My 46th birthday was pretty fantastic. The Cheesecake Factory is always great, and I had a slice of their latest concoction, the Basque cheesecake, with fresh berries and a burnt top. Delicious. I’m still sad it no longer has the Kahlua cheesecake, my favorite, but I still have Tiramisu, Cinnabon and now Basque. I’ll live.
I knew for a long time two of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ most important games in franchise history occurred Oct. 13. Until today, I didn’t know there was a third.
The two I knew of were:
–Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, when Bill Mazerowski hit the single most important home run in MLB history to give Pittsburgh a 10-9 victory over the Yankees. The Pirates prevailed despite being outscored 55-27 and out-hit 91-60 by the Bronx Bombers in the series. New York won games two and six at Forbes Field 16-3 and 10-0, and also won game three 10-0 in the Bronx. Yankees second baseman Bobby Richardson, who set a then-World Series record with 12 hits, was the series Most Valuable Player. The Yankees fired manager Casey Stengel a few days later.
–Game 4 of the 1971 World Series, the first postseason night game in MLB history. The game drew such high ratings that Commissioner Bowie Kuhn ordered all future weekday games in the World Series be played at night. By 1985, Kuhn’s successor, Peter Ueberroth, determined all World Series games would be played at night. Prior to 1971, all World Series games started at 1 p.m. local time (except Sunday games in Baltimore, which had to start at 2 p.m. due to a municipal ordinance, one which played a part in the Colts leaving for Indianapolis in March 1984). Before 1967, Daylight Savings Time was not uniformly observed, meaning games in New York started at 11 a.m. in cities like New Orleans, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City and Little Rock.
Today, I found out the first World Series ended 13 October 1983, when the Boston Pilgrims wrapped up the championship in eight games vs. the Pirates. The Pilgrims are now the Red Sox.
The Pirates also played in the World Series on 13 October 1979, losing game four 9-6 to the Orioles at Three Rivers Stadium. Pittsburgh was pushed to the brink trailing 3-1, but the Pirates rallied to win game five at home, then the last two at Baltimore.
The Pirates have not played a game as late as 13 October since they blew the seventh game of the National League Championship Series in Atlanta on 14 October 1992 (the Pirates won game six the previous night). It’s a shame how far this once-proud franchise has fallen.
FYI, the 1960 World Series was the last to wrap up on 13 October. There hasn’t been a World Series game played on my birthday since 13 October 1984, when the Tigers defeated the Padres 4-1 in game four at Detroit. The Tigers won it the next night, winning 8-4 on the strength of Kirk Gibson’s three-run homer off of Goose Gossage in the eighth inning.
The winner of the first MLB game of my lifetime? I’m currently in a hotel approximately 16 kilometers (10 miles) north of that team’s stadium.
Yes, the Kansas City Royals stayed alive in the 1976 American League Championship Series with a 7-4 victory in game four at Yankee Stadium. First pitch was about five hours after I was born.
The next night, Kansas City was in agony following Chris Chambliss’ home run off of Mark LIttel on the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth, giving the Yankees a 7-6 victory and their first AL pennant in 12 years.
Speaking of baseball, the first notable person I knew of who was born 13 October was Eddie Mathews, the slugging third baseman for the Milwaukee Braves.
Mathews hit 512 home runs during his Hall of Fame career, which began in 1952, the Braves’ last season in Boston. He led the NL in home runs, clouting 47 in 1953 and 46 in 1959. Mathews, Hank Aaron and Joe Adcock formed one of the most feared slugging trios in MLB history. Had they played in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles, their fame would have been enormous.
After Mathews, I soon found out I was born exactly 51 years after Lady Margaret Thatcher, the one and only Iron Lady of the United Kingdom, in my opinion the second greatest UK female behind Queen Elizabeth II.
Preceding my birth on 13 October were legendary NFL receiver Jerry Rice (1962), U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington (1958), actress Kate Walsh (1967), singers Sammy Hagar (1947) and Marie Osmond (1959), jockey Pat Day (1952) and figure skater Nancy Kerrigan (1969).
Those with the bad fortune of being born 13 October after me include NBA standouts Paul Pierce (1977) and Jermaine O’Neal (1978), singer Ashanti (1980), Olympic gold medal swimmer Ian Thorpe (1982), Tiffany Trump, The Donald’s only child with Marla Maples (1993) and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) (1989).
AOC was born on my 13th birthday, which was Friday the 13th. Apparently, she isn’t as cursed as me.
That’s all for the first day of year 47. Time to sleep.