Xavier Nady

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Posted by motoman 03/26/2009 @ 10:09

Tags : xavier nady, baseball players, baseball, sports

News headlines
Teixeira Offers No Excuses for His Slow Start - New York Times
Besides those two, the Yankees have catchers Jorge Posada (age 37) and Jose Molina (33) on the disabled list with leg injuries and outfielder Xavier Nady (30) out with an elbow problem. Alex Rodriguez (33) missed the first 28 games recovering from hip...
Xavier Nady set to begin elbow test - New York Daily News
BY Mark Feinsand BALTIMORE - Friday is the big test for Xavier Nady, who is hoping to take the next step toward returning to the field when he swings a bat for the first time since April 14. Nady, who was placed on the disabled list on April 16 with a...
Yankees' Nady to undergo new procedure - NESN.com
by Neil Keefe, May 5, 2009 – 5:23 pm Yankees outfielder Xavier Nady injured his right arm throwing the ball into the infield on April 14 against the Tampa Bay Rays. The initial report was that Nady could possibly need a second Tommy John surgery to...
Xavier Nady: Plasma Injection - Rotowire
Nady will have platelet-rich plasma injected into his torn right elbow in hopes of speeding up his recovery, the Journal News reports. The procedure involves injecting a concentration of plasma isolated from Nady's own blood which helps speed up the...
Yanks' Nady receiving plasma injections - Rotoworld.com
Xavier Nady said he is having plasma injected directly into the area around his partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow in an attempt to speed his return to the Yankees. To recap: steroids evil, plasma good....
Huff pumped after homer off Yankees' Chamberlain - Lower Hudson Journal news
Nady gets closer: Xavier Nady will start swinging a bat with both hands on Friday when the Yankees return to the Bronx. He has been on the disabled list since April 15 with a partially torn ligament in his right elbow. Nady hopes to start a rehab...
And away we go... - Newsday
Among this afternoon's pre-game headlines: how Xavier Nady feels after taking a few swings for the first time since mid-April, if Brian Bruney experiences a second straight side session without any pain (he threw 25 fastballs Wednesday),...
Girardi shows faith in Hughes - Lower Hudson Journal news
Nady tries treatment: Outfielder Xavier Nady is trying an experimental treatment on his partially torn elbow ligament in an attempt to return to the team sooner. Nady is having platelet-rich plasma injected directly into the area around the partially...
Brian Bruney, Alfredo Aceves and potential good news for the New ... - The Star-Ledger - NJ.com
The Yankees must decide soon what to do next with outfielder Xavier Nady, who has been sidelined since April 15 with a partially torn ligament in his right elbow. Outside of hitting balls one-handed off a batting tee, Nady hasn't done much baseball...
MLB managers on the hot seat - Washington Examiner
Alex Rodriguez, Xavier Nady, Jorge Posada and Chien-Ming Wang have spent considerable time on the DL. Why he should be fired » The 2007 World Series honeymoon is over. The Rockies were 74-88 last year. They entered Sunday with the second-worst record...

Xavier Nady

Nady.jpg

Xavier Clifford Nady VI (pronounced /ɛksˈeɪːvɪər 'neɪdiː/) (born November 14, 1978 in Salinas, California) is a Major League Baseball outfielder for the New York Yankees .

The St. Louis Cardinals originally drafted Nady in the 4th round of the 1997 Major League Baseball Draft (134th overall) after he was named Northern California Player of the Year in his senior year of high school, but he did not sign professionally at that time. After attending UC Berkeley, where he set the all-time Pac-10 Conference record for career slugging percentage (.729), Nady was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2000 Major League Baseball Draft by the San Diego Padres (49th overall). Nady signed a major league contract and became the 18th player to go directly to the major leagues without making his professional debut in the minor leagues since 1965. Nady only appeared in one game and spent extensive time in the minor leagues following his debut. He was named Padres Minor League Player of the Year in 2001, also collecting the California League's Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year awards that season. Nady underwent Tommy John surgery and had limited playing time in 2002. In 2003, he again returned to the major league level for part of the season, but spent most of his time in the minor leagues.

In late June 2005, Nady became the first Padre since Greg Vaughn (in 1998) to homer in four consecutive games.

The Padres traded him to the New York Mets for Mike Cameron on November 18, 2005.

On Mother's Day, May 14, 2006, Nady was one of more than 50 hitters who brandished a pink bat to benefit the Breast Cancer Foundation. Nady underwent an emergency appendectomy early in the morning on May 30, 2006; he was placed on the 15-day disabled list, and returned to the lineup on June 18.

On July 30, 2006, Mets set-up relief pitcher Duaner Sanchez was injured when the cab in which he was a passenger was broadsided. The Mets' pitching corps was already depleted with star hurler Pedro Martinez on the disabled list. Desperate for pitching, the Mets felt that a trade was imperative and were forced to give up Nady, their starting right fielder, to the Pirates in exchange for pitchers Óliver Pérez and Roberto Hernandez. While he was a Met for a relatively short time, Nady had performed well and quickly become a fan favorite at Shea Stadium. The trade shocked several fans who thought Nady had been a valuable part of the team, slugging 14 HR (7 of them tying the game or giving the Mets the lead) and driving in 40 runs in only 75 games. The deal came as such a surprise to certain fans that a band known only as "Kuff and the Buttheads" penned a song "The Ballad of X," a chronicle of his time with the Mets, which garnered mild publicity in baseball blogs, and Internet forums.

He can be seen hitting a home run as a Met on TV in the background of the movie I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Coincidentally, it was against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the same year he was traded to them.

On July 26, 2008, the New York Yankees acquired Nady and pitcher Dámaso Marté from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jose Tabata, Ross Ohlendorf, Dan McCutchen, and Jeff Karstens.

Nady had a career high 6 RBI as the Yankees came back to beat the Los Angeles Angels on August 3, 2008.

Nady signed a one-year deal worth $6.65 million with the Yankees avoiding arbitration. Nady is eligible to be a free agent at the end of the 2009 season.

During his major league career with both the Padres and Mets, Nady wore uniform number 22, with the Pirates his uniform number was changed to 25 for a brief stint before his number was again changed, this time back to his original number 22. When he was traded to the Yankees, he was assigned number 29, due to LaTroy Hawkins being assigned 22 at the time. Shortly after, Hawkins was traded to the Houston Astros and Nady switched back to 22.

Nady is married to Meredith. She had their first child, Xavier Henry Nady VII, on July 15, 2008.

After an intestinal illness prior to spring training in 2007, Nady was tested for Crohn's disease due to family history of the disease. The tests turned out negative and Nady was instead diagnosed with a minor infection of the small intestines.

