On this date in 1960 the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the New York Yankees in game five of the World Series by a score of 5-2 in front of 62,753 fans at Yankee Stadium. With the win the Pirates took a 3 games to 2 lead in the series. Harvey Haddix, who won 11 games for the Pirates in 1960, started the game and went 6.1 IP allowing just two runs on five hits with six strikeouts to the powerhouse Yankees lineup. Elroy Face followed him with 2.2 scoreless innings to finish the game. He allowed just one baserunner, an 8th inning walk to Mickey Mantle. The Pirates scored four of their runs early, knocking two Yankees pitchers out before the 3rd inning was over.
In the 2nd inning, a one out groundball by Don Hoak to shortstop with Smoky Burgess on 2B and Gino Cimoli on 3B turned into a run when Yankees 3B Gil McDougald couldn’t handle the throw from SS Tony Kubek. That put runners on 2B and 3B again and both of them would score on a Bill Mazeroski double to make it 3-0 and help chase Yankees starter, Art Ditmar. One inning later, Roberto Clemente singled to drive in Dick Groat, who doubled right before Clemente came up. Don Hoak drove in the Pirates fifth run in the 9th inning with a single that scored pinch runner Joe Christopher. The series would return to Pittsburgh for game six two days later.
Also on this date in 1986 current Pirates all-star outfielder, Andrew McCutchen, was born. The 2005 first round draft pick made his major league debut on June 4, 2009 and in 420 games he has a .276/.365/.458 line with 51 homers, 78 stolen bases and 199 runs batted in. He was named to the NL all-star team for the first time in 2011 and he set career highs in homers, RBI’s and walks this season. In 2013, McCutchen won the NL MVP. For much more on him, just read this site daily.
Born on this date in 1879 was Homer Hillebrand, who played parts of three seasons for the Pirates from 1905-06, 1908. He was a two way player who not only pitched 18 games, 11 as a starter but he also played 1B, corner outfield and even caught three games. The three games caught are an interesting footnote in baseball history, because Homer threw lefty, one of four lefty catchers in Pittsburgh Pirates history. He went 8-4 2.51 in 114.2 innings and batted .237 in 131 AB’s in his 47 career games. Despite the good stats, he pitched with an injured arm most of his career. He rested it the entire 1907 season and after pitching once in 1908, lasting just one inning, he decided to retire
Also born on this date in 1868 was Ad Gumbert, a pitcher for the 1893-94 Pirate, and a lifelong resident of Pittsburgh. Gumbert began his major league career in 1888 with the Chicago White Stockings. He spent four seasons in Chicago over a five year period, jumping to the Player’s League in 1890, like most established players of the era did at that time. Ad won 23 games in the PL, then came back to the NL and went 17-11 in 1891 and 22-19 the next season. On June 27,1893, the Pirates traded a young minor league pitcher named Bert Abbey to the White Stockings(by then called the Colts) in exchange for Gumbert, who had not played yet that season. He immediately joined the Pirates and made twenty starts the rest of the season, going 11-7, though his ERA was 5.15 over 162.2 innings.
The next season Gumbert struggled even more, but it was partially due to the new longer pitching distance that gave the batters a bigger advantage, raising offensive numbers across the league. Gumbert went 15-14, 6.04 in 271 innings, throwing 26 complete games. Before the 1895 season, the Pirates traded him to the Brooklyn Grooms for catcher Tom Kinslow. Gumbert played two more years in the majors before retiring, finishing with a 123-102 record. He wasn’t much of a strikeout pitcher during his time, walking 635 batters over his career, compared to 548 strikeouts. Gumbert was a strong hitter, who occasionally played outfield. He finished his career with a .275 average and 15 homers.
Dave Anderson (1868) Lefty pitcher for the 1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenys. Someone had to pitch for the worst team in franchise history and Anderson was called on to make 13 starts for the 23-113 ball club that year. Anderson completed all 13 starts he made, finishing with a 2-11, 4.67 record. His first game with the team was a 1-0 loss to Hall of Famer Mickey Welch. Anderson also took the loss later in the year to another Hall of Famer pitching for New York, Jesse Burkett. Known as one of the best hitters of his time, Burkett was a 3-10 pitcher that season, before the Giants decided he was better suited for the outfield, where he hit .338 and won three batting titles. Prior to joining Pittsburgh during the 1890 season, Anderson had played two years with the Philadelphia Phillies(nicknamed the Quakers in 1889). He made a total of eight appearances for them, four as a starter, including a loss to the Alleghenys on May 28th of that 1890 season. He did not pitch in the majors again after the 1890 season, though he played at least one more year in the minors.
Finally, in 1903 the Pirates lost game seven of the first World Series to the Boston Americans by a 7-3 score. Full coverage of that game can be read here.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.