1887: On April 30 The Pittsburgh Allegheneys play their first National League game, defeating the defending league champion Chicago White Stockings, 6-2, in front of nearly 10,000 fans at Recreation Park. Pittsburgh would go on to finish in sixth Place with a 55-69 record.
1888: The Allegheneys continue to thread water finishing in fifth place with a record of 66-68.
1889: The Allegheneys ride through three different mangers as they finishing in fifth place with a record of 51-61.
1890: The Allegheneys are renamed Pirates after signing second baseman Louis Bierbauer away from the Philadelphia Phillies in the off season. However, the move does not pay off as the Pirates sink to the bottom of the National League with an awful 23-113 record.
1891: The Pirates continue to struggle finishing in eighth place with a terrible 55-80 record.
1892: As the National League experiments with a split season the Pirates show significant improvement posting a combined 80-73 record.
1893: The Pirates make their first run at the National League Pennant finishing five games behind the Boston Beaneaters with a solid 81-48 record.
1894: The Pirates take a step backwards as they struggle to finish with a mediocre 65-65 record. In the final weeks of the season Connie Mack would make his managerial debut posting a 12-10 record.
1895: In Connie Mack’s first full season as manager the Pirates post a strong 71-61 record but have to settle for seventh place.
1896: The Pirates finish in sixth place with a mediocre 66-63 record as Connie Mack is let go following the season. Mack would reemerge five years later as the owner/manager of the Philadelphia Athletics in the American League where he would manage an incredible 50 years.
1897: Under new Manager Patsy Donovan the Pirates would continue to struggle finishing in eighth place with a record of 60-71.
1898: The Pirates finish in eighth place again as they struggle to post a record of 72-76.
1899: The Pirates close out the century on a relatively strong note as they finish the season in strong fashion posting a 76-73 record.
1900: Barney Dreyfuss, owner of the defunct Louisville club, acquires controlling interest of the Pirates and brings 14 players with him, including future Hall of Famers Honus Wagner and Fred Clarke. With the infusion of talent the Pirates finish in second Place with a 79-60 record.
1901: Led by Honus Wagner, who hit .353 with 126 RBI, the Pirates win the National League Championship for the first time, compiling an impressive 90-49 record.
1902: The Pirates cruise to their second straight National League Championship with a remarkable 103-36, finishing 27 and half games ahead of the second place Brooklyn Superbas.
1903: The Pirates win their third consecutive National League Championship with a 91-49 record and advance to play in the first ever World Series against the Boston Pilgrims. In the first ever World Series Game Deacon Phillippe defeats the legendary Cy Young as the Pirates down the hometown Boston Pilgrims, 7-3. After splitting the next two games in Boston the Pirates head home to host the first Word Series games in a NL Park. A crowd of 18,801 fills Exposition Park for that game, as the Pirates defeat the Boston Pilgrims, 4-2, in the first World Series game played in Pittsburgh. However, Boston later emerges as the Series winner, overcoming a three-games-to-one deficit to win the best-of-nine competition, 5 games to 3.
1904: The Pirates three year reign at the top of the National League comes to an end with an 87-66 record only good enough for fourth Place.
1905: Despite an impressive 96-67 record the Pirates only manage to finish in second place, nine games behind the New York Giants.
1906: On May 6th the Pirates become the first team to use a canvas tarp to cover the infield when it rains. The Pirates would play strong all season posting a solid record of 93-60.
1907: The Pirates post another solid record of 91-63 but finish in a distant second place, 17 games out of first.
1908: The Pirates find themselves in the thick of a three team race for the National League Pennant that goes right down to the wire. However, the Pirates would come up one game short with a solid 98-56 record.
1909: On June 30th an overflow crowd of 30,338 witnesses the Pirates fall to the Chicago Cubs, 3-2, in the first game played at Forbes Field, the nation’s first ballpark made completely of poured concrete and steel, Forbes Field. The Pirates would go on to win a franchise record 110 games en-route to their second World Series. In a World Series showdown between two of baseball’s premiere players (Pirates Honus Wagner vs. Tigers Ty Cobb). However the star of the series was Pirates unheralded Pitcher Babe Adams who won three key games including an 8-0 shutout in the deceive Game 7 as the Pirates downed the Tigers to become World Champions for the first time.
1910: The Pirates follow up their World Championship with a solid but unrewarding third Place 86-67 season.
1911: Honus Wagner closes out the season with a .334 average, good enough to earn the “Flying Dutchman” his National League record 8th, and final, batting title. However the Pirates would only finish in third pace with an 85-69 record.
1912: The Pirates have to settle for second place finishing ten games out first despite a solid record of 93-58.
1913: The Pirates begin to show their age as they sink to fourth place posting a disappointing record of 78-71.
1914: The Pirates continue to sink in the National League as they finish in seventh place with a record of 69-85.
1915: Fred Clarke, who led the Pirates to four pennants, a World Championship and more than 1,400 victories as a player-manager, retires after 16 years at the helm. In his final season the Pirates would finish in fifth place with a record of 73-81.
1916: Under new Manager Jimmy Callahan the Pirates struggle all season to finish with a record of 65-89, while finishing in sixth place.
1917: With most of the players gone form their glory days the Pirates fall to the bottom of the National League with a 51-103 record.
1918: The Pirates recover from their last place finish nicely and put together a respectable 65-60 record good enough for fourth Place.
1919: The Pirates finish in fourth place for the second straight season posting a record of 71-68.
1920: In a carbon copy of the last two seasons the Pirates finish in fourth place again with a record of 79-75.
1921: On August 5th KDKA, the world’s first commercial radio station, airs the first broadcast of a Major League game as Harold Arlin describes the action of the Pirates’ 8-5 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Forbes Field. The Pirates would on to fall just short of the National League Pennant that year with a solid 90-63 record.
1922: After a mediocre 32-33 start Manager George Gibson is fired and replaced by Bill McKechine. Under McKechine the Pirates would make a serious run for the pennant finishing just eight games short with a solid record of 85-69.
