1909 Pittsburgh Pirates

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1909 Pittsburgh Pirates / Franchise: Pittsburgh Pirates / BR Team Page[edit]

Record: 110-42, Finished 1st in National League (1909 NL)

World Series Champs

Managed by Fred Clarke

Ballpark: Exposition Park / Forbes Field

History, Comments, Contributions[edit]

The 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates had 22 consecutive bullpen wins, a streak unmatched since in MLB annals (as of August 2015). They were the third National League team in four years to post a winning percentage of .700 or better, following the 1906 and 1907 Chicago Cubs, but no other NL team has reached the mark since.

Among the 9 major league teams that have posted a winning percentage of .700 or better since 1903, the 1909 Pirates are the only one not to lead its league in either ERA or WHIP. The Pirates finished second to the Cubs in both categories, but still managed to dominate the rest of the National League by an outrageous margin.

They had winning streaks of 14 and 16 games during the season. The first of these gave them a comfortable first-place lead in June, and the latter came in September and essentially clinched the pennant for them. It remains the longest single-season winning streak in franchise history, although they did have a 17-game streak counting the final 10 games of 1937 and the first 7 of 1938. Once again, they were led in almost important offensive categories by SS Honus Wagner, who led the National League in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Also helping out were OF Owen Wilson, 1B Bill Abstein, 2B Dots Miller and 3B Bobby Byrne. Abstein and Miller were rookies, Wilson was a sophomore, and Byrne a late-season acquisition. On the mound, the team's main pitchers were Howie Camnitz (25-6, 1.62), Vic Willis (22-11, 2.24) and Lefty Leifield (19-8, 2.37). But it was another rookie, Babe Adams (12-3, 1.11) who turned out to be the hero of the World Series, winning three games over the Detroit Tigers. Adams had been inconsistent during the season, in spite of his glowing record, and for long stretches in June and July, manager Fred Clarke was unwilling to use him in games. However, he pitched great out of the bullpen in August and was the team's best starter down the stretch, setting the table for his World Series heroics.

World Series[edit]

Main article: 1909 World Series
Game Score Date Location Attendance
1 Tigers - 1, Pirates - 4 October 8 Forbes Field 29,624
2 Tigers - 7, Pirates - 2 October 9 Forbes Field 30,915
3 Pirates - 8, Tigers - 6 October 11 Bennett Park 18,277
4 Pirates - 0, Tigers - 5 October 12 Bennett Park 17,036
5 Tigers - 4, Pirates - 8 October 13 Forbes Field 21,706
6 Pirates - 4, Tigers - 5 October 14 Bennett Park 10,535
7 Pirates - 8, Tigers - 0 October 16 Bennett Park 17,562

Further Reading[edit]

  • David Finoli and Bill Ranier: When Cobb Met Wagner: The Seven-Game World Series of 1909, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2011.
  • Douglas Jordan: "The .700 Club: Blessedly Good Baseball", The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 45, Number 2 (Fall 2016), pp. 26-33.


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