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San Diego Padres

San Diego Padres Cap (1974 - 1984).png

The San Diego Padres are a Major League Baseball team based in San Diego, California. They play in the National League Western Division. Founded in 1969, the Padres have won the National League Pennant twice, in 1984 and 1998, losing in the World Series both times.

The Padres are one of four teams to never have a pitcher toss a no-hit game, and are one of just three teams to have never had a player hit for the cycle.

The Padres adopted their name from the Pacific Coast League team which arrived in San Diego in 1936. That minor league franchise won the PCL title in 1937, led by then-18-year-old San Diegan Ted Williams.

In 1969, the San Diego Padres joined the ranks of Major League Baseball as one of four new expansion teams, along with the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals), the Kansas City Royals and the Seattle Pilots (now the Milwaukee Brewers). Their original owner was C. Arnholt Smith, a prominent San Diego businessman and former owner of the PCL Padres whose interests included banking, tuna fishing, hotels, real estate and an airline. Despite initial excitement, the guidance of longtime baseball executive Buzzie Bavasi and a new playing field, the team struggled; the Padres finished in last place in each of its first six seasons in the NL West, losing 100 games or more four times. One of the few bright spots on the team during the early years was first baseman and slugger Nate Colbert, an expansion draftee from the Houston Astros and still (as of 2007) the Padres' career leader in home runs.

Before the 1974 season began, the Padres were on the verge of being sold to Joseph Danzansky, who was planning to move the franchise to Washington, D.C. by the beginning of the 1974 season. People were so convinced the transfer would happen that new uniforms were designed. Even the baseball card companies were fooled. About half of the Padres' player cards printed by Topps that season displayed "Washington National League" as the team name. But C. Arnholt Smith changed his mind, and instead sold the Padres to McDonald's co-founder Ray Kroc, who was not interested in moving the team and kept the team in San Diego. The nation's capital would have to wait until after the 2004 season, when the Montreal Expos, the Padres' sister National League expansion team in 1969, transferred to the District of Columbia and became the Washington Nationals.

In his first home game as the Padres' new owner in 1974, Ray Kroc grabbed the public address system microphone and apologized to fans for the poor performance of the team, saying, "I've never seen such stupid ballplaying in my life." At the same time, a streaker raced across the field, eluding security personnel. Kroc shouted, "Throw him in jail!" The following season, 1975, would be the first season that the Padres would not finish in the National League West cellar (finishing fourth), and brought the promise of an owner who would make the necessary changes to the organization.

Nate Colbert is one of two major-league baseball players (Stan Musial is the other) to have hit five home runs in a doubleheader, a feat he accomplished as a Padre. He collected 13 RBIs in that doubleheader, still a major league record. Although the Padres continued to struggle after Colbert's departure via trade to the Detroit Tigers in 1974, they did feature star outfielder Dave Winfield, who came to the Padres in 1973 from the University of Minnesota without having played a single game in the minor leagues. Winfield was also drafted by the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League, the Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball Association and the Utah Stars of the American Basketball Association.

Winfield took over where Colbert left off, starring in the Padres outfield from 1973 until 1980, when he joined the New York Yankees. In seven seasons, Winfield played in 1,117 games for San Diego and collected 1,134 hits, 154 home runs and drove in 626 runs. But most importantly, he helped the team out of the National League West basement for the first time in 1975, under the guidance of manager John McNamara, who took over the club at the start of the 1974 season.

Winfield's emergence as a legitimate star coincided with the turnaround of a promising young left-handed pitcher named Randy Jones, who had suffered through 22 losses in 1974. Jones became the first San Diego pitcher to win 20 games in 1975, going 20-12 in 37 outings as the Padres finished in fourth place with a 71-91 record, 37 games behind the Cincinnati Reds.

Jones won 22 games in 1976, winning the Cy Young Award in the process, another franchise first. The club set a new high with 73 wins, but fell to fifth place.

Jones slipped to 6-12 in 1977, and not even the acquisition of Rollie Fingers could help the Padres escape the bottom half of the division. Only Winfield and fellow outfielder George Hendrick cracked the 20-homer barrier, and the pitching staff was filled with a group of unknowns and youngsters, few of whom would enjoy much success at the major league level.

The 1978 season brought hope to baseball fans in San Diego, thanks to the arrival a young shortstop named Ozzie Smith, who arrived on the scene and turned the baseball world on its ears with an acrobatic style that redefined how the position should be played in the field. The Padres hosted the All-Star Game that summer. The National League won the contest 7-3 thanks to an MVP performance by Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Steve Garvey, who would play a crucial role for San Diego in the not-too-distant future.

Winfield and Fingers represented the team at the game, but conspicuously absent was starting pitcher Gaylord Perry, who joined the Padres after spending three years with the Texas Rangers. At 39 years of age and coming off a 15-14 season with Texas, little was expected of him. All Perry did that summer was post a 21-6 record and a 2.73 earned run average, edging Montreal's Ross Grimsley to earn the Padres' second Cy Young Award in three seasons. San Diego also picked up another first that summer, compiling an 84-78 mark for manager Roger Craig, the only time in 10 seasons the team finished a season with a winning percentage above .500.

The good times did not last, as the Padres closed out the decade with another losing season in 1979, a 68-93 record that cost Craig his job. Winfield was the lone bright spot, leading the National League with 118 RBIs. The good times continued to fade out as Winfield signed a 10-year contract with the New York Yankees after the 1980 season.

The 1984 season began with a shock: Ray Kroc died of heart disease on January 14. Ownership of the team passed to his third wife, Joan B. Kroc. The team would wear Ray's initials, "RAK" on their jersey's left sleeve during the entire season.

Fortunately, happier times were ahead for the team. The Padres finished at 92-70 in 1984 and won the National League West championship, despite having no players with 100-RBI and only two batters with 20-HR. They were managed by Dick Williams and had an offense that featured veterans Steve Garvey, Garry Templeton, Graig Nettles, Alan Wiggins as well as Hall-of-Famer Tony Gwynn, who captured his first of what would be eight National League batting championships that year (he would also win in 1987-89 and from 1994-97; Gwynn shares the National League record with Honus Wagner). Gwynn, who also would win five National League Gold Gloves during his career, joined the Padres in 1982 following starring roles in both baseball and basketball at San Diego State University (he still holds the school record for career basketball assists), and after having been selected in the previous year by both the Padres in the baseball draft and by the then San Diego Clippers in the National Basketball Association draft. The Padres pitching staff in 1984 featured Eric Show (15-9), Ed Whitson (14-8), Mark Thurmond (14-8), Tim Lollar (11-13), and Rich "Goose" Gossage as their closer (10-6, 2.90 ERA and 25 saves).

