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Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates

2005 ATL Season Review

by "Shakey" McGuiness
Legends League correspondent
Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball

The Pirates are the team that forever will be known as the ATL's very first World Champions. Records are made to be Johnny Mizebroken, but this is one that by its very nature cannot be surpassed, or even equaled. That's a great thing and I take great pride and joy in it. But during the season, they weren't even the favorites to take their own division. But they did, and by 10 full games for good measure. Then they won the LLDCS against a tough Toronto team in 5 games, setting them up to play the powerful Cincinnati Reds for the LLCS. They weren't supposed to win that series, especially after falling into a 1-3 hole. But they won three straight, the last two on the road, to take the Legends League title. Then they jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the WS and held on as the Seals came back to win 2 straight to make a series out of what looked to be a one sided affair. Then these guys battled back from a 3-1 deficit in the seventh game, finally taking the lead on Johnny Mize's big 3 run moon shot, hung on to take the game and the series. The point is nothing came easy, and this made the season all the more enjoyable. What follows is more of a celebration of Year One than a simple review. These guys are the Champs, after all.

The team itself was crafted around its ballpark, Forbes Field. Pitching, defense, speed, and gap hitters fill the roster. The Randy JohnsonBob Fellerstarting five of Randy Johnson (15-10, 4.76, 228 Ks), Bob Feller (15-8, 4.35, 182 Ks), Stan Coveleski (14-5, 2.55), Eddie Walsh (13-6, 3.32) and David Cone (7-5, 3.00) are all front end of the rotation quality starters, if not out and out aces. The setup men Jeff Nelson (3-1, 4.60) and John Franco (3-2, 3.38) are similarly high quality. The long man, Babe Adams (8-7, 3.83), is good enough to start for many teams, including this one. But somebody has to man the pen, and his rubber arm was the difference. Bobby Shantz and Wilbur Wood are good, quality lefty specialists. Closer Troy Percival was nothing short of spectacular for the Bucs. He held opponents to a downright abusive BA of .123. Righties hit a meek .071 in 98 ABs against the power of Percival’s deliveries. The Mendoza Line was somewhere over the rainbow when Percy came into the game. He also converted 36 of 40 save opportunities. In many ways, Percival was the team MVP. Overall, the staff is as deep as it gets. The Bucs were the only team to top 1000 Ks and they allowed the second fewest HRs. Pitching and defense go hand in glove, so part of the credit has to go to the defense here. The Pirates led the league in fielding Pct., least SBs allowed and least errors. They were also third in runs allowed and third in runs scored. The team with no superstars just got the job done in all areas.

You can start with Gabby Hartnett, who is a defensive force behind the plate. Very few runners even dared to run on him, Gabby HartnettPop Lloydand those that did were thrown out almost as often as they were successful. Would be base thieves had a paltry .511 success rate against Gabby, the worst in the league. Mr. Hartnett also put up decent numbers at the dish, batting .274 with 13 Hrs and 58 RBI in 111 games. Manny Sanguillen and Thurman Munson are able backups, a must in this league. Pop Lloyd at short is one of the best players in the league, never mind limiting the discussion to shortstops. Offensively, his numbers were excellent, especially considering the dimensions of his home park. John Henry led the league in triples with 21 (perhaps aided by the park there); hit .318 to go with an OBA of .394 and a SLA of .506. He also scored 102 runs while knocking in 93. But defensively, he was a Steel Curtain at short, if I may mix my Pittsburgh sports nick names a bit here. His double play partner, Rogers Hornsby, is not quite the defensive presence Pop is, but, hey, he's Rogers Hornsby. He more than made up for it on the offensive end, although his numbers were pretty low for him (.296-19-108). Centerfielder Jumbo Kimbro completes the standard "strong up the middle" combination for the Bucs. Jumbo, Scooter, Motoneta, or just plain Henry-- whatever name he's going by--Kimbro had a great year. Kimbro scored 122 runs to lead the league while stealing 63 bases, which was good for second in the league. He batted a fine .295-21-69 from the leadoff spot, while slugging 20 doubles and 16 triples. All in all, that's a solid core up the middle. But that's only part of the story.

Aside from the "strong middle" guys, however, there are still some solid players to discuss. Jesse "The Crab" Burkett is a Ed DelahantyJesse Burkettgood player to start with. Burkett, the LL batting Champion--by less than .0003--with his .349 average, and Big Ed Delahanty, a late season acquisition whom the Bucs feel is a perfect fit for the park, round out the outfield. Delahanty started slow, but picked up toward the end, finishing at .267 with 34 RBI in 53 games with the Bucs. He was clutch in the playoffs (.294 with 9 RBI in 18 games), giving credence to that theory. We've discussed all these players, yet still haven't even talked about The Big Cat, John Mize, the Pirates clean up batter. John provided much of the pop in the Pirates offense, hitting .281 with 33 HRs and 113 RBI. He also legged out 10 triples, not bad for a big guy. In addition he contributes defensively and on the bases. Over at the other end of the diamond is little Billy Francis. Francis had a disappointing year offensively, hitting just .255, although he did get on base enough to score 81 runs and swipe 27 bags. He was spectacular defensively at third base however, which ultimately kept him in the lineup despite his struggles at the plate.

