Pittsburgh Pirates
Overview
 
The Pittsburgh Pirates are a Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 club based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

. They play in the Central Division
National League Central
The National League Central Division is one of Major League Baseball's six divisions. This division was created in 1994, by moving two teams from the Western Division and three teams from the Eastern Division of the National League...

 of the National League
National League
The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League , is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball, and the world's oldest extant professional team sports league. Founded on February 2, 1876, to replace the National Association of Professional...

, and are five-time World Series Champions. The Pirates are also often referred to as the "Bucs" or sometimes the "Buccos" (derived from buccaneer
Buccaneer
The buccaneers were privateers who attacked Spanish shipping in the Caribbean Sea during the late 17th century.The term buccaneer is now used generally as a synonym for pirate...

, a synonym for pirate
Piracy
Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. The term can include acts committed on land, in the air, or in other major bodies of water or on a shore. It does not normally include crimes committed against persons traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator...

).

The franchise joined the National League
National League
The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League , is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball, and the world's oldest extant professional team sports league. Founded on February 2, 1876, to replace the National Association of Professional...

 in its sixth season in 1887 and was competitive from its early years, winning three National League titles from 1901 to 1903, playing in the very first World Series
1903 World Series
The 1903 World Series was the first modern World Series to be played in Major League Baseball. It matched the Boston Americans of the American League against the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League in a best-of-nine series, with Boston prevailing five games to three, winning the last...

 in 1903 and winning their first World Series in 1909
1909 World Series
The 1909 World Series featured the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Detroit Tigers. The Pirates won the Series in seven games to capture their first championship of the modern Major League Baseball era and the second championship in the club's history....

 behind Honus Wagner
Honus Wagner
-Louisville Colonels:Recognizing his talent, Barrow recommended Wagner to the Louisville Colonels. After some hesitation about his awkward figure, Wagner was signed by the Colonels, where he hit .338 in 61 games....

.
Encyclopedia
The Pittsburgh Pirates are a Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 club based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

. They play in the Central Division
National League Central
The National League Central Division is one of Major League Baseball's six divisions. This division was created in 1994, by moving two teams from the Western Division and three teams from the Eastern Division of the National League...

 of the National League
National League
The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League , is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball, and the world's oldest extant professional team sports league. Founded on February 2, 1876, to replace the National Association of Professional...

, and are five-time World Series Champions. The Pirates are also often referred to as the "Bucs" or sometimes the "Buccos" (derived from buccaneer
Buccaneer
The buccaneers were privateers who attacked Spanish shipping in the Caribbean Sea during the late 17th century.The term buccaneer is now used generally as a synonym for pirate...

, a synonym for pirate
Piracy
Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. The term can include acts committed on land, in the air, or in other major bodies of water or on a shore. It does not normally include crimes committed against persons traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator...

).

The franchise joined the National League
National League
The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League , is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball, and the world's oldest extant professional team sports league. Founded on February 2, 1876, to replace the National Association of Professional...

 in its sixth season in 1887 and was competitive from its early years, winning three National League titles from 1901 to 1903, playing in the very first World Series
1903 World Series
The 1903 World Series was the first modern World Series to be played in Major League Baseball. It matched the Boston Americans of the American League against the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League in a best-of-nine series, with Boston prevailing five games to three, winning the last...

 in 1903 and winning their first World Series in 1909
1909 World Series
The 1909 World Series featured the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Detroit Tigers. The Pirates won the Series in seven games to capture their first championship of the modern Major League Baseball era and the second championship in the club's history....

 behind Honus Wagner
Honus Wagner
-Louisville Colonels:Recognizing his talent, Barrow recommended Wagner to the Louisville Colonels. After some hesitation about his awkward figure, Wagner was signed by the Colonels, where he hit .338 in 61 games....

. The Pirates have had many ups and downs during their long history, most famously winning the 1960 World Series
1960 World Series
The 1960 World Series was played between the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League and the New York Yankees of the American League from October 5 to October 13, 1960...

 on a walk-off home run
Walk-off home run
In baseball, a walk-off home run is a home run that ends the game. It must be a home run that gives the home team the lead in the bottom of the final inning of the game—either the ninth inning, or any extra inning, or any other regularly scheduled final inning...

 by Bill Mazeroski
Bill Mazeroski
William Stanley Mazeroski , nicknamed "Maz", is a former Major League Baseball player who spent his entire career with the Pittsburgh Pirates...

, the only time that Game 7 of the World Series has ever ended with a home run. They also won the 1971 World Series
1971 World Series
The 1971 World Series matched the defending champion Baltimore Orioles against the Pittsburgh Pirates, with the Pirates winning in seven games. Game 4, played in Pittsburgh, was the first-ever World Series game scheduled to be played at night....

 behind Roberto Clemente
Roberto Clemente
Roberto Clemente Walker was a Puerto Rican Major League Baseball right fielder. He was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, the youngest of seven children. Clemente played his entire 18-year baseball career with the Pittsburgh Pirates . He was awarded the National League's Most Valuable Player Award in...

 and the 1979 World Series
1979 World Series
The 1979 World Series matched the National League's Pittsburgh Pirates against the American League's Baltimore Orioles , with the Pirates coming back from a three games to one deficit to win the Series in seven games...

 under the slogan "We Are Family
We Are Family (song)
"We Are Family" is a 1979 dance hit song by Sister Sledge, composed by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers. Rodgers and Edwards offered the song to Atlantic Records; although the record label initially declined, the track was released as a single from the album of the same name and quickly began to...

", led by "Pops" Willie Stargell
Willie Stargell
Wilver Dornell "Willie" Stargell , nicknamed "Pops" in the later years of his career, was a Major League Baseball left fielder and first baseman. He played his entire 21-year baseball career with the Pittsburgh Pirates...

. Overall the Pirates have won five World Series and lost two. The five that the Pirates won were all seven-game Series. After a run of regular-season success in the early 1990s (making the NLCS three straight years), the Pirates have struggled more recently, with 19 consecutive losing seasons to date, the longest in North American professional sports.

19th century

Professional baseball has been played in the Pittsburgh area since . The teams of the era were "independents", barnstorming throughout the region and not affiliated with any organized league, though they did have salaries and were run as a business organization. In 1882 the strongest team in the area joined the American Association
American Association (19th century)
The American Association was a Major League Baseball league that existed for 10 seasons from to . During that time, it challenged the National League for dominance of professional baseball...

 as a founding member. Their various home fields in the 19th century were in a then-separate city called Allegheny City
Allegheny, Pennsylvania
Allegheny City was a Pennsylvania municipality located on the north side of the junction of the Allegheny and Ohio rivers, across from downtown Pittsburgh. It was annexed by Pittsburgh in 1907...

, across the Allegheny River
Allegheny River
The Allegheny River is a principal tributary of the Ohio River; it is located in the Eastern United States. The Allegheny River joins with the Monongahela River to form the Ohio River at the "Point" of Point State Park in Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania...

 from Pittsburgh. The team was listed as "Allegheny" in the standings, and was sometimes called the "Alleghenys" (not the "Alleghenies") in the same generic way that teams from Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, and Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

 were sometimes called the "Bostons", the "New Yorks", and the "Chicagos", in the sportswriting style of that era. After five mediocre seasons in the A.A., Pittsburgh became the first A.A. team
Major North American professional sports teams
The following is a list of teams that play in one of the six major sports leagues in the United States and Canada: Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the Canadian Football League, the National Hockey League, the National Basketball Association, and Major League Soccer. All lists...

 to switch to the older National League
National League
The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League , is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball, and the world's oldest extant professional team sports league. Founded on February 2, 1876, to replace the National Association of Professional...

 in . At this time, the team renamed itself the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, although Allegheny remained a separate city until it was annexed by Pittsburgh in 1907. At that time, owner-manager Horace B. Phillips
Horace B. Phillips
Horace B. Phillips was an American manager in Major League Baseball for eight seasons, from 1879 to 1889. He managed one season for the Troy Trojans, one season for the Columbus Buckeyes and six seasons for the Pittsburg Alleghenys...

 sold the team to Dennis McKnight; Phillips stayed on as manager.

In those early days, the club benefited three times from mergers with defunct clubs. The A.A. club picked up a number of players from a defunct Columbus, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Columbus is the capital of and the largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio. The broader metropolitan area encompasses several counties and is the third largest in Ohio behind those of Cleveland and Cincinnati. Columbus is the third largest city in the American Midwest, and the fifteenth largest city...

, team
Columbus Buckeyes (AA)
The Columbus Buckeyes were a baseball team in the American Association from 1883 to 1884. In two seasons they won 101 games and lost 104 for a winning percentage of .493. Their home games were played at Recreation Park in Columbus, Ohio....

 in 1885
1885 in baseball
-Champions:*Post-season playoff: Chicago White Stockings played St. Louis Browns. Series ended with both teams going 3-3-1 in a best-of-7 series. Game 1 ended in a tie called after 8 inning due to darkness; Game 2 was awarded to Chicago by forfeit after 6 innings because St. Louis refused to...

.

The Alleghenys were severely crippled during the season, when nearly all of their stars jumped to the Pittsburgh Burghers
Pittsburgh Burghers
The Pittsburgh Burghers were a baseball team in the Players' League, a short-lived Major League that existed only for the 1890 season. The team included a number of players who had jumped from the National League's Pittsburgh Alleghenys , including Hall of Famers Pud Galvin, Ned Hanlon, and Jake...

 of the Players' League
Players League
The Players' National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs, popularly known as the Players' League , was a short-lived but star-studded professional American baseball league of the 19th century...

. With a decimated roster, the team experienced what is still the worst season in franchise history, going 23–113. The battle nearly ruined McKnight, and he was forced to return his franchise to the league. However, almost immediately after this, McKnight joined the backers of the Burghers as a minority owner, which then repurchased the Pittsburgh National League franchise and rechartered it under a different corporate name. They were thus able to legally recover the services of most of the players who had jumped to the upstart league a year earlier.

The new owners also signed several players from American Association teams. One of them was highly regarded second baseman Lou Bierbauer
Lou Bierbauer
Louis W. Bierbauer was a German-American professional baseball player who was a second baseman in Major League Baseball during the late 1880s and 1890s...

, who had previously played with the A.A.'s Philadelphia Athletics
Philadelphia Athletics (American Association)
The Philadelphia Athletics were a professional baseball team, one of six charter members of the American Association, a 19th-century major league, which began play in 1882 as a rival to the National League. The other teams were the Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Red Stockings, Eclipse of...

. The Athletics failed to include him on their reserve list, and the Alleghenys picked him up. This led to loud protests by the Athletics, and in an official complaint, an AA official claimed the Alleghenys' actions were "piratical". This incident (which is discussed at some length in The Beer and Whisky League, by David Nemec, 1994) quickly accelerated into a schism between the leagues that contributed to the demise of the A.A. Although the Alleghenys were never found guilty of wrongdoing, they made sport of being denounced for being "piratical" by renaming themselves "the Pirates" for the 1891 season. The nickname was first acknowledged on the team's uniforms in . Around the time the team adopted the Pirates nickname, the United States Board on Geographic Names
United States Board on Geographic Names
The United States Board on Geographic Names is a United States federal body whose purpose is to establish and maintain uniform usage of geographic names throughout the U.S. government.-Overview:...

 forced the city of Pittsburgh to undergo a controversial name change by having them drop the "h" at the end of the name, making the team's official name the "Pittsburg Pirates" from the adoption of the Pirates nickname until Pittsburgh was able to get the "h" restored to its name in 1911.

After the 1899 season, the Pirates made what is arguably the best player transaction in franchise history when they picked up nearly all of the star players from the Louisville Colonels
Louisville Colonels
The Louisville Colonels were a Major League Baseball team that played in the American Association throughout that league's ten-year existence from 1882 until 1891, first as the Louisville Eclipse and later as the Louisville Colonels , the latter name derived from the historic Kentucky colonels...

. Louisville owner Barney Dreyfuss
Barney Dreyfuss
Bernhard "Barney" Dreyfuss was an executive in Major League Baseball who owned the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise from 1900 to 1932....

 had been told that the Colonels were slated for elimination when the N.L. contracted from 12 to 8 teams. He secretly purchased a half-interest in the Pirates, then after the season sent nearly all of the Colonels' stars up the Ohio River
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

 to Pittsburgh. Since the transaction occurred before the Colonels officially folded, it was structured as a trade; the Pirates sent four relatively unknown players to Louisville. Despite their nickname, the Pirates at least waited until after the season to pull off this blockbuster trade. This is unlike what happened in 1899 to the Cleveland Spiders
Cleveland Spiders
The Cleveland Spiders were a Major League Baseball team which played between 1887 and 1899 in Cleveland, Ohio. The team played at National League Park from 1889 to 1890 and at League Park from 1891 to 1899.- 1887-1891 :...

 and, to a lesser extent, the Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore Orioles (19th century)
The Baltimore Orioles were a 19th-century American Association and National League team from 1882 to 1899. The club, which featured numerous future Hall of Famers, finished in first place three consecutive years and won the Temple Cup championship in 1896 and 1897...

, who were also part of two-team ownerships. Dreyfuss later bought full control of the team and kept it until his death in 1932.

1901–1945

Bolstered by former Colonels shortstop Honus Wagner
Honus Wagner
-Louisville Colonels:Recognizing his talent, Barrow recommended Wagner to the Louisville Colonels. After some hesitation about his awkward figure, Wagner was signed by the Colonels, where he hit .338 in 61 games....

