As I mentioned earlier in the week, today’s game will be the third time the Pittsburgh Pirates have played a home game not in Pittsburgh. That’s not technically true, just easier to say than explaining that where the Pirates originally played was actually called Allegheny City before becoming part of Pittsburgh in 1907. If you want to be 100% accurate, the Alleghenys/Pirates didn’t play a game in Pittsburgh until that merger/reorganization in 1907. Actually, 100% accuracy would note that the Pirates had about five different names between 1890-95, but I digress.
Ignoring that brief history lesson, let’s focus on the two times the Alleghenys played a home game outside of Pittsburgh/Allegheny City in their history. In 1890, the Alleghenys were even worse than this year’s Bristol Pirates. They weren’t drawing any fans at home, so they moved many of their home games to the road. The road split of the gate money was paying a lot better than a larger percentage split of the home gate.
Not every home game was moved to the opposing city and turned into a road game though. The Alleghenys moved two of their games to different states in hopes of drawing larger crowds, where people were just happy that a Major League team was playing in their town. Both games have a Hall of Fame connection as well.
On September 18th, the game was moved to Canton, Ohio, where they played at Pastime Park. The Alleghenys took on the Cleveland Spiders, which helped draw a bigger crowd to the event. Pittsburgh lost 11-10 in front of 1,500 fans, who were mostly there to see a pitcher they called Cyclone while he played for Canton earlier in the season. You might know that rookie as Cy Young, who allowed all ten runs (seven earned) in the win against a team that finished the season 23-113. It wasn’t exactly a Cy Young worthy performance, but he picked up his sixth career win that day.
On September 22nd, the Alleghenys took on the New York Giants at Island Grounds in Wheeling, West Virginia. It remains to this day as the only Major League game played in the state of West Virginia. The Giants won easily 8-3 in front of 1,500 fans, who were mostly there to see a future Hall of Famer in his rookie season. Jesse Burkett hit .338 during his 16-year career, but in 1890, he was a 21-year-old rookie from Wheeling, WV playing in front of his hometown fans.
Those crowd totals don’t sound like much, but the game played in Allegheny City the day after the Canton game drew approximately 100 fans. The Alleghenys total attendance that season was 16,064 for 37 home dates, which included three doubleheaders. They played a total of 98 road games that season.
With a seating capacity of 2,366 at Bowman Field in Williamsport, this will be the biggest crowd to see the Pirates play a home game at a neutral site. Williamsport used to be an affiliate of the Pirates from 1999-2006 and Andrew McCutchen actually played 13 games with the team at the end of the 2005 season.
The Pirates trail in their division by 6.5 games. They are eight games back for the second wild card spot.
Indianapolis is in first place, with a 4.5 game lead. Their season ends September 4th.
Altoona is in second place, one game back and two games ahead of third place. Their season ends September 4th.
Bradenton is in fifth place, nine games behind. Their season ends September 3rd.
West Virginia is in third place, two games out of first. Their season ends September 4th.
Morgantown is in first place, one game ahead. Their season ends September 7th.
Bristol has been eliminated from the playoffs.
The GCL Pirates are in third place, 6.5 games behind. Their season ends September 2nd.
The DSL Pirates are in fourth place, 4.5 games back. Their season ends August 26th.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates won 6-4 over the St Louis Cardinals on Saturday night. The Pirates will send Ivan Nova to the mound today for his 25th start. He has posted a 5.77 ERA in six starts since the All-Star break. He has faced the Cardinals once this year and allowed two earned runs over eight innings. The Cardinals will counter with right-hander Mike Leake, who has a 3.88 ERA in 144 innings, with 97 strikeouts and a 1.32 WHIP. He has faced the Pirates three timess this season and allowed six earned runs over 17.1 innings.
In the minors, Altoona starter JT Brubaker has a 3.16 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break. Oddy Nunez starts for West Virginia. He has a .227 BAA, a 1.11 WHIP and a 2.01 GO/AO ratio. Ike Schlabach is scheduled to go Morgantown. He was also scheduled yesterday, but Morgantown gonna Morgantown. The DSL and GCL Pirates are both off on Sundays.