In the 1984 NLCS, the Padres faced the NL East champion Chicago Cubs, who were making their first post-season appearance since 1945 and featured NL Most Valuable Player Ryne Sandberg and Cy Young Award winner Rick Sutcliffe. The Cubs would win the first two games at Wrigley Field, and were less than two innings away from a series sweep when their luck changed. The Padres swept the final three games at then San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium (the highlight arguably being Steve Garvey's dramatic, game winning home run off of Lee Smith in Game 4) to win the 1984 National League pennant.

In the 1984 World Series, the Padres faced the powerful Detroit Tigers, who steamrolled through the regular season with 104 victories (and had started out with a 35-5 record, the best ever through the first 40 games). The Tigers were managed by Sparky Anderson and featured shortstop and native San Diegan Alan Trammell and outfielder Kirk Gibson, along with Lance Parrish and DH Darrell Evans. The pitching staff was bolstered by ace Jack Morris (19-11, 3.60 ERA), Dan Petry (18-8), Milt Wilcox (17-8), and closer Willie Hernandez (9-3, 1.92 ERA with 32 saves). Jack Morris would win games 1 and 4 and the Tigers would go on to win the Series 4-games-to-1.

After the Padres won the pennant in 1984, they had some tough times. Tony Gwynn continued to win batting titles (including batting .394 in 1994). The Padres would come close in 1985. They would field eight All-Stars (manager Dick Williams, Tony Gwynn, Graig Nettles, Rich Gossage, Terry Kennedy, Garry Templeton, Steve Garvey, and La Marr Hoyt) at the 1985 All-Star Game in Minnesota. However, they collapsed at the end of the season, finishing tied for second with the Houston Astros behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers.

In 1987, rookie catcher Benito Santiago hit in 34 straight games, earning him the NL Rookie of the Year Award. However, the Padres finished dead last in 1987, thanks to the managing of the tempestuous Larry Bowa. The next season, rookie second baseman Roberto Alomar would make his debut, forming a double play combination with veteran shortstop Garry Templeton. During the 1988 season, Bowa was replaced by Jack McKeon and the Padres won 83 games, finishing in third place. In 1989, the Padres finished 89-73 thanks to Cy Young Award-winning closer Mark Davis. Between 1989 and 1990, friction dominated the Padres' clubhouse as Tony Gwynn had constant shouting matches with slugger Jack Clark. But as the franchise player, Gwynn prevailed as Clark finished his career with the Red Sox.

Midway through the 1990 season, Joan Kroc wanted to sell the team. But she wanted a commitment to San Diego. So Kroc sold it to television producer Tom Werner. After the ownership change, the old brown that remained in Padres uniforms since their inception were supplanted by navy blue, a nod to the vintage 1940's PCL franchise colors. Shortly after the ownership change, a trade was made with the Toronto Blue Jays where Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar were traded for Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez. In 1992, the Padres lineup featured the "Four Tops": Gary Sheffield, Fred McGriff, Tony Fernández, and Tony Gwynn. However, Fernandez would go to the New York Mets, McGriff went to the division-winning Atlanta Braves, and Sheffield would go to the expansion Florida Marlins. Although extremely unpopular at the time, it was the Sheffield trade that brought in pitcher Trevor Hoffman, who was virtually unknown to Padres fans. While Sheffield led Florida to a World Championship in 1997, Hoffman would be the next franchise player behind Dave Winfield and Tony Gwynn. The Padres would finish dead last in the strike-shortened 1994 season, but Gwynn hit .394 that year (the most since Ted Williams hit over .400 in 1941). After that season, the Padres made a mega-trade with Houston reeling in Ken Caminiti, Steve Finley, and others. In November 1995, Kevin Towers was promoted from scouting director to general manager.

In 1996, under new owner John Moores (a software tycoon who purchased controlling ownership in the team in 1994 from Tom Werner, who subsequently formed a syndicate that purchased the Boston Red Sox) and team president Larry Lucchino, and with a team managed by former Padres catcher Bruce Bochy (a member of the 1984 NL championship squad), the team won the NL West in an exciting race, sweeping the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in the final series of the regular season. The '96 team featured Gwynn, who won his seventh National League batting championship, National League MVP Ken Caminiti, premier leadoff hitter Rickey Henderson, pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, first baseman Wally Joyner and outfielder Steve Finley. The Padres had led the NL West early in the season only to falter June, but came back in July and battled the Dodgers the rest of the way. However, they were defeated in the National League Division Series by the Tony La Russa-led St. Louis Cardinals, 3 games to 0.

The Padres suffered an off-year in 1997, plagued by a pitching slump. The one silver lining was Tony Gwynn's eighth and final National League batting title, won in the final days of the season after a down-to-the wire duel with the Colorado Rockies' Larry Walker. Walker barely missed becoming the first Triple Crown winner in baseball since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.

In 1998, Henderson and Valenzuela were gone, but newly acquired (from the 1997 World Series champion Florida Marlins) pitcher Kevin Brown had a sensational year (his only one with the Padres) and outfielder/slugger Greg Vaughn hit 50 home runs (overlooked in that season of the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa race). Managed by Bruce Bochy and aided by the talents of players such as Tony Gwynn, Ken Caminiti, Wally Joyner, Steve Finley, pitcher Andy Ashby and premier closer Trevor Hoffman (4-2, 1.48 ERA and 53 saves), the Padres had their best year in history, finishing 98-64 and winning the NL West division crown.

The Padres went on to defeat the Houston Astros in the 1998 NLDS, 3 games to 1, behind solid pitching by Brown and Hoffman, and home runs by Greg Vaughn, Wally Joyner and Jim Leyritz (who homered in 3 of the 4 games).

In the 1998 NLCS, the Padres faced the Atlanta Braves, who had won the National League East with an astonishing 106-56 record. The offense was paced by talent such as Andrés Galarraga, Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones and Javy López. Their pitching staff had the perennial big-3 of Greg Maddux (18-9, 2.22 ERA), Tom Glavine (20-6, 2.47 ERA), and John Smoltz (17-3, 2.90 ERA), as well as Kevin Millwood (17-8, 4.08 ERA) and Denny Neagle (16-11, 3.55 ERA). However, it was the Padres that would prevail, 4 games to 2, with ace Kevin Brown pitching a complete game shutout in game 2 (winning 3-0). Steve Finley caught a pop fly for the final out, as the Padres clinched the series.

