit just .220 in 75 games, though he had nine homers and 64 walks, giving him an .810 OPS. He then jumped to Triple-A Columbus of the International League in his first full season in the minors in 1962. There he hit 28 homers, scored 109 runs and picked up 108 RBIs, before joining the Pirates in September. He hit just .167 in 14 games, but he was in the majors for good at that point. By age 20, Bailey was the everyday third baseman for the Pirates, playing 154 games as a rookie in 1963. He hit .228 with 12 homers, 45 RBIs, ten steals, 58 walks and 60 runs scored that season. He batted .281 in 1964, with 26 doubles, 11 homers, 51 RBIs, ten steals and 73 runs scored in 143 games. He saw less time at third base, playing 36 games in left field, while also making two starts each at shortstop and right field.
Bailey saw time in left field in 1965 and 1966, though his main position was still third base. That trend continued throughout his career. He ended playing 1,194 games at third base and 408 in left field. He batted .256 in 159 games in 1965, with 11 homers, 49 RBIs, ten steals (in 24 attempts) and 70 walks, while setting career highs with 87 runs scored and 28 doubles. Bailey hit .279 with 13 homers in 126 games in 1966, putting up an .807 OPS, which was easily his best mark in Pittsburgh. He was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers (along with Gene Michael) for Maury Wills on December 1, 1966. Bailey didn’t have any success with the Dodgers, hitting .227 during both the 1967 and 1968 seasons, while playing more of a platoon role, getting into 221 games total. He his a total of 12 homers and drove in 67 runs during those two seasons. He was sold to the expansion Montreal Expos shortly after the 1968 season ended.
In his first year in Montreal, Bailey hit .265 with nine homers and 53 RBIs in 111 games. He broke out in a big way the next year, hitting .287 in 131 games, with a career high 28 homers, to go along with 77 runs, 84 RBIs and 72 walks. He fell short of qualifying for league leaders, but his 1.004 OPS would have been the third best in the league that season. In 1971, Bailey hit .251 in 157 games, with 65 runs scored, 21 doubles, 14 homers, 83 RBIs, a career best 13 steals, and 97 walks. In 1972, he saw his average drop to .233 in 143 games, finishing with 16 homers, 57 RBIs, 55 runs scored and 59 walks. He bounced back in 1973, hitting .277 with 25 doubles, 26 homers and a career high 86 RBIs. He also scored 77 runs and walked 88 times. In 1974, Bailey drew a career high 100 walks. He batted .280 in 152 games, with 69 runs scored, 20 doubles, 20 homers and 73 RBIs.
Bailey became a part-time player in 1975, hitting .273 with five homers and 30 RBIs in 106 games in his last season in Montreal. He was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in the off-season, where he hit .298 with six homers and 23 RBIs in 69 games, helping the team to a World Series victory, though he didn’t play in the postseason. In 1977, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox late in the season, after playing just 49 games over the first five months of the schedule. Bailey hit .247 with two homers, getting into just two games after the trade. He was a bench player for the Red Sox in 1978, hitting .191 in 43 games, in what was his last season in the majors. He was a career .257 hitter, with 189 homers, 773 RBIs, 772 runs scored and 852 walks. With the Pirates, he hit .257 with 47 homers, 197 RBIs and 277 runs scored.
Frank Smykal, shortstop for the 1916 Pirates. His big league career consisted of six late season games with the 1916 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. That last game came on September 10th in Chicago, and one week later he was in the lineup for a semi-pro team called Garden City in the Chicago area, where he lived and went to school. He was said to be with the Pirates on a trial basis, so he may have never actually signed with the team.
