While the Honus Wagner trade obviously added a lot of talent, and the 1899 Pirates had a winning record (76-73), they were still the 7th best team in league coming into the 1900 National League season. Also three of the teams that were worse than the Pirates in 1899 were cut from the league trimming the NL down to just 8 teams for the first time since 1891. Since the AL didn't come into existence until the next season and from 1882-1891 there were at least two major leagues running at the same time, the talent and competition in the NL for 1900 was the best in a long time. With a strong group of players added to the core group from 1899 the Pirates looked strong enough to compete for their first NL title going into the season.
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.