Pittsburgh Pirates

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Posted by bender 04/15/2009 @ 19:09

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Richard, Ramirez lead White Sox past Pirates 4-0 - The Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — Clayton Richard struck out a career-high eight over six innings, Alexei Ramirez homered in his second straight game and the Chicago White Sox shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates again, 4-0 on Saturday. Richard (1-0) allowed four hits for his...
Dunn's RBI single caps Nats rally in 5-4 win - The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn had RBI singles in the eighth inning, helping the Washington Nationals end a seven-game skid with a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday night. Washington's Craig Stammen retired the first...
Nats' late rally ends seven-game losing skid, top Bucs, 5-4 - Washington Examiner
And finally the lead stuck as closer Joel Hanrahan finished things off in the ninth for a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that put an end to a seven-game losing streak. Starting pitcher Craig Stammen made a strong first impression in his...
Pittsburgh Pirates, Altoona Curve announce four-year extension of ... - Pittsburgh Pirates News
The Pittsburgh Pirates announced today that they have extended their Player Development Contract with the Double-A Altoona Curve through the 2014 season. The announcement was made by Curve General Manager Rob Egan, along with Pirates President Frank...
Rangers' Pitching Finally Backs Hitting - New York Times
The Pittsburgh Pirates appear to be hoping that the Yankees can be their modern-day “cousins,” as they try to build a strong pitching staff. When the Pirates were weighing offers for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte last July, they chose the Yankees'...
Cabrera moved to bullpen - Washington Times
So Stammen, a 25-year-old right-hander, will make his big league debut Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, while Cabrera moves to Washington's bullpen to try to get himself back in form. After watching Cabrera slog his way through eight ragged...
Nats Losing Streak Continues: Pirates 12, Nationals 7 - Washington Informer
Photo by John E De Freitas - WI Sports Photo Editor The Nationals bullpen allowed nine earned runs in four innings, blowing the lead starting pitcher Ross Detwiler gave them in his major league debut, as the Nats lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates 12-7 in...
15 Men on a Dead Man's Chest: A Pittsburgh Pirates Preview - South Side Sox
by U-God on May 22, 2009 1:09 PM CDT 14 comments More photos » by Evan Vucci - AP Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Matt Capps craps his pants after closing out the baseball game against the Washington Nationals. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) A brief look at an...
Floyd shows old form, White Sox beat Pirates 2-0 - Forbes
By ANDREW SELIGMAN , 05.22.09, 10:12 PM EDT Gavin Floyd allowed two hits over eight innings and Alexei Ramirez homered as the Chicago White Sox rebounded from one of their worst days by beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-0 on Friday night....
Milwaukee Braves' Harvey Haddix's 12 Perfect Innings - Bleacher Report
He was pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Milwaukee Braves on that night who sent Lew Burdette to the mound. 19154 fans attended the game and saw the best game pitched in the history of major league baseball....

Pittsburgh Pirates

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The Pittsburgh Pirates are a Major League Baseball club based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They play in the Central Division of the National League, and are five-time World Series Champions and played in the first one. The Pirates are also often referred to as the Bucs or sometimes the Buccos (derived from buccaneer).

Professional baseball has been played in the Pittsburgh area since 1876. 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 as a founding member. Their various home fields in the 19th century were in a then-separate city called Allegheny City, across the Allegheny River 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, New York, and Chicago 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 to switch to the older National League in 1887. 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 Phillips 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, team in 1885.

The Alleghenys were severely crippled during the 1890 season, when nearly all of their stars jumped to the Pittsburgh Burghers of the Players' League. 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, who had previously played with the A.A.'s Philadelphia Athletics. 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 1912.

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 owner Barney Dreyfuss 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 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 and, to a lesser extent, the Baltimore Orioles, who were also part of two-team ownerships. Dreyfuss later bought full control of the team and kept it until his death in 1932.

Bolstered by former Colonels shortstop Honus Wagner (who was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area) and player/manager Fred Clarke, the 1901–1903 Pirates completely dominated the National League, in part because they lost few star players to the rival American League. However, owing to injuries to their starting pitchers, they lost the first modern World Series ever played, in 1903 to Boston. Deacon Phillippe 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 got their first World Series title in 1909, defeating the Detroit Tigers in seven games, the same year they opened Forbes Field.

