History of the Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates have won five World Series championships in their long history. However, the team that once dominated the National League East division has not played in post-season games since 1992 and it has not won a pennant or World Series in 30 years.

The Pittsburgh Pirates started as the Allegheny team in the late 1800s. In 1882, the team became one of the founding members of the American Association. After failing to have winning seasons for five years, the Allegheny team moved to the National League and changed the team's name to the Pittsburgh Alleghenys. In 1890, the team lost most of its top players when they left the Alleghenys for another Pittsburgh team in the Player's League. Through questionable business maneuvers, the Alleghenys owner, Dennis McKnight, manged to return to the Alleghenys the players who left, as well as acquiring some top players from the American Association. The moves were considered "piratical" by many people and in 1891, the Alleghenys were renamed the Pittsburgh Pirates.

By 1901, the Pirates had developed into a strong team and they won the National League pennant for three consecutive years. They lost, however, the first World Series in 1903 to Boston. Six years later, the Pittsburgh Pirates again won the pennant and then went on to win their first World Series, defeating the Detroit Tigers.

After winning the World Series in 1909, the Pittsburgh Pirates struggled for the next 15 years with a losing team. In 1925, they recovered their former strength, due in large part to good pitching, and they won the pennant and World Series. They followed these wins two years later with another pennant victory, their last until 1960.

Although the Pirates had a few good seasons after their 1927 pennant win, they also had long stretches of losing seasons, particularly in the 1940s and early 1950s. In 1952, they hit a low in a season where they lost 112 games and won only 42.

Finally, in 1958, under the leadership of manager Danny Murtaugh, the Pittsburgh Pirates had a winning record. Two years later, with some strong players, the Pittsburgh Pirates became world champions, defeating the New York Yankees in the 1960 World Series.

The Pirates acquired key players in the late 1950s and in the 1960s, including Roberto Clemente, Matty Alou and Manny Mota, but they could not come out ahead of the National League's powerhouse teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants. Their fate changed, however, when Willie Stargell joined the team.

In the 1970s, while the Cincinnati Reds led the National League Central division, the Pittsburgh Pirates dominated the National League East division, winning the division title 6 times in the decade (1970, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1979). They could not, however, overpower the Big Red Machine most years, and Pittsburgh only won two National League pennants (1971, 1979). They went on to win both of those World Series, the last wins of any kind that Pittsburgh would have for almost 20 years.

After winning the 1979 World Series, the Pirates fell to the bottom of the National League and, by the mid-1980s, they had the worst record in baseball. They began to move out of this slump after Jim Leyland was hired as manager and the team acquired new, young players, including Bobby Bonds and Bobby Bonilla. In 1988, the Pirates had a winning season, with a 85-75 record but the following year they fell back in the standings, mostly due to injuries to key players.

The early 1990s brought three National League East division titles (1990, 1991, 1992) for the Pirates. However, they couldn't advance past this level and the following 16 years resulted in only losing seasons for the Pirates. From 1993 to 2013, the Pirates had several managerial changes, but none led the team to post-season play.

Source for Information
Wikipedia - Pittsburgh Pirates