Top 3 Pirates Managers of all time (1891-2012)

1.       Fred Clarke (1900-1915)

Fred Clarke began managing the Pirates in 1900 after their move to the National League.  His 1422 victories and 969 losses are the most of any Pirates managers of all time in both categories.  He as well was the longest tenured manager in Pittsburgh’s long history at 16 seasons.  Clarke was a player manager and in 1909 managed the Pirates to their first ever World Series Title, defeating Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers.

2.       Danny Murtaugh (1957-1964, 1967, 1970-1971, 1973-76)

The only Pirates manager to serve four separate terms, Danny Murtaugh was one of the best baseball has ever seen.  Originally retiring in 1964 from health problems, he took a front office job mainly evaluating players.  When interim manager Harry Walker was fired during the 1967 season Murtaugh was essentially forced into the managerial spot for the season before returning to his front office job.  Murtaugh regained control of the team after the 1969 season and helped guide the Pirates to the 1971 World Series title, making this the second one he was responsible for (1960) and the only Pirates manager to ever win multiple titles with the team.

3.       Chuck Tanner (1977-1985)

Chuck Tanner was, at the time, one of only two managers ever who had been a part of a trade for a player.  After managing the Oakland Athletics to 3 consecutive World Championships Tanner’s services were traded to the Pirates for Manny Sanguillen.  After falling behind 3 games to 1 to the Baltimore Orioles in the 1979 World Series, Tanner managed the Pirates to an improbable series comeback; once again bringing the World Series Championship to Pittsburgh.  Tanner now serves as an adviser to Pirates general manager Neal Huntington.

Top Three Pirates Players to Watch in 2012

The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to continue their winning ways in 2012, and will be led by a solid core of talent.  With some major moves in the offseason the Pirates showed they are willing to do what it takes to win now, while also have an eye on the future as well.  What follows are the top three Pirates players to watch in 2012.

A.J. Burnett

Burnett came over in a blockbuster trade during the 2011-12 offseason, and will play a crucial role in the starting rotation.  Burnett has been in the league since 1999, when he first started out with the Florida Marlins.  He played with them for seven seasons before moving on to the Toronto Blue Jays, where he really found his stride.  In 2008 for the team A.J. had an 18-10 record with 221 innings pitched and 231 strikeouts.  After that season he moved on over to the New York Yankees, where he had three lackluster seasons with the team.  Hopefully a change of scenery will prove beneficial for Burnett, as he still has a lot left in the tank.

Andrew McCutchen

Andrew is the franchise player on the team to this point, and much will be expected of him throughout the 2012 season as he leads the Pirates’ offense.  In only three years McCutchen has shown that he has what it takes to be a breakout star in the Major Leagues, with a great combination of both power and speed; in 2011 Andrew had 23 home runs and 23 stolen bases to go along with 89 RBIs.  If the team wants to continue having success in 2012 McCutchen will have to come through once again.

James McDonald

In his first full season in 2011, McDonald showed that he can be a legitimate starter for the Pirates, and he will be looked upon as an anchor for the rotation in 2012.  McDonald started off the 2011 season great but sort of faded away towards the end, and he will need to be more consistent for the Pirates to have a chance of making the playoffs in 2012.

Buy Pittsburgh Pirates Tickets

Buy Pittsburgh Pirates Tickets

2012 is going to be an exciting season for the Pittsburgh Pirates and fans should look to buy Pittsburgh Pirates tickets today. With the 2012 season coming into full swing shortly and PNC park ready for fans, team manager Clint Hurdle is ready to lead his team into a stellar performance. After having a season of going .444 last year, they are going to look to improve upon their record. Of course, there are other top teams in their division like the Reds, Cardinals and Astros that will also be posing themselves as contenders for doing well. Nonetheless, fans should buy Pittsburgh Pirates tickets because this team is up and coming and will deliver a great performance because the talent pool is surely there. With the new manager after the firing of John Russell, the Pirates will look to stop their losing streak of 19 years. Fans should buy Pittsburgh Pirates tickets today!