1923: The Pirates continued to play solid baseball as they came with in 8 and half games of the pennant as they finished in third place with a respectable 87-67 record.
1924: The Pirates are part of a three way race for the pennant that goes down to the final week of the season. However, the Pirates would fall three games short in third place with a 90-63 record.
1925: The Pirates win the National League Championship again 95-58 record and face the Washington Nationals in one of the most exciting World Series ever played. After the first six games in which four games were decided by a single run the series was tied. In Game 7 of the World Series at Forbes Field, Kiki Cuyler laces an eighth-inning, two out, bases loaded, double off Washington’s Walter Johnson to lead the Pirates to a 9-7 victory and their second World Championship.
1926: The Pirates drive for a return trip to the World Series falls just four and a half games short with a third Place 84-69 record.
1927: Led by National League MVP Paul Waner the Pirates win their second National League Championship in three years to advance to the World Series with a 94-60 record. However, the Pirates are no match for “Murder’s Row”, a New York Yankees team led by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, and are swept by perhaps the greatest team in baseball history.
1928: The Pirates fall short in their quest for a World Series rematch with Yankees, as they slide to fourth Place with an 85-67 record.
1929: The Pirates post an 88-65 record and finishing ten and half games out while finishing in second Place.
1930: The Pirates post an 80-74 record but slide to fifth place in a competitive National League.
1931: The Pirates finish in fifth place again as they fall below .500 with a record of 75-79.
1932: The Pirates battle the Chicago Cubs to the end of the season for the National League Pennant but fall four games short with an 86-68 record.
1933: The Pirates fall just short of the National League Pennant again this time finishing behind the New York Giants with an 87-67 record.
1934: The Pirates sink to fifth place posting a mediocre 76-78 record.
1935: In a game at Forbes Field on May 25th, Babe Ruth now playing for the Boston Braves strokes the final three home runs of his career. The final blow is the first ever to clear the then ten-year-old right field roof. The Pirates would go on to finish the season fourth with an 86-67 record.
1936: Honus Wagner joins Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson in being elected by the baseball writers as the first players to enter the new Baseball Hall of Fame. However, the actual induction ceremony doesn’t take place until June 12, 1939. Meanwhile, the current Pirates go 84-70 and finnish in fourth place, eight games out of first.
1937: The Pirates post a solid 86-68 record while finishing in third place, ten games out of first place.
1938: On September 15th, Lloyd and Paul Waner hit back-to-back homers in the fifth inning at the Polo Grounds against the New York Giants to become the first brothers to accomplish the feat in a major league game. However, the bats of Little and Big Poison fall just short of leading the Pirates to the World Series as they finish two games out with an 86-64 record.
1939: The Pirates struggle all season as they float to sixth place posting a disappointing record of 68-85 along the way.
1940: The Pirates continue to drift among the mediocre as they finish in fourth place with a record of 78-76.
1941: At Detroit’s Briggs Stadium, Pirates SS Arky Vaughan becomes the first player to hit two home runs in an All-Star Game, cracking a pair of two-run homers. However, Vauighn’s blasts are overshadowed by a Game Winning home run by Boston Red Sox star Ted Williams. The Pirates would not fair much better finishing in 4th Place with an 81-73 record.
1942: The Pirates post a disappointing record of 66-82 while finishing in fifth place.
1943: The Pirates climb above .500 posting a record of 80-74, but finish in a distant fourth place.
1944: The Pirates post a solid record of 90-63 while finishing distant 14 and half games out of first in second position.
1945: The Pirates drift back to fourth place as they post a respectable record of 82-72.
1946: As the stars of baseball return from war the Pirates sink to seventh place, as they post a record of 62-93.
1947: Despite a National League high 51 home runs from second year Outfielder Ralph Kiner, the Pirates struggle and finish tied with National League’s worst record at 62-92.
1948: In the year Bob Prince broadcasts the first Pirate game of 26-year career, Ralph Kiner wins the National League home run title again with 40 as the Pirates finish a solid fourth Place with an 83-71 record.
1949: Ralph Kiner wins his fourth straight home run Crown but the Pirates struggles continue as they finish in sixth place with a record of 71-83.
1950: Despite a fifth straight home run title for Ralph Kiner, the Pirates finish dead last with a terrible 57-96 record.
1951: Ralph Kiner continues to be the National League’s top source for power, but once again it has no effect on the Pirates success rate as they finish in seventh place with a record of 64-90.
1952: Ralph Kiner finishes the season with a league-leading 37 homers to win his seventh consecutive National League home run crown. However, the Pirates finish in the cellar with a dreadful 42-112 record.
1953: In the midst of a last place 50-104 season Outfielder Ralph Kiner is traded to the Chicago Cubs, by General Manager Branch Rickey. Kiner had earlier had a contract squabble with Rickey who told the star Outfielder that the Pirates could still finish in last place without him.
1954: The Pirates pass the century mark in losses for the third straight season as they finish in last place with a record of 53-101.
1955: On April 17th Roberto Clemente, a 20-year-old rookie from Puerto Rico makes his Major League debut in RF at Forbes Field. The Pirates would go on to finish in last place again, but ends a three-year string of 100-loss season with a 60-94 record.
1956: Firstbaseman Dale Long sets a major league record by hitting a home run in his eight consecutive games from May 21st to May 28th. The Pirates would go on to escape the cellar for the first time in four years, with a seventh place 66-88 record.
1957: During another woeful 62-92 season that sees them tied for the worst record in the National League the Pirates name former 2B Danny Murtaugh as their manager.
1958: In Danny Murtaugh as manger the Pirates put together a solid second place season finishing just eight games out of first with an 84-70 record.
1959: In one of baseball’s most remarkable pitching performances, Harvey Haddix throws 12 perfect innings against the Braves in Milwaukee, only to lose the game, 1-0, in the 13th on an error, sacrifice bunt, intentional walk and double. The Pirates would go on to take a minor step backward finishing in fourth Place with a 78-76 record.