Smykal debuted in pro ball at 20 years old in 1910, playing for two different teams in the Class-D Minnesota-Wisconsin League, which switched to a Class-C level of play in 1911, when Smykal spent part of the year there with the team from Eau Claire. The rest of his second season was spent with Lexington of the Class-D Blue Grass League. He had better results as the lower level, combining to hit .223 with eight doubles and two triples in 47 games. After spending the 1912 season with Grand Forks of the Class-C Central International League (no stats available), he moved on to Ottawa of the Canadian League (Class-C) in 1913. While there, he hit .195 with six doubles, four triples and 13 steals in 69 games. The Canadian League was reclassified as Class-B in 1914. Smykal hit .244 with 13 extra-base hits and 17 steals in 97 games for Ottawa that season. He also spent part of 1914 in the Class-B Central League, where he hit .222 with two homers in 19 games. While portions of his career minor league stats are missing, he is credited with just three homers in his entire pro career. Smykal spent all of 1915 back in Ottawa, hitting .282 with 17 doubles, six triples and a homer in 107 games. Before joining the Pirates, he played 58 games for Warren of the Class-D Interstate League and ten games for Chattanooga of the Class-A Southern Association. There was no Triple-A at the time, so including his time in Pittsburgh, he had just 16 games played over the top three levels of baseball in his entire career. It’s interesting to note that he was thought to be “too slow for the Southern Association” (early baseball lingo for not being good enough) early in 1916, but Pirates scouts who saw them there thought he was worth giving a shot. While in Warren in 1916, he got in some hot water for attempting to start a player strike. When the Interstate League folded in August, Smykal joined the Pirates to practice with the team, before being put in when the injuries piled up and there wasn’t a suitable shortstop to fill in.
Xavier Rescigno, pitcher for the 1943-45 Pirates. He played his entire big league career with the Pirates, debuting after his 30th birthday. Rescigno played eight years in the minors before his big league debut. His pro debut came in 1935 at 22 years old, when he split the season between one start at Binghamton of the Class-A New York-Penn League and 63 innings with Akron of the Class-C Middle Atlantic League. He went 2-4, 4.29 with Akron. In 1936, Rescigno spent the entire season with Akron, going 14-12, 4.05 in 211 innings. He split the 1937 season between three teams, with the majority of his time coming at Smith Falls of the Class-C Canadian-American League, where he went 16-7, 1.56 in 195.2 innings. In 1938, he played part of the year back in Binghamton, this time in the Eastern League. His also saw time with Newark of the International League, one step from the majors. Rescigno played in the same two leagues in 1939, just with different teams, seeing time with Montreal (International League) and Elmira. He combined to go 12-7, 2.97 in 203 innings. The next year was split between two poor outings for Montreal and a solid season for a third Eastern League team (Albany). He went 12-8, 3.25 in 166 innings for Albany, where he played for the next two seasons. In 1941, Rescigno went 12-10, 3.55 in 180 innings. He had a breakout year in 1942, going 23-6, 1.76 in 251 innings.
On August 31, 1942, the Pirates purchased Rescigno’s contract from Albany, along with pitcher Russ Bauers, infielder James Cullinane and outfielder Ralph Kiner. Those were three players going in different directions, with Bauers already playing his last name in Pittsburgh in 1941, Kiner didn’t debut until 1946, and Cullinane never played in the majors. Rescigno was said to have a good fastball and a better than average curve. His best season in the majors was his rookie season in 1943 when he had a 2.98 ERA in 132.2 innings, making 14 starts and 23 relief appearances. Despite the strong ERA, he had a 6-9 record. His ERA went up to 4.35 in 124 innings in 1944, but he managed to end with a 10-8 record. He made just six starts that season, though he also appeared in 42 games in relief. He finished second in the National League with his 48 pitching appearances. Rescingo pitched 44 times (one start) in 1945, good for sixth most in the league. However, he finished with a 3-5, 5.72 record 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. The Pirates optioned him to Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League in December of 1945, but he was never recalled, ending his time with the Pirates. Rescingo won 150 games in the minors, including 50 wins over the 1946-49 seasons in the PCL with Hollywood (1946-47) and San Diego (1948-49). He went 19-22, 4.13 in 335.1 innings over 21 starts and 108 relief appearances.