 (who was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area) and player/manager Fred Clarke
Fred Clarke
Fred Clifford Clarke was a Major League Baseball player from 1894 to and manager from 1897 to 1915. A Hall of Famer, Clarke played for and managed both the Louisville Colonels and Pittsburgh Pirates. He was a left fielder and left-handed batter.Of the nine pennants in Pittsburgh franchise...

, the Pirates completely dominated the National League, in part because they lost few star players to the rival American League
American League
The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League , is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada. It developed from the Western League, a minor league based in the Great Lakes states, which eventually aspired to major...

. However, owing to injuries to their starting pitchers, they lost the first modern World Series ever played
1903 World Series
The 1903 World Series was the first modern World Series to be played in Major League Baseball. It matched the Boston Americans of the American League against the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League in a best-of-nine series, with Boston prevailing five games to three, winning the last...

, in 1903
1903 Major League Baseball season
The Major League Baseball season saw the relocation of the Baltimore Orioles to New York, and become the Highlanders, the last relocation in MLB until 1953, when the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee, along with the playing of the first modern World Series with the Boston Americans defeating the...

, to Boston
1903 Boston Americans season
The Boston Americans season was a season in American baseball. The team finished first in the American League with a record of 91 wins and 47 losses. They went on to participate in the first World Series held between the American League and National League champions...

. Deacon Phillippe
Deacon Phillippe
Charles Louis "Deacon" Phillippe was a turn-of-the-century pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates....

 pitched five complete games, winning three of them, but it was not enough. With largely the same star players, the Pirates would continue to be a strong team over the next few years, and won their first World Series title
1909 World Series
The 1909 World Series featured the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Detroit Tigers. The Pirates won the Series in seven games to capture their first championship of the modern Major League Baseball era and the second championship in the club's history....

 in 1909, defeating the Detroit Tigers
1909 Detroit Tigers season
The 1909 Detroit Tigers won the American League pennant with a record of 96-56, but lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1909 World Series, 4 games to 3. The season was their 9th since they were charter members of the American League in 1901. It was the third consecutive season in which they won...

 in seven games. The same year, the club opened Forbes Field
Forbes Field
Forbes Field was a baseball park in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from 1909 to 1971. It was the third home of the Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Baseball team, and the first home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the city's National Football League franchise...

, which would be its home stadium for the next 61 years.
The Pirates originally played in Recreation, Union and Exposition
Exposition Park (Pittsburgh)
Exposition Park was a baseball park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1890 to circa 1915. It was located on the north side of the Allegheny River across from Pittsburgh's downtown area. Prior to the construction of this version of Exposition Park, two previous ballparks of the same name were...

 Parks, all in what was then Allegheny City
Allegheny, Pennsylvania
Allegheny City was a Pennsylvania municipality located on the north side of the junction of the Allegheny and Ohio rivers, across from downtown Pittsburgh. It was annexed by Pittsburgh in 1907...

. Allegheny City was annexed by Pittsburgh in December 1907. Accordingly, the Pirates did not play their first major league game in Pittsburgh until 1908 – over 25 years after their founding.

The decline of Honus Wagner, considered by many to be the greatest shortstop ever, led to a number of losing seasons, culminating in a disastrous 51–103 record in ; however, veteran outfielder Max Carey
Max Carey
Max George Carey was an American center fielder in Major League Baseball who starred for the Pittsburgh Pirates and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1961...

 and young players Pie Traynor
Pie Traynor
Harold Joseph "Pie" Traynor was an American professional baseball player, manager, scout and radio broadcaster. He played his entire Major League Baseball career as a third baseman with the Pittsburgh Pirates . He batted and threw right-handed...

 and Kiki Cuyler
Kiki Cuyler
Hazen Shirley "Kiki" Cuyler was a Major League Baseball right fielder from 1921 until 1938. He was born in Harrisville, Michigan.Cuyler broke into the big leagues in 1921 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and became a fixture in the lineup in 1924...

, along with a remarkably deep pitching staff, brought the Pirates back into the spotlight. The Pirates recovered from a 3–1 deficit to win the 1925 World Series
1925 World Series
In the 1925 World Series, the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the defending champion Washington Senators in seven games.In a reversal of fortune on all counts from the previous 1924 World Series, when Washington's Walter Johnson had come back from two losses to win the seventh and deciding game, Johnson...

 over the Washington Senators
1925 Washington Senators season
The Washington Senators won 96 games, lost 55, and finished in first place in the American League. Fueled by the excitement of winning their second AL pennant, the Senators led 3 games to 1 the World Series before succumbing to the Pittsburgh Pirates....

, and reached the 1927 World Series
1927 World Series
In the 1927 World Series, the New York Yankees swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in four games. This was the first sweep of a National League team by an American League team....

 before being swept by the New York Yankees
1927 New York Yankees season
The New York Yankees season was their 25th season. The team finished with a record of 110-44, winning their fifth pennant and finishing 19 games ahead of the Philadelphia Athletics. New York was managed by Miller Huggins. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they swept the...

, who at that time had built the most dominant team in baseball. The 1927 season
1927 Major League Baseball season
-Regular season standings:-World series:-Award winners:-League leaders:-External links:*...

 was the first for the sharp-hitting combination of brothers Lloyd Waner
Lloyd Waner
Lloyd James Waner , nicknamed "Little Poison", was a Major League Baseball center fielder. His small stature at 5'9" and 132 lb made him one of the smallest players of his era. Along with his brother, Paul Waner, he anchored the Pittsburgh Pirates outfield throughout the 1920s and 1930s...

 and Paul Waner
Paul Waner
Paul Glee Waner , nicknamed "Big Poison", was a German-American Major League Baseball right fielder.-Pittsburgh Pirates:...

, who along with shortstop Arky Vaughan
Arky Vaughan
Joseph Floyd "Arky" Vaughan was a professional baseball player. He played 14 seasons in Major League Baseball between 1932 and 1948 for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Brooklyn Dodgers, primarily a shortstop...

 ensured that the Pirates had plenty of Hall of Fame-caliber position players through 1941
1941 Major League Baseball season
- External links :*...

. However, the Pirates' crushing defeats in 1927 and 1938 (when they lost the pennant to the Chicago Cubs
1938 Chicago Cubs season
- Roster :- Starters by position :Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in- Other batters :Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg...

 in the final days of the season) were tremendous setbacks.

1946–1969

The post-World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 years were not kind to the Pirates, despite the presence of a genuine star in Ralph Kiner
Ralph Kiner
Ralph McPherran Kiner is an American former Major League Baseball player and has been an announcer for the New York Mets since the team's inception. Though injuries forced his retirement from active play after 10 seasons, Kiner's tremendous slugging outpaced nearly all of his National League...

, who led the National League in home runs for seven consecutive seasons (1946 through 1952). While attendance at Forbes Field rose to among the top in the NL, the team built around Kiner placed in the first division
First division (baseball)
First division is a term that has had various meanings, at various times, in the sport of baseball, but originally referred to the rankings within a league...

 only once – in – and in compiled one of the worst records in major league history, winning 42 and losing 112 games (.273) and finishing 54½ games out of first place. In , the long era of ownership by the Barney Dreyfuss
Barney Dreyfuss
Bernhard "Barney" Dreyfuss was an executive in Major League Baseball who owned the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise from 1900 to 1932....

 family came to an end when it sold the team to a syndicate headed by Indianapolis
Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Indiana, and the county seat of Marion County, Indiana. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population is 839,489. It is by far Indiana's largest city and, as of the 2010 U.S...

 businessman Frank McKinney that included entertainer Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation....

. By , Columbus, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Columbus is the capital of and the largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio. The broader metropolitan area encompasses several counties and is the third largest in Ohio behind those of Cleveland and Cincinnati. Columbus is the third largest city in the American Midwest, and the fifteenth largest city...

-based real estate tycoon John W. Galbreath emerged as majority owner, and his family would run the team for another 35 years and supervise its rise to the top of the NL.

Galbreath's first major move, the hiring of Branch Rickey
Branch Rickey
Wesley Branch Rickey was an innovative Major League Baseball executive elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967...

 as general manager
General manager (baseball)
In Major League Baseball, the general manager of a team typically controls player transactions and bears the primary responsibility on behalf of the ballclub during contract discussions with players....

 after the 1950 campaign, was initially a great disappointment to Pittsburgh fans. Rickey had invented the farm system with the Cardinals
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals are a professional baseball team based in St. Louis, Missouri. They are members of the Central Division in the National League of Major League Baseball. The Cardinals have won eleven World Series championships, the most of any National League team, and second overall only to...

 and broken the baseball color line
Baseball color line
The color line in American baseball excluded players of black African descent from Organized Baseball, or the major leagues and affiliated minor leagues, until Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization for the 1946 season...

 with the Dodgers
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers are a professional baseball team based in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers are members of Major League Baseball's National League West Division. Established in 1883, the team originated in Brooklyn, New York, where it was known by a number of nicknames before becoming...

, building dynasties with each club. In Pittsburgh, though, he purged the roster of its higher-salaried veterans (including Kiner in ) and flooded the team with young players. Many of those youngsters faltered, but those who fulfilled Rickey's faith in them – pitchers Vern Law
Vern Law
Vernon Sanders Law is a retired Major League Baseball pitcher. He played for 16 seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates.-Career:Law was a member of the National League All Star Team in...

, Bob Friend
Bob Friend
Robert Bartmess Friend is a former right-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who pitched primarily for the Pittsburgh Pirates , joining the New York Yankees and New York Mets in his final season of...

, and Elroy Face, shortstop Dick Groat
Dick Groat
Richard Morrow Groat is a former two-sport athlete best known as a shortstop in Major League Baseball. He played for four National League teams, mainly the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals, and was named the league's Most Valuable Player in after winning the batting title with a .325...

, second baseman Bill Mazeroski
Bill Mazeroski
William Stanley Mazeroski , nicknamed "Maz", is a former Major League Baseball player who spent his entire career with the Pittsburgh Pirates...

, and especially outfielder Roberto Clemente
Roberto Clemente
Roberto Clemente Walker was a Puerto Rican Major League Baseball right fielder. He was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, the youngest of seven children. Clemente played his entire 18-year baseball career with the Pittsburgh Pirates . He was awarded the National League's Most Valuable Player Award in...

, drafted from Brooklyn after his only minor league season – would form the nucleus of the Pirates' 1960 championship club
1960 Pittsburgh Pirates season
‎The 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the team's 79th season. The team finished with a record of 95-59, seven games in front of the second-place Milwaukee Braves to win their first National League championship in 33 seasons...

. Moreover, as in St. Louis and Brooklyn, Rickey put into place one of baseball's most successful farm and scouting systems, keeping the Pirates competitive into the late 1970s. However, all this was not evident when Rickey retired due to ill health in 1955, with the Pirates still struggling to escape the NL basement.

The 1948 team was the only postwar Pirates squad with a winning record until , Danny Murtaugh
Danny Murtaugh
Daniel Edward Murtaugh was an American second baseman, manager, front-office executive and coach in Major League Baseball best known for his 29-year association with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a player and manager...

's first full season as manager. Murtaugh is widely credited with inventing the concept of the closer
Closer (baseball)
In baseball, a closing pitcher, more frequently referred to as a closer , is a relief pitcher who specializes in closing out games, i.e., getting the final outs in a close game. Closers often appear when the score is close, and the role is often assigned to a team's best reliever. A small number of...

 by frequently playing Elroy Face late in close games. The 1960 team featured eight All-Stars, but was widely predicted to lose the World Series to a powerful New York Yankees
1960 New York Yankees season
The New York Yankees season was the 58th season for the team in New York, and its 60th season overall. The team finished with a record of 97-57, winning its 25th pennant, finishing 8 games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles. New York was managed by Casey Stengel. The Yankees played their home games at...

 team. In one of the most memorable World Series in history, the Pirates were defeated by ten or more runs in three games, won three close games, then recovered from a 7–4 deficit late in Game 7 to eventually win on a walk-off home run
Walk-off home run
In baseball, a walk-off home run is a home run that ends the game. It must be a home run that gives the home team the lead in the bottom of the final inning of the game—either the ninth inning, or any extra inning, or any other regularly scheduled final inning...

 by Mazeroski, a second baseman better known for defensive wizardry. The 1960 Pirates were the only team between and to have not succumbed to the so-called "Ex-Cubs Factor
Ex-Cubs Factor
The Ex-Cub Factor is a seemingly spurious correlation that is essentially a corollary to the Curse of the Billy Goat. Widely published in 1990, the hypothesis asserts that since the last appearance by the Chicago Cubs in the 1945 World Series, any baseball team headed into the World Series with...

" in the postseason. They also became the first team to win a World Series on a home run, a feat later achieved by the Toronto Blue Jays
1993 Toronto Blue Jays season
The Toronto Blue Jays season involved the Blue Jays finishing first in the American League East with a record of 95 wins and 67 losses. They were shut out only once in 162 regular-season games. The Blue Jays would repeat as World Champions and become the first back-to-back champions since the New...

 in 1993
1993 World Series
-Game 1:Saturday, October 16, 1993 at SkyDome in Toronto, OntarioThe Series' first game sent two staff aces—Curt Schilling for Philadelphia and Juan Guzman for Toronto—against one another. The result was less than a pitcher's duel, however, as both teams scored early and often.The deciding plays...

, although Joe Carter
Joe Carter
Joseph Christopher Carter is a former right fielder in Major League Baseball who played from to . Carter is most famous for hitting a walk-off home run to win the 1993 World Series for the Toronto Blue Jays....

's home run came in Game 6 of the 1993 Series. Mazeroski's homer remains the only walk-off home run in Game 7 of a World Series.