The Pirates originally played in Recreation, Union and Exposition Parks, all in what was then Allegheny City. 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 1917; however, veteran outfielder Max Carey and young players Pie Traynor and Kiki Cuyler, 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 over the Washington Senators, and reached the 1927 World Series before losing in a sweep to the New York Yankees, who at that time had built the most dominant team in baseball. The 1927 season was the first for the sharp-hitting combination of brothers Lloyd Waner and Paul Waner, who along with shortstop Arky Vaughan ensured that the Pirates had plenty of Hall of Fame-caliber position players through 1941. However, the Pirates' crushing defeats of 1927 and 1938 (they lost the pennant to the Chicago Cubs in the final days of the 1938 season) were tremendous setbacks.

The post-World War II years were not kind to the Pirates, despite the presence of a genuine star in Ralph Kiner, who led the National League in home runs for seven consecutive seasons (1946 through 1952). But the team around Kiner placed in the first division only one time — in 1948 — and in 1952 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 1946, the long era of ownership by the Barney Dreyfuss family came to an end when a syndicate that included entertainer Bing Crosby bought the team. By 1950, Columbus, Ohio-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 as general manager after the 1950 campaign, was initially a great disappointment to Pittsburgh fans. Rickey had invented the farm system with the Cardinals and broken the baseball color line with the Dodgers — and built dynasties at each club. But in Pittsburgh, he purged the Pirates' roster of its higher-salaried veterans (including Kiner in 1953) and flooded the team with young players. Many of those youngsters faltered; however, those who fulfilled Rickey's faith in them — pitchers Vern Law, Bob Friend and Elroy Face, shortstop Dick Groat, second baseman Bill Mazeroski, and especially outfielder Roberto Clemente, drafted from Brooklyn after his only minor league season (1954) — would form the nucleus of the Pirates' 1960 championship club. Moreover, Rickey put into place one of baseball's most successful farm and scouting systems that kept the team competitive into the late 1970s. But 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 1960s would continue with extremely solid defensive play by Mazeroski and the first Puerto Rican superstar, Roberto Clemente. 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 vastly overlooked. Looking back, however, many consider Clemente to have been one of the greatest right fielders in baseball history.

Even with Clemente, however, the Pirates struggled to post winning marks from 1961-64, and Murtaugh was replaced by Harry Walker in 1965. With Walker, a renowned batting coach, at the helm — and the hitting of Clemente, Matty Alou, Manny Mota and others — the Pirates fielded contending, 90-plus win teams in both 1965 and 1966. However, Pittsburgh had no answer for the pitching of the Dodgers and the Giants, and finished third each season. In 1967, they fell back to .500, and did not contend through the rest of the 1960s.

Slugger Willie Stargell became a fixture in the Pittsburgh lineup in the late 1960s, and the Pirates returned to prominence in 1970. Murtaugh returned as manager and the Pirates' home field, Forbes Field, was demolished in favor of the multi-purpose Three Rivers Stadium. In 1970, the Pirates won their first of five division titles over the next seven years, and won their fourth World Series in 1971 behind a .414 Series batting average by Clemente. They also thought they had a genuine superstar pitcher (historically rare for the Pirates) in Steve Blass, who pitched two masterful games in the World Series and had excellent seasons in 1968 and 1972.

In 1971, the Pirates also became the first Major League Baseball team to field an all-black starting lineup. That lineup, on September 1, was Rennie Stennett, Gene Clines, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Manny Sanguillen, Dave Cash, Al Oliver, Jackie Hernandez, and Dock Ellis.

Clemente died in a plane crash on December 31, 1972 while accompanying a shipment of relief supplies to the victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua. He had reached the milestone of 3,000 career hits, a standup double, just a few months earlier, on September 30, 1972, in what would prove to be his last regular-season hit. The Baseball Hall of Fame waived its usual waiting requirement and inducted Clemente immediately. Pittsburgh would eventually erect a statue and name a bridge and park near the stadium after him. In 1973, Blass suffered a mysterious breakdown in his pitching abilities and posted an outrageous 9.85 ERA. To this day, pitchers who suddenly lose the ability to throw strikes are said to have "Steve Blass disease." Some speculated that the emotional shock of his friend Clemente's death contributed to his breakdown. He retired soon afterwards; he has since been one of the Pirates' radio and TV announcers for almost two decades.