Best Pittsburgh Pirates Team of All Time

Best Pittsburgh Pirates Team of All Time

The Pittsburgh Pirates were established in 1882 and were one of the first teams to join the National League in 1887.  Since that time the team has won a total of 5 World Series Titles, led by famous players such as Roberto Clemente and Ralph Kiner.  While there were many great Pittsburgh Pirate teams throughout the franchise’s 129 year existence, there are two that are especially worth noting.

1909 Pittsburgh Pirates
The 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates won the franchise’s first World Series.  The 1909 World Series was one of the most memorable of its era as well, in which Honus Wagner of the Pirates faced off against Ty Cobb.  Wagner is considered by most baseball historians (and players) to be the greatest shortstop of all time, with a .327 career batting average and 3,415 hits to his credit.  However, both would be overshadowed by the pitching performance of rookie Babe Adams for the Pirates, who pitched three complete game six-hitters to lead the Pirates to a seven game win over the Tigers for the World Series title.

1960 Pittsburgh Pirates
Going into the 1960 World Series the Pittsburgh Pirates were seen as having now chance against the New York Yankees, with such greats as Roger Maris, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, and Whitey Ford leading their powerful offense and pitching rotation.  The Pirates had a couple of stars of their own at the time with Roberto Clemente and Bill Mazeroski hitting for the team.  Clemente was considered by many to be one of the best right fielders of all time, with a career batting average of .317 and 3,000 hits; Mazeroski on the other hand was considered as one of the best fielding second basemen of all time and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.  Even though the Yankees outscored the Pirates by an astounding margin of 55 runs to 27, including three games where the Pirates lost by at least 10 runs, they were able to pull it out in game 7 with the majestic home run by Bill Mazeroski in the ninth inning.  It still stands as the only home run hit to win a World Series in a game 7 (Joe Carter did it in game 6).

2011 Pittsburgh Pirates Season

2011 Pittsburgh Pirates Season

While the Pittsburgh Pirates have well over a decade’s worth of losing seasons, the 2011 season for the team was certainly a great surprise, especially during the first half.  With a 2010 record of 57-105 it wasn’t expected that the Pirates would make a lot of noise in 2011.  A lot of it has to do with having such a young team full of potential talent.  The offense going into the 2011 season would be placed on the shoulders of 24 year old Neil Walker, 23 year old Andrew McCutchen, and 21 year old Jose Tabata.  The starting pitching and bullpen were much the same as well, with James McDonald being converted from reliever to starting pitcher.

As the midseason came to an end in 2011 the Pittsburgh Pirates shockingly found themselves atop the National League Central with a record of 52-47.  One of the main reasons for the team’s success to the midseason point was a strong pitching rotation; the rotation had an overall ERA lower than 3.50, which was one of the best in the league at the time.  The role players mentioned earlier also stepped it up, with McCutchen earning an all-star appearance for his stellar hitting.

Unfortunately during the latter part of the regular season the starting pitching somehow lost its touch, and even with the additions of Ryan Ludwick and Derrek Lee the offense stagnated as well.  Combine these two together and you have a team that will end another season with a losing record.  However, there is much to be said of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011.  Their starting pitching certainly showed flashes of brilliance, and if they can continue to develop alongside a young offense one can expect this team to break the losing record very soon.

PNC Park

PNC Park

PNC Park is one of the best ballparks to visit in all of Major League Baseball.  PNC Park was originally constructed in 2001 by Dick Corporation and Barton Malow, and is the fifth stadium of the Pittsburgh Pirates since the late nineteenth century.  The total cost of the stadium itself was approximately $260 million, with the owner of the park being the city of Pittsburgh.  As far as seating, PNC Park has a capacity of 38,365, with most seating available at the field and grandstand levels.