The 1960s would continue with extremely solid defensive play by Mazeroski and the great offensive and defensive abilities of Clemente, baseball's first Puerto Rican superstar. Clemente was regarded as one of the game's best all-time hitters, and possessed a tremendous arm in right field. Although not the first black-Hispanic baseball player (an honor belonging to Minnie Miñoso), Clemente's charisma and leadership in humanitarian causes made him an icon across the continent. During his playing career, Clemente was often overlooked, but today many consider him to have been one of the greatest right fielders in baseball history.

Even with Clemente, however, the Pirates struggled to post winning marks from 1961 to 1964, and Murtaugh was replaced by Harry Walker
Harry Walker
Harry William Walker, known to baseball fans of the middle 20th century as "Harry the Hat" , was an American baseball player, manager and coach.-Early life and family:...

 in . With Walker, a renowned batting coach, at the helm, and the hitting of Clemente, Matty Alou
Matty Alou
Mateo Rojas "Matty" Alou was a Dominican outfielder who spent fifteen seasons in Major League Baseball with the San Francisco Giants , Pittsburgh Pirates , St. Louis Cardinals , Oakland Athletics , New York Yankees and San Diego Padres...

, Manny Mota
Manny Mota
Manuel Rafael Mota Geronimo, more commonly known as Manny Mota was a Major League Baseball Outfielder for the San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, Montreal Expos and most notably the Los Angeles Dodgers, best known for his pinch hitting abilities...

 and others, the Bucs fielded contending, 90-plus win teams in both and , with Clemente claiming the National League MVP Award in the latter year. However, Pittsburgh had no answer for the pitching of the Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants
San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball team based in San Francisco, California, playing in the National League West Division....

, and finished third both seasons. In , they fell back to .500, and did not contend through the rest of the 1960s.

1970–1979 and "The Family"

1970–73

Slugger Willie Stargell
Willie Stargell
Wilver Dornell "Willie" Stargell , nicknamed "Pops" in the later years of his career, was a Major League Baseball left fielder and first baseman. He played his entire 21-year baseball career with the Pittsburgh Pirates...

 became a fixture in the Pittsburgh lineup in the late 1960s, and the Pirates returned to prominence in . Murtaugh returned as manager and the Pirates' home field, Forbes Field
Forbes Field
Forbes Field was a baseball park in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from 1909 to 1971. It was the third home of the Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Baseball team, and the first home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the city's National Football League franchise...

, was demolished in favor of the multi-purpose Three Rivers Stadium
Three Rivers Stadium
Three Rivers Stadium was a multi-purpose stadium located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1970 to 2000. It was home to the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Pittsburgh Steelers, the city's Major League Baseball franchise and National Football League franchise respectively.Built as a replacement to...

. In , the Pirates won their first of five National League East
National League East
The National League East Division is one of Major League Baseball's six divisions. The Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies are tied for the most National League East Division titles . All of Atlanta's NL East titles came during a record stretch of 14 consecutive division titles...

 division titles over the next seven years, and won their fourth World Series
1971 World Series
The 1971 World Series matched the defending champion Baltimore Orioles against the Pittsburgh Pirates, with the Pirates winning in seven games. Game 4, played in Pittsburgh, was the first-ever World Series game scheduled to be played at night....

 in behind a .414 Series batting average
Batting average
Batting average is a statistic in both cricket and baseball that measures the performance of cricket batsmen and baseball hitters. The two statistics are related in that baseball averages are directly descended from the concept of cricket averages.- Cricket :...

 by Clemente. They also thought they had a genuine superstar pitcher (historically rare for the Pirates) in Steve Blass
Steve Blass
Stephen Robert "Steve" Blass is a former Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher and a current broadcast announcer for the Pittsburgh Pirates.-Playing career:Blass was born in Canaan, Connecticut...

, who pitched two masterful games in the World Series against Baltimore
Baltimore Orioles
The Baltimore Orioles are a professional baseball team based in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States. They are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's American League. One of the American League's eight charter franchises in 1901, it spent its first year as a major league...

 and had excellent seasons in and . That lineup, on September 1, was Rennie Stennett
Rennie Stennett
Renaldo Antonio Stennett Porte , is a former second baseman in Major League Baseball. Stennett played with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants . He batted and threw right-handed...

, Gene Clines
Gene Clines
Eugene Anthony Clines is a former outfielder in Major League Baseball, Clines played for the Pittsburgh Pirates , New York Mets , Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs . He was also the hitting coach for the Chicago Cubs from 2005-2006...

, Roberto Clemente
Roberto Clemente
Roberto Clemente Walker was a Puerto Rican Major League Baseball right fielder. He was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, the youngest of seven children. Clemente played his entire 18-year baseball career with the Pittsburgh Pirates . He was awarded the National League's Most Valuable Player Award in...

, Willie Stargell
Willie Stargell
Wilver Dornell "Willie" Stargell , nicknamed "Pops" in the later years of his career, was a Major League Baseball left fielder and first baseman. He played his entire 21-year baseball career with the Pittsburgh Pirates...

, Manny Sanguillen
Manny Sanguillen
Manuel De Jesus Sanguillen Magan, better known as Manny Sanguillen or "Sangy" , is a former professional baseball player who was a catcher in the Major Leagues. He was named to the All-Star team three times, in , , and . He played primarily for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but also for the Oakland...

, Dave Cash
Dave Cash (baseball)
David Cash, Jr. is a former Major League Baseball second baseman who played in the National League for the Pittsburgh Pirates , Philadelphia Phillies , Montreal Expos and San Diego Padres .Cash established himself as a solid singles hitter and a good defensive second baseman in his seasons with...

, Al Oliver
Al Oliver
Albert Oliver, Jr. is a former Major League Baseball player. Over the course of his 18-year career, he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates , Texas Rangers , Montreal Expos , San Francisco Giants , Philadelphia Phillies , Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays...

, Jackie Hernández
Jackie Hernandez
Jacinto Hernández Zulueta is a former Major League Baseball shortstop and third baseman from 1965 to 1973....

, and Dock Ellis
Dock Ellis
Dock Phillip Ellis, Jr. was a professional baseball player who pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates, among other teams in Major League Baseball. His best season was 1971, when he won 19 games for the World Series champion Pirates and was the starting pitcher for the National League in the All-Star...

.

Clemente died in a plane crash on December 31, while accompanying a shipment of relief supplies to the victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua
1972 Nicaragua earthquake
The 1972 Nicaragua earthquake was an earthquake that occurred at 12:29 a.m. local time on Saturday, December 23, 1972 near Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. It had a magnitude of 6.2 and occurred at a depth of about 5 kilometers beneath the centre of the city. Within an hour after the main...

. He had reached a milestone by rapping his 3,000th career hit
3000 hit club
In Major League Baseball , the 3,000 hit club is a term applied to the group of batters who have collected 3,000 or more regular-season hits in their careers. Cap Anson was the first to join the club on July 18, 1897, although his precise career hit total is unclear. Two players—Nap Lajoie and...

, a stand-up double
Double (baseball)
In baseball, a double is the act of a batter striking the pitched ball and safely reaching second base without being called out by the umpire, without the benefit of a fielder's misplay or another runner being put out on a fielder's choice....

 off Jon Matlack
Jon Matlack
Jonathan Trumpbour Matlack is an American former Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher...

 of the New York Mets
New York Mets
The New York Mets are a professional baseball team based in the borough of Queens in New York City, New York. They belong to Major League Baseball's National League East Division. One of baseball's first expansion teams, the Mets were founded in 1962 to replace New York's departed National League...

 on September 30, , in what would prove to be his last regular-season at-bat. The Baseball Hall of Fame waived its usual waiting requirement and inducted Clemente immediately. Pittsburgh would erect a statue and name a bridge
Roberto Clemente Bridge
The Roberto Clemente Bridge, also known as the Sixth Street Bridge, spans the Allegheny River in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States....

 and park near the stadium after him, as well as a street in the Oakland neighborhood near the former site of Forbes Field.

In , Blass suffered a mysterious decline in his pitching abilities, posting a 9.85 ERA
Earned run average
In baseball statistics, earned run average is the mean of earned runs given up by a pitcher per nine innings pitched. It is determined by dividing the number of earned runs allowed by the number of innings pitched and multiplying by nine...

. To this day, pitchers who suddenly lose the ability to throw strikes are said to have "Steve Blass disease." Blass retired soon after; he has since, for almost two decades, been one of the Pirates' radio and TV announcers.

1974–78

The Pirates made the playoffs in 1974 and 1975, but lost the National League Championship Series
National League Championship Series
In Major League Baseball, the National League Championship Series is a round in the postseason that determines who wins the National League pennant and advances to Major League Baseball's championship, the World Series, facing the winner of the American League Championship Series. The reigning...

 to the Los Angeles Dodgers
1974 Los Angeles Dodgers season
The Los Angeles Dodgers won the National League West by four games over the Cincinnati Reds, then beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1974 National League Championship Series before losing to the Oakland Athletics in the 1974 World Series.- Offseason :...

 and the Cincinnati Reds
1975 Cincinnati Reds season
The 1975 Cincinnati Reds season was a season in American baseball. It consisted of the Reds winning the National League West with a record of 108-54, 20 games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Reds went on to win the National League Championship Series by defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates in...

, respectively. The speedy Omar Moreno
Omar Moreno
Omar Renan Moreno Quintero was a Major League Baseball outfielder from 1975 to 1986. He was best known for his years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and was the starting center fielder and leadoff hitter on their 1979 World Series-winning team.Moreno made his first appearance with the Pirates in...

 and the power-hitting Dave Parker
Dave Parker
David Gene "The Cobra" Parker is an American former player in Major League Baseball. He was the 1978 National League MVP and a two-time batting champion. Parker was the first professional athlete to earn an average of one million dollars per year, having signed a 5-year, $5 million dollar contract...

 joined Stargell in the lineup during this period. After the season, in which the Bucs finished in second place behind the cross-state Philadelphia Phillies
1976 Philadelphia Phillies season
The Philadelphia Phillies season was the 94th season in the history of the franchise. The Phillies won their first National League East title, as they compiled a record of 101-61, nine games ahead of the second-place Pittsburgh Pirates....

, Danny Murtaugh died. The Pirates struck a trade with the Oakland Athletics
Oakland Athletics
The Oakland Athletics are a Major League Baseball team based in Oakland, California. The Athletics are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball's American League. From to the present, the Athletics have played in the O.co Coliseum....

 in which catcher Manny Sanguillen
Manny Sanguillen
Manuel De Jesus Sanguillen Magan, better known as Manny Sanguillen or "Sangy" , is a former professional baseball player who was a catcher in the Major Leagues. He was named to the All-Star team three times, in , , and . He played primarily for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but also for the Oakland...

 was sent to Oakland for manager Chuck Tanner
Chuck Tanner
Charles William "Chuck" Tanner was a left fielder and manager in Major League Baseball. He was known for his unwavering confidence and infectious optimism. He managed the Pittsburgh Pirates to a World Series championship in 1979...

. The Pirates
1977 Pittsburgh Pirates season
- Offseason :* November 5, 1976: Manny Sanguillén was traded by the Pirates to the Oakland Athletics for manager Chuck Tanner.* December 10, 1976: Richie Zisk and Silvio Martínez were traded by the Pirates to the Chicago White Sox for Goose Gossage and Terry Forster.* March 15, 1977: Rick Langford,...

 would finish second to the Phillies once again in , with Parker winning a batting title. It was also in 1977 that the Pirates began wearing yellow and black uniforms with pillbox caps. Stargell would award teammates with "Stargell Stars" on their caps for excellent plays on the field. The following year, the Pirates
1978 Pittsburgh Pirates season
- Offseason :* December 8, 1977: Al Oliver and Nelson Norman were traded by the Pirates to the Texas Rangers as part of a four-team trade. Bert Blyleven was traded by the Rangers to the Pirates, and John Milner was traded by the New York Mets to the Pirates...

 turned the end of the 1978 season
1978 Major League Baseball season
The 1978 Major League Baseball season saw the New York Yankees defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers to win their second consecutive World Series, and 22nd overall, in a rematch of the prior season's Fall Classic...

 into an impromptu race for the NL East, as they tried to chase down the collapsing Phillies
1978 Philadelphia Phillies season
The 1978 Philadelphia Phillies season was the 96th season in the history of the franchise. The Phillies won their third straight National League East title with a record of 90-72, a game and a half over the Pittsburgh Pirates, as the Phillies defeated the Pirates in Pittsburgh on the next to last...

, who ultimately won the division, only to fall short during the final home stand of the season (ironically against the Phillies). Despite this, Parker won another batting title and was named National League MVP to go with it.

1979

Adopting the popular song "We Are Family
We Are Family (song)
"We Are Family" is a 1979 dance hit song by Sister Sledge, composed by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers. Rodgers and Edwards offered the song to Atlantic Records; although the record label initially declined, the track was released as a single from the album of the same name and quickly began to...