1960: The Pirates win 95 games en-route to their first pennant in 33 years, as shortstop Dick Groat wins the National League MVP, and Vernon Law snatches the Cy Young with a 20-9 record. In the World Series the opposition is the same as it was 33 years earlier the New York Yankees, and the Pirates are a huge underdog. However the Pirates and the Yankees play full 7 games. In the first six games the Pirates mange to win three close games, and lose three blowouts. The combined score of Games 2, 3, and 6, which the Pirates lost, is 28-3. In Game 7 the Pirates battle back from a 7-4 deficit to take a 9-7 lead to the ninth inning. However the Yanks tie the game to send the game to the bottom of the ninth inning tied 9-9. In the bottom of the ninth defensive specialist Bill Mazeroski a usually light hitting 2B becomes the first player to end a World Series with a home run with a one out solo homer over the Leftfeld wall to give the Pirates their third World Championship.
1961: The Pirates follow up their surprise World Championship with a disappointing 75-79 record that lands them in sixth Place.
1962: The Pirates rebound nicely and finish in fourth Place with a solid 93-68 record.
1963: The Pirates post another disappointing season finishing in eighth Place with a poor 74-88 record.
1964: The Pirates continue to float in the middle of the pace as they finish in sixth place with a record of 80-82.
1965: The Pirates make a strong run at the National League Pennant falling seven games short in third place with a decent 90-72 record.
1966: The Pirates are in a three-way battle for the National League Pennant until the last week of the season. The Pirates would come up three games short in third Place with a 92-70 record. Rightfielder Roberto Clemente would have perhaps his finest season collecting the National League MVP with a career high 29 home runs and 119 RBI.
1967: The Pirates play mediocre baseball all season as they finish in sixth place with an 81-81 record.
1968: The Pirates continue to play mediocre baseball as they finish in sixth place for the second straight season with a record of 80-82.
1969: In the first year of division play the Pirates place third in the National League Eastern Division with a solid 88-74 record.
1970: On June 28th the Pirates close out 61-year old Forbes Field in style by sweeping a doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs. A little over two weeks later on July 16th Pirates open Three Rivers Stadium, a circular faceless multipurpose faculty similar to other stadiums built around that time. In that first game at Three Rivers the Pirates debut their new double knit uniforms that would soon become the trend in baseball. The Pirates would lose that first game at their new stadium 3-2 to the Cincinnati Reds, but with an 89-73 record captured their first division title. However, the Reds would play spoiler again sweeping the Pirates in three straight games in the NLCS.
1971: On September 1st The Pirates field what is baseball’s first all-minority lineup in a 10-7 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Three Rivers. The Pirates would go on to win the division with a 97-65 record. In the NLCS the Pirates would have no problem easily beating the San Francisco Giants three games to one. In the World Series the Pirates would be matched up against the Baltimore Orioles. After losing the first two games in Baltimore the series shifted to Pittsburgh. Steve Blass would get the Pirates back into the series by beating the Orioles 5-1 by allowing only three hits. Game 4 would see history made as for the first time ever a World Series game was played at night. Milt May would drive in the winning run with a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning to knot the series at two games apiece. Game 5 the Pirates would get an unexpected performance for pitcher Nelson Briles who only made 14 starts in the season but shutdown the Orioles 4-0. However the Orioles would rebound when the series got back to Baltimore to set up a decisive seventh game. In Game 7 Steve Blass hurls a four-hitter and Roberto Clemente homers as the Pirates win Game Seven of the World Series, 2-1, at Baltimore, earning Pittsburgh its fourth World Championship. Earning World Series MVP honors was Roberto Clemente who finally got the national acclaim he deserved.
1972: The Pirates follow up their Championship with an equally impressive season winning their third straight division title with a 96-59 record. On September 30th the final day of the regular season Roberto Clemente hits a 4th inning double off Jon Matlack at Three Rivers Stadium, and becomes only the 11th player in major league history to reach the 3,000 hit plateau. Little did anyone know that would be Clemente’s final hit. The Pirates would go on top play the Cincinnati Reds again in the NLCS. After splitting the first two games the Pirates lead Game 5 by a score of 3-2 in the ninth inning. The Reds tie the game on Johnny Bench’s lead off HR, and win the game, and the series when Pirates Bob Moose uncorks a wild pitch. Tragedy strikes the Pirates, and all of baseball hard on New Year’s Eve when Roberto Clemente who was on a humanitarian mission to help Earthquake victims in Nicaragua, dies in a plane crash. Clemente would instantly be enshrined in the hall of fame. In addition he would go on to have an annual humanitarian award named after him that goes to a player who does something special for his community or charitable organizations.
1973: Trying to recover from the loss of Roberto Clemente the Pirates struggle to finish 80-82. However, in a weak National League Eastern Division the Pirates just miss out on the fourth straight division title by a mere two and half games.
1974: The Pirates edge out the St. Louis Cardinals to win their fourth National League Eastern Division title in five years with an 88-74 record. However the Pirates would fall to a stronger Los Angeles Dodgers team three games to one in the NLCS.
1975: On their way to their fifth National League Eastern Division title in six years 2B Rennie Stennett sets a modern major league record by going 7-for-7 in a nine-inning game at Chicago’s Wrigley Field on September 16th against the Cubs. The Pirates would face their nemesis Cincinnati Reds in the NLCS, and are swept by the Big Red Machine three games to none.
1976: The Pirates put together a solid 92-70 season, but finish nine games behind the keystone state rival Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East.
1977: In what must seem like deja vu the Pirates have a solid 96-66 season but finish five games behind the Philadelphia Phillies for the National League Eastern Division Title.
1978: With Dave Parker collecting the National League MVP the Pirates finish second to the Philadelphia Phillies again with an 88-74 record, this time falling only a game and a half short.