All in all there is speed up and down the lineup, with the exception of Mr. One Base At A Time, Gabby Hartnett. Gap hitters Forbes Fieldand speed, a perfect combination for Forbes Field. Along with excellent pitching and solid "D", it all added up to a championship for the Buccos. All the pieces are there for a repeat, but of course there will no doubt be a key player or two lost to the draft, and that could upset the fine balance of the team. There's no doubting that the Mets and Giants will give stiff competition once again, and even the last place Bridegrooms, who struggled in their first season, could make a run at the title. Next year is a tabula rasa, a clean slate. The naysayers may not be as vocal now that the guys in black and gold are wearing rings, but the Bucs will be wearing targets on their backs now as well. Everyone loves to beat the Champs. So Year Two promises to be as tough as Year One for the Bucs. A healthy Babe Ruth returns to the Mets after missing 1/3 of the season last year. The Giants came on like gangbusters at the end of the year to become a force to be reckoned with. The Red Legs will want to avenge their upset in the LLCS. The list goes on and on.

It all came together for the Buccos in Year One. There is no guarantee they'll have the same kind of season in Year Two, but Pittsburgh fans are confident that they will be even better. This reporter thinks they will have to be in order to repeat. The Steel City will celebrate their Championship this year, but next year they'll probably be underdogs again. And that’s just the way they like it.
 
Awards Won by Pirates Players

Pop Lloyd
All-Star, June Player of the Month

Jesse Burkett
All-Star

Rogers Hornsby
All-Star, Silver Slugger

Henry Kimbro
All-Star, World Series MVP, Best Nine,
October Player of the Month (tied)

Bob Feller
All-Star

Troy Percival
All-Star, Fireman of the Year

Randy Johnson
October Pitcher of the Month

Legends League



Team Batting -- 2005 Pittsburgh Pirates


S Name P AVG OBP SPC G AB H 2B 3B HR R RBI BB K HBP IW SB CS
Burkett,Je* lf .364 .422 .500 97 360 131 17 4 8 57 51 34 40 2 2 12 6
n Clarke* lf .349 .429 .581 31 43 15 3 2 1 8 7 4 3 2 0 0 1
n Smith,C* cf .337 .369 .503 80 306 103 10 4 11 44 50 17 22 0 1 5 6
Nelson mr .333 .333 .333 51 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Traynor 3b .324 .342 .486 16 37 12 2 2 0 4 3 1 2 0 0 2 1
Lloyd* ss .318 .394 .506 150 601 191 32 21 13 102 93 76 77 1 7 22 11
Sanguillen c .310 .341 .397 45 126 39 9 1 0 9 20 6 10 1 3 0 0
Carey# cf .297 .359 .446 84 175 52 5 0 7 39 27 16 12 2 0 13 7
Hornsby 2b .296 .372 .476 154 597 177 34 8 19 91 108 79 97 0 5 2 2
Kimbro* cf .295 .354 .499 141 563 166 20 16 21 122 69 53 89 0 2 63 20
Williams,Be# cf .292 .379 .417 22 24 7 1 1 0 7 3 4 2 0 0 1 0
Mize* 1b .281 .354 .537 144 549 154 22 10 33 93 113 61 97 5 2 0 0
n Freehan c .278 .381 .444 7 18 5 0 0 1 2 3 3 0 0 0 0 0
Hartnett c .274 .358 .509 88 285 78 19 6 12 35 55 38 49 1 7 0 0
McDougald 2b .273 .298 .341 80 44 12 1 1 0 7 5 2 8 0 1 0 0
Delahanty,E lf .267 .332 .424 53 217 58 15 5 3 32 34 22 35 0 0 2 4
Francis 3b .255 .363 .342 145 509 130 20 6 4 81 51 73 92 13 1 27 9
n Shocker sp .250 .400 .375 10 8 2 1 0 0 1 1 2 2 0 0 0 0
n Taylor,B* 1b .234 .268 .281 52 64 15 3 0 0 7 7 4 11 0 0 2 0
Walsh sp .216 .221 .270 31 74 16 1 0 1 6 6 1 11 0 0 0 1
n Matsui,H* cf .200 .250 .400 8 15 3 0 0 1 1 3 1 3 0 0 0 0
n Mackey# c .200 .261 .259 27 85 17 5 0 0 9 6 7 13 0 1 1 0
Cooper,M sp .200 .200 .200 27 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cone* sp .200 .227 .200 9 20 4 0 0 0 3 2 0 3 1 0 0 0
Brown,W cf .196 .238 .346 80 240 47 7 7 5 27 30 14 76 1 0 0 0
Johnson,Ju 3b .195 .303 .416 41 77 15 1 2 4 11 11 12 8 0 0 1 2
Munson c .189 .237 .226 18 53 10 0 1 0 6 6 4 12 0 0 0 0
Perry,A# 1b .175 .214 .325 24 40 7 1 1 1 2 6 2 3 0 0 0 0
Veale# sp .167 .167 .167 15 6 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0
Oliver* cf .161 .229 .355 33 31 5 3 0 1 2 6 3 1 0 0 0 0
n Winters, N* sp .125 .125 .125 10 8 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 0
White,S 2b .111 .200 .111 8 9 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Foster,W# sp .100 .182 .100 25 10 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 1 0 0 0
Feller sp .085 .085 .113 36 71 6 2 0 0 4 4 0 23 0 0 0 0
Coveleski sp .071 .103 .071 11 28 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 13 0 0 0 0
Johnson,R sp .062 .100 .077 33 65 4 1 0 0 2 5 3 31 0 0 0 0
Adams* sp .000 .143 .000 16 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0
Franco,Jo* cl .000 .000 .000 55 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Hendrix sp .000 .000 .000 8 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Percival cl .000 .000 .000 63 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Root sp .000 .000 .000 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Shantz mr .000 .000 .000 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
n Stieb sp .000 .029 .000 27 34 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0
n Ward cl .000 .000 .000 36 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wood,W mr .000 .500 .000 8 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
n Bell,W sp .000 .000 .000 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
n Foster,R sp .000 .000 .000 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Total .275 .341 .435 154 5420 1489 235 98 146 815 786 546 863 31 32 153 71



