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This may be the worst Pirates team ever

Aug 31, 2010, 9:57 AM EDT

According to his bio, the Post-Gazette’s Dejan Kovacevic has been watching the Pirates since 1972. He’s been writing about sports since 1990 and covering the Pirates since 2005.  He’s seen highs, and he’s seen a ton of lows (some of which were the result of highs).  In light of that, when he says something like this, you have to take heed:

These Pirates are on a course to prove conclusively that they, and
not some predecessors, are the worst team in the franchise’s 124 years.

Bar none.

His reasoning is sound. While the Pirates’ current 109-loss pace doesn’t put them in record-setting or even franchise worst territory, Kovacevic correctly notes that due to increased player movement and a greater number of teams in each league you just don’t see as many utterly putrid clubs as you used to see back in the day. Sure, I’d consider making a case for that 1890 Alleghenys squad who gave up 1235 runs in a 136-game schedule, but there were extenuating circumstances there, with most of the players jumping ship to the Players League in mid season. But yeah, I get where Dejan is coming from.

His article made me go look back at the Pirates’ history, and maybe the most shocking thing about this is that the 2010 Pirates are going to be only the second team in Pittsburgh’s 18-year run of futility that will lose 100 games.  I probably would have taken the over on three or four to be honest.

  1. BC - Aug 31, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    The reporter likely isn’t old enough to remember (I’m not either, I had to look it up), but this from wikipedia:
    In 1952 (they) 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.
    That’s pretty bad.

  2. ThatGuy - Aug 31, 2010 at 10:28 AM

    He and Craig both noticed. Hence this line from Craig “Kovacevic correctly notes that due to increased player movement and a greater number of teams in each league you just don’t see as many utterly putrid clubs as you used to see back in the day.”
    And also this paragraph from the author himself “And, with all due respect to the infamous 1890 Pittsburg Alleghenys who went 23-113 when they were not toiling in the mills and mines, as well as the 1952 “Rickey Dinks” who went 42-112, the current Pirates are operating in a sporting atmosphere where such anomalies are increasingly rare.”

  3. BC - Aug 31, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    I think the Cleveland Spiders (yes they existed) went something like 13-141 in the late 1890s. I’ll have to root around for that.

  4. yesitsme - Aug 31, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    This may seem pre-historic to some,but I remember the time when I hated to see The Pirates Come to Braves Field to beat Boston (Again).It’s sad to me: They had such GREAT teams then. It was the same with the Indians and the Sox.

  5. yesitsme - Aug 31, 2010 at 10:56 AM

    This may seem pre-historic to some,but I remember the time when I hated to see The Pirates Come to Braves Field to beat Boston (Again).It’s sad to me: They had such GREAT teams then. It was the same with the Indians and the Sox.

  6. linfield - Aug 31, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    Dejan Kovacevic is hardly considered an expert when talking about major league baseball if you read him on a daily basis. He’s only specialized in writing about baseball since 2005, and his inexperience is obvious. Actually, you can make the argument player movement can lead to bad teams, since many good players leave smaller market teams for more money. Kovacevic is so uninformed, he denies the big market/small market problem in MLB.
    His reasoning is unsound, the 1952 club with 42 wins is worst than this years team. And as bad as this Pirates team is, it’s not even the worst of this century. The 2003 Tigers won only 43 games, and as horrible as the Pirates are, they will surpass that win total this year.

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