The Pirates would make the playoffs in 1974 and 1975, but they lost to Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds each time, respectively. Around this time, the speedy Omar Moreno and the power-hitting Dave Parker would join Stargell in the lineup. After the 1976 season where the Pirates finished in 2nd place, Danny Murtaugh passed away. A trade was made with the Oakland Athletics where catcher Manny Sanguillen was traded for manager Chuck Tanner. The Pirates would finish in 2nd once again in 1977 with Parker winning a batting title. It was also in 1977 where the Pirates would begin using the gold and black uniforms with their pillbox caps. Willie Stargell would award teammates with "Stargell Stars" on their caps for excellent plays on the field. The next year, the Pirates led the NL East for most of the year. However, they collapsed in September as the Philadelphia Phillies won the division. Despite this, Dave Parker would win another batting title and a National League MVP to go with it.

Adopting the popular song "We Are Family" by the Philadelphia disco group Sister Sledge as their theme song, the 1979 Pirates cruised to 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, which (like 1971) they won in seven games, on October 17, 1979. 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 of the Cardinals).

Following was a period of decline until the Pirates were regarded as the worst team in baseball during the mid-1980s. Jim Leyland took over as manager, and the Pirates gradually climbed out of the cellar behind mostly young and exciting players such as "outfield of dreams" Bobby Bonilla, Barry Bonds (also known as the "Killer B's" due to their prowess at the plate), and Andy Van Slyke; infielders Jay Bell, Steve Buechele, Mike LaValliere, Sid Bream, and Jose Lind; and pitchers Doug Drabek, John Smiley, and Stan Belinda.

As a rookie in 1982, Johnny Ray played in every game and was named the Rookie of the Year by the Sporting News.

In 1988, the young team finished 85-75 and seemed ready to compete for a pennant. However, the 1989 season was a major setback, with injuries depleting the squad and leading to a 5th-place finish. Among the low points of the season was a game 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 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.

The Pirates would win the first three division titles of the 1990s, but failed to advance to the World Series each time, the second two losing closely contested seven-game series to the Atlanta Braves.

After the 1992 season, manager Jim Leyland set out to rebuild the team, giving up several high-payroll players in favor of a younger crew. The Pirates have been unable to come up with a winning season since, accumulating a 16-year losing streak. The current losing season streak has tied the Philadelphia Phillies, who had losing seasons from 1933- 1948, the longest in any of the country's four major professional sports leagues. The closest to a winning team was the 1997 team, which finished second in the NL Central. It was eliminated during the season's final week, despite having a losing record and a payroll of only $9 million.

The failure of the Pirates to compete in these years has been blamed on "small market syndrome": teams located in smaller cities such as Pittsburgh, Tampa, and Kansas City are at a competitive disadvantage against larger markets such as New York City and Boston without a salary cap or similar agreement, as exist in the country's other three major professional team sports, the NHL, NFL, and NBA. Questionable personnel decisions have also played a part, as the Pirates spent millions on players such as Derek Bell, Jeromy Burnitz, and Tony Armas, Jr. for little or no return. However, other small-market teams such as the Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays and Florida Marlins have been successful under similar economic constraints.

In 2001, the Pirates opened a new stadium, PNC Park. Due to its simple concept and strategic usage of the Pittsburgh skyline, it is frequently regarded as currently the best park in baseball .

Illustrating the Pirates' rebuilding efforts, at the close of the 2005 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, 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, 12 of whom made their first major league appearance. On September 6, manager Lloyd McClendon was fired after 5 losing seasons as manager. On October 11, Jim Tracy was hired as the new manager.

The 2006 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. The Pirates hosted the All Star Game at PNC Park. 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 1992. Third baseman Freddy Sanchez won the National League batting title for the 2006 season with an average of .344.

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

On September 7, 2007, Nutting fired general manager Dave Littlefield.

The Pittsburgh Pirates began to shape their organizational management as the fall of 2007 came. On September 13, Frank Coonelly, chief labor counsel for Major League Baseball, was introduced as the team's new president. On September 25, 2007, the Pirates announced the hiring of Neal Huntington, formerly a scout in the Cleveland Indians 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 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 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 from 2003–2005 until he was fired by the previous General Manager Dave Littlefield.

During the July trade dealine, the Pirates made several deals that sent several accomplished veterans to other franchises. However the Pirates received some highly rated prospects in return. On July 26, 2008, the Pirates traded left fielder Xavier Nady and pitcher Dámaso Marté to the New York Yankees in return for Jose Tabata, Ross Ohlendorf, Dan McCutchen, and Jeff Karstens. Tabata is dubbed as an enigmatic center fielder with huge potential but comes with equally large question marks. 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.