In the 1998 World Series the Padres faced the powerhouse New York Yankees, who had steamrolled through the season with a 114-48 record and drew acclaim as one their greatest teams of all time. There was no offensive player with more than 30 home runs, in contrast to the teams of the 1920s, or 1950's, but they had four players with 24+ and eight with 17+. Yankee pitching had been paced by David Cone (20–7, 3.55), Andy Pettitte (16–11, 4.24), David Wells (18–4, 3.49), Hideki Irabu (13–9, 4.06) and Orlando Hernández (12–4, 3.13). Mariano Rivera, their closer, was excellent once again (3–0, 1.91 ERA with 36 saves).

The Yankees swept the Padres 4 games to 0. Mariano Rivera closed out 3 of the 4 games. One of the few bright spots of the series for the Padres was a home run by Tony Gwynn, not normally a power hitter, in Game 1 that hit the facing of the right-field upper deck at Yankee Stadium and put the Padres ahead briefly, 5-2. But the Yankees would score 7 runs in the 7th inning en route to a 9-6 victory.

The Padres opened their 1999 season in Monterrey, Mexico versus the Colorado Rockies. On August 6, 1999, Tony Gwynn got his 3,000th hit (a single) against the Montreal Expos at Olympic Stadium. After five straight losing seasons in Qualcomm Stadium (1999-2003), the Padres moved into newly built PETCO Park.

On October 7, 2001, in a post-game ceremony at Qualcomm Stadium, Tony Gwynn made an emotional farewell to the team that had been his only major-league home. He stroked his final major-league hit, a double, in the previous game. He is presently head coach of the San Diego State University Aztecs, his alma mater. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 29, 2007. In the game played that day, Rickey Henderson, who in the meantime had rejoined the Padres, collected his 3,000th major-league base hit, a double.

Also in 2001, Dave Winfield became the first player to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a Padre.

PETCO Park is situated in downtown near San Diego's Gaslamp District, the main entrance located just two blocks from the downtown terminal of the San Diego Trolley light-rail system. With new amenities and a revitalization of the downtown neighborhood, fan interest renewed. Modeled after recent successes in downtown ballpark building (such as San Francisco's AT&T Park), and incorporating San Diego history in the form of the preservation of the facade of the historic Western Metals Company building (now the left-field corner, the corner of the building substituting for the left field foul pole), the new Petco Park is a sharp contrast to their previous home at Qualcomm (Jack Murphy) Stadium which was a cookie-cutter type football-baseball facility located in an outer, mostly commercial-industrial, area of the city near an interstate interchange.

With the ocean air prevalent and a sharp, clean park to play in, the Padres began to win again. The new stadium also acquired a reputation as a pitchers' park, with notable complaints from some of the Padres batters themselves (deep center field and evenings with dense foggy air). The Padres finished the 2004 season with an 87–75 record, good enough for 3rd in the NL West.

The team somewhat rebranded itself going into the 2004 season, with new colors (navy blue and sand brown), new uniforms and a new advertising slogan, "Play Downtown", referring to the near-downtown location of the new ballpark.

One of the bricks at the center plaza of Petco Park was secretly purchased by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an animal rights organization that has protested the breeding and purchasing of the animals sold at Petco stores. The brick reads, "Break out your cold ones. Toast the Padres. Enjoy this champion organization." The first letter of each word is really an acrostic urging people to boycott the stores.

In 2005, the Western Division Champion Padres finished with the lowest-ever winning percentage for a division champion (or for that matter, a postseason qualifier) in a non-strike season, 82-80. Three teams in the stronger Eastern Division finished with better records than San Diego but failed to qualify for the playoffs, including second-place Philadelphia, which won 88 games and all six of its contests with the Padres. There had been some speculation that the Padres would be the first team in history to win a division and finish below .500, but their victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 30 gave them their 81st victory. In the NLDS, the reigning National League champion St. Louis Cardinals, who finished the season with the majors' best record, swept the Padres in three consecutive games. Thus the Padres finished the season with an overall regular-and-post-season record of 82-83, the first post-season qualifier in a normal-length season to lose more games than it won overall.

The 2005 Padres featured bright spots, however, including ace pitcher Jake Peavy, the NL strikeout leader, and closer Trevor Hoffman, who claimed his 400th save.

The Padres started April 2006 with a 9–15 record and were stuck in the cellar of the NL West.

However, after going 19–10 in May, the club moved into first place in the division. Closer Trevor Hoffman was elected to the 2006 MLB All-Star Game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, threw one inning in that game and got the loss. On September 24 (the last home game of the regular season), Hoffman became the all-time saves leader when he recorded his 479th career save, breaking Lee Smith's record of 478 (Hoffman's career total as of the end of the season was 482). Hoffman's 2006 campaign (2.14 ERA, 46 saves in 51 opportunities through 65 games pitched) was one of his best. The 2006 Padres would attribute their success largely to the team's pitching staff. Their ERA was 3.87, first in the NL and trailing only the Detroit Tigers in all of MLB.

On September 30, 2006, the Padres clinched a playoff berth with a 3–1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. In the final game of the season, the Padres defeated the Diamondbacks 7-6 to win back to back division titles for the first time in team history (they were tied with the Dodgers for the division title, but because of winning the season series against them, the division title went to them and the wild card went to the Dodgers). The final out of the final game of the 2006 regular season — confirming the Padres as Division champions — was a highly unusual play. With Trevor Hoffman pitching the 9th, 2 out, Diamondback Chris Young was on first. Alberto Callaspo hit a grounder past first. Second baseman Josh Barfield fielded and threw wildly to first, forcing Gonzalez to come off the bag. However, Gonzalez then threw to Khalil Greene at second, beating but not tagging Young. Second base umpire Larry Poncino initially called safe because of the no-tag, but Padres manager Bruce Bochy successfully argued that the force play at second did not need a tag to be declared out. The game, and the season, ended with a changed call. TV replay, however, clearly showed that Greene was off the bag as well, so the original call may have been correct. This call, understandably, was greeted by a long and loud chorus of boos by the Diamondbacks fans who packed Chase Field to bid farewell to Luis Gonzalez.

Only 53 teams in the modern era have posted sub-.500 records in April and survived to make the postseason. The San Diego Padres, achieved the feat in both 2005 and 2006.

The Padres opened the 2006 National League Division Series at home against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, October 3, 2006. After losing the first two games at home (5-1 and 2-0 respectively), they won game 3 at Busch Stadium 3–1, but were eliminated with a 6–2 loss in Game 4, when the Cardinals, who trailed 2–0 before their first at-bat, scored six unanswered runs (two in the first, and four in the sixth) for the win.

Overall the Padres have a post-season record of 12–22; they have lost 10 of their last 11 games since winning the National League pennant in 1998.