" by the Philadelphia disco
Disco
Disco is a genre of dance music. Disco acts charted high during the mid-1970s, and the genre's popularity peaked during the late 1970s. It had its roots in clubs that catered to African American, gay, psychedelic, and other communities in New York City and Philadelphia during the late 1960s and...

 group Sister Sledge
Sister Sledge
Sister Sledge is an American musical group from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, formed in 1972 and consisting of four sisters: Kim Sledge Debbie Sledge , Joni Sledge , and Kathy Sledge . They are granddaughters of the former opera singer Viola Williams. The sisters used to perform under the name of "Mrs...

 as their theme song, the 1979 Pirates held off the Montreal Expos
1979 Montreal Expos season
- Offseason :* November 28, 1978: Duffy Dyer was signed as a free agent by the Expos.* December 4, 1978: Ken Macha was drafted by the Expos from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1978 rule 5 draft....

 to claim the pennant. "We Are Family" was elevated from theme song to anthem status (and is still nearly synonymous with the '79 Pirates), with fans chanting "Fam-a-lee!" from the stands. The Pirates faced the Baltimore Orioles again in the World Series
1979 World Series
The 1979 World Series matched the National League's Pittsburgh Pirates against the American League's Baltimore Orioles , with the Pirates coming back from a three games to one deficit to win the Series in seven games...

, which (like 1971) they won in seven games, on October 17, . During the 1979 championship season, a Pirate player was designated as Most Valuable Player in every available category: All-Star Game MVP (Dave Parker), NL Championship Series MVP (Willie Stargell), World Series MVP (Willie Stargell), and National League MVP (Willie Stargell, shared with Keith Hernandez
Keith Hernandez
Keith Barlow Hernandez is a former Major League Baseball first baseman. He is currently a baseball analyst working for the New York Mets, for whom he played from –, on SportsNet New York and WPIX television broadcasts...

 of the Cardinals
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals are a professional baseball team based in St. Louis, Missouri. They are members of the Central Division in the National League of Major League Baseball. The Cardinals have won eleven World Series championships, the most of any National League team, and second overall only to...

).

1986-1996: The Leyland era

After the 1979 World Series, the Pirates entered a period of decline, steadily declining until they were regarded as the worst team in baseball during the mid-1980s. Jim Leyland
Jim Leyland
James Richard "Jim" Leyland is a Major League Baseball manager, currently with the Detroit Tigers.He led the Florida Marlins to a World Series championship in 1997, and previously won three straight division titles with the Pittsburgh Pirates...

 took over as manager in 1986, and under his guidance the Pirates gradually climbed out of the cellar. They featured young and exciting players such as the "outfield of dreams" Bobby Bonilla
Bobby Bonilla
Roberto Martin Antonio "Bobby" Bonilla is a former player in Major League Baseball who played from 1986 to 2001. Known in his playing days as "Bobby Bo," Bonilla is of Puerto Rican descent.-Playing career:...

, Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds
Barry Lamar Bonds is an American former Major League Baseball outfielder. Bonds played from 1986 to 2007, for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. He is the son of former major league All-Star Bobby Bonds...

, and Andy Van Slyke
Andy Van Slyke
Andrew James Van Slyke is a retired Major League Baseball outfielder and former first base coach for the Detroit Tigers.-Career:...

; infielders Jay Bell
Jay Bell
Jay Stuart Bell is a former Major League Baseball shortstop and second baseman who played for the Cleveland Indians , Pittsburgh Pirates , Kansas City Royals , Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Mets .He played his high school baseball at J.M...

, Steve Buechele
Steve Buechele
Steven Bernard Buechele is a former Major League Baseball third baseman. Buechele played from to for the Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Chicago Cubs. He joined the Rangers in after he was named the Tom Grieve Minor League Player of the Year...

, Sid Bream
Sid Bream
Sidney Eugene "Sid" Bream is an American former Major League Baseball player. He played his entire 11-year career in the National League...

, and José Lind
José Lind
José Lind Salgado, nicknamed "Chico", is a former Major League Baseball player, and former manager of the Atlantic League's Bridgeport Bluefish. He is the cousin of Onix Concepcion, another MLB player. Primarily a second baseman, Lind was highly regarded for his defensive skills, winning a Gold...

; catcher Mike LaValliere
Mike LaValliere
Michael Eugene "Mike" LaValliere , nicknamed Spanky, is a former catcher in Major League Baseball whose 11-year career included tenures in both the National and American Leagues...

, and pitchers Doug Drabek
Doug Drabek
Douglas Dean Drabek is a former Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. Known for his fluid pitching motion and sound mechanics, he won the National League Cy Young Award in 1990.-Early life:...

, John Smiley, and Stan Belinda
Stan Belinda
Stanley Peter Belinda is a former Major League Baseball player. A right-handed relief pitcher who batted from the right side, Belinda is 6'3" tall and weighs 187 pounds. He pitched from a three-quarters arm slot and threw both a regular low-90's fastball and a split-fingered fastball...

.

As a rookie in , Johnny Ray
Johnny Ray
John Cornelius Ray is a former second baseman in Major League Baseball who had a 10-year career from 1981 to 1990. He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League and the California Angels of the American League...

 played in every game and was named the Rookie of the Year by the Sporting News.

In , the young team finished 85–75 and seemed ready to compete for a pennant. However, the season was a major setback, with injuries depleting the squad and leading to a fifth-place finish. Among the low points of the season was a game against rival
Phillies–Pirates rivalry
The rivalry between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball was considered by some to be one of the best rivalries in the National League...

 Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies are a Major League Baseball team. They are the oldest continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional American sports, dating to 1883. The Phillies are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League...

 in Philadelphia
Veterans Stadium
Philadelphia Veterans Stadium was a professional-sports, multi-purpose stadium, located at the northeast corner of Broad Street and Pattison Avenue, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as part of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex...

 on June 8, 1989, where the Pirates became the first team in major-league history to score 10 runs in the first inning and nevertheless lose the game. Pirates broadcaster (and former pitcher) Jim Rooker
Jim Rooker
James Phillip Rooker is a former Major League Baseball pitcher and broadcaster.A left-hander, Rooker pitched for the Detroit Tigers , Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates ....

 famously vowed that if the team blew the lead, he would walk home from Philadelphia—a vow he fulfilled after the season while raising money for charity
Charitable organization
A charitable organization is a type of non-profit organization . It differs from other types of NPOs in that it centers on philanthropic goals A charitable organization is a type of non-profit organization (NPO). It differs from other types of NPOs in that it centers on philanthropic goals A...

.
The Pirates would win the first three NL East titles of the 1990s, but failed to advance to the World Series
World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

 each time. In both 1991
1991 National League Championship Series
-Game 1:Wednesday, October 9, 1991 at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaThe Pirates proved they would be tough to eliminate early when they stifled the Braves offense behind 1990 Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek and won the first game 5–1...

 and 1992
1992 National League Championship Series
-Game 1:Tuesday, October 6, 1992 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, GeorgiaA rather uneventful opening to what would prove to be a memorable series, Game 1 was an easy win for the Braves. Atlanta scored four early runs, highlighted by Jeff Blauser's fifth-inning homer, and coasted to...

, they lost closely contested League Championship Series to the Atlanta Braves
Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves are a professional baseball club based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Braves are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League. The Braves have played in Turner Field since 1997....

.

1996–2007: The McClatchy/Littlefield era

After the 1992 season, the front office set out to rebuild the team, giving up several high-payroll players in favor of a younger crew. The Pirates have been unable to produce a winning season since, accumulating an 19-year losing streak — the longest in any of the four major professional North American sports leagues. The closest the Pirates have come to fielding a winning team during this period was the team, which finished second in the NL Central despite having a losing record and a payroll of $9 million. The 1997 team was eliminated from playoff contention during the season's final week.

2001–04

In , the Pirates opened a new stadium, PNC Park
PNC Park
PNC Park is a baseball park located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is the fifth home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the city's Major League Baseball franchise. It opened during the 2001 Major League Baseball season, after the controlled implosion of the Pirates' previous home, Three Rivers Stadium...

. Due to its simple concept and strategic usage of the Pittsburgh skyline, it is frequently regarded as the best park in baseball.

General manager Dave Littlefield
Dave Littlefield
David Littlefield is a former Major League Baseball executive. Littlefield was employed as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, a position he held from July 13, 2001 to September 7, 2007. He took over as GM for Roy Smith, who had assumed the position on a temporary...

 was installed July 13, 2001, midway through the 2001 season, and began overhauling the team to comply with owner Kevin McClatchy
Kevin McClatchy
Kevin S. McClatchy is the former owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team. He led a group of investors that purchased the team in 1996, and served as the team's CEO and lead owner until 2007, when Bob Nutting took over as lead owner, and McClatchy and Nutting hired Frank Coonelly to become...

's dictum to drastically reduce the payroll. Enigmatic but talented third baseman Aramis Ramírez
Aramis Ramírez
Aramis Nin Ramírez is an All-Star Major League Baseball third baseman for the Chicago Cubs.He started his professional career with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1998, before being traded to the Cubs in 2003. On November 12, 2006, Ramírez signed a five-year deal with the Cubs...

 was traded to the Chicago Cubs
2003 Chicago Cubs season
The Chicago Cubs' 2003 season was the 131st season for the Cubs. The Cubs went 88-74 during the season and won the National League Central Division for the first time since the division's formation in 1994, and the team's first division title since their 1989 NL East title...

 in for a fairly minimal return under pressure to dump his $6 million salary for , and he proceeded to become a star for the Cubs. Brian Giles
Brian Giles
Brian Stephen Giles is a former Major League Baseball outfielder. During his career he played for the Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres...

 was one of the National League
National League
The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League , is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball, and the world's oldest extant professional team sports league. Founded on February 2, 1876, to replace the National Association of Professional...

's best hitters for several years, but he and his $9 million salary were also traded in 2003 to the San Diego Padres
San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres are a Major League Baseball team based in San Diego, California. They play in the National League Western Division. Founded in 1969, the Padres have won the National League Pennant twice, in 1984 and 1998, losing in the World Series both times...

 for youngsters Oliver Pérez
Oliver Pérez
Óliver Pérez Martínez is a left-handed pitcher currently in the Washington Nationals organization.-San Diego Padres:...

, Jason Bay
Jason Bay
Jason Raymond Bay is a Canadian professional baseball player. An outfielder, he currently plays for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball...

, and Cory Stewart. Pirate fans found this trade much more palatable in the short run, as Pérez led the majors in strikeouts per inning and Bay won the Rookie of the Year Award
MLB Rookie of the Year Award
In Major League Baseball, the Rookie of the Year Award is annually given to one player from each league as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America . The award was established in 1940 by the Chicago chapter of the BBWAA, which selected an annual winner from 1940 through 1946...

 award in 2004, while Giles put up a subpar season by his standards. After the 2004 season, Jason Kendall
Jason Kendall
Jason Daniel Kendall is an American professional baseball catcher who is a free agent. He is the son of former catcher Fred Kendall, who played in the majors from 1969–1980.-High school:...

 went to the Oakland Athletics
Oakland Athletics
The Oakland Athletics are a Major League Baseball team based in Oakland, California. The Athletics are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball's American League. From to the present, the Athletics have played in the O.co Coliseum....

 in a cross-exchange of high-salary players.

2005

Illustrating the Pirates' rebuilding efforts, at the close of the season, the team fielded the youngest roster in baseball, with an average age of 26.6. (The next youngest team was the Kansas City Royals
Kansas City Royals
The Kansas City Royals are a Major League Baseball team based in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals are a member of the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. From 1973 to the present, the Royals have played in Kauffman Stadium...

, with an average age of 27.1.) During the course of the season, 14 players were called up from its Triple-A affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians
Indianapolis Indians
The Indianapolis Indians are a minor league baseball team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The team, which plays in the International League, is the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates major-league club. The Indians play at Victory Field, located in downtown Indianapolis...

, 12 of whom made their first major league appearance. On September 6, manager Lloyd McClendon
Lloyd McClendon
Lloyd Glenn McClendon is a former professional baseball player and manager, currently serving as the hitting coach for the Detroit Tigers under Jim Leyland...

 was fired after 5 losing seasons as manager. On October 11, Jim Tracy was hired as the new manager.

2006

The season got off to a slow start with the Pirates losing their first six games. Manager Jim Tracy earned his first win as the new Pirate's skipper on April 9 against the Cincinnati Reds
2006 Cincinnati Reds season
The Cincinnati Reds' 2006 season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Reds making a bid to win the NL Central division, although just falling short, finishing in third place. The Reds had a final record of 80–82 and were managed by Jerry Narron.-Season summary:In the offseason...

. The Pirates hosted the All Star Game
2006 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 2006 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 77th playing of the midseason exhibition baseball game between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 11, 2006 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh,...

 at PNC Park
PNC Park
PNC Park is a baseball park located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is the fifth home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the city's Major League Baseball franchise. It opened during the 2001 Major League Baseball season, after the controlled implosion of the Pirates' previous home, Three Rivers Stadium...

. The Pirates went into the game with a disastrous and disappointing 30–60 record. During the second half of the season, the Pirates made a successful turn around and finished the second half with a 37–35 record. This is the first time the Pirates have finished the second half of the season with a winning record since . Third baseman Freddy Sanchez
Freddy Sanchez
Frederick Phillip "Freddy" Sanchez, Jr. is a Major League Baseball second baseman for the San Francisco Giants. Sanchez has previously played for the Boston Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants...

 won the National League batting title for the 2006 season with an average of .344.

2007

2007 was a year of transition for the Pirates. After 52 seasons with Newsradio 1020 KDKA AM, the Pirates switched their flagstation affiliate to WPGB FM Newstalk 104.7.

In addition, Robert Nutting
Robert Nutting
Robert Nutting is a businessman and sports team owner. He is currently Chairman of the Board and principal owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, a Major League Baseball team. His other business activities include serving as CEO of Ogden Newspapers Inc...

 replaced McClatchy as majority owner, becoming the sixth majority owner in Pirates history. On July 6, , Kevin McClatchy announced he was stepping down as the Pirates CEO at the end of the 2007 season.

