This day in baseball: The Pirates’ last game at Exposition Park

The Pittsburgh Pirates played their final game at Exposition Park against the Chicago Cubs on June 29, 1909. The Pirates won the game 8–1 in front of 5,545 spectators, with George Gibson collecting the final National League hit in the ballpark. The very next day, the Pirates once again played the Cubs, this time with the team opening up Forbes Field.

Exposition Park in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania
Exposition Park in 1915 (public domain)

This day in baseball: Honus Wagner steals his way around the bases

In the second game of a double header against the Cubs on May 2, 1909, Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Honus Wagner stole his way around the bases. After reaching first on a fielder’s choice, Wagner proceeded to steal second, and then third base. On Ed Reulbach’s third pitch to Bill Abstein, Wagner took a long lead off third base. According to Chicago Tribune sportswriter Sy Sanborn, the play unfolded as follows:

Wagner timed his dash splendidly and before Bid Ed could untangle his waving arms and legs, to say nothing of his wits, he was within a jump of the pan. With that final jump he cleared the remaining distance and actually hit the plate before the ball left Reulbach’s hand. It was the cleanest, most unquestioned steal of home … ever yet accomplished.

The Pirates went on to win the game, 6-0.

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Honus Wagner in 1911 (Library of Congress)

This day in baseball: The Alleghenys jump to the National League

The Pittsburgh Alleghenys left the American Association on November 18, 1886 to join the National League as an expansion team. In 1891, the Pittsburgh team would become known as the Pirates, a name derived from an incident involving the franchise accused of being “piratical” for taking players from rival teams in other leagues.

mlb.com

This day in baseball: Bumpus Jones throws a no-hitter

Charles “Bumpus” Jones of the Cincinnati Reds threw a no-hitter in his first major league appearance on October 15, 1892, which also happened to be the last day of the season. Jones’s performance came against the Pittsburgh Pirates, as the Reds were victorious, 7–1. Jones gave up four walks in the outing, and an error led to an unearned run to prevent a shutout. Nevertheless, Jones became the first major league rookie to throw a no-hitter.

Bumpus Jones circa 1897-1898 with the Columbus Senators - SABR
Bumpus Jones, c.1897-1898 with the Columbus Senators (SABR)

This day in baseball: Nick Maddox’s no-hitter

On September 20, 1907 at Exposition Park, Pittsburgh pitcher Nick Maddox tossed a no-hitter against the Brooklyn Superbas (Dodgers) to win, 2-1. At the age of 20 years and ten months, the Pirates hurler was the youngest pitcher and only the second rookie to throw a no-hitter. Maddox’s feat would also be the last no-hitter thrown by a Pittsburgh pitcher until 1951, when Cliff Chambers threw one against the Braves.

Nick_Maddox - Wikipedia
Nick Maddox, 1911 (Library of Congress)