Each Thursday from now until the start of the season, we will post a “throwback” video from the pirates.com archives.
The Bucs faced Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, and the Houston Astros on July 12th, 1997. Francisco Cordova took the mound for Pittsburgh, and absolutely dominated the ‘Stros. He pitched all nine innings without allowing a hit and striking out ten Houston batters. The problem was that the Pirates couldn’t get on the board, either. Ricardo Rincon pitched a hitless tenth, and pinch-hitter Mark Smith ended the ballgame with a three-run bomb in the bottom half of the inning. Smith’s homer sealed the deal for Cordova and Rincon to become the first National League pitchers to throw a combined extra inning no-hitter in history.
It was an unforgettable night for Cordova. Here’s what Houston slugger Jeff Bagwell said about him after the game:
“He must salivate every time we come in. He’ll probably send a limo every time we’re in town.”
Cordova wore number 67 for all five seasons he was with the Bucs. And guess what? There are 67 days until Opening Day.