Then on July 31, Jason Bay was traded to the Boston Red Sox in a three-team deal that sent Manny Ramírez to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Andy LaRoche and Bryan Morris to the Pirates from the Dodgers and Brandon Moss and Craig Hansen to the Pirates from the Red Sox. Accoding to Huntington, these are risky deals, to be sure. But he insists that there is a lot of upside if just two or three of the newly acquired players develop to their fullest. The Pirates are hoping to use their new young talent and combine them with their developed players like Matt Capps, Freddy Sanchez, and Nate McLouth and create a solid foundation for team.

On November 24 the same year, the Pirates signed Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel 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 organised in India by J.B. Bernstein earlier in 2008. Both men are scheduled to report to the Pirates' instructional league team in January 2009. On December 12, the Pirates addressed another offseason need, signing utility player Ramón Vázquez to a $4 million, two-year contract. On January 20, the Pirates signed Eric Hinske to a one-year, $1.5 million deal.

In 2007, the Pirates chose to end the longest relationship between a team and a radio station in American professional sports. KDKA 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 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 station WPGB. 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 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.

Games are televised on FSN Pittsburgh, the Pirates' cable television outlet since 1986. There has been no over-the-air coverage of the Pirates since 2002, when some games were on WCWB. KDKA-TV aired Pirates games for 38 years (1957-1994). Games aired on WPXI from 1995-96 and on WPGH-TV and WCWB from 1997-2002.

Announcers Greg Brown, Bob Walk, John Wehner, and Steve Blass shuttle between the radio and TV booths. Also, Tim Neverett will begin calling Pirates games this season (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. His last job was calling the Colorado Rockies in 2008.

On October 1, 2008, longtime play-by-play announcer Lanny Frattare 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 (28 seasons, 1948-1975).

On December 18, 2008, the Pirates hired former Colorado Rockies broadcaster Tim Neverett as the new play-by-play announcer. Neverett will join Greg Brown in calling Pirates games on radio and television.

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 and, to a lesser extent at the time, the colors of the then-relatively unknown Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL. While they weren't the first baseball team to do this, they were one of the first to do this permanently. Along with the San Francisco Giants, the Pirates are one of two pre-expansion National League teams that completely changed their colors, although red returned as an "accent color" in 1997 and remains today.

To coincide with the move into Three Rivers Stadium in 1970, the team introduced pullover spandex 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 jerseys. Even though it would be the Oakland A's that would beat them to having such jerseys, the Pirates, by 1977 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.

In 1976, the National League 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) and kept the hat through the 1986 season, which would be Barry Bonds rookie season with the team. The hats, which recall the team's last World Series championship season (1979), remain popular items in the throwback market.

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List of Pittsburgh Pirates broadcasters

Forbes Field wall — 2006

The Pittsburgh Pirates are members of Major League Baseball (MLB), they have employed sportscasters to provide play-by-play and color commentary during games broadcast over the radio and on television. On August 5, 1921, Pittsburgh hosted the first baseball game broadcast over the radio. Harold Arlin, writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, announced the game over KDKA from a box seat next to the first base dugout at Forbes Field. Throghout the 1920s and 1930s "occasional" games would be broadcast, until Rosie Roswell became the first "Voice of the Pirates" in 1936. While most of Roswell's early broadcasts were solo, he was joined by Pirates' co-owner Bing Crosby and his sucessor Bob Prince for games. Prince took over as lead broadcaster in 1955 and held the position over the next 20 seasons. Prince gained a reputation for giving players nicknames and inventing catch phrases to describe the game; he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in August 1986. In 1976, Lanny Frattare became the Pirates' lead broadcaster. Frattare held the position for 33 years—the longest tenure of any Pirates' broadcaster. Upon Frattare's retirement after the 2008 season, Tim Neverett was hired to fill the role as lead broadcaster. Multiple people have held temporary positions as a broadcaster, including former players Don Hoak, Dave Giusti, Willie Stargell, and Pittsburgh Penguins' broadcaster Mike Lange.

WWSW-FM broadcast Pirates' games on the radio during the 1940s and 1950s until KDKA became the franchise's flagship station in 1955. In 2006, the Pirates switched to WPGB in an attempt to reach younger age brackets; under the current contract WPGB will carry Pirates' games though the 2011 season. As of 2009, the Pirates Radio Network has stations located in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland; WPGB is scheduled to broadcast all 162 games of the Pirates' 2009 season. Fox Sports Pittsburgh televised 125 games during the 2008 season, and is scheduled to broadcast the same number in 2009.