On September 7, , Nutting fired general manager Dave Littlefield
Dave Littlefield
David Littlefield is a former Major League Baseball executive. Littlefield was employed as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, a position he held from July 13, 2001 to September 7, 2007. He took over as GM for Roy Smith, who had assumed the position on a temporary...

.

2007–2010: Nutting/Huntington era

The Pittsburgh Pirates began to shape their organizational management team late in the 2007 season. On September 13, Frank Coonelly
Frank Coonelly
Frank Coonelly is the president of the Pittsburgh Pirates. His hiring was announced by the Pirates on September 13, 2007. He replaced Kevin McClatchy who purchased the Pirates with a group of investors in 1996 and served as the CEO for the next 12 seasons...

, chief labor counsel for Major League Baseball, was introduced as the team's new president. On September 25, , the Pirates announced the hiring of Neal Huntington
Neal Huntington
Neal Alden Huntington is the 12th person to serve as General Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Baseball organization...

, formerly a scout in the Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians are a professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They are in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. Since , they have played in Progressive Field. The team's spring training facility is in Goodyear, Arizona...

 organization, as the team's new general manager. On October 5, 2007, Jim Tracy was fired by the Pirates, leaving them with another search for a manager. Torey Lovullo
Torey Lovullo
Salvatore Anthony "Torey" Lovullo is a former Major League Baseball infielder and current first base coach of The Toronto Blue Jays. He was the manager of the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. He is an alumnus of the University of California, Los Angeles...

 had originally been named as a leading candidate for the position, but his name was gradually replaced by others in the minor league ranks, one being Ottawa Lynx
Ottawa Lynx
The Ottawa Lynx were a minor league baseball team that formerly competed in the Triple-A International League from 1993 to 2007. The team's home field was Lynx Stadium in Ottawa, Ontario. Over the team's 15 seasons, it was the Triple-A Minor League affiliate of the Montreal Expos , Baltimore...

 manager John Russell, who eventually was named the new manager November 5, 2007. He had originally been the third base coach under previous manager Lloyd McClendon
Lloyd McClendon
Lloyd Glenn McClendon is a former professional baseball player and manager, currently serving as the hitting coach for the Detroit Tigers under Jim Leyland...

 from 2003 to 2005 until he was fired by the previous General Manager Dave Littlefield
Dave Littlefield
David Littlefield is a former Major League Baseball executive. Littlefield was employed as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, a position he held from July 13, 2001 to September 7, 2007. He took over as GM for Roy Smith, who had assumed the position on a temporary...

.

2008

As the Pirates once again failed to produce a winning record, the team began another round of rebuilding. Prior to the trade deadline, the Pirates made several deals that sent several accomplished veterans to other franchises. On July 26, 2008, the Pirates traded left fielder
Left fielder
In baseball, a left fielder is an outfielder who plays defense in left field. Left field is the area of the outfield to the left of a person standing at home plate and facing towards the pitcher's mound...

 Xavier Nady
Xavier Nady
Xavier Clifford Nady VI is a Major League Baseball outfielder and first baseman, who is a free agent.-Amateur career:The St. Louis Cardinals originally drafted Nady in the 4th round of the 1997 Major League Baseball Draft after he was named Northern California Player of the Year in his senior...

 and pitcher Dámaso Marté
Dámaso Marté
Dámaso Marté Sabinon is a Dominican Major League Baseball relief pitcher who is currently a free agent. He previously played for the Seattle Mariners , Pittsburgh Pirates , and Chicago White Sox .-Seattle Mariners:...

 to the New York Yankees
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...

 in return for Jose Tabata
Jose Tabata
José Nicolas Tábata is a professional baseball outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was an international signee of the New York Yankees and, by 2008, became the Yankees' No. 2 prospect...

, Ross Ohlendorf
Ross Ohlendorf
Curtis Ross Ohlendorf is a Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is known for his hard-biting sinker. He can hit 97 mph with a two-seam sinking fastball, and he's working to improve his developing changeup, slider, and breaking ball.-High School and College...

, Dan McCutchen, and Jeff Karstens. Karstens began his career with the Pirates at 2–0 and came within 4 outs of pitching the first perfect game in franchise history on August 6, 2008.

On July 31, Jason Bay
Jason Bay
Jason Raymond Bay is a Canadian professional baseball player. An outfielder, he currently plays for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball...

 was traded to the Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Founded in as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since . The "Red Sox"...

 in a three-team deal that sent Manny Ramírez
Manny Ramírez
Manuel "Manny" Arístides Ramírez Onelcida is a retired Dominican-American professional baseball outfielder. He was recognized for great batting skill and power, a nine-time Silver Slugger and one of 25 players to hit 500 career home runs. Ramirez's 21 grand slams are third all-time, and his 28...

 to the Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers are a professional baseball team based in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers are members of Major League Baseball's National League West Division. Established in 1883, the team originated in Brooklyn, New York, where it was known by a number of nicknames before becoming...

 and Andy LaRoche
Andy LaRoche
Andrew Christian LaRoche is an American professional baseball third baseman who is a free agent....

 and Bryan Morris
Bryan Morris
Avery Bryan Morris is a baseball pitcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. He is currently the starting pitcher for the Altoona Curve, the Pirates Double A affiliate in the Eastern League.-Professional career:...

 to the Pirates from the Dodgers and Brandon Moss
Brandon Moss
Brandon Douglas Moss is an American professional baseball outfielder for the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball.-Professional career:...

 and Craig Hansen
Craig Hansen
Craig Robert Hansen is an American professional baseball pitcher who is a free agent. A closer out of St. John's University, Hansen was drafted in and quickly made his major league debut, but has since spent most of his career at the Triple-A level...

 to the Pirates from the Red Sox.

On November 24, the Pirates signed Rinku Singh
Rinku Singh
Rinku Singh is a left-handed baseball pitcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.-Early Life in Bhadoni:...

 and Dinesh Patel
Dinesh Patel
Dinesh Patel is a right-handed baseball pitcher that played in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Along with Rinku Singh, he is the first Indian national ever to sign a contract with a major American sports club....

 as undrafted free agents, making them the first Indian citizens to sign a contract with any American professional sports team. Both men are pitchers, who were first spotted in the "Million Dollar Arm" contest organized in India by J.B. Bernstein earlier in 2008.

2009

The team shed payroll and traded away players for prospects. On June 3, the team's only 2008 All-Star Nate McLouth
Nate McLouth
Nathan Richard McLouth is a Major League Baseball player. Primarily a center fielder, McLouth bats from the left side and throws from the right. He is 5' 11" tall and weighs 185 pounds...

 was traded to the Atlanta Braves for prospects Jeff Locke
Jeff Locke
Jeffrey Alan Locke is a major league left-handed starting pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 6'2", 180 lb. Locke was the first selection in the second round in the 2006 Atlanta Braves Draft.-Early life:...

, Charlie Morton
Charlie Morton (pitcher)
Charles A. Morton is a Major League Baseball pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He stands at 6'5" and weighs in at about 230 lbs. He is a right-hander.-Professional career:...

 and Gorkys Hernández
Gorkys Hernández
Gorkys Gustavo Hernández is a Venezuelan professional baseball outfielder in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization currently assigned to their triple A Indianapolis Indians of the International League....

. On June 30, the team dealt Nyjer Morgan
Nyjer Morgan
Nyjer Jamid Morgan nicknamed Tony Plush is a Major League Baseball outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers....

 and Sean Burnett
Sean Burnett
Sean Richard Burnett is a relief pitcher for the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first round in 2000 after leading Wellington High School to a 6A State Title in his senior year.Known for his change-up, remarkable control, presence,...

 to the Washington Nationals
Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals are a professional baseball team based in Washington, D.C. The Nationals are a member of the Eastern Division of the National League of Major League Baseball . The team moved into the newly built Nationals Park in 2008, after playing their first three seasons in RFK Stadium...

, as well as sending utility player Eric Hinske
Eric Hinske
Eric Scott Hinske is a Major League Baseball outfielder, first baseman, and third baseman currently an Atlanta Braves organization...

 to the New York Yankees
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...

. This upset some Pirates players, including Adam LaRoche
Adam LaRoche
David Adam LaRoche , is a Major League Baseball first baseman. In 2011, the Washington Nationals signed him to a two-year deal...

 and Jack Wilson, who questioned the direction of the team. LaRoche was later traded to the Red Sox in exchange for minor leaguers Hunter Strickland and Argenis Díaz
Argenis Diaz
Argenis Díaz is a Major League Baseball shortstop in the Detroit Tigers organization.-Career:Díaz was acquired by the Boston Red Sox organization in July 2003 as an international free agent...

. On July 29, Wilson was traded to the Seattle Mariners
Seattle Mariners
The Seattle Mariners are a professional baseball team based in Seattle, Washington. Enfranchised in , the Mariners are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball's American League. Safeco Field has been the Mariners' home ballpark since July...

 in exchange for shortstop Ronny Cedeño
Ronny Cedeño
Ronny Alexander Cedeño is a Venezuelan Major League Baseball shortstop. He bats and throws right-handed and was born in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela...

 and Minor League players Jeff Clement
Jeff Clement
Jeffrey Burton Clement is a Major League Baseball first baseman who is currently in the Pittsburgh Pirates' organization. Clement was the Seattle Mariners' first round draft pick in the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft.-Amateur career:Clement was born and raised in Marshalltown, Iowa...

, Aaron Pribanic, Brett Lorin, and Nathan Adcock
Nathan Adcock
Nathan Tennyson Adcock in Campbelltown. He is an Australian cricketer who plays for the Southern Redbacks. He attended St. Peter's College, an all-boys high school in Adelaide, South Australia from 1991 to 1995, qualifying for St...

. The same day, the Pirates traded Sanchez to the San Francisco Giants
San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball team based in San Francisco, California, playing in the National League West Division....

 in exchange for Tim Alderson
Tim Alderson
Timothy Alderson is a pitcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.-Baseball career:Alderson was drafted by the San Francisco Giants 22nd overall in the first round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft...

.

On July 30, the Pirates traded pitchers John Grabow
John Grabow
John William Grabow, nicknamed "Grabes" , is a Major League Baseball left-handed reliever....

 and Tom Gorzelanny
Tom Gorzelanny
Thomas Stephen Gorzelanny is a Major League Baseball pitcher for the Washington Nationals.-Personal life:Tom grew up in Chicago, IL, graduating from Marist High School in 2000...

 to the Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs are a professional baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division of Major League Baseball's National League. They are one of two Major League clubs based in Chicago . The Cubs are also one of the two remaining charter members of the National...

 in exchange for Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart (baseball)
Kevin Richard Hart is a professional baseball pitcher who is currently playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates.-Career:...

, and minor leaguers José Ascanio
Jose Ascanio
José Eleazar Ascanio is a Venezuelan professional baseball pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball.-Baseball career:...

 and Josh Harrison
Josh Harrison
Joshua I. Harrison aka "J-Hay" or "J-Hay da Man" is an American professional baseball second baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball...

.

On September 7, 2009, the Pittsburgh Pirates were defeated by the Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs are a professional baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division of Major League Baseball's National League. They are one of two Major League clubs based in Chicago . The Cubs are also one of the two remaining charter members of the National...

 4-2. The loss was the Pirates' 82nd of the year, and it clinched for them the longest streak of consecutive losing seasons in any North American professional sport.

2010

On April 22 the Pirates suffered their worst loss in franchise history, losing to the Milwaukee Brewers
Milwaukee Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers are a professional baseball team based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, currently playing in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's National League...

 20-0. During that series against the Brewers, they were outscored 36-1. On April 27 the Pirates broke a 22 game losing streak at Miller Park, beating the Brewers 7-3. On July 20, they scored nine runs in the first inning, the first time they accomplished that feat since 1989. The very next night, Pedro Alvarez
Pedro Alvarez (baseball)
Pedro Manuel Alvarez Jr. is a Dominican-American professional baseball third baseman with the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball....

 became the first Pirate rookie in history to have multi-home run games on consecutive nights. On August 20, 2010, the Pirates clinched their 18th straight losing season in a row, extending the all-time record in the history of major sports. On September 24, 2010, the Pirates fell to the Houston Astros 10-7 to reach the century mark in losses for the first time since 2001. On October 4, 2010, the Pirates fired the team's manager, John Russell. Russell went 186-299 in three seasons, equaling a franchise record set by Fred Haney's teams from 1953 to 1955. The 2010 Pirates picked up the third most losses in franchise history, trailing only the 113-loss teams of 1890 and 1952. They also had the sixth worst winning percentage in team history and their worst since 1954.

2011

In the off season of 2010 Pirates hired a new manager Clint Hurdle. Hurdle was a part of the Colorado Rockies 2007 NL Pennant.
On May 9, 2011, the Pirates defeated the Dodgers to bring the team's W-L% to .514, the first time over .500 in May since 2004. On July 8, the Pirates defeated the Cubs to enter the All-Star break above the .500 mark for the first time since 1992. The Pirates also sent three players to the 2011 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
2011 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 2011 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 82nd in-season exhibition game between the All-Stars of the National League and the American League ; the leagues composing Major League Baseball. The event was held on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, home of the...

 with the selections of Kevin Correia
Kevin Correia
Kevin John Correia is a Major League Baseball pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates.-Early life:...

, Joel Hanrahan
Joel Hanrahan
Joel Ryan Hanrahan , nicknamed The Hammer, is a Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates.-Los Angeles Dodgers:...

 and Andrew McCutchen
Andrew McCutchen
Andrew Stefan McCutchen is an American professional baseball outfielder with the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball.-Early years:...

