A Love Affair With the Pittsburgh Pirates
- Updated: July 9, 2012
Baseball is America’s game, and the Pittsburgh Pirates have been a part of baseball tradition since the end of the nineteenth century. If you consider yourself a Pirates fan, you should know these important tidbits of Pirate history.
A Pirate By Any Other Name
In the beginning, Pittsburgh and other teams were identified by their location, so the team was called the Pittsburgh Alleghenies or Alleghenys depending on your source. Over the years, the “h” was dropped then reinstated. Teams in the area came and went, and players moved around.
In 1890, Louis Bierbauer was stolen or pirated away from another area team. After some time, the team got tired of being accused of being thieves or pirates so, in a display of true sportsmanship, they adopted the nickname “Pirates.” The name first appeared on their uniforms in 1912. If you knew this, you get an “attaboy” or “attagirl!”.
Wagner was one of the earliest baseball greats. He was a multifaceted player who excelled at his defensive position of short stop and was an extraordinary hitter whose ability to run capitalized on every connection of bat and ball. He was a great thief and stole more than 700 bases during his long career. In 1952, the Pirates retired his coaching number (33).
Wagner had the honor of being the first baseball player to have his signature immortalized on a Louisville Slugger. In September 1905, his signature was branded onto a bat and became part of baseball history. Today, his baseball cards, which are extremely rare, sell for millions of dollars. If you knew Honus Wagner was a Pirate, you get another point. If you knew something about him, take two. If you ever find one of his baseball cards, take whatever you want!
Do you know what the year 1903, the Pirates, and the Boston Pilgrims have in common? If you guessed the two teams played in the first World Series game, you would be right. In fact, then president of the Pirates, Barney Dreyfuss, earned the title of “Father of the World Series,” when he brought his team to the field to play that first contest. Take another point if you knew about the first World Series games.
On the Dial
Radio. What an invention. Of course, while radio was a great development, it took baseball to make it really worthwhile. It turns out, KDKA broadcast the game between the Pirates and the Phillies on August 5, 1921. It was the first broadcast of a major league baseball game. Of course, the Pirates won 8-5. They certainly had no intention of making history while losing a game. If you knew this, you get a pat on the back. If you heard the game, wow! You obviously owe your longevity to your love of Pirates baseball.
Baseball is a wonderful game. It has enriched America and brought a great deal of pleasure to its citizens. If you are a Pirates fan, you might have heard stories of their early days from your parents and grandparents. It is nice to be part of the fan family. You have plenty of company.
Janet Lauter works with The College City as an online instructor. Her baseball days go way back. The Pirates are a family tradition.