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Pittsburgh Pirates (NHL)

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates were a professional ice hockey team in the National Hockey League (NHL), based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1925–26 to 1929–30. The nickname comes from the baseball team also based in the city. For the 1930–31 season the team moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and played one season as the Philadelphia Quakers.

The Pittsburgh Pirates' history traces back to the Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets of the US Amateur Hockey Association. The Yellow Jackets' owner was a former referee named Roy Schooley. Even though the team won the USAHA Championship in 1924 and 1925, Schooley encountered financial problems. His team was purchased by attorney James F. Callahan. Callahan renamed the team the Pittsburgh Pirates, after he cashed in a favor from Barney Dreyfuss the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team. During this time, Eddie Livingstone was eyeing Pittsburgh as a city for his proposed rival league to the NHL, and Frank Calder negotiated to put a franchise in Pittsburgh to thwart this. This resulted in the Pirates being granted a franchise by the National Hockey League (NHL) on November 7, 1925, becoming the seventh team to join the NHL as well as the league's third US-based team.

The Pirates were assigned, to what would later be called, the NHL's American Division with the Boston Bruins and the New York Americans. The only other American teams in the NHL were the Bruins (1924 – present) and the New York Americans (1925 – 1942). The Duquesne Gardens, located in the city's Oakland neighborhood, served as the team's home arena. The Pirates, dubbed the "Mighty Steel City Sextet" in the Pittsburgh Press, were comprised mostly of leftovers from the former Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets. Ten former Yellow Jacket players would play for the Pirates.

The Pirates first season was the 1925–26 NHL season. On Thanksgiving night 1925, the Pirates beat the Boston Bruins, 2-1, on the road in their very first NHL game on November 26, 1925 at the Boston Arena. Defenceman and captain Lionel Conacher scored Pittsburgh's first-ever NHL goal. Conacher beat Boston goaltender Charles Stewart at the 17:50 mark of the second period to tie the game at 1-1. Pirates' left wing Harold Darragh notched Pittsburgh's first game-winning goal 9:20 into the third period. While Pittsburgh goaltender Roy Worters stopped 26 of 27 shots to record the first win in franchise history.

Two nights later, on November 28, 1925, the Pirates would stun the Montreal Canadiens. Legendary Habs goaltender, Georges Vezina, would play his final game in a 1-0 loss to the Pirates. Vezina had started the game with severe chest pains and left the game during the first intermission with a high fever. He died four months later from tuberculosis.

The first NHL game ever played in Pittsburgh was on December 2, 1925 in which 8,200 fans paid $1.00 to see the 8:30 p.m. faceoff at The Gardens. The Pirates lost to the New York Americans in overtime, 2-1, and Conacher scored the lone goal for Pittsburgh at 9:15 of the second period.

In 36 games, the Pirates had an impressive 19 wins, 16 losses, and 1 tie for third best in the league. With a 0.542 winning percentage, that first season would arguably be the team's best. They made the playoffs their inaugural year. The Pirates faced the Montreal Maroons in a best-of-three, semi-final Stanley Cup playoff series. However the team lost the series to Montreal in two straight games at the Duquesne Gardens. The Maroons would later win the Stanley Cup.

After a good start to their franchise history, things went downhill from there. In their second season, 1926–1927, the Pirates missed the playoffs after finishing in fourth place.

The Pirates' third season (1927–28) was that other season. In their third season, 1927–1928, the Pirates had 19 wins, 17 losses, and 8 ties and made the playoffs. This playoff series would be based on a two game total goal series format. In the playoffs the Pirates would be beaten by the Rangers 6-4. As their 4-2 win in Game 2 could not overcome a 4-0 white washing that they suffered in Game 1. This marked the second time the team lost in the first round to the eventual Stanley Cup winner. It would turn out to be the last playoff game the Pirates would play.

In 1928 financial problems forced the original owner, Callahan, to sell the team to an ownership group which included mobster Bill Dwyer with fight promoter and ex-lightweight boxing champion, Benny Leonard as his front man. Despite the sale of the team, things didn't improve on the ice. Cleghorn left the team at the end of the 1928–1929 season and became a referee in the league. This led to the Pirates to assign coaching duties to Frank Fredrickson in 1929–30. The team also switched to black and orange uniforms for their fifth and what would be their final season. The 1929–30 season saw the Pirates achieve their worst win-loss record with 5 wins, 36 losses, and 3 ties in 44 games. In five seasons, they were above .500 only twice and made the playoffs only twice.

