Pittsburgh Pirates Erase 21 Years Of Losing Records
On the night of Monday, September 9, Pittsburgh Pirates fans everywhere were finally able to stop holding their breath. Andrew McCutchen‘s stare into the sky after making the final out of the game said it all: We’ve finally done it. For the first time in two decades – count ’em, 21 years – the Pirates have secured a winning season. Yes, you read that right.
After the 1992 season, Pittsburgh fell into a great depression. The front office had plans to set out and start a team rebuild from head to toe. They sent away all of their high-profile, high-payroll sluggers in favor for some young “Bucs”. In the long run, this would prove to be one of the worst decisions ever made in the history of the franchise… and a very long run it was. The only time that the Pirates came close to a winning season since their decline was in 1997, where they finished second in the National League Central division, obviously despite having a losing record and a measly payroll of just $9 million.
As time went on, the Pirates continued to reiterate the fact that they wanted to keep acquiring rookies. It showed at the conclusion of the 2005 season, when the club had the youngest roster in all of Major League Baseball (the average age of the staff was 26.6 years old!). As the years crept on, things just kept getting worse. 2010 was an absolute trainwreck, racking up 105 losses. In the last few years, the Pirates have put a little pep in their step, coming close to finishing with winning records, but were cursed with late-season collapses.
This year would ultimately prove different for the Pirates, where they were able to hold on to their resurgence leading up to Monday night. Playing against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, the team had their work cut out for them coming up against Yu Darvish. The game ended up being a nail-biting pitchers duel, and with two outs on the scoreboard and two strikes on him, Pedro Alvarez lined a single to left-center to score Marlon Byrd – the only run of the ballgame.
Win no. 82 in year no. 21 turned out to be magic. The longest consecutive streak of losing seasons in North American professional sports history has been snapped, evaporated, and undoubtedly soon to be forgotten, especially those who love the Bucs.
Fly that Jolly Roger with pride, Pittsburgh.