The ballpark has some truly spectacular views of downtown that one must see when visiting this stadium.  With its two-deck design practically every baseball fan can catch a great view of it and the game itself.  When visiting the stadium one can also gauge its classic feel, with such features as a brick front, a flat steel roof, and masonry throughout.  As far as other features there is the Pirates Hall of Fame, an outdoor river terrace, the River Walk, as well as many great places to eat.  In the outfield one will find a delicious barbecue restaurant run by a former player, as well as an Outback Steakhouse if one is interested in more well-known cuisine.

When it comes to the dimensions of PNC Park itself, it has a very similar configuration to what one would find in other northeastern ballparks.  The right and left field line are fairly shallow at about 320 feet, with the distance increasing to as high as 410 feet in left-center.  It certainly favors left handed hitters more than right handed, as the 320 mark in right field beckons for home run balls.  Pittsburgh Pirate pitchers should find the stadium to their liking as well.  One thing is for sure though, and that is that PNC Park is one of the well-built ballparks in all of baseball and must be visited at least once by any diehard baseball fan to truly catch the great atmosphere.

Pittsburgh Pirates Tickets

Pittsburgh Pirates Tickets

There has been recent news lately that ticket prices for the 2012 season for the Pittsburgh Pirates will be raised somewhat.  This has not been done in some time and has lead to much speculation over whether the team is looking to bolster its profits to get better players for the major league team.  Whatever the case, it is now becoming increasingly important to find the best deals when it comes to Pittsburgh Pirates tickets, especially for those on a budget.  With that said what are the best places to look for tickets?

One of the first places one should consider for Pittsburgh Pirates tickets at great prices is online ticket companies.  Since there are so many companies on the market today one is sure to find a great deal on some tickets.  These companies are also known for having a fantastic selection of tickets available whether for the preseason or the regular season, and many will allow tickets to be purchased well in advance of the season.  This is definitely one idea to consider, but make sure that the company is reputable by checking out reviews online and seeing what others have said about their recent transactions.

Two other places to consider are the official team website and ticket auction sites such as Ticketmaster.  Many ball clubs such as the Pittsburgh Pirates have email subscriptions when one can be notified of ticket offers and so on, and this is also a great option for those to consider when going the safe route for purchasing tickets.  The other option is an online ticket auction site.  Many season ticket holders of baseball teams post tickets for games they are not attending on these sites, leaving open the possibility of getting them at great prices.  Be careful and make sure that the auction has a guarantee such money back in case of a botched transaction.

Best Pittsburgh Pirate Players of All Time

Best Pittsburgh Pirate Players of All Time

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been in existence for well over 100 years, and since the franchise’s founding in 1882 there have been numerous great players that have even won World Series titles for the team.  Unfortunately many of them played their careers a long time ago, but many should still remember their names.  As a form of reference, for this specific list only offensive players were chosen; because there are so many players that could be included in this article only 4 were chosen as well.  Without further ado here are the best Pittsburgh players of all time.

Honus Wagner
Honus Wagner is considered by many to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, shortstop of all time.  Wagner played for the Pirates from 1900-1917, winning a World Series title for the team in 1909 (against Ty Cobb of all people).  He was most known for his hitting, with a career average of .327 and well over 3,000 hits.

Roberto Clemente
Roberto Clemente was one of the most respected Pirates in the team’s history, especially for his humanitarian roles that eventually led to his death in an aviation accident in 1972.  A winner of 12 Gold Glove Awards, Clemente played for the Pirates from 1955 to 1972 and is considered as one of the best right fielders of all time.  His offensive ability set him apart from many, and his career average of .317 and 3,000 hits put him in a very select club of hitters.  One could only imagine how much more he could have done as a Pirate was it not for the 1972 accident.