Team Pitching -- 2005 Pittsburgh Pirates


S Name P ERA W L S G GS CG SHO INN H R ER BB K HR GDP BF
n Foster,R sp 0.96 1 0 0 3 1 0 0 9.1 7 1 1 4 7 0 0 40
Percival cl 2.19 3 3 36 63 0 0 0 70.0 28 19 17 23 70 8 1 255
Coveleski sp 2.52 7 2 0 11 11 4 1 82.0 63 25 23 25 45 7 5 325
Walsh sp 3.32 13 6 0 31 31 7 3 211.2 174 92 78 76 135 17 15 881
Cooper,M sp 3.33 3 2 4 27 1 0 0 48.2 41 22 18 18 28 7 4 206
n Shocker sp 3.35 2 1 0 10 7 1 0 43.0 37 19 16 17 20 3 3 181
Franco,Jo* cl 3.38 3 2 0 55 0 0 0 50.2 54 23 19 27 30 4 4 226
Hendrix sp 3.45 0 0 0 8 0 0 0 15.2 16 6 6 1 4 2 4 60
Cone sp 3.88 5 3 0 9 9 1 1 60.1 61 28 26 20 43 11 5 259
n Stieb sp 4.32 8 7 0 27 15 4 1 108.1 104 57 52 39 72 12 4 471
Feller sp 4.35 15 8 0 36 34 3 2 207.0 187 111 100 110 182 24 15 898
Foster,W* sp 4.56 4 4 0 25 5 0 0 51.1 68 27 26 12 27 3 3 223
n Winters, N* sp 4.57 1 0 0 10 1 0 0 21.2 25 13 11 8 7 0 5 93
Nelson mr 4.60 3 1 0 51 0 0 0 60.2 55 35 31 34 59 4 5 270
Johnson,R* sp 4.76 15 10 0 33 33 4 2 211.2 196 115 112 88 228 28 11 900
Adams sp 4.98 2 4 0 16 1 0 0 34.1 40 20 19 9 20 5 2 151
n Ward cl 5.36 4 3 1 36 0 0 0 42.0 39 26 25 22 41 3 2 185
n Bell,W sp 5.59 0 1 0 6 1 0 0 9.2 13 7 6 3 3 1 1 44
Shantz* mr 5.71 2 3 1 16 0 0 0 17.1 19 12 11 6 14 1 1 76
Veale* sp 5.97 1 0 0 15 3 0 0 28.2 35 19 19 20 23 7 1 143
Wood,W* mr 7.11 0 1 0 8 1 0 0 12.2 19 11 10 1 5 3 0 58
Root sp 11.57 1 0 0 6 0 0 0 4.2 11 7 6 2 2 1 0 27
Total 4.06 93 61 42 154 154 24 12 1401.1 1292 695 632 565 1065 151 91 5972



n=non-roster at end of year


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