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 the 1891 Pirates.
The 1891 Pirates answered the age old question, how many future Hall of Famers in your lineup does it take to go 55-80 in a season? This question obviously ignores the fact no one knew what the Hall of Fame was before the 1930's but just go along with it anyway.
Three of their position players and their top starting pitcher would eventually make the HOF. All they could muster that season was 55 wins, bad enough for last place in the eight team NL. They were 30 1/2 games behind the first place Boston Beaneaters, who had two future 300 game winners, John Clarkson and Kid Nichols, in their starting rotation along with Harry Staley whom they signed after the Pirates released him in May of that...
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.