. This marked the first time since 1990 that the team had three All-Stars on the National League team.
On July 15, and again on July 18, the Pirates moved into first place of the NL Central. This marked the first two times that the Pirates were in first place this late in the season since 1997.

Starting in late July rumblings of "America's Team" began to surface, with ESPN television picking up 2 of their games for their nightly baseball telecast. This was in part due to the record length of prior losing seasons and in part due to the no salary cap policy of MLB. People from different parts of the country were sympathetic towards the Pirates as they still had one of the lowest payrolls in baseball (approximately one fourth of the Yankees that same year). Pirates picked up two big names off the market during the Trade Deadline on July 31. The two were Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick. The Pirates gave up Single A first basemen Aaron Baker for Derrek Lee and a "to be determined" player for Ryan Ludwick.

On July 26, a controversial call at home plate was made that lead to an extra inning loss against the Atlanta Braves. The Pirates then won only one game between July 26 and August 8, including a season-high 10 game losing streak in that span. Despite a promising season, with a loss to the St Louis Cardinals on September 14, 2011, the team lost its 82nd game of the season, ensuring a 19 year long losing season streak.

Philadelphia Phillies

The rivalry between the Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies are a Major League Baseball team. They are the oldest continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional American sports, dating to 1883. The Phillies are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League...

 and the Pirates was considered by some to be one of the best rivalries in the National League. The rivalry started when the Pittsburgh Pirates entered play in 1887, four years after the Phillies.

The Phillies and the Pirates had remained together after the National League split into two divisions in 1969. During the period of two-division play (1969 to 1993), the two National League East
National League East
The National League East Division is one of Major League Baseball's six divisions. The Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies are tied for the most National League East Division titles . All of Atlanta's NL East titles came during a record stretch of 14 consecutive division titles...

 division rivals won the two highest numbers of division championships, reigning almost exclusively as NL East champions in the 1970s and again in the early 1990s. the Pirates nine, the Phillies six; together, the two teams' 15 championships accounted for more than half of the 25 NL East championships during that span.

After the Pirates moved to the National League Central
National League Central
The National League Central Division is one of Major League Baseball's six divisions. This division was created in 1994, by moving two teams from the Western Division and three teams from the Eastern Division of the National League...

 in 1994, the teams face each other only in two series each year and the rivalry has diminished. However, many fans, especially older ones, retain their dislike for the other team and regional differences between Eastern
Delaware Valley
The Delaware Valley is a term used to refer to the valley where the Delaware River flows, along with the surrounding communities. This includes the metropolitan area centered on the city of Philadelphia. Such educational institutions as Delaware Valley Regional High School in Alexandria Township...

 and Western Pennsylvania
Western Pennsylvania
Western Pennsylvania consists of the western third of the state of Pennsylvania in the United States. Pittsburgh is the largest city in the region, with a metropolitan area population of about 2.4 million people, and serves as its economic and cultural center. Erie, Altoona, and Johnstown are its...

 still fuel the rivalry.

Baseball Hall of Fame


Ford C. Frick Award recipients


Retired numbers


Billy Meyer
Billy Meyer
William Adam Meyer was an American baseball player and manager. He holds the dubious distinction as having played for, and managed, two of the worst teams in the history of Major League Baseball....

,
Manager, 1948–1952

Ralph Kiner
Ralph Kiner
Ralph McPherran Kiner is an American former Major League Baseball player and has been an announcer for the New York Mets since the team's inception. Though injuries forced his retirement from active play after 10 seasons, Kiner's tremendous slugging outpaced nearly all of his National League...

,
OF, 1946–1953

Willie Stargell
Willie Stargell
Wilver Dornell "Willie" Stargell , nicknamed "Pops" in the later years of his career, was a Major League Baseball left fielder and first baseman. He played his entire 21-year baseball career with the Pittsburgh Pirates...

,
OF-1B, 1962–1982; Coach, 1985

Bill Mazeroski
Bill Mazeroski
William Stanley Mazeroski , nicknamed "Maz", is a former Major League Baseball player who spent his entire career with the Pittsburgh Pirates...

,
2B, 1956–1972; Coach, 1973


Danny Murtaugh
Danny Murtaugh
Daniel Edward Murtaugh was an American second baseman, manager, front-office executive and coach in Major League Baseball best known for his 29-year association with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a player and manager...

,
IF, 1948–1951; Coach, 1956–1957;
Manager, 1957–1964, 1967, 1970–1973, 1973–1976

Pie Traynor
Pie Traynor
Harold Joseph "Pie" Traynor was an American professional baseball player, manager, scout and radio broadcaster. He played his entire Major League Baseball career as a third baseman with the Pittsburgh Pirates . He batted and threw right-handed...

,
3B, 1920–1934; Manager, 1934–1939

Roberto Clemente
Roberto Clemente
Roberto Clemente Walker was a Puerto Rican Major League Baseball right fielder. He was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, the youngest of seven children. Clemente played his entire 18-year baseball career with the Pittsburgh Pirates . He was awarded the National League's Most Valuable Player Award in...

,
OF, 1955–1972


Honus Wagner
Honus Wagner
-Louisville Colonels:Recognizing his talent, Barrow recommended Wagner to the Louisville Colonels. After some hesitation about his awkward figure, Wagner was signed by the Colonels, where he hit .338 in 61 games....

,
SS, 1900–1917; Manager, 1917; Coach, 1933–1951
(This was his number only as a coach)

Paul Waner
Paul Waner
Paul Glee Waner , nicknamed "Big Poison", was a German-American Major League Baseball right fielder.-Pittsburgh Pirates:...

,
OF, 1926–1940

Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson
Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson was the first black Major League Baseball player of the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947...

*
*retired throughout all Major League Baseball


Won-loss records

  • 100 Wins in a Season

} (103–36), Fred Clarke
Fred Clarke
Fred Clifford Clarke was a Major League Baseball player from 1894 to and manager from 1897 to 1915. A Hall of Famer, Clarke played for and managed both the Louisville Colonels and Pittsburgh Pirates. He was a left fielder and left-handed batter.Of the nine pennants in Pittsburgh franchise...


} (110–42), Fred Clarke
Fred Clarke
Fred Clifford Clarke was a Major League Baseball player from 1894 to and manager from 1897 to 1915. A Hall of Famer, Clarke played for and managed both the Louisville Colonels and Pittsburgh Pirates. He was a left fielder and left-handed batter.Of the nine pennants in Pittsburgh franchise...

  • 100 Losses in a Season
    • 1890
      1890 in baseball
      -Champions:*World Series: Brooklyn Bridegrooms 3, Louisville Colonels 3, 1 tie*National League: Brooklyn Bridegrooms*American Association: Louisville Colonels*Players' League: Boston RedsInter-league playoff: Brooklyn declined challenge by Boston...

       (23–113), Guy Hecker
      Guy Hecker
      Guy Jackson Hecker was an American pitcher in Major League Baseball. He was born in Youngsville, Pennsylvania. His debut game took place on May 2, 1882. His final game took place on September 30, 1890. During his career he played for the Louisville Eclipse and Pittsburgh Pirates...


} (51–103), Jim Callahan
Nixey Callahan
James Joseph "Nixey" Callahan was an American pitcher and left fielder in Major League Baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Colts/Orphans, and Chicago White Sox. 80px|thumb|left|He also managed the White Sox, as well as the Pittsburgh Pirates...

, Honus Wagner
Honus Wagner
-Louisville Colonels:Recognizing his talent, Barrow recommended Wagner to the Louisville Colonels. After some hesitation about his awkward figure, Wagner was signed by the Colonels, where he hit .338 in 61 games....

, and Hugo Bezdek
Hugo Bezdek
Hugo Francis Bezdek was a Czech-American sports figure who played American football and was a coach of football, basketball, and baseball. He was the head football coach at the University of Oregon , the University of Arkansas , Penn State University , and Delaware Valley College...


} (41–113), Billy Meyer
Billy Meyer
William Adam Meyer was an American baseball player and manager. He holds the dubious distinction as having played for, and managed, two of the worst teams in the history of Major League Baseball....


} (50–104), Fred Haney
Fred Haney
Fred Girard Haney was an American third baseman, manager, coach and executive in Major League Baseball. As a manager, he won two pennants and a world championship with the Milwaukee Braves and, as an executive, he was the first general manager of the expansion Los Angeles Angels of the American...


} (53–101), Fred Haney
Fred Haney
Fred Girard Haney was an American third baseman, manager, coach and executive in Major League Baseball. As a manager, he won two pennants and a world championship with the Milwaukee Braves and, as an executive, he was the first general manager of the expansion Los Angeles Angels of the American...


} (57–104), Chuck Tanner
Chuck Tanner
Charles William "Chuck" Tanner was a left fielder and manager in Major League Baseball. He was known for his unwavering confidence and infectious optimism. He managed the Pittsburgh Pirates to a World Series championship in 1979...


} (62–100), Lloyd McClendon
Lloyd McClendon
Lloyd Glenn McClendon is a former professional baseball player and manager, currently serving as the hitting coach for the Detroit Tigers under Jim Leyland...


} (57-105), John Russell

First-in-MLB accomplishments

  • First ever Major League Baseball game broadcast on the radio, a game between the Pirates and the host Philadelphia Phillies
    Philadelphia Phillies
    The Philadelphia Phillies are a Major League Baseball team. They are the oldest continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional American sports, dating to 1883. The Phillies are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League...

     aired August 5, 1921, on KDKA (AM)
    KDKA (AM)
    KDKA is a radio station licensed to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Created by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation on November 2, 1920, it is one of the world's first modern radio stations , a distinction that has also been challenged by other stations, although it has claimed to be the first in...

     Pittsburgh. The Pirates won the game 8–5.
  • In 1925
    1925 World Series
    In the 1925 World Series, the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the defending champion Washington Senators in seven games.In a reversal of fortune on all counts from the previous 1924 World Series, when Washington's Walter Johnson had come back from two losses to win the seventh and deciding game, Johnson...

    , the Pirates became the first MLB team to recover from a 3-games-to-1 deficit in winning a best-of-seven World Series; they then became the first MLB team to repeat that feat, in 1979
    1979 World Series
    The 1979 World Series matched the National League's Pittsburgh Pirates against the American League's Baltimore Orioles , with the Pirates coming back from a three games to one deficit to win the Series in seven games...

    .
  • During the 1953
    1953 in baseball
    -Major League Baseball:*World Series: New York Yankees over Brooklyn Dodgers *All-Star Game, July 14 at Crosley Field: National League, 5-1-Other champions:*Caribbean World Series: Cangrejeros de Santurce *College World Series: Michigan...

     season, the Pirates became the first team to permanently adopt batting helmets on both offense and defense. These helmets resembled a primitive fiberglass “miner’s cap”. This was the mandate of general manager Branch Rickey
    Branch Rickey
    Wesley Branch Rickey was an innovative Major League Baseball executive elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967...

    , who also owned stock in the company producing the helmets. Under Rickey’s orders, all Pirate players had to wear the helmets both at bat and in the field. The helmets became a permanent feature for all Pirate hitters, but within a few weeks the team began to abandon their use of helmets in the field, partly because of their awkwardly heavy feel. Once the Pirates discarded the helmets on defense, the trend disappeared from the game.
  • First franchise to win a World Series on a home run
    Walk-off home run
    In baseball, a walk-off home run is a home run that ends the game. It must be a home run that gives the home team the lead in the bottom of the final inning of the game—either the ninth inning, or any extra inning, or any other regularly scheduled final inning...

    (1960 World Series
    1960 World Series
    The 1960 World Series was played between the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League and the New York Yankees of the American League from October 5 to October 13, 1960...

    ) in the decisive 7th game. The only other team to meet this feat is the Toronto Blue Jays
    1993 Toronto Blue Jays season
    The Toronto Blue Jays season involved the Blue Jays finishing first in the American League East with a record of 95 wins and 67 losses. They were shut out only once in 162 regular-season games. The Blue Jays would repeat as World Champions and become the first back-to-back champions since the New...

     in 1993
    1993 World Series
    -Game 1:Saturday, October 16, 1993 at SkyDome in Toronto, OntarioThe Series' first game sent two staff aces—Curt Schilling for Philadelphia and Juan Guzman for Toronto—against one another. The result was less than a pitcher's duel, however, as both teams scored early and often.The deciding plays...

    , though they accomplished it in game 6.
  • The first all-minority lineup in MLB history took the field on September 1, . The lineup was Rennie Stennett
    Rennie Stennett
    Renaldo Antonio Stennett Porte , is a former second baseman in Major League Baseball. Stennett played with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants . He batted and threw right-handed...

    , Gene Clines
    Gene Clines
    Eugene Anthony Clines is a former outfielder in Major League Baseball, Clines played for the Pittsburgh Pirates , New York Mets , Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs . He was also the hitting coach for the Chicago Cubs from 2005-2006...

    , Roberto Clemente
    Roberto Clemente
    Roberto Clemente Walker was a Puerto Rican Major League Baseball right fielder. He was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, the youngest of seven children. Clemente played his entire 18-year baseball career with the Pittsburgh Pirates . He was awarded the National League's Most Valuable Player Award in...

    , Willie Stargell
    Willie Stargell
    Wilver Dornell "Willie" Stargell , nicknamed "Pops" in the later years of his career, was a Major League Baseball left fielder and first baseman. He played his entire 21-year baseball career with the Pittsburgh Pirates...