MLB: Pittsburgh (59-64) vs Cardinals (63-60) 7:00 PM
Probable starter: Ivan Nova (3.77 ERA, 24:98 BB/SO, 155.0 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (68-56) @ Syracuse (47-79) 1:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Drew Hutchison (3.74 ERA, 46:106 BB/SO, 137.1 IP)
AA: Altoona (64-60) @ New Hampshire (49-74) 1:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: JT Brubaker (4.51 ERA, 36:90 BB/SO, 107.2 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (65-57) @ Palm Beach (68-53) 1:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Logan Sendelbach (3.48 ERA, 20:52 BB/SO, 75.0 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (60-61) @ Greenville (68-56) 4:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Oddy Nunez (3.50 ERA, 26:92 BB/SO, 100.1 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (33-24) vs Mahoning Valley (31-24) 4:05 PM (season preview)
Rookie: Bristol (11-43) @ Greeneville (29-26) 6:00 PM
GCL: Pirates (18-29) vs Blue Jays (30-18) 10:00 AM 8/21
DSL: Pirates (34-31) vs Astros Orange (24-41) 10:30 AM 8/21 (season preview)
Here is a Bligh Madris highlight, because frankly, it’s been too long.
8/19: Steven Brault optioned to Indianapolis. Dovydas Neverauskas recalled from Indianapolis.
8/19: Barrett Barnes assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.
8/19: Max Kranick promoted to Bristol.
8/19: John Bormann assigned to Indianapolis.
8/18: Wade LeBlanc placed on disabled list. Steven Brault recalled from Indianapolis.
8/18: Joey Terdoslavich activated from disabled list.
8/17: Francisco Cervelli placed on disabled list. Max Moroff recalled from Indianapolis.
8/15: Gregory Polanco placed on disabled list. Elias Diaz recalled from Indianapolis.
8/15: Austin Meadows activated from disabled list. Jackson Williams assigned to Indianapolis.
8/15: Tomas Morales activated from Altoona disabled list.
8/14: Gage Hinsz activated from disabled list. Jake Brentz assigned to Altoona and placed on disabled list.
8/12: Phil Gosselin claimed on waivers by Texas Rangers.
8/10: Jhan Marinez claimed on waivers by Texas Rangers.
8/10: Nick King assigned to GCL Pirates.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus two trades of note. We start with the trades and the first happened in 1913, involving two key members from the 1909 club. The Pirates traded away third baseman Bobby Byrne and pitcher Howie Camnitz for third baseman Cozy Dolan and cash. Before 1913, Camnitz had a 110-67 record for the Pirates, but he was 6-17 at the time of the trade. Byrne was covered yesterday, when he was acquired almost exactly four years before he was traded away. This deal was more of a financial deal for the Pirates, who got rid of two higher salaries and got money back. Dolan hit .203 in 35 games for the Pirates, then was traded away over the off-season.
On this date in 1981, the Pirates and Expos swapped first basemen, with John Milner going to Montreal and Willie Montanez coming back to Pittsburgh. The Pirates ended up getting Milner back in 1982, which was after they released Montanez, and Milner was released by Montreal.
Former players born on this date include:
Al Lopez, Hall of Fame manager, who was also an All-Star catcher. He played seven seasons in Pittsburgh from 1940 until 1946, making the All-Star team in 1941. Lopez is better known for his managerial career, but his 52.2% caught stealing rate behind the plate is the fourth best all-time. His 1,918 games caught stood as a record for over 40 years.
Matt Hague, The Hit Collector collected 16 hits for the 2012 Pirates and none for the 2014 squad.
Bull Smith, outfielder for the 1904 Pirates. Played 13 late season games as a rookie for the Pirates that 1904 season, then played just two more Major League games in his career, one in 1906 and another five years later.
Robert Gibson, pitcher for the 1890 Alleghenys. He was 0-3, 17.25 in three starts for the team. In one game, he couldn’t finish the outing even with the Alleghenys putting 17 runs on the board for him. They ended up losing 23-17 that day.