The following is from Pirates Prospects contributor John Dreker, as part of his ongoing Pirates History feature. The feature focuses on the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and every Sunday, John will take a look at a different piece of that history. This week John looks at Hall of Famer Ned Hanlon and his career in Pittsburgh.
Before the start of the 1889 season the Detroit Wolverines, who had won the 1887 National League title, had already fallen out of favor in town and their owners had become so disenchanted with baseball in a small market (Detroit had a pop. of approximately 200,000 then) that they decided to sell off their team and walk away with the profits before things got worse. This led to the Alleghenys doing what today would seem unthinkable in Pittsburgh, and that is becoming big spenders in the free agent market. Only back then being a free agent meant your team was selling you to the highest bidder, or no one wanted you so you had to find a minor leag...
John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.