    , Manny Sanguillen
    Manny Sanguillen
    Manuel De Jesus Sanguillen Magan, better known as Manny Sanguillen or "Sangy" , is a former professional baseball player who was a catcher in the Major Leagues. He was named to the All-Star team three times, in , , and . He played primarily for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but also for the Oakland...

    , Dave Cash
    Dave Cash (baseball)
    David Cash, Jr. is a former Major League Baseball second baseman who played in the National League for the Pittsburgh Pirates , Philadelphia Phillies , Montreal Expos and San Diego Padres .Cash established himself as a solid singles hitter and a good defensive second baseman in his seasons with...

    , Al Oliver
    Al Oliver
    Albert Oliver, Jr. is a former Major League Baseball player. Over the course of his 18-year career, he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates , Texas Rangers , Montreal Expos , San Francisco Giants , Philadelphia Phillies , Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays...

    , Jackie Hernandez
    Jackie Hernandez
    Jacinto Hernández Zulueta is a former Major League Baseball shortstop and third baseman from 1965 to 1973....

    , and Dock Ellis
    Dock Ellis
    Dock Phillip Ellis, Jr. was a professional baseball player who pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates, among other teams in Major League Baseball. His best season was 1971, when he won 19 games for the World Series champion Pirates and was the starting pitcher for the National League in the All-Star...

    .
  • The first World Series night game was played in Three Rivers Stadium
    Three Rivers Stadium
    Three Rivers Stadium was a multi-purpose stadium located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1970 to 2000. It was home to the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Pittsburgh Steelers, the city's Major League Baseball franchise and National Football League franchise respectively.Built as a replacement to...

     on October 13, —eleven years to the day since Mazeroski's walk-off homer brought the Pirates their last World Series title in 1960. In this case, however, it was Game 4 between the Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles, rather than a decisive Game 7. Apparently, good things happen for the Pirates on this date, as they knotted the '71 Series
    1971 World Series
    The 1971 World Series matched the defending champion Baltimore Orioles against the Pittsburgh Pirates, with the Pirates winning in seven games. Game 4, played in Pittsburgh, was the first-ever World Series game scheduled to be played at night....

     at two games apiece on their way to their fourth title.
  • The first combined extra inning
    Extra innings
    Extra innings is the extension of a baseball or softball game in order to break a tie.Ordinarily, a baseball game consists of nine innings , each of which is divided into halves: the visiting team bats first, after which the home team takes its turn at bat...

     no-hitter
    No-hitter
    A no-hitter is a baseball game in which one team has no hits. In Major League Baseball, the team must be without hits during the entire game, and the game must be at least nine innings. A pitcher who prevents the opposing team from achieving a hit is said to have "thrown a no-hitter"...

    in MLB history took place at Three Rivers Stadium on July 12, . Francisco Cordova
    Francisco Cordova
    Francisco Córdova is a former Major League Baseball left-handed starting pitcher who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates from - and who is currently playing in the Mexican Triple-A League for the Petroleros de Minatitlán.-Career:On January 18, 1996, Córdova was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as...

     (9 innings) and Ricardo Rincon
    Ricardo Rincón
    Ricardo Rincón Espinoza was a Major League Baseball relief pitcher.Rincón was a left-handed specialist who spent nearly his entire career as a middle reliever and setup pitcher. In his 10-year career, Rincón never started a game and only accumulated 21 saves...

     (1 inning) combined to no-hit the Houston Astros
    1997 Houston Astros season
    The 1997 Houston Astros season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Houston Astros attempting to win the National League Central.-Opening Day starters:*Bobby Abreu*Brad Ausmus*Jeff Bagwell*Derek Bell*Sean Berry*Craig Biggio*Luis Gonzalez...

    , 3–0 in 10 innings. Pinch-hitter Mark Smith's
    Mark Smith (baseball outfielder)
    Mark Edward Smith is a retired Major League Baseball outfielder.-Professional career:Mark Smith played between 1994 and 2003 for the Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates, Florida Marlins, Montreal Expos and Milwaukee Brewers...

     three-run walk-off home run
    Walk-off home run
    In baseball, a walk-off home run is a home run that ends the game. It must be a home run that gives the home team the lead in the bottom of the final inning of the game—either the ninth inning, or any extra inning, or any other regularly scheduled final inning...

     in the bottom of the 10th inning sealed the victory and the no-hitter for the Pirates. It remains the only such no-hitter to date.
  • In November , the Pirates became the first MLB team to sign India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

    n players
    when they acquired the non-draft free agents of Rinku Singh
    Rinku Singh
    Rinku Singh is a left-handed baseball pitcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.-Early Life in Bhadoni:...

     and Dinesh Patel
    Dinesh Patel
    Dinesh Patel is a right-handed baseball pitcher that played in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Along with Rinku Singh, he is the first Indian national ever to sign a contract with a major American sports club....

    . This was also seen by Pirates General Manager
    General manager (baseball)
    In Major League Baseball, the general manager of a team typically controls player transactions and bears the primary responsibility on behalf of the ballclub during contract discussions with players....

    , Neal Huntington
    Neal Huntington
    Neal Alden Huntington is the 12th person to serve as General Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Baseball organization...

    , as "not only add[ing] two prospects to our system but also hope to open a pathway to an untapped market."
  • The Pirates became the first team in MLB history (as well as all professional sports) to have 19 consecutive losing seasons with a record of 72-90 in 2011.

Minor league affiliations

Level Team League Location
AAA Indianapolis Indians
Indianapolis Indians
The Indianapolis Indians are a minor league baseball team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The team, which plays in the International League, is the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates major-league club. The Indians play at Victory Field, located in downtown Indianapolis...

International League
International League
The International League is a minor league baseball league that operates in the eastern United States. Like the Pacific Coast League and the Mexican League, it plays at the Triple-A level, which is one step below Major League Baseball. It was so named because it had teams in both the United States...

Indianapolis, IN
Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Indiana, and the county seat of Marion County, Indiana. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population is 839,489. It is by far Indiana's largest city and, as of the 2010 U.S...

AA Altoona Curve
Altoona Curve
The Altoona Curve are a minor league baseball team based in Altoona, Pennsylvania, named after nearby Horseshoe Curve . The team, which plays in the Eastern League, is the Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates major-league club...

Eastern League
Eastern League (U.S. baseball)
The Eastern League is a minor league baseball league which operates primarily in the northeastern United States, although it has had a team in Ohio since 1989. The Eastern League has played at the AA level since 1963. The league was founded in 1923 as the New York-Pennsylvania League...

Altoona, PA
Altoona, Pennsylvania
-History:A major railroad town, Altoona was founded by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1849 as the site for a shop complex. Altoona was incorporated as a borough on February 6, 1854, and as a city under legislation approved on April 3, 1867, and February 8, 1868...

Advanced A Bradenton Marauders
Bradenton Marauders
The Bradenton Marauders are a minor league baseball team based in Bradenton, Florida that plays in the Florida State League. The Marauders are the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Their home games are played at McKechnie Field, which also serves as the Pirates' spring training...

Florida State League
Florida State League
The Florida State League is a Class A-Advanced minor league baseball league operating in the state of Florida. They are one of three leagues currently operating in Class A-Advanced, the third highest of six classifications of minor leagues...

Bradenton, FL
Bradenton, Florida
Bradenton is a city in Manatee County, Florida, United States. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's 2007 population to be 53,471. Bradenton is the largest Principal City of the Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a 2007 estimated population of 682,833...

A West Virginia Power
West Virginia Power
This article is about the baseball team, for the electric utility serving southeast West Virginia from 1986-99, see Allegheny Energy.The West Virginia Power is a minor league baseball team of the South Atlantic League, and is the Class A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. They are located in...

South Atlantic League
South Atlantic League
The South Atlantic League is a minor league baseball league based chiefly in the Southeastern United States, with the exception of three teams in the Mid-Atlantic States...

Charleston, WV
Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers in Kanawha County. As of the 2010 census, it has a population of 51,400, and its metropolitan area 304,214. It is the county seat of Kanawha County.Early...

Short Season A State College Spikes
State College Spikes
The State College Spikes are a minor league baseball team that currently plays in the New York – Penn League. The Spikes play their home games at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park located on the main campus of Pennsylvania State University located in University Park, Pennsylvania. Medlar Field is...

New York-Penn League University Park, PA
University Park, Pennsylvania
University Park, Pennsylvania is an unincorporated community in Centre County, Pennsylvania, United States, and is the location of the flagship campus of the Pennsylvania State University....

Rookie GCL Pirates Gulf Coast League
Gulf Coast League
The Gulf Coast League is a minor league baseball league which operates in Florida. It is a Rookie League, with a season running from mid-June to late August. The season is 60 games long and teams in the league are divided into three divisions, East, North and South...

Bradenton, FL
Bradenton, Florida
Bradenton is a city in Manatee County, Florida, United States. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's 2007 population to be 53,471. Bradenton is the largest Principal City of the Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a 2007 estimated population of 682,833...

VSL Pirates
Venezuelan Summer Pirates
The Dominican Summer Pirates 2 or DSL Pirates 2 are the second Dominican Summer League team affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates and is based in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic....

Venezuelan Summer League
Venezuelan Summer League
The Venezuelan Summer League is a minor league baseball rookie league which operates in Carabobo and Aragua states, Venezuela.The VSL was created in 1997, after several operational years of the Major League Baseball's academies in the country...

Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

DSL Pirates
Dominican Summer Pirates
The Dominican Summer Pirates are a minor league baseball team in the Dominican Summer League. The team plays in the San Pedro de Macorís division and is affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Past players include Aramis Ramírez, José Guillén and Ronny Paulino....

Dominican Summer League
Dominican Summer League
The Dominican Summer League is a branch of affiliated minor league baseball which is played in the Dominican Republic. The league was founded in 1985. The 2011 72-game season begins May 28 and ends August 20...

Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...


Fanbase

Despite having some notable fans including former part-owner Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation....

 and more recently Regis Philbin
Regis Philbin
Regis Francis Xavier Philbin is an American media personality, actor and singer, known for hosting talk and game shows since the 1960s. Philbin is often called "the hardest working man in show business" and holds the Guinness World Record for the most time spent in front of a television camera...

, the Pirates are considered by most to be a distant third in Pittsburgh behind the Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers are a professional football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The team currently belongs to the North Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League . Founded in , the Steelers are the oldest franchise in the AFC...

 and Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins
The Pittsburgh Penguins are a professional ice hockey team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League . The franchise was founded in 1967 as one of the first expansion teams during the league's original...

 in popularity among Pittsburgh's three major professional sports teams. Many surveys have backed up this finding as well. However, due to their long history in Pittsburgh dating back to 1882, the team has retained a strong loyal following in the Pittsburgh region.

While the team's recent struggles compared to Pittsburgh's other two teams can be partly to blame (since the Pirates last World Series championship in 1979, the Steelers have won the Super Bowl
Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is the championship game of the National Football League , the highest level of professional American football in the United States, culminating a season that begins in the late summer of the previous calendar year. The Super Bowl uses Roman numerals to identify each game, rather...

 and the Penguins the Stanley Cup
Stanley Cup
The Stanley Cup is an ice hockey club trophy, awarded annually to the National Hockey League playoffs champion after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Finals. It has been referred to as The Cup, Lord Stanley's Cup, The Holy Grail, or facetiously as Lord Stanley's Mug...

 three times each, including both in 2009
City of Champions
The term City of Champions may refer to:* Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA: so named during the late 1970s/early 1980s and again during the late 2000s for sporting success * Boston, Massachusetts, USA: so named during the 2000s for sporting success...

), distractions off the field have also caused the team's popularity to slip in the city. While the team was ranked first in Pittsburgh as recent as the late 1970s, the Pittsburgh drug trials
Pittsburgh drug trials
The Pittsburgh drug trials of 1985 were the catalyst for a baseball-related cocaine scandal which resulted in the harshest Major League Baseball penalties since the Black Sox scandal of 1919...

 in 1985 and two relocation threats since are believed to have also seen the team's popularity dipped. The team's standing among fans has, however, improved since PNC Park
PNC Park
PNC Park is a baseball park located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is the fifth home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the city's Major League Baseball franchise. It opened during the 2001 Major League Baseball season, after the controlled implosion of the Pirates' previous home, Three Rivers Stadium...

 opened in 2001.

Community activities

Each year, the Pirates recognize six “Community Champions” during a special pregame ceremony.

Radio and television

In , the Pirates chose to end the longest relationship between a team and a radio station
Radio station
Radio broadcasting is a one-way wireless transmission over radio waves intended to reach a wide audience. Stations can be linked in radio networks to broadcast a common radio format, either in broadcast syndication or simulcast or both...

 in American professional sports
Professional sports
Professional sports, as opposed to amateur sports, are sports in which athletes receive payment for their performance. Professional athleticism has come to the fore through a combination of developments. Mass media and increased leisure have brought larger audiences, so that sports organizations...

. KDKA
KDKA (AM)
KDKA is a radio station licensed to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Created by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation on November 2, 1920, it is one of the world's first modern radio stations , a distinction that has also been challenged by other stations, although it has claimed to be the first in...

 first broadcast the Pirates on August 5, 1921; with Westinghouse foreman Harold Arlin behind the mic. Broadcasts ended in 1924, but returned in 1936. Except for a few years on WWSW
WBGG (AM)
WBGG is a sports radio station based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, owned by Clear Channel Communications. The station broadcasts at 970 kHz with 5,000 watts day and night.- History :...

 in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the Pirates were on KDKA for 61 years. KDKA's 50,000-watt clear channel enabled Pirates fans across the eastern half of North America at night to hear the games.

