If you were a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the early 2010s, namely 2012, you probably remember Zoltan. The hand gesture was started by catcher Rod Barajas and taken from the 2000’s movie “Dude Where’s My Car?” Zoltan became an integral part of the Pirates’ playoff runs and became a symbol of those teams.
The T206 refers to the most famous baseball card of all time, Honus Wagner’s 1909-1911 card designed and produced by the American Tobacco Company. It’s speculated that they only produced 57 copies of the card before production of it was put to an end by Wagner himself. The Hall Of Fame shortstop was a non-smoker and didn’t want to be associated with tobacco products, so ATC made less than 100 before ceasing its production of Wagner’s card. In August of 2021, a copy of Wagner’s notorious card sold for $6.06 million, making it the world’s most expensive sports trading card.
The LSD No-Hitter
Former Pirate ace Dock Ellis was known to be a character, but you can’t talk about Ellis without talking about his no-hitter while high on LSD or acid. On June 12th, 1970, Ellis tossed nine no-hit innings against the San Diego Padres. You could tell the LSD affected him as he walked eight batters and hit another. It’s the only recorded incident of a pitcher throwing a no-hitter in the Major Leagues while under the influence of a psychedelic drug.
The Greatest Pitching Performance Ever
On May 26th, 1959, right-hander Harvey Haddix pitched 12.1 perfect innings against the Milwaukee Braves. This was against a line-up that housed two 500 home run club members: Hank Aaron and Eddie Matthews. Haddix lost the perfect game because of a Don Hoak error but then lost the no-hitter when Joe Adcock hit a no-hitter. However, Adcock and Aaron got mixed up on the basepaths, with the former passing the ladder, leading to just one run scoring. The Pirates could not rally back, which left Haddix with the hardest L’s in baseball history on his resume.
The All Minority Line-Up
September 1st, 1971, marked a historic day for equality and diversity. The Pittsburgh Pirates had started Major League Baseball’s first all-minority line-up against the Philadelphia Phillies. The line-up went as follows: Rennie Stennett (2B), Gene Clines (CF), Roberto Clemente (RF), Willie Stargell (LF), Manny Sanguillen (C), Dave Cash (3B), Al Oliver (1B), Jackie Hernandez (SS), and Dock Ellis (P). The Pirates won that day, 10-7 over the Phils. Stennett, Clines, Clemente, Stargell, Sanguillen, and Oliver all had multi-hit games. Sanguillen was also the only one to have a home run.
July 12th has been a very active day for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1997, Francisco Cordova threw a no-hitter against the Houston Astros. Eleven years later, in 2008, Jason Michaels hit a walk-off two-run home run against the St. Louis Cardinals. The game ended 12-11, and the most significant deficit the Pirates had to come back from was 8-3. Finally, in 2015, Andrew McCutchen hit a walk-off home run in a back-and-forth game against the Cardinals. It was one of the most exciting games of the year as it was two titans trading punch-for-punch. The Pirates’ starter, A.J. Burnett, even hit a home run. This game was followed by another walk-off in another comeback win the next day.
Roberto Clemente Was A Rule 5 Pick
If you didn’t know, Roberto Clemente was a Rule 5 draft pick by the Pirates. The way the Rule 5 draft worked then isn’t the same as to how it works now. Clemente didn’t have to spend five years in the minors before being eligible to be selected. Originally a Brookly Dodgers’ prospect, Clemente was selected, ironically, by Branch Rickey’s Pirates in the 1954 Rule 5 draft.
The Only Cycle In PNC Park History
There has been just one cycle hit in the history of PNC Park. One player has managed a single, double, triple, and a home run, all in one game, while playing at one of baseball’s greatest stadiums. Of all the players who have ever played a game at PNC Park, John Jaso hit for the cycle on September 28th, 2016, against the Chicago Cubs. He’s also the only player to ever hit for a cycle and catch a perfect game.