1979: With the Sister Sledge disco song “We Are Family” as their anthem, the never-say-die Pittsburgh Pirates battled through a grueling season, to win the National League Eastern Division once again with a 98-64 record to edge out the Montreal Expos by three games. The Pirates are led by 39 year old Willie Stargell who gets the nickname Pops and splits National League MVP honors with St. Louis Cardinals 1B Keith Hernandez. That year the Pirates players would earn stars called Stargell Stars worn on their caps, and given out for key hits and clutch pitching performances. In the NLCS the Pirates would face the Cincinnati Reds who defeated them three times already in the 1970’s with a trip to the World Series on the line. Willie Stargell won the first game with a three run homer in the 11th inning, and the Pirates never looked back. Another homer and a .455 average would earned Pops NLCS MVP honors as the Pirates got a measure of revenge by sweeping the Reds in three games. The World Series was a rematch of the 1971 Series against the Baltimore Orioles. The Pirates quickly found themselves down three games to one. With his club facing elimination, Manager Chuck Tanner gave the ball to Jim Rooker, who pitched what could safely be called the game of his life. With the Series on the line, he stopped the Orioles cold, throwing four hitless innings before surrendering the Birds’ lone tally in the fifth inning. As Bert Blyleven added four shutout innings in relief, the Pirates scored seven times to ice the game. After winning shutting the Orioles out 4-0 in Game 6 the Pirates found themselves in another World Series Game 7. The Orioles took a one-run lead in the third inning, but the Pirates answered with two runs in the 6th on a Willie Stargell homer. By the bottom of the ninth inning it was 4-1 Pirates. With ace closer Kent Teckulve on the mound Pat Kelly flew out to Omar Moreno, Teckulve and 24 other Pirates leaped in the air, as the World Championship flag for the fifth time returned to Pittsburgh. Willie Stargell would complete the trifecta winning the World Series MVP.
1980: The Pirates are unable to repeat the magic of their 1979 Championship season, and fall to third place with an 83-79 record.
1981: The Pirates struggle in both halves of a strike-interrupted season, even managing to finish in last place in the second half of a split season, as 1B Willie Stargell is limited to just 38 games.
1982: Willie Stargell hits the 475th, and final home run of his 21-year career on July 21st against the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati with a 8th inning game winning pinch hit home run. The 42-year old veteran would go on to retire following the season, establish a team record in home run along the way. The Pirates would go on to finish in fourth place with an 84-78 record.
1983: The Pirates pit together a solid 84-78 season finishing just six games behind the Philadelphia Phillies for the Eastern Division Title.
1984: The Pirates sink to last place for the first time in 29 years posting a record of 75-87.
1985: The Pirates suffer through their worst season in 30 years losing 104 games on the way to finishing in last place for the second year in a row. Following the season Chuck Tanner would be fired ending his ten year reign at the helm of the Pirates ship.
1986: The Pirates now in a rebuilding mode hire Jim Leyland as manager, and bring up rookie Outfielder Barry Bonds after just one year in the minors. However, the Pirates don’t fare much better finishing in last for the third year in a row with a 64-98 record.
1987: The Pirates use a strong last season surge to escape the National League Eastern Division Basement, and finish tied for fourth Place with an 80-82 record.
1988: The Pirates actually contend for the National League Eastern Division Title battling the New York Mets neck and neck for the first half of the season. However, the young Pirates would struggle down the stretch and would finish 15 games out of first with a solid 85-75 record.
1989: The young Pirates hit a bump in the road and fall to fifth place suffering a disappointing 74-88 record.
1990: After a fruitless decade in the 1980’s the Pirates win the National League Eastern Division, with a 95-67 record to beat out the New York Mets by four games. Leading the way are National League MVP Barry Bonds, who comes of age with a 30 home runs 50 stolen bases season, and Cy Young winner Doug Drabek. The NLCS would also retro 70’s feeling to it as the Pirates faced the Cincinnati Reds who themselves They face the Cincinnati Reds again who themselves suffered an empty decade in the 80’s. However, like three other times in the 70’s the Pirates would end up losing four games to two.
1991: The Pirates cruise to their second straight National League Eastern Division title with a 98-64 record. In the NLCS the Pirates would face the upstart Atlanta Braves, who finished in last place the previous season. The Pirates would hold a 3-2 series lead heading home only needing one win to advance to the World Series. However the young arms of the Braves would shut the Pirates out in the final two games to advance to the World Series.
1992: After losing 3B Bobby Bonillia to Free Agency the Pirates are Faced with the threat of losing OF Barry Bonds the Pirates win the National League Eastern Division yet again, with a 96-66 record, as Bonds wins his second MVP in three years. In the NLCS the Pirates face the Atlanta Braves for the second year in a row. After trailing 3 games to 1 the Pirates win two straight games to force a decisive Game 7. The Pirates took a 2-0 lead to the ninth inning, but would end up losing it when pinch hitter Francisco Cabrera drove home the tying and winning runs to break the Pirates hearts. The Pirates who were faced with finical difficulties are forced to let Bonds walk away after signing a Free Agent deal with San Francisco Giants.
1993: The Pirates are unable to overcome the loss of Barry Bonds and fall to fifth Place with a 75-87 record.
1994: Under realignment the Pirates are moved to the National League Central Division as baseball adds a 3rd division to each league. The Pirates would find themselves in third place with a record of 53-61 when the season was cut short due to a devastating player’s strike on August 12th.
1995: The Pirates fall from the top is completed as the Pirates sink to the bottom of the National League Central Division with a 58-86 record.
1996: Kevin McClatchy and his financial partners purchase the Pirates and save the franchise from a move out of Pittsburgh by other potential buyers. However, McClatchy begins cutting payroll, and it leads to Jim Leyland’s departure as Manager after 11 seasons at the helm, as the Pirates finish in last place with a 73-89 record.
1997: On July 12th in front of a sellout crowd at Three Rivers, Mark Smith’s pinch-hit, three run homer in the bottom of the 10th caps off a no-hitter by Francisco Cordova (nine innings) and Ricardo Rincon (one inning), the first combined, extra-inning no-hitter in major league history. The Pirates would actually contend for the National League Central finishing just five games out of first despite only having a 79-83 record.