One key offseason trade between the San Diego Padres' General Manager, Kevin Towers, and the Texas Rangers' General Manager, Jon Daniels, would prove to have a dramatic impact on their 2006 season. The Padres dealt starting pitcher Adam Eaton, middle reliever Akinori Otsuka, and minor-league catcher Billy Killian in exchange for starting pitcher Chris Young (a star at Princeton University), left fielder Terrmel Sledge, and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez would take over the everyday duties at first base, batting .304 with a club-leading 24 home runs and 82 RBI in his first year as a full-time starter. Sledge would hit .229 in limited major league action. Chris Young proved to be the real story, however, as he would go 11-5 with a 3.46 ERA (6th best in the National League) and allowed just 6.72 hits per 9 innings pitched - best in the majors.

2006 also ended up being the last year of Bruce Bochy's tenure as the manager of the Padres, taking the managerial position for their divisional rivals, the San Francisco Giants. He was replaced by Bud Black, a San Diego State University alumni and former pitching coach of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

On Sunday, April 1, 2007, Major League Baseball's 2007 Opening Night, the Padres announced that they had agreed to terms on a four-year contract with 1B Adrian Gonzalez, keeping him in San Diego until 2010 with a club option for 2011. Prior to this contract agreement the Padres had offered to renew Gonzalez's contract during the offseason at $380,500, only $500 over the league minimum for the 2007 season.

The Padres' 2007 season began April 3 in an away game against the San Francisco Giants, winning it 7-0 in front of a capacity crowd of 42,773 at AT&T Park, defeating $126 million staff-ace Barry Zito in his Giants debut. The Padres bullpen has continued to be the team's strength as in recent years, opening the season with 28 1/3 scoreless innings, a Major League record to start a season. At the start of the season the Padres starting rotation order was as follows: Jake Peavy, Chris Young, Clay Hensley (injured, replaced by Justin Germano), Greg Maddux, David Wells.

On June 4, 2007, Jake Peavy was named NL Pitcher of the Month after going 4-0 with a 0.79 ERA in May. The next day, Trevor Hoffman was named the “DHL Presents the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Month Award” for May 2007. The award recognizes the most outstanding relief pitcher during each month of the regular season.

On June 6, 2007, Trevor Hoffman became the first pitcher in major league history to record 500 saves, 498 of them coming as a Padre (the first 2 were as a Florida Marlin).

To many Padres fans, however, the last call at the plate seemed irrelevant. Between Hoffman's two blown saves in the last three games, the Rockies' incredible surge at the end of the season and the season-long slump by the Padres' offense, a Padres postseason appearance just wasn't meant to be.

On November 15, Jake Peavy won the National League Cy Young Award by unanimous ballot. He was the fourth Padre to capture the pitching award.

The Padres entered the 2007-08 offseason with a number of questions, including the ability of Trevor Hoffman to close games past his 40th birthday, the ongoing inability to hold runners on base (the Padres' caught-stealing ratio in 2007 was one of the worst in baseball history), two holes in the back of the starting rotation, and the possible departure of Mike Cameron to free agency. The two holes in the rotation were filled by former Dodger Randy Wolf and Mark Prior and the club dealt for Jim Edmonds to replace Cameron. Additionally, Milton Bradley was signed by the Texas Rangers.

The Padres signed Mark Prior to a one-year deal in the off-season. Prior, a University of San Diego HS graduate (now Cathedral HS), joins a team that consists of players that were also local prep stars, Brian Giles (Granite Hills HS), Adrian Gonzalez (Eastlake HS), and Oscar Robles (Montgomery HS). Recent Padres teams had also included Dave Roberts (Rancho Buena Vista HS), David Wells (Point Loma HS), and Marcus Giles (Granite Hills HS).

The Padres started the 2008 campaign March 31, in San Diego against the Houston Astros and won the series 3–1.

2007 All-Star Chris Young pitched in the second game of the season, a 2–1 win, and Trevor Hoffman, the game's all-time saves leader, wrapped up the ninth for the save. The Los Angeles Dodgers came into town and took two of three. 2007 Cy Young winner Jake Peavy picked up the only win during the Dodgers' series. At the end of the opening homestand, the Padres were 3–3.

The Padres traveled to San Francisco, hoping to fatten up on former manager Bruce Bochy's Giants, but the now-Bondsless bay dwellers took two of three.In Los Angeles, the Padres won two of three, pushing their record back to .500.

On April 17, 2008 during the series against the Colorado Rockies at PETCO Park, the Padres played the longest game in team history, in terms of innings (22), losing 2–1. The game was the second longest in team history, in terms of time, played in 6 hours, 16 minutes. Following that game, which sapped the team's bullpen strength, the Padres stumbled, dropping games at home, where they struggled to score runs, and on the road, where they committed uncharacteristic errors and failed to hold leads. Returning home after a humbling three-game sweep in Atlanta in early May, the Padres cut Jim Edmonds, the Cardinals castoff who had been brought in after the Padres failed to sign Mike Cameron to an new deal in the offseason. With former Indian Jody Gerut now in center, the Padres won the three-game weekend home series with the Rockies and motored to Chicago with the hopes of winning three of four to get the season back on track. Instead, the Cubs, with Jim Edmonds in center, won three of four and booted the Padres from the Windy City into an interleague series with the Mariners, their Peoria, Ariz. spring training neighbors. The Mariners used speed ---- and a late inning burst of power from Adrián Beltré in one game ---- to win the series and shove the Padres deeper into their early-season hole. After sweeping the New York Mets in a four game series that ended on June 8, the Padres climbed to 7 games back of first place Arizona. The sweep put the Mets 7 and a half games behind the first place Philadelphia Phillies, sending the Padres and the Mets, expansion teams in the 1960s, in different directions. The Padres won two of three games in a series against the Dodgers at Petco Park. There was talk in San Diego that the Padres had a serious chance to get back in the race in a week NL West. A road trip sent the Padres to play the Indians in Cleveland, where they lost two of the three games. During their final trip to Yankee Stadium, the site of Tony Gwynn's upperdeck World Series blast, the Padres were swept by the Yankees.

They returned to Petco and dropped two of three to the Tigers. They were then swept by the Twins and Mariners. Returning to National League competition didn't help much, as Padres lost two of three in Colorado to the Rockies. Powered by former Diamondbacks outfielder Scott Hairston, the Padres won two of three in Arizona. The team couldn't sustain the momentum however and they lost two of three to the Marlins at Petco Park. In the last series before the All-Star break, the Padres lost two of three to the Braves. Adrian Gonzalez represented the Padres at the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, going 1-3 with an RBI. Gonzalez made a nice scoop on a throw from catcher Russell Martin during a tense moment late in the game but he struck out with a chance to drive in the go-ahead run late in the game. According to media reports, Gonzalez was asked during an All-Star game media session what it would take for the Padres to make the playoffs. He said 30 wins. When the interviewer asked if he thought that was possible, Gonzalez glared at the interviewer and didn't answer the question.