Dick Barone, shortstop for the 1960 Pirates. His pro career began in 1951 at 18 years old when he hit .255 with 37 extra-base hits in 137 games for Great Falls of the Class-C Pioneer League. He stayed in the same league in 1952, playing 123 games for Billings, where he hit .243 with 28 extra-base hits. He was drafted into the Army and missed the 1953-54 seasons. When he returned to baseball in 1955, he was with Williamsport of the Class-A Eastern League, an affiliate of the Pirates. The Pirates acquired him that year from the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League for two players and cash. Barone hit .264 in 130 games in 1955, with 35 extra-base hits, 79 runs scored and 76 walks. He was with the Pirates during the spring in 1956, but spent the season with New Orleans of the Southern Association, where he hit .270 with 36 extra-base hits and 96 runs scored in 151 games. He was with the Pirates again in Spring Training in 1957, then spent the regular season with Columbus of the International League, where he hit just .182 in 95 games. He was originally sent to Columbus on option, but he was traded to Columbus at the end of the season. Three months later, Columbus traded him to Salt Lake City of the Pacific Coast League.
Barone batted .218 with 51 runs scored and 45 RBIs in 145 games in 1958. Barone improved the next season with Salt Lake City, hitting .250 with 20 doubles, 12 homers, 11 steals and 78 runs scored in 138 games. After the 1959 season, the Pirates traded infielder Harry Bright to Salt Lake City to reacquire Barone. He reported back to Columbus in 1960 and hit .204 with 27 extra-base hits in 143 games. As a late season call-up for the World Series champions, he went 0-for-6 in three games. That turned out to be his only big league time. 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. On October 15th, two days after the World Series ended, Barone was sent to Salt Lake City in exchange for pitcher Tom Parsons. Six weeks later, Barone was sold to the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League, officially ending his time with the Pirates. He played with San Diego in 1961, then finished his career with Hawaii of the PCL in 1962. When the Pirates split up the World Series shares in late October of 1960, Barone was awarded a $250 cash split. A full share paid $8,417.
Hayden Penn, pitcher for the 2010 Pirates. 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. He signed too late to debut in 2002, so his first pro games came in 2003 when he made one start in the Gulf Coast League and another 11 for Bluefield of the Appalachian League. He combined to go 1-4, 4.20 in 55.2 innings. In 2004, Penn went 13-6, 3.81 in 137 innings, with 122 strikeouts. He split that season between three levels, starting in Low-A and finishing with four starts in Double-A. In 2005, he went 7-6, 3.83 in 110.1 innings, with 120 strikeouts for Double-A Bowie of the Eastern League. He went right from there to the majors in late May and stayed with Baltimore for five weeks before returning to the minors. He came back to make one September start for the Orioles, who gave him eight big league starts total before his 21st birthday. Penn went 3-2, 6.34 in 38.1 innings during his first season in the majors. He had a 2.26 ERA in 14 starts at Triple-A in 2006, and got another six with the Orioles, which had disastrous results. Penn had a 15.10 ERA and a 2.59 WHIP in 19.2 innings.
Penn had a bone chip removed from his right elbow in 2007, which limited him to ten minor league starts. He made up time in the Arizona Fall League, though things didn’t go well, with a 6.45 ERA in seven starts. The entire 2008 season was spent in Triple-A with Norfolk of the International League, where he had a 4.79 ERA in 99.2 innings. Penn next appeared in the majors in 2009 with the Florida Marlins, where he had a 7.77 ERA in 22 innings over 16 appearances. The Marlins acquired him on an April 1st trade and he spent most of the year in Triple-A. The Pirates selected him off waivers from the Marlins right before Opening Day 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. He was sent to the minors following his three games in Pittsburgh, then they released him in July. Penn went on to pitch parts of three years in Japan, before finishing his pro career in independent ball in 2013. Penn finished with a 9.51 ERA in 82.1 innings in the majors, picking up more walks (57) than strikeouts (53).