1998: The Pirates are unable to build of their solid season and fall back to last place with a 69-93 record.
1999: With the Pirates off to a solid start star catcher receives a horrifying knee injury on a the carpet of Three Rivers Stadium The rising star would miss the rest of the season as the Pirates finished 3d with a 78-83 record.
2000: On October 1st a crowd of 55,351, the largest ever to see a regular season baseball game in Pittsburgh, watches the Pirates fall to the Chicago Cubs 10-9, in the final game at Three Rivers Stadium. The Pirates would go on to finish in fifth place with a 69-93 record.
2001: On April 9th the Pirates open up the beautiful new PNC Park along the shore of the Allegheny River and adjacent to Federal Street. However the day is tinged with sadness as Pirates Hall of Famer Willie Stargell died just hours before the first pitch. The Pirates would suffer a mass of injuries to their pitching staff losing all 5 starters for long stretches. The Pirates would go on to finish in last place with a 62-100 record.
2002: The Pirates get off to a promising start as they were over .500 for most of the first six weeks of the season. However, the Pirates small market woes would catch up to them as they struggled to finish in fourth place with a record of 72-89, which marked their tenth straight losing season.
2003: It was another year of transition and frustration for the Pirates whose only highlight of the season was a 5-1 record after the season’s first week. However, by the time April was over the Pirates had sunk below .500 never t rise above again, as they finished in fourth place with a 75-87 record. Along the way the Pirates began to restructure again trading away Brian Giles and Aramis Ramirez.
2004: The Pirates continued to struggle as the team continued to change, during the season Kris Benson a pending free agent would be traded to the New York Mets for Ty Wiggington while Catcher a Jason Kendall a Pirate regular since 1996 was traded to the Oakland Athletics following the season in which the Pirates finished in fifth with a record of 72-89, while Jason Bay acquired in the Brian Giles deal established himself as the new star becoming the first member of the Pirates ever to win the National League Rookie of the Year hitting 26 home runss and driving in 82 RBI, with a .282 average.
2005: The Pirates stumbled right out of the gate losing 11-of-their-first-15-games on their way to an 8-14 April. The Pirates would play better in May as crawled back to within two games of .500 at one point, but it was not to last as the Pirates sank to the bottom of the NL Central where they remained the rest of the season posting a terrible record of 67-95. As September rolled around the Pirates decided to let Manager Lloyd McLendon walk the plank, replacing him with Pete Mackonin for the final 24 games. Despite the lousy season Rookie Pitcher Zach Duke provided something for Pirates fans to cheer about posting an 8-2 record with an impressive 1.81 ERA after being called up on July 1st.
2006: It was an All-Star season in Pittsburgh, though it was hard to tell that looking at the Pirates as they dropped their first six games on the way to a horrendous 5-18 start. A symbol of the Pirates struggles had to be Oliver Perez the Opening Day starter who two years earlier seemed like the ace of the future, but struggled through a horrendous season in Pittsburgh posting a 2-10 record with a 6.63 ERA before being sent down to the minors, and traded along with Roberto Hernandez to the New York Mets for Xavier Nady at the trade deadline. After such an awful start the Pirates would never recover, as the biggest game played in Pittsburgh all season happened to be the All-Star Game won by the American League 3-2, one Pirate who was on hand at PNC Park was 3B Freddy Sanchez who would win the National League Batting Title with a .344 average. The Pirates who had a 30-60 record at the All-Star Break would improve in the second half, posting their first winning record in a second half since 1992, as they were even able to avoid last place finish one game ahead of the Chicago Cubs with a record of 67-95 thanks to a some pesky play in September that included a three game sweep over the New York Mets preventing the eventual Eastern Division Champions from celebrating at PNC Park.
2007: Change was in the air in Pittsburgh as the Pirates struggles on the field and in attendance led to a major organizational shake up with CEO and Owner Kevin McClatchy selling his majority stake in the team to Robert Nutting, who would eventually hire a new club President in Frank Connelly who changed the General Manager as Dave Littlefield was replaced by Neal Huntington. All of this change came as good news to frustrated Pirates fans who watched another dreadful season in PNC Park with the Pirates finishing in last place again with a record of 68-94, marking their 15th straight year with a losing record. The losing would lead to one more change following the season as Manager Jim Tracy was replaced by John Russell.
2008: A new manger but the same result for the Pirates, as they continued their losing ways posting a 67-95 record, while finishing in last place again. The only bright spot in another glum season was Nate McLouth who had a breakout season with 26 home runs, and 94 RBI, while leading the National League with 46 doubles, as he represented the Pirates at the All-Star Game, and won the Gold Glove in Centerfield. However, Bucco fans were further frustrated by management, as Jason Bay was traded to the Boston Red Sox, in a three team deal that saw the Los Angeles Dodgers acquire Manny Ramirez, while the Pirates ended up with Andy LaRoche, along with three prospects. They would also ship Xavier Nady to the New York Yankees along with middle reliever Damaso Marte for Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutchen, Ross Ohlendorf and Jose Tabata.
2009: The penny pinching Pirates continued to frustrate their fans, as Nate McLouth was traded to the Atlanta Braves on June 3rd for prospects Jeff Locke, Charlie Morton and Gorkys Hernández, as they spent much of the first half in last place. Such trades continued to be common place for the Pirates, as it seemed every time someone became a fan favorite in Pittsburgh, he would soon be on his way out the door, traded for another group of mid level prospects. After McLouth was traded the Pirates would also deal Jack Wilson, Ian Snell, Freddy Sanchez, Tom Gorzelanny, and Adam LaRoche would all be traded away before the season was over as the Pirates suffered their 17th straight losing season, setting a new dubious professional sports record, as they finished in last place with a record of 63-99.