On July 17, the Padres traded former San Diego State great Tony Clark to the Diamondbacks for minor league pitcher Evan Scribner. Following the All-Star break, the Padres would continue to struggle, getting swept in a four game series in St. Louis and losing two of three in Cincinnati. A trip to Pittsburgh proved to be the tonic the team needed. The Padres won three of four in the Steel City and during the series the Pirates traded former Padre underachiever Xavier Nady to the Yankees for prospects. Back home, the Padres won the first game of the series against the division leading Diamondbacks. The win gave Greg Maddux 351 career wins and he tipped his hat to the crowd when he left with a lead. Late in August, the team parted ways with Greg Maddux by trading him to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

As this disastrous season started to come to a close, questions about the coaching staff started swirling like crazy. In mid-September, Hitting Coach Wally Joyner resigned due to the teams lackluster offense and a difference in philosophy with upper management (most notably, CEO Sandy Alderson). It seems that Joyner beat the Padres to the punch, as he was likely to be replaced at the end of the season. The team finished off a 63–99 season on September 28 with a 10–6 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates finishing 5th in the NL West, 21 games behind the division leader Los Angeles Dodgers.

On September 29, the team renewed the contracts of Manager Bud Black, Pitching Coach Darren Balsley, Bullpen Coach Darrell Akerfelds, 3rd Base Coach Glenn Hoffman (brother of closer Trevor Hoffman) and 1st Base Coach Rick Renteria. Only Bench Coach Craig Colbert was not renewed and because of Wally Joyner's earlier resignation the team had no Hitting Coach to bring back. On Oct. 10, the Padres offered Trevor Hoffman a $4 million salary for 2009 plus a $4 million club option in 2010 then on Nov. 11th the Padres withdrew the $4 million offer to the all-time saves leader and making him a free agent.

The team plays spring training games at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. They share the stadium with the Seattle Mariners.

During the 1980s (and continuing through 1994), the Padres held Spring Training in Yuma, Arizona. Due to the short driving distance and direct highway route (170 miles, all on Interstate 8), Yuma was very popular with Padres fans, and many fans would travel by car from San Diego for Spring Training games. The move from Yuma to Peoria (announced during the 1994 baseball strike) was very controversial, but was defended by the team as a reflection on the low quality of facilities in Yuma and the long travel necessary to play against other Arizona-based Spring Training teams (whose sites are all in the Phoenix and Tucson areas, both rather far from Yuma).

The San Diego Padres have used six different logos and three different color combinations throughout their history. Their first logo depicts a friar swinging a bat with Padres written at the top while standing in a sun-like figure with San Diego Padres on the exterior of it. The "Swinging Friar" has popped up on the uniform on and off ever since (he is currently on the left sleeve of the jersey), and is currently the mascot of the team. The original team colors were the brown and gold of the original logo (pictured below).

In 1985, the Padres switched to using a script-like logo in which Padres was written sloped up. That would later become a script logo for the Padres.

In 1989, the Padres took the scripted Padres logo that was used from 1985-1988 and put it in a tan ring that read "San Diego Baseball Club" with a striped center. In 1991, the logo was changed to a silver ring with the Padres script changed from brown to blue. The logo only lasted one year, as the Padres changed their logo for the third time in three years, again by switching colors of the ring. The logo became a white ring with fewer stripes in the center and a darker blue Padres script with orange shadows. In 1991, the team's colors were also changed, to a combination of orange and navy blue.

The logo was completely changed when the team changed stadiums between the 2003 and 2004 seasons, as the logo now looks like home plate at a baseball field with San Diego written in gold font at the top right corner and the Padres new script written completely across the center. Waves finish the bottom of the plate. Navy remains but a sandy beige replaces orange as a secondary color. The team's colors were also changed, to navy blue and sand brown.

In 2008 during every Sunday home game, the Padres wear a camouflage uniform in honor of the military. They also wear these uniforms on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. Recruits from the nearby Marine Corps Recruit Depot often visit the games en masse, in uniform, often filling entire sections in the upper deck. When they are present, the team commemorates this with a special Fourth Inning Stretch featuring the Marine Hymn. This is part of an extensive military outreach program, which also includes a Military Appreciation Night game, special cameoflage uniforms worn on Military Appreciation Night and holidays, and game tapes mailed to deployed United States Navy ships of the Pacific Fleet for onboard viewing (a large portion of the Pacific Fleet is homeported in San Diego).

1992 through 2003. Same as the previous but the ring is now white.

The following inducted members of the Baseball Hall of Fame played and/or managed for the Padres. Those denoted in bold are depicted on their Hall plaque wearing a Padres cap insignia.

Though not recognized as an inducted member of the Hall, longtime Padres play-by-play announcer Jerry Coleman is permanently honored in the Hall's "Scribes & Mikemen" exhibit as a result of winning the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence in 2005.

Gwynn, Winfield, Fingers, Gossage, Randy Jones, and Graig Nettles (3B, 1984-1987) are also members of the San Diego Hall of Champions, which is open to athletes native to the San Diego area (such as Gwynn and Nettles) as well as to those who played for San Diego teams.

People inducted into the San Diego Padres Team Hall of Fame which was founded in 1999.

Padres' games are shown mostly on 4SD, a cable-only network controlled by Cox Communications. Matt Vasgersian was the play-by-play announcer (2002-2008), and Mark Grant is the color commentator. In 2006, the booth played host to a controversial guest appearance by Rick Sutcliffe, who had been Davis' predecessor before joining ESPN. Sutcliffe appeared to be drunk and discussed topics other than baseball, even when Vasgersian tried to redirect the subject. After the appearance, ESPN suspended Sutcliffe for a week. For the 2009 season, Vasgersian will be replaced by veteran minor league announcer Mark Neely, who for the previous 13 years had been the voice of the Tulsa Drillers of the Texas League.

Spanish language telecasts of Sunday games are seen XHAS-TV channel 33. Until September 2007, Friday and Saturday Spanish games were seen on KBOP-CA channel 43, until that station changed to an all-infomercial format. This makes XHAS the only over-the-air-television station carrying Padres baseball. English-language Padres over-the-air broadcasts aired over the years on XETV, KCST, KUSI, KFMB-TV and KSWB-TV.