Things didn't improve financially either. With the stock market crash of 1929 followed by the Great Depression, the owners found themselves in financial difficulties. Attendance was down and they tried selling off their star players to make ends meet. The team was $400,000 in debt by the end of the 1929–30 season and in need to replace the aging Duquesne Gardens.

On October 18, 1930 at the NHL Governors meeting, Leonard moved the team to the other side of Pennsylvania and renamed them the Philadelphia Quakers. However, Leonard's intention was to return the team to Pittsburgh as soon as a new arena was built. Thirteen players from the Pirates were transferred to the Philadelphia Quakers after Pittsburgh franchise relocated. These players were Cliff Barton, Harold Darragh, Herb Drury, Gord Frasier, Jim Jarvis, Gerry Lowrey, Rennison Manners, Johnny McKinnon, Hib Milks, Joe Miller, Rodger Smith & Tex White. Frank Fredrickson was also transferred to the Quakers, but he was released by Philadelphia two days later. The Quakers had a wretched season in 1930–31. The team then received permission from the NHL on September 26, 1931 to temporally cease operations as they sought a permanent arena in either Pittsburgh or Philadelphia.

Meanwhile the poor economy was taking a toll on the entire league. The Great Depression would devastate the NHL as 4 teams were forced to fold, leaving behind just six teams. When a new Pittsburgh arena failed to materialize, Leonard surrendered his franchise in 1936. As it turned out, a new arena in Pittsburgh wouldn't be built until the Pittsburgh Civic Arena (now Mellon Arena) opened in 1961. The NHL would play with six teams for 25 years before deciding to expand. The expansion in 1967 brought the Pittsburgh Penguins to the NHL and the city of Pittsburgh and the orange and black uniformed Philadelphia Flyers to Philadelphia. The last active Pirates player was Cliff Barton, who played his last NHL game in 1940.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have left their mark in the NHL record books and NHL history with many firsts and other notable achievements.

The Pirates were the first team in Pittsburgh to use the black & gold color scheme, basing their colors around the Flag of Pittsburgh's colors. Decades after the team folded, the colors have become the team colors of all three of Pittsburgh's major sports teams. However, during the team's existence, they would be the only team in the city with the colors, as the baseball team of the same name, like all other baseball teams at the time, had a more patriotic red, white, and blue color scheme and wouldn't adopt black & gold until 1948. The NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers were not in existence until 1933, three years after the team left town and two years after the franchise folded altogether.

The Pirates would later have a connection with Pittsburgh's next NHL franchise; the Pittsburgh Penguins used the Pirates as an example of a team other than the Boston Bruins using the black & gold color scheme when the Bruins protested to the NHL over the Penguins change in team colors in January 1980. The NHL allowed the Penguins to change their colors as a result of the Pirates using these colors.

The Pirates wore bright yellow wool jerseys with black trim stripes with a "P" on the front of their jerseys during the 1925–1926 season. The team used the Pittsburgh's city crest emblems from older police jackets on the uniform sleeves. Callahan's brother was a policeman in the city and offered the use of police emblems to the team. The first year jerseys appear to have been inherited from the Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets old jerseys. The Pirates featured new jerseys in 1928–29 that were gold with black striping. The word "Pirates" written in arched, blocked lettering. The city crest on the sleeves was replaced with a "P".

In 1929–30 the Pirates switched to black and orange uniforms for their fifth and final season. The wool jerseys featured a chain-knit logo of a pirate face with an eye patch and hat with skull and cross bones. The jersey featured double striping on the sleeves and a diagonal background behind the crest. The orange and black remained when the Pirates moved across the state to become the Quakers, Philadelphia's first NHL team, adopting script lettering like the original Pirates' uniforms. When the Philadelphia Flyers joined the NHL in 1967, they adopted the orange and black colors first worn by the Pirates and Quakers.

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1971 Pittsburgh Pirates season

1971 World Series Program – Pittsburgh Pirates’ version

The 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Pirates finishing first in the National League East with a record of 97 wins and 65 losses. They defeated the San Francisco Giants three games to one in the National League Championship Series and beat the Baltimore Orioles four games to three in the World Series.

In 1971, the Pirates also became the first Major League Baseball team to field an all-black starting lineup. That lineup, on September 1, was Rennie Stennett, Gene Clines, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Manny Sanguillen, Dave Cash, Al Oliver, Jackie Hernandez, and Dock Ellis.

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Source : Wikipedia