2010: Playing at home, the Pirates started the season on a high note, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 11-5, they would also win their second game, as they held a 7-5 record through their first 12 games. However, following a home sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, the Pirates quickly slipped below .500, as they were swept at PNC Park by the Milwaukee Brewers, including a humiliating 20-0 loss on April 22nd. The Pirates would not see .500 the rest of the season. Four days later, as their struggles continued they were beaten by the Brewers again 17-3 in Miller Park, it was the Pirates 22nd straight loss to the Brew Crew. A day later the Pirates would finally their division rivals 7-3. However, the losses continued to mount afterward, as they ended April with a 10-13 record. Things would only get worse from there, as they went 11-18 from May, which was followed up by an uncompetitive June, where they won just six of 26 games. The bad June would land the Pirates in last place where they would remain the rest of the season. The Pirates would go on to finish the season with a miserable record of 57-105, continuing their record string of 18 straight losing seasons. Following the season, the Pirates would dismiss Manager John Russell and replace him with Clint Hurdle.
2011: Under new Manager Clint Hurdle the Pirates started the season with a 6-3 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. In the game Neil Walker became the first Pirate to hit an opening day Grand Slam since Roberto Clemente. After a successful road trip in which the Pirates took two of three against both the Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, the Pirates faced the Colorado Rockies, Clint Hurdle’s former team in the home opener. Unfortunately for the Buccos, the Rockies spoiled the day at PNC Park with a 7-1 win. The following day they would win a 14 inning marathon 4-3 on a double by Jose Tabata. However, it would be their only win on their opening homestand. However, back on the road they would again pick up their play as they took three of four against the Cincinnati Reds. In the end they still posted a losing April as they were in fifth place at 12-15 as they started May. As May began the Pirates continued to play well on the road, as they won series in Colorado and San Diego. Upon coming home they took a series against the Houston Astros and won the opener of a three game set with the Los Angeles Dodgers to peek above .500. However, they dropped their next six games, but with a 13-13 record in the month of May the Pirates were at least threading water. The Pirates would again climb above .500 in June, and this time they would hold it for a while, as they stunned the Boston Red Sox taking two of three at PNC Park. They followed it up by taking two of three on the road against the Toronto Blue Jays, as they won their first interleague game on the road in two years. With their winning record in June, the Pirates were above .500 at the All-Star Break for the first time since 1992 with a record of 47-43, as they sent Kevin Correia, Andrew McCutchen and Joel Hanrahan to the All-Star Game in Phoenix. The breakout stars were McCutchen and Hanrahan. McCutchen who now was the face of the Pirates with his exciting play in Centerfield, while Hanrahan became a reliable closer saving 40 games, with a ERA of 1.83. Out of the break the Pirates continued to play as they actually spent a few days in first place, and began to get America’s attention as the underdog. Tied for first place with a 53-47 record the Pirates found themselves in a 19 inning marathon against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. The Pirates would lose the game 4-3 on a controversial play at the plate as Julio Lugo was called safe even though replays clearly showed he was out. The league and umpire Jerry Meals both later admitted the call was incorrect, but it would do no good for the Pirates who also lost in extra inning the following day 2-1. The Pirates would only win one of their next 12 games, including a ten game losing streak as they stumbled back under .500. In August things would only get worse as they won just eight games, as they went on to suffer another losing season, while finishing in fourth place with a record of 72-90 as they never recovered from that controversial loss in Atlanta going 19-43 the rest of the way.
2012: After briefly teasing their fans in 2011, the Pirates entered the season with 19 consecutive losing seasons. Hoping to finally end the string of failure the Pirates picked up A.J. Burnett in a trade with the New York Yankees during the off-season. Burnett pitched well early, posting a record of 10-2 before the All-Star Break. The Pirates also got reliable relied from Joel Hanrahan who was named the National League All-Star team while saving 31 games through the end of July. The Pirates offense was led by Andrew McCutchen, who was named National League Player of the Month for June and July as he led the majors in hitting with a .373 average as late as, while the Pirates not only were playing winning baseball they were in first place at the break with a record of 48-37. McCutchen would go on to finish second in hitting, with a .327 average, 31 homers and 96 RBI, while Pedro Alvarez hit 30 homers with 85 RBI. Despite falling out of first place at the end of July, things continued to look up for the Pirates who held a record of 63-47and were in thick of the playoff chase on August 8th. However, over the last two months the Pirates went into a late season tail spin, despite adding Wandy Rodriguez to their rotation at the trade deadline. Over their last 62 games, the Pirates would post an awful record of 16-36 and again posted a losing record of 79-83, while finishing fourth in the NL Central. Their fall from that many games over .500 to a sub-.500 finish is the greatest collapse in the history of Major League Baseball, a league which dates back to the 1800s. At 20 straight losing seasons, their 79 wins are the most since they won the National League East in 1992, with MVP Barry Bonds.