Jerry Coleman, former second baseman for the New York Yankees in the 1950s, has been the Padres' play-by-play announcer since 1972, except in one year, 1980, in which Coleman managed the team. He also worked for the Yankees (alongside legendary sportscaster Mel Allen) and the California Angels. Coleman is famous for his phrases "Oh Doctor!" and "You can hang a star on that one!" At the old stadium, he would often commemorate exceptionally good plays by displaying a foam star suspended from a fishing pole extended from the broadcast booth window (thus literally hanging the star he often referenced) . In 2005, Coleman reduced his broadcast role, allowing longtime partner Ted Leitner to be the Padres' primary announcer. Coleman is also the 2005 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, giving him entry into the broadcasters wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Between games of a doubleheader with the Cincinnati Reds on July 25, 1990, Roseanne series star Roseanne Arnold delivered a screeching rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner, immediately after which she grabbed her crotch and spat on the ground. She was intending to parody those actions of ballplayers which are often caught on camera, but she picked the wrong time to do it, as it appeared to many that she was commenting on the flag and/or the anthem. Had it not been for those gestures, her performance likely would have been written off as simply a poor choice of singer on the ballclub's part, and probably soon forgotten. As it was, her act drew boos and catcalls from fans and then criticism from players (most notably Tony Gwynn) and even outside quarters, including then-President George H. W. Bush, a former Yale University first baseman and the father of then-Texas Rangers owner, former President George W. Bush.

Notable fans of the Padres have included comedian and film actor Jerry Lewis, singers Patti Page and Frankie Laine, former astronaut Wally Schirra, author and syndicated columnist George Will, and former San Diego mayor and California governor Pete Wilson, all of whom have maintained residences in the San Diego area. The fictional character of Finn DeTrolio from the show The Sopranos is also a Padres fan.

Padres fans typically delight in the misfortunes of the Los Angeles Dodgers, loudly chanting "BEAT L.A." when the two teams meet head-to-head. While Dodgers fans are reluctant to acknowledge their de facto rivalry with the Padres, San Diego's play against the Dodgers has been very good over the last ten to fifteen years. It can be argued that the Padres have had more influence than the Giants in keeping underachieving Los Angeles mostly out of the playoffs through the 1990s and 2000s. Even in "lean" years, when the Padres have finished in last place, they always seem to come up with a winning record against L.A. Recent notable moments in this rivalry include Chris Gwynn's RBI double at Dodger Stadium to give the Padres their second-ever division title in 1996, and the Dodgers' amazing back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs to beat the Padres in a September 2006 game with a pennant race in progress.

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1997 Major League Baseball Draft

The 1997 First-Year Player Draft, Major League Baseball's annual amateur draft of high school and college baseball players, was held on June 2 and 3, 1997. A total of 1607 players were drafted over the course of 92 rounds.

Future major leaguers Jeff Weaver (2nd round, 62nd overall), Chase Utley (2nd round, 76th overall), Eric Byrnes (4th round, 130th overall), Xavier Nady (4th round, 134th overall), Cliff Lee (8th round, 246th overall), Garrett Atkins (10th round, 300th overall), Brandon Lyon (37th round, 1110th overall), David DeJesus (43rd round, 1281st overall), Brad Hawpe (46th round, 1344th overall), and Aaron Heilman (55th round, 1488th overall) were also selected during this draft, but did not sign with the teams that selected them. Weaver and Byrnes were subsequently drafted for the last time in 1998, Lyon in 1999, Utley, Nady, Lee, Atkins, DeJesus and Hawpe in 2000, and Heilman in 2001.

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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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Dámaso Marté

Dámaso Sabinon Marté (born February 14, 1975 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) is a left-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees. He previously played for the Seattle Mariners (1999), Pittsburgh Pirates (2001, 2006-2008), and Chicago White Sox (2002-2005).

Marte was signed as an amateur free agent by the Seattle Mariners in 1992. He made his major league debut on June 30, 1999, against the Oakland Athletics.

On November 16, 2000, Marte signed with the New York Yankees, but was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 13, 2001, for Enrique Wilson. In his Pirates debut, he hurled 3 innings of one-hit ball. He would go on to throw 14 innings where he only allowed 1 run and struck out a career high 5 batters against the Cincinnati Reds.

On March 27, 2002, Marte along with Edwin Yan were traded to the Chicago White Sox for Matt Guerrier. In 2003, he enjoyed his most successful big league season, where he went 4-2 with a 1.58 ERA in 79.7 innings pitched where he struck out a career high 87 batters. He continued his success in 2004 when he held opposing batters to a .217 batting average and left-handed batters to an average of .143. He also matched his career high for strikeouts in a game with 5 against the Florida Marlins.

A notable achievement for him was being the winning pitcher in the longest game in World Series history, Game 3 of the 2005 World Series. In that game, he tossed 1.2 scoreless innings and struck out three batters in the 14 inning win over the Houston Astros.

On December 13, 2005, the White Sox traded Marte to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Rob Mackowiak. Damaso made 3 relief appearances in the World Baseball Classic for the Dominican Republic in 2006. Come the regular season, he went on to struggle a bit in where he lost 7 straight games as a reliever but still averaged 9.7 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched. In 2007, he enjoyed some success where he held left-handed batters to a .094 batting average. He also did not allow a hit in 32 consecutive at-bats against left-handers which happened to be the longest streak of consecutive hitless at-bats by a left-handed batter against any pitcher in the MLB.

On July 26, 2008, Marté and Xavier Nady were traded to the Yankees for Jose Tabata, Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens, and Dan McCutchen. In his Yankees debut, he relieved Jose Veras (for only one batter), and faced David Ortiz, who struck out swinging.

Following the 2008 season, the Yankees declined Marté's option. However, the Yankees then re-signed him to a new three-year deal with an option for a fourth.

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Dave Littlefield

David Littlefield is a former Major League Baseball executive. Littlefield was employed as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, a position he held from July 13, 2001 to September 7, 2007. He took over as GM for Roy Smith, who had assumed the position on a temporary basis after the firing of GM Cam Bonifay on June 11. He is currently working as a scout for the Chicago Cubs.

