- Location: Shelby, NC
- League: Western Carolinas League 1979; South Atlantic League 1980
- Affiliation: Pittsburgh Pirates 1979-1980
In 1979 the Shelby, NC team in the Western Carolinas League changed affiliations from the Cincinnati Reds to Pittsburgh Pirates and thus had to change its name from the Shelby Reds to the Shelby Pirates. Managed by Tom Zimmer, the club had the worst record (56-78-1) and attendance (15,570) in the league. They were last in offense (564 runs) and second-worst in defense/pitching (675 runs allowed, 8 fewer than Asheville). Luis Jimenez (6-1, 2.57) and Crucito Carvajal (5-4, 2.57) led the weak staff, while they had two All-Star position players - catcher Pat Rubino and first baseman Hediberto Vargas. Rubino hit .264/~.385/.425 with 16 homers while the free-swinging Vargas (.282/~.331/.568, 26 BB, 101 K) led the loop with 31 homers.
In 1980 the Western Carolinas League was renamed the South Atlantic League and the Pirates continued to participate. With a new manager (Joe Frisina) they again finished last (58-80) and drew the least fans (15,393). They were last in runs (611) and runs allowed (769). The top hitter was Doug Frobel (.325/~.378/.549). Marc Gelinas (5-0, 2.64) allowed just 36 hits in 58 innings but walked 47. Closer Cecilio Guante (6-6, 19 Sv, 2.90) dazzled, fanning 114 and walking 25 while allowing only 58 hits in 90 innings over 39 relief appearances. Jose DeLeon (10-15, 4.82) allowed a league-high 90 earned runs while future fellow big-league pitcher Mike Bielecki was 3-5 with 3 saves and a 4.55 ERA.
Source: 1980 and 1981 Baseball Guides