2013: After 20 straight losing seasons, the Pirates looked to finally get over .500 as they were encouraged by two straight years in which they crept close to finishing with a winning record before a late season dive. Continuing to be economical the Pirates took a chance on Francisco Liriano, signing the former All-Star to a two-year, $12.75 million contract. Despite a poor first week, the Pirates managed a solid April posting a record of 15-12 after losing five of their first six games. The Pirates would play even better in May, winning 19 games. A big part of the Pirates early success was a strong bullpen led by Jason Grilli, who had taken over the closer role after Joel Hanrahan was traded in the off-season, saving 22 games over the first two months of the season. The Pirates also go strong middle relief from Mark Melancon who pitched to a 1.39 ERA in 70 appearances, while Vin Mazzaro, Tony Watson and Justin Wilson had a combined record of 17-4 all with an ERA below 3.00. Early on the Pirates most reliable starter was Wandy Rodriguez who won six of his first eight decisions before suffering arm injuries. Despite the loss of Rodriguez, the Pirates continued to excel in June posting a 17-9 mark as they ended the month on a nine game winning streak. Liriano was solid in June, winning four of five decisions as he posted a 9-3 record before the All-Star Break. Also helping to lead the way was Jeff Locke who had a breakout season, posting 9-2 record through mid-July as he was one of five Pirates selected to be on the National League All-Star Team. Locke, Melancon and Grilli were joined by sluggers Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen as the Pirates held a record of 56-37 at the season’s midway point. Alvarez was among the top home run hitters in the National League with 36 homers and 100 RBI, while McCutchen had become the heart of the Pirates resurgence batting .321 with 21 homers and 84 RBI on the way to being named the National League’s MVP. The Pirates continued their winning ways after the break closing July with four straight wins over the St. Louis Cardinals to take over first place in the Central Division. With a record of 65-42 at the start of August the Pirates were no longer focused on a winning season as they found themselves in a three way battle for the Central with the Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds. The race would also lack drama as all three teams were positioned to make the playoffs with the runners up taking the two Wild Card spots. The Pirates had their struggles in August as they managed to post a record of 14-14. Jeff Locke who was named an All-Star in July was demoted to AA Altona, after losing command of the strike zone The Pirates still managed to battle the Cardinals until suffering a three game sweep in St. Louis in September as they secured a winning season with a 1-0 win over the Texas Rangers on September 9th. Earing the win that night was Gerrit Cole who after struggling early emerged as the Pirates strongest pitcher down the stretch as he finished the season with a 10-7 record, winning all four decisions in the final month of the season. The Pirates would go on to clinch one of the two Wild Card spots and with a sweep of the Cincinnati Reds to end the season assured themselves of a home playoff game with a record of 94-68 as Clint Hurdle was named Manager of the Year.
2013 Postseason: In the first ever playoff game at PNC Park the Pirates hosted the Cincinnati Reds in the Wild Card Game. With Francisco Liriano opposing Johnny Cueto the Pirates got on the board first with home runs by Marlon Byrd and Russell Martin in the second inning. The Pirates would add to the lead with a Pedro Alvaez sac fly in the third inning, while Neil Walker drove home two in the fourth to build a 5-1 lead. Martin would add a second homer in the seventh inning as the Pirates went on to win the game 6-2. In the NLDS the Pirates would face the St. Louis Cardinals. Game 1 would be one to forget for the Pirates as the Cardinals behind a seven run inning in the third won the opener at Busch Stadium 9-1. The Pirates would bounce back in Game 2, as Pedro Alvarez and Starling Marte each went deep as Gerrit Cole continued his impressive work as the Pirates evened the series with a 7-1 win. As the series shifted to Pittsburgh, PNC Park was thrown into delirium as Alvarez and Martin drove in the winning runs in the eighth inning as the Pirates won the game 5-3 to put themselves one win away from the NLCS. However, in Game 4 PNC Park on a sun splashed afternoon was silenced by Michael Wacha who had retired the first 21 batters, before Pedro Alvarez broke up the no hitter and the perfect game with a leadoff homer in the eighth inning. It would be the Pirates only hit and it was not enough as the Cardinals won the game 2-1 to send the series back to St. Louis for the decisive fifth game. The Cardinals would quickly gain control in Game 5 with homers from David Fresse and Matt Adams as they won the game 6-1 to end the Pirates hopes of making it to the World Series.
2014: Coming off their first playoff appearance in two decades, the Pirates opened the season in dramatic fashion as Neil Walker off Carlos Villanueva giving the Pirates a 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs, after Francisco Liriano and Jeff Samardzija and matched in an old fashioned pitcher’s duel. The Pirates would also win their second game with a walk off by Tony Sanchez in 16 innings 4-3. Despite their dramatic season opening wins, the Pirates would get off to a terrible start, posting a record of 9-16 as they had several key players, including Wandy Rodriguez, Russell Martin and Jason Grilli miss time due to injury. The Pirates would have their up and downs in May, but remained in fourth place, posting a record of 15-14. As June began the Pirates began to right their ship, posting a record of 17-10 as they climbed back over .500. Andrew McCutchen was a big part in the Pirates turnaround as he was named National League Player of the Month in June, batting .343, with 12 doubles and eight home runs. Andrew McCutchen had another fine season for Pittsburgh, leading the team with 25 home runs and 83 RBI. Neil Walker was also key to the Pirates lineup, with 23 home runs and 76 RBI. The Pirates excelled at home in July, winning 10 of 12 games at PNC Park as they closed in on the Central Division leaders. As August began, the Pirates would lose Andrew McCutchen for two weeks when he suffered a broken rib on a pitch from Randall Delgado of the Arizona Diamonbacks on August 3rd. The Pirates were able to thread water without, McCutchen thanks to the play of Josh Harrison, who was named Player of the Month for the National League in August. It was a breakout season for Harrison, who made his first All-Star team and batted .315 with 13 homers and 52 RBI, while playing five different positions. The Pirates made their move in September as they gained the lead in the race for the Wild Card, by winning 15 of 18 games, clinching a playoff berth with a 3-2 win against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. The Pirates would go into the final weekend of the season, trailing the St. Louis Cardinals by one game for the division title. However, by losing their last two games the Pirates would settle for a Wild Card spot, with a record of 88-74. Gerrit Cole and Edison Volquez were the Pirates most reliable starters, but it was once again their bullpen that was a big key to their success as Tony Watson, posted a 10-2 record with an ERA of 1.63, making his first All-Star appearance.
2014 Wild Card: The Pirates would host the National League Wild Card Game as they faced the San Francisco Giants. Edison Volquez would get the start for the Pirates and held the Giants off the board for three innings. However, in the fourth inning Volquez surrendered a grand slam to Brandon Crawford, which was more than enough for Madison Bumgarner, who pitched a complete game four hitter as the Giants won the game 8-0 on the way to winning the World Series.