Littlefield received a large amount of negative publicity after the Pirates lost five prospects from their minor league system with the first six picks in the 2003 Rule 5 draft, even though they had unused spots on their 40-man roster and could have protected several of the players if they had chosen to do so. Chris Shelton, who had recently been honored as the team's minor league player of the year, went with the first pick, and he was followed in short order by Rich Thompson, Frank Brooks, Jeff Bennett, and José Bautista. Baseball executives present at the draft laughed openly at Littlefield's embarrassment, and the laughter intensified after the Pirates declined to make a pick of their own. The Cincinnati Reds, picking seventh, had all five Pirate players listed on their draft board and were frustrated to see them all go too soon, and an anonymous executive from another American League team said that his team had also planned to take a Pirate prospect, refraining only because in his words, "There wasn't anything left." In subsequent years, however, the apparent gaffe began to look less appalling as only Jose Bautista (who the Pirates had subsequently re-acquired in another trade that year) was an everyday Major Leaguer in 2007.

Littlefield has acquired a reputation throughout MLB as a difficult trading partner, in that his demands during negotiations are often seen as grossly excessive. In fact, Littlefield turned down a trade offer in 2005 with former GM of the Philadelphia Phillies, Ed Wade, in which the Pirates would swap pitcher Kip Wells for the Phillies' Ryan Howard. Littlefield also turned trading Howard for pitcher Kris Benson a year earlier.

Littlefield has traded players such as Jason Schmidt, Jason Kendall, Sean Casey, Aramis Ramírez, Chris Young, Gary Matthews Jr., and Kenny Lofton for little or nothing in return. While small market teams thrive on trading established veterans for packages of talented minor leaguers, Littlefield has repeatedly asked for lower-ceiling "Major League ready" prospects in return. As a result, the Pirates have a plethora of mid-to-late 20s, borderline Major Leaguers, and very few young, impact prospects within the system. This strategy runs contrary to that of successful low-payroll teams like the A's, Twins, and Marlins.

In 2003, Littlefield approached the San Diego Padres with a trade proposal in which the Pirates would receive Xavier Nady, Oliver Perez, and minor league pitcher Cory Stewart in exchange for star outfielder Brian Giles. The Padres refused to surrender Nady, so Littlefield and the Pirates agreed to accept Jason Bay instead. Bay immediately emerged as a star, winning the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2004, while Nady spent the next three seasons as a part-time player with the Padres and the New York Mets. Two years later, Littlefield was successful in trading for Nady. Unfortunately for the Pirates, in order to do so he had to surrender struggling star pitcher Oliver Perez, who has become a better pitcher for New York, as well as veteran reliever, and soon to be free agent, Roberto Hernandez and the compensatory draft pick the Mets received when Hernandez left as a free agent that offseason.

Among his most widely lampooned transactions to date was the trade of pitcher Chris Young, in whom the Pirates had invested $1.5 million, to Montreal for Matt Herges in December 2002. Herges was promptly released in spring training, while Young has developed into one of the best young pitchers in baseball four years later after having been traded from the Montreal Expos to the Texas Rangers and, finally, to the San Diego Padres, where he blossomed. Similarly, the 21-year-old Leo Nunez was traded to Kansas City in December 2004; in return, the Pirates received 39-year-old Benito Santiago in order fill an immediate hole at the catcher position. Nunez was used as a reliever in 2005 and 2006, and in 2007 showed some promise as a starter by making three quality starts (out of six total starts); Santiago had 6 hits with the Pirates before being released one month into the 2005 season. Some argue that trading away future impact players has severely hindered the Pirates in recent years.

On July 31, 2007, Littlefield traded outfielder Rajai Davis to the San Francisco Giants for pitcher Matt Morris. The move was widely criticized, as Morris, who was 7-7 with a 4.35 ERA at the time of the trade, is slated to make $9.5 million in 2008. Many were surprised that the Pirates would take on such a large contract (especially without having the Giants pick up part of it), as their 2007 Opening Day payroll was just $38.5 million. At the time of the trade, the Pirates were 42-62, 14.5 games out of first place.

Though he was frequently criticized for some trades that worked out poorly in the long run, Littlefield also managed to acquire the bulk of the Pirates' lineup through trades during his tenure. Jason Bay, Freddy Sanchez, Adam LaRoche, José Bautista, and Xavier Nady were all acquired through trades. In his final season as GM, only one of the seven players with over 400 at-bats on the team, Ronny Paulino, was not acquired through a trade. Yet, this is faint praise as this team composed of Littlefield trade yields finished in last place in the NL Central and had the second worst record in all of MLB. In fact, the fact that seven of the eight starting position players were acquired by trade only underscored the team's inability to draft and develop under Littlefield.

Some would argue, of course, that the reason so many of the hitters had to be acquired through trades was due to a lack of impact hitting prospects in the farm system. This may have been partially due to his focus on drafting pitchers, but many argue that it is due to poor drafting. During his tenure the Pirates were widely criticized for taking players that were perceived to be more signable than talented.

The most notable example of this is the 2002 draft when the Pirates had the 1st overall pick. B.J. Upton was widely regarded as the top prospect, but Littlefield passed over him and other players, including Prince Fielder, Khalil Greene, Scott Kazmir, Nick Swisher, Matt Cain, Cole Hamels and Jeff Francoeur and instead drafted Bryan Bullington, who Littlefield said could be a "good #3 pitcher". After battling with injuries, Bullington was waived by the Pirates in 2008 and signed by the Cleveland Indians. Littlefield's other #1 draft picks include Paul Maholm, Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen, and Brad Lincoln.

In 2007, Littlefield and the Pirates passed over the top-ranked college hitting prospect, Matt Wieters, instead drafting relief pitcher Daniel Moskos, a move that fueled a strong backlash from Pirates fans.

Under Littlefield's direction, the Pirates have been less aggressive than other teams in signing players from Latin America. The team currently has no Latin American impact prospects within their minor league system, and those on the major league roster are regarded by many as marginal talents, most signed or acquired before Littlefield's tenure: José Bautista, Ronny Paulino, Jose Castillo, Salomon Torres, Damaso Marte, and Tony Armas. The Pirates have been widely criticized for failing to employ a Latin American scouting director until hiring Rene Gayo nearly three years after Littlefield took over as General Manager. In addition, the team's facilities are widely considered to be among the worst in baseball. While other teams have recognized the benefits of signing such talent at relatively reasonable prices, the Pirates have yet to extend a signing bonus of more than $85,000 to a Latin American prospect. Some contend (particularly beat writer Dejan Kovacevic) that, as much as any other decision during Littlefield's tenure, the lack of emphasis on competing in Latin America continues to be one of the most confounding and debilitating for the organization.

Littlefield was fired on the morning of September 7, 2007. The announcement came shortly before the Pirates could clinch their seventh consecutive losing season under his management. The Pirates complied a 442-581 record during Littlefield's tenure, never finishing higher than 4th place in the NL Central. Brian Graham, the director of player development for the Pirates, served as interim general manager until new Pirates GM Neal Huntington took over September 25, 2007.

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Source : Wikipedia