Paul Waner
Waner was one of the Pirate’s best right fielders, and a heated argument to this day still rages on as to whether Waner or Clemente were the best at their position.  Waner played for the Pirates from 1926 to 1940, and had a career batting average of .333 with over 3,000 hits.  What is even more remarkable about Waner’s feat was that he was nearsighted while playing and couldn’t see the baseball all too well.  Waner was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1952.

Willie Stargell
Lastly, one cannot forget about the late Willie Stargell.  Stargell played for the Pirates from 1962 to 1982 and won two World Series titles with the team in 1971 and 1979.  He finished his career as a .282 hitter with nearly 500 home runs, at 475.  He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1988 and his statue reminds visitors at PNC Park of what this great hitter did for the ballclub.

Origin of the Pittsburgh Pirates

Origin of the Pittsburgh Pirates

Baseball has been a professional sport in the Pittsburgh area since 1876.  The teams of that time were all independent and played wherever they could find a field and an opponent.  There was no organization to it, but the teams were run as businesses and the players did receive salaries.  In 1882 the most successful team in the area joined the American Association, claiming Allegheny City (at the time a distinct city separated from Pittsburgh by the Allegheny River) as their home and thus being listed as the Alleghenys (not “Alleghenies”).  They made a modest showing for five seasons in the AA before transferring to the National League in 1887.  They took advantage of the opportunity to change their name to the Pittsburgh Alleghenys.

In 1890 the Alleghenys were decimated when most of its players left for the Pittsburgh Burghers of the Player’s League.  The legal battle resulted ultimately in nearly the entire original roster returning to the Alleghenys as well as a number of players from other AA teams.  One of the most notable of those was second baseman Lou Bierbauer.  Bierbauer had been playing for the Philadelphia Athletics, but when the Athletics didn’t put him on their reserve list the Alleghenys snatched him up.  The Athletics accused the Alleghenys of being piratical and the controversy divided the AA, ultimately resulting in its collapse.  The Alleghenys made light of the accusation by nicknaming themselves the Pirates, a name that stuck.  It was first reflected on their uniforms in 1912.

One of the most significant events of the Pirates’ early life in the National League was in 1899 when the Louisville Colonels were due to be dissolved as the NL was reducing their 12 teams to 8.  Pittsburgh picked up virtually all the Colonels’ star players in exchange for four virtual unknowns, making it a legal trade, and even waited until after the season ended to make the exchange.

Pittsburgh Pirates’ Rivalry

Pittsburgh Pirates’ Rivalry

All sports teams have rivalries, it’s part of the fun and the excitement.  The Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies had what is considered to be one of the most intense rivalries in the National League.  Both teams are nearly as old as the game itself and their close geographic proximity keeps the feud alive despite their modern day separation in the National League structure.

The Pirates joined the National League in 1887, four years behind the Phillies.  The two teams lived and played right next door to each other, even when the National League adopted a divisional organization, until 1994.  During this time the two teams were rarely good at the same time; but between the two of them they accounted for 15 of the 25 divisional championships between 1969 and 1993.  In 1992 the Pirates and Phillies faced off 18 times.  The next year the National League added the Florida Marlins and the Pirates and Phillies only met 13 times.  1994 marked the virtual end of the Pirates—Phillies rivalry when the National League realigned into three divisions.  The Pirates gave up their spot in the East to the Atlanta Braves and moved into the Central division.

The Pirates chose to make the move partly because it moved them into the same division as their NFL counterpart, the Steelers, and partly because their marketing department, so they claimed, saw no difference between the East and Central divisions and believed they had just as many rivalries in the Central.  The Phillies lamented the loss of the 104 year, in-state rivalry, but weren’t completely abandoned because they could then focus on their rivalry with the New York Mets.  This was the beginning of a decline for the Pirates anyway.  After losing to the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series the Pirates lost Barry Bonds and Doug Drabek and proceeded into an all-sport record streak of 19 losing seasons.  Players and fans believe a reignited rivalry with the Phillies is exactly what the team needs to find their fire again.

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