That changed for the 2007 season, when the Pirates moved to FM talk radio
Talk radio
Talk radio is a radio format containing discussion about topical issues. Most shows are regularly hosted by a single individual, and often feature interviews with a number of different guests. Talk radio typically includes an element of listener participation, usually by broadcasting live...

 station WPGB
WPGB
WPGB is a conservative talk radio station based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Owned by Clear Channel Communications, the station broadcasts at 104.7 MHz with an ERP of 13 kW...

. The Pirates cited the desire to reach more people in the 25–54 age bracket coveted by advertisers. The acquisition of the rights means that Clear Channel Communications
Clear Channel Communications
Clear Channel Communications, Inc. is an American media conglomerate company headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. It was founded in 1972 by Lowry Mays and Red McCombs, and was taken private by Bain Capital LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP in a leveraged buyout in 2008...

 holds the rights to every major sports team in Pittsburgh. The Pirates have long had a radio network that has extended across four states. Stations for the 2007 season include Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland radio broadcasters.

On October 1, 2011, Clear Channel announced that they will not renew their deal with the Pirates. It was speculated that the club's radio broadcasting rights would likely be transferred back to CBS Radio
CBS Radio
CBS Radio, Inc., formerly known as Infinity Broadcasting Corporation, is one of the largest owners and operators of radio stations in the United States, third behind main rival Clear Channel Communications and Cumulus Media. CBS Radio owns around 130 radio stations across the country...

 via FM sports radio
Sports radio
Sports radio is a radio format devoted entirely to discussion and broadcasting of sporting events. A popular format with an almost exclusively male demographic in most areas, sports radio is characterized by an often-boisterous on-air style and extensive debate and analysis by both hosts and...

 station KDKA-FM, which became official on October 12.

Games are televised on Root Sports Pittsburgh, the Pirates' cable television
Cable television
Cable television is a system of providing television programs to consumers via radio frequency signals transmitted to televisions through coaxial cables or digital light pulses through fixed optical fibers located on the subscriber's property, much like the over-the-air method used in traditional...

 outlet since 1986, when it was known as KBL. There has been no over-the-air coverage of the Pirates since , when some games were on WCWB
WPMY
WPMY is the MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station for Western Pennsylvania that is licensed to Pittsburgh. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 42 from a transmitter located in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. Owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, WPMY is the sister station of...

. KDKA-TV
KDKA-TV
KDKA-TV, channel 2, is an owned and operated television station of the CBS Television Network, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. KDKA-TV broadcasts from a transmitter located in the Perry North neighborhood of Pittsburgh, and its studios are located in downtown Pittsburgh at Gateway Center....

 aired Pirates games for 38 years (1957–1994). Games aired on WPXI
WPXI
WPXI, channel 11, is the NBC-affiliated television station for Western Pennsylvania that is licensed to Pittsburgh. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 48 from a transmitter located on the north side of Pittsburgh. Owned by Cox Enterprises, the station has studios in the...

 from 1995 to 1996 and on WPGH-TV
WPGH-TV
WPGH-TV is the Fox-affiliated television station for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 43 from a transmitter at its studios on Ivory Avenue in the city's Summer Hill section. The station can also be seen on Verizon FiOS and Comcast channel 7...

 and WCWB from 1997 to 2002.

Announcers Greg Brown
Greg Brown (broadcaster)
Greg Brown is a sports announcer, born in Washington, D.C., who currently works for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Root Sports Pittsburgh and 93.7 the fan . He has worked in the booth for the Pirates since 1994. He works with Steve Blass, Bob Walk, John Wehner, and Tim Neverett...

, Bob Walk
Bob Walk
Robert Vernon Walk is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. Nicknamed "The Whirly Bird," Walk spent his career pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies , Atlanta Braves , and Pittsburgh Pirates .During his rookie season in Philadelphia, he recorded 11 regular season wins and a victory in Game One...

, John Wehner
John Wehner
John Paul Wehner is a former Utility player in Major League Baseball and a current broadcaster for the Pittsburgh Pirates...

, and Steve Blass
Steve Blass
Stephen Robert "Steve" Blass is a former Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher and a current broadcast announcer for the Pittsburgh Pirates.-Playing career:Blass was born in Canaan, Connecticut...

 shuttle between the radio and TV booths. Also, Tim Neverett began calling Pirates games in 2009 after Lanny Frattare, also known as the voice of the Pirates, retired after the 2008 season. He was the longest working announcer in Pirates history (33 seasons). Neverett, has called NHL, MLB, and Olympic games. Former Pirates closer
Closer (baseball)
In baseball, a closing pitcher, more frequently referred to as a closer , is a relief pitcher who specializes in closing out games, i.e., getting the final outs in a close game. Closers often appear when the score is close, and the role is often assigned to a team's best reliever. A small number of...

 Kent Tekulve
Kent Tekulve
Kenton Charles Tekulve is a former Major League Baseball right-handed relief pitcher. During a 16-year baseball career, he pitched for three different teams, but spent most of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates...

, a member of the team's 1979 World Series Championship team
1979 World Series
The 1979 World Series matched the National League's Pittsburgh Pirates against the American League's Baltimore Orioles , with the Pirates coming back from a three games to one deficit to win the Series in seven games...

, serves as a post-game analyst for the team on Root Sports Pittsburgh.

On October 1, 2008, longtime play-by-play announcer Lanny Frattare
Lanny Frattare
Lanny Lawrence Frattare is a former American sportscaster. For 33 years he was a play-by-play announcer for Major League Baseball's Pittsburgh Pirates, the longest such tenure in the team's history...

 retired after 33 seasons, having called Pirates' games since the 1976 season. He is the longest-tenured announcer in Pirates' history, surpassing the man he replaced, the late Bob Prince
Bob Prince
Robert Ferris Prince was an American radio and television sportscaster and commentator best known for his 28-year stint as the voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Baseball club, with whom he earned the nickname “The Gunner” and became a cultural icon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.Prince was...

 (28 seasons, 1948–1975).

On December 18, 2008, the Pirates hired former Colorado Rockies
Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies are a Major League Baseball team based in Denver, Colorado. Established in 1991, they started play in 1993 and are in the West Division of the National League. The team is named after the Rocky Mountains...

 broadcaster Tim Neverett as the new play-by-play announcer. Neverett joined Greg Brown in calling Pirates games on radio and television.

Figures with broadcasting resumés

  • Eric Bolling
    Eric Bolling
    Eric Bolling is an American television personality who specializes in financial news and political commentary. He has occupied numerous roles as a commentator on financial issues for television. Bolling was involved in developing CNBC's Fast Money...

  • Ralph Kiner
    Ralph Kiner
    Ralph McPherran Kiner is an American former Major League Baseball player and has been an announcer for the New York Mets since the team's inception. Though injuries forced his retirement from active play after 10 seasons, Kiner's tremendous slugging outpaced nearly all of his National League...

  • Nellie Briles
  • Steve Blass
    Steve Blass
    Stephen Robert "Steve" Blass is a former Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher and a current broadcast announcer for the Pittsburgh Pirates.-Playing career:Blass was born in Canaan, Connecticut...

  • Bob Walk
    Bob Walk
    Robert Vernon Walk is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. Nicknamed "The Whirly Bird," Walk spent his career pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies , Atlanta Braves , and Pittsburgh Pirates .During his rookie season in Philadelphia, he recorded 11 regular season wins and a victory in Game One...

  • John Wehner
    John Wehner
    John Paul Wehner is a former Utility player in Major League Baseball and a current broadcaster for the Pittsburgh Pirates...


Logos & uniforms

The Pirates have had many uniforms and logo changes over the years, with the only consistency being the "P" on the team's cap. It was adopted in the mid-1940s. Aside from style changes in the cap itself, the "P" logo has remained since.

The Pirates have long been innovators in baseball uniforms. In 1948, the team broke away from the patriotic "Red, White, & Blue" color scheme when they adopted the current black & gold color scheme, to match that of the colors of the Flag of Pittsburgh
Flag of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The flag of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is a tricolor flag featuring vertical bands of black and gold. The coat of arms of the City of Pittsburgh is charged in the center of the gold stripe....

 and, to a lesser extent at the time, the colors of the then-relatively unknown Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers are a professional football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The team currently belongs to the North Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League . Founded in , the Steelers are the oldest franchise in the AFC...

 of the NFL. While they were not the first baseball team to do this, they were one of the first to do this permanently. Along with the San Francisco Giants
San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball team based in San Francisco, California, playing in the National League West Division....

, the Pirates are one of two pre-expansion National League
National League
The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League , is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball, and the world's oldest extant professional team sports league. Founded on February 2, 1876, to replace the National Association of Professional...

 teams that completely changed their colors, although red returned as an "accent color" in 1997 and remained until 2009.

In the late 1950s, the team adopted sleeveless jerseys. While not an innovation by the team (that honor goes to the Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds
The Cincinnati Reds are a Major League Baseball team based in Cincinnati, Ohio. They are members of the National League Central Division. The club was established in 1882 as a charter member of the American Association and joined the National League in 1890....

), the Pirates did help to popularize the look. The team brought back the vested jerseys in 2001, a style they retained until 2009, although the away jerseys said "Pittsburgh" in script instead of "Pirates." In 2009, they introduced a new home, away and alternate black jersey all with sleeves. However, they kept the pinstriped sleeveless vest for Sunday home games.

To coincide with the move into Three Rivers Stadium
Three Rivers Stadium
Three Rivers Stadium was a multi-purpose stadium located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1970 to 2000. It was home to the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Pittsburgh Steelers, the city's Major League Baseball franchise and National Football League franchise respectively.Built as a replacement to...

 in 1970, the team introduced pullover spandex
Spandex
Spandex or elastane is a synthetic fibre known for its exceptional elasticity. It is strong, but less durable than natural Latex, its major non-synthetic competitor. It is a polyurethane-polyurea copolymer that was co-invented in 1959 by chemists C. L. Sandquist and Joseph Shivers at DuPont's...

 uniforms, the first such team in baseball, and a look that would quickly be adopted by most other teams by the end of the decade. The Pirates ditched the pullover style in favor of the traditional button-down style in 1991, one of the last teams to switch.

The Pirates were also innovators in third jersey
Third jersey
A third jersey or alternate jersey is a sports team's alternate and/or throwback design for the previously established other two jerseys, the home and away outfits. Alternate jerseys are used in all four of the North American major professional sports leagues as well as college sports, semipro...

s. Even though it would be the Oakland A's
Oakland Athletics
The Oakland Athletics are a Major League Baseball team based in Oakland, California. The Athletics are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball's American League. From to the present, the Athletics have played in the O.co Coliseum....

 that would beat them to having such jerseys, the Pirates, by 1977
1977 Pittsburgh Pirates season
- Offseason :* November 5, 1976: Manny Sanguillén was traded by the Pirates to the Oakland Athletics for manager Chuck Tanner.* December 10, 1976: Richie Zisk and Silvio Martínez were traded by the Pirates to the Chicago White Sox for Goose Gossage and Terry Forster.* March 15, 1977: Rick Langford,...

 had different uniform styles that included two different caps, two different undershirts, three different jerseys and three different pairs of trousers. They would actually rotate (and sometimes mix, with painful results) these styles daily until returning to the basic white and gray uniform ensemble in 1985
1985 Pittsburgh Pirates season
The Pittsburgh Pirates finished in sixth place in the National League East, with a record of 57-104, 43½ games behind the NL Champion St. Louis Cardinals.- Offseason :* December 12, 1984: Brian Harper and John Tudor were traded by the Pirates to the St...

.

In 1976, the National League
National League
The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League , is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball, and the world's oldest extant professional team sports league. Founded on February 2, 1876, to replace the National Association of Professional...

 celebrated its 100th anniversary. To coincide with it, certain NL teams wore old-style pillbox hats complete with horizontal pinstripes. After the season, the Pirates were the only team to adopt the hats permanently, (alternating between a black hat and a gold hat for several seasons until keeping the black hat in 1985
1985 Pittsburgh Pirates season
The Pittsburgh Pirates finished in sixth place in the National League East, with a record of 57-104, 43½ games behind the NL Champion St. Louis Cardinals.- Offseason :* December 12, 1984: Brian Harper and John Tudor were traded by the Pirates to the St...

) and kept the hat through the 1986 season
1986 Pittsburgh Pirates season
In his rookie season, Barry Bonds led the Pirates with 36 Stolen Bases and finished second on the club with 16 Home Runs.-Offseason:* December 10, 1985: Bobby Bonilla was drafted from the Pirates by the Chicago White Sox in the 1985 rule 5 draft....

, which would be Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds
Barry Lamar Bonds is an American former Major League Baseball outfielder. Bonds played from 1986 to 2007, for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. He is the son of former major league All-Star Bobby Bonds...

 rookie season with the team. The hats, which recall the team's last World Series
1979 World Series
The 1979 World Series matched the National League's Pittsburgh Pirates against the American League's Baltimore Orioles , with the Pirates coming back from a three games to one deficit to win the Series in seven games...

 championship season (1979
1979 Pittsburgh Pirates season
The 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates had 98 wins and 64 losses and captured the National League East Division title by two games over the Montreal Expos. The Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds to win their ninth National League title, and the Baltimore Orioles to win their fifth World Series title - and also...

), remain popular items in the throwback
Throwback uniform
Throwback uniforms and jerseys are one-time or limited-time variations on a sports team's uniforms styled to resemble uniforms from that team's past. They have proven popular in all major pro and college sports in the USA, not only with fans, but with the teams' marketing and merchandising...

 market.

See also


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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