2015: After two straight tips to the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Pirates entered the year looking to go further. The Pirates stumbled at the start of the season, as they were swept by the Cincinnati Reds in the first series of the season. The Pirates spent much of the first two months just trying to break over .500 as they threaded water in their first 50 games, posting a record of 26-24. The Pirates began to hit their stride in June, as they swept the defending champion San Francisco Giants in a three game series at AT&T Park, to avenge their defeat in the Wild Card Game. The Pirates would post a record of 17-9 during June to climb up to second place, a record they would duplicate in July. Despite two strong months, the Pirates could not gain any ground on the first place St. Louis Cardinals as they remained in second place five and half games behind. However, their record of 60-42 was second best overall in baseball. The Pirates sent four players to the midsummer classic, as A.J. Burnett returned to Pittsburgh for what would be his final season in the majors, posting a record of 9-7 with a 3.18 ERA as he spent most of the second half dealing with an elbow strain. Gerrit Cole meanwhile went to his first All-Star Game and once again was the Pirates most reliable pitcher, posting a record of 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA and 202 strikeouts. Joining them was Mark Melancon who was won the Trevor Hoffman Award as the best reliever in the National League, leading the league with 51 saves that also established a new Pirates franchise record. The Pirates’ fourth All-Star was the always dependable Andrew McCutchen, who in making his fifth straight All-Star Game again was the Pirates leading hitter with 23 home runs, 98 RBI and a .297 average. McCutchen was also recognized for his charity work off the field, winning the Roberto Clemente Award given to the player who best displays help in the community off the field. Andrew McCutchen was the first Pirate to win the award since Willie Stargell in 1974. Another player helping to guide the Pirates into playoff contention was rookie Jung-ho Kang. Signed out of Korea in the off-season Kang became an instant fan favorite in Pittsburgh. Jung-ho Kang hit .287 with 15 home runs and 58 RBI, before his season came to a sudden end September 17th when Chris Coghlan of the Chicago Cubs slid hard into second base to break up a double play. Jung-ho Kang suffered both a broken leg and torn ACL on the play. The Pirates kept the pressure on the Cardinals all season, as the Cubs kept pressure on them. The three National League Central teams would post the three best records in all of baseball, with the Pirates finishing in second place with a record of 98-64.
2015 Wild Card: Hosting the National League Wild Card for the third straight season at PNC Park, the Pirates faced the Chicago Cubs. The game may have been over before it ever began as the Cubs sent Jake Arrieta to the mound. Arrieta was coming off a monster second half, in which he had an ERA of 0.76. Arrieta dominated the Pirates, pitching a complete game shutout as the Cubs reached the Division Series with a 4-0 win as Gerrit Cole gave up two home runs in a game for the first time this season, with Kyle Schwarber putting the game out of reach with a two run shot in the third inning that landed in the Alleghany.
2016: After posting 98 wins, but losing in the Wild Card Game, the Pittsburgh Pirates looked to take another step forward after three straight playoff appearances. Early on things look good for the Pirates as they began the series with a three-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park. The Pirates would have solid April, posting a record of 15-9, three games behind the first place Chicago Cubs. With a chance to make a move on the Cubs, the Pirates were made to walk the plank as May began losing all three games of a weekend series at PNC Park by a combined score of 20-4. Ten days later in Wrigley Field, the Pirates had more struggles, dropping the first two games before Gerrit Cole outdueled Jon Lester 2-1 in the series finale. The Pirates struggles against the Cubs, allowed their division rivals to build a big lead, as they finished the month of May with a record of 29-22. The Pirates would hit rough waters in June, as injuries to the pitching staff, including Ryan Vogelsong who suffered a facial fractures after was hit in the face by a pitch from Colorado Rockies right-hander Jordan Lyles. This led to players like Jameson Taillon getting called up. In just his second career start Taillon carried a no hitter into the seventh inning, before it was broken up by Curtis Granderson as the Pirates blanked the New York Mets 4-0 at Citi Field. It was one of the lone bright spots for the Pirates in June, as it came during a stretch when they lost 10-of-11 games, and fell below .500. The Pirates would get back on track in July, as they began the month on a seven-game winning streak to hit the All-Star Break with a record of 46-43. However, after the break the Pirates did not make a strong enough move to get back in playoff position, leading to the decision to trade All-Star Closer Mark Melancon to the Washington Nationals for Felipe Rivero and Taylor Hearn. Melancon had been among the top relievers in the National League, with 30 saves and 1.51 ERA before the trade deadline. Despite the deal, the Pirates remained in the Wild Card hunt in August as Tony Watson recorded ten saves. However, heading into September the Pirates saw their playoff hopes capsized as they endured an eight-game losing streak. The Pirates would struggle at PNC Park throughout the final month, losing 12-of-16 as they finished the season in third place with a disappointing record of 78-83.
2017: After a disappointing season, the Pittsburgh Pirates looked to rebound and make it back to the postseason. However, early on things did not look good as the Pirates sat in last place with a record of 24-30. One player who disappointed early in the season was Andrew McCutchen who struggled and was batting near .200 with just eight home runs at the end of May. Pittsburgh were missing two key players as Sterling Marte was hit with an 80-game PED suspension for using a banned substance in April, while Jung-ho Kang missed the entire season after being unable to get a Visa to enter the United States due to legal issues, which included an alleged sexual assault. McCutchen rebounded in June and was named Player of the Month, with a .411 average and six home runs and 23 RBI, which nearly equaled the 24 RBI he hit over the first two months. Despite McCutchen’s big month, the Pirates did not gain much ground, posting a record of 13-13. The Pirates never were able to get into the race, as Marte returned in July. On August 20th the Pirates took it back to the grass roots of baseball, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 in front of players participating in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, as Josh Bell had a big day with four RBI. The Pirates would go on to finish the season in fourth place with a record of 74-88. In his final season in Pittsburgh, Andrew McCutchen hit .279 with 28 home runs and 88 RBI, while Josh Bell had 26 homers with 90 RBI and a .255 average. Gerrit Cole also in his final season with the Pirates was the top pitcher, with a 12-12 record and 4.26 ERA.
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Page created on March 8, 2001. Last updated on July 14, 2018at 11:00 pm ET.