Throwback Thursday: Cordova, Rincon No-Hit Houston

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:

[quote_center]”He must salivate every time we come in. He’ll probably send a limo every time we’re in town.” [/quote_center]

Cordova wore number 67 for all five seasons he was with the Bucs. And guess what? There are 67 days until Opening Day.

Go Bucs

Top Ten Pirates of the PNC Park Era: #3 Brian Giles

Giles

Year Age G R H HR RBI BA OPS
1999 28 141 109 164 39 115 .315 1.032
2000 29 156 111 176 35 123 .315 1.026
2001 30 160 116 178 37 95 .309 .994
2002 31 153 95 148 38 103 .298 1.072
2003 32 105 70 116 16 70 .299 .951
PIT (5 yrs) 715 501 782 165 506 .308 1.018

Brian Giles performed at a high level for the Bucs from 1999 to 2003, especially offensively. He came to Pittsburgh from Cleveland in November of 1998, in exchange for Ricardo Rincon. Giles’ best years as a Pirate came in Three Rivers Stadium. His two and a half seasons in PNC Park were still spectacular, as he mashed a combined 91 home runs and 268 RBI. The two defining moments of his Bucco career: his walk-off grand slam after the Pirates trailed by six runs headed to the bottom of the ninth on July 28th, 2001 (video) and his phenomenal catch to rob Brandon Phillips of a home run on June 23rd, 2003 (video). Giles was traded to his hometown of San Diego in August of 2003 after a memorable five seasons the ‘Burgh. The Pirates received Jason Bay, Oliver Perez, and minor leaguer Corey Stewart in the deal. Giles went on to play through 2009, and finished his career as a .291/.400/.502 hitter.

Photo: ewen and donabel/Creative Commons