We're starting Pirates week with a look at a historic year in the Pirates long and storied legacy.  Forbes Field, Honus Wagner and a World Series victory, it's obviously 1909.

From 1891 - 1909  the Pirates played their home games at Exposition Park, located alongside the Allegheny River.  With it's riverside location the park was susceptible to floods and was in a state of general disrepair. So it was with great joy and celebration that the Pirates moved to the newly built Forbes Field on June 30th, 1909.  In the first game at the new park the Pirates fell to the first place Chicago Cubs 3 -2. But the loss was minor because the focus was on the Pirates new home.  The new stadium held approximately 25,000 people and was the first stadium to include ramps, elevators and "luxury suites."   Forbes Field, named after General John Forbes, a French and Indian War hero, remained the home to the Pirates for over sixty years.


The 1909 Pirates were led by Hall of Fame SS Honus Wagner. 


"The Flying Dutchman"  had a career year in '09, leading the league in numerous categories including Batting Average (.339), On Base Percentage (.420), Doubles (39) and RBI's (100).  Honus led the 1909 Pirates to a 110 - 42 record and to a World Series meeting with Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers.

The battle of the league's two greatest hitters started off in Pittsburgh on October 8.  Pirates pitcher Babe Adams threw a six hitter in game one and the Pirates took the game 4 - 1.

Ty Cobb stole the show in game two, literally.  The future Hall of Famer stole home in the third inning and inspired the Tigers to a 7 - 2 game two victory.

In Detroit's Bennett Park for game three, Wagner took over and led the Pirates to an 8 - 6 victory.  Wagner dominated with three hits, three RBI's and three stolen bases. 

Game four went to Detroit as pitcher George Mullin struck out the Pirates ten times and threw a 5 - 0 shutout.

With the series tied at two, Babe Adams took the mound again and threw another six hit gem with the Pirates winning 8 - 4.

As expected, the Tigers took game six in Detroit, 5 - 4, and the clubs headed back to Forbes Field for game seven. 

With World Series ace Babe Adams on the mound for game seven the Pirates dominated and Adams threw his third six hitter, leading the Pirates to an 8 - 0 victory and their second official World Series.

Overall, Wagner outplayed Cobb in the battle of Hall of Famers.  Wagner had a .333 batting average while Cobb only hit .231 in his final World Series appearance.  Check out the simple but elegant jesey that the Pirates wore during this historic season.


May 24, 2010 | E-mail | Comments (1) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

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5/24/2010 9:34:46 PM

Originally from Horsham, PA (outside Philly), I am now a tour guide at PNC Park.  Some other great features about the Pirates:

1) Exposition Park actually hosted the first World Series pitting the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Boston Americans.  In a NINE game series, the Pirates lost 5 games to 3.

2) One of the unique features of early baseball at Exposition Park was, as you said it often flooded, but if a batter hit a ground ball to the outfield and it stopped in a puddle it was a ground rule double!

3) The Pirates have the most batting championships of ANY team in MLB history.  25 times by 11 different players.  No one can touch that.

4) The Pirates have won 5 World Series Championships.  That is 4th most all-time, tied with the Giants, Philadelphia A's (not that West Coast version!), Dodgers and Reds and two behind the Red Sox who are at third.

5) The Pirates were originally called the Pittsburgh Alleghenys as the North Side (the side of the river where Exposition Park and later Three Rivers and PNC) was part of what was at the time the third largest city in Pennsylvania, Allegheny City.  Read the Wiki article for a shortened version of how Philadelphia gave the Alleghenys their name the Pirates.


One last note is that on the Pirates club level was have three M&N jerseys hanging up that we use in a short talk about the history of Pirates uniforms through the years.  We have a 1909 Honus Wagner, a 1925 National League anniversary jersey and a 1937 home jersey.

I love your jerseys.  I can't afford one yet but will own that 1962 Clemente Jersey one day!

Eddie | Reply

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