Pittsburgh Pirates: The franchise all-time bracket

BRADENTON, FL - MARCH 18: Field level general view of the Pittsburgh Pirates logo on the field before the Spring Training game against the Philadelphia Phillies at McKechnie Field on March 18, 1999 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Vincent Laforet/Getty Images)
BRADENTON, FL - MARCH 18: Field level general view of the Pittsburgh Pirates logo on the field before the Spring Training game against the Philadelphia Phillies at McKechnie Field on March 18, 1999 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Vincent Laforet/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Pittsburgh Pirates: The Franchise All-Time Bracket

No. 1 seed vs. No. 8 seed

The strength of the Pirate bracket is illustrated by the 1-8 matchup, pitting the 1909 World Series winners against the 1991 NL East division champions.

That 1991 team featured Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, Andy Van Slyke, and Doug Drabek. Its 98-64 record dominated the NL East by 14 games, the only drawback being its loss in seven NLCS games to Atlanta. Bonds drove in 116 runs, Bonilla added 100 with a .302 average, and Drabek produced a 3.07  ERA in 35 starts.

The 1909 team is deserving of the overall top seed. That club raced through a tough National League with 110 victories against just 42 losses. Pittsburgh used a 16-game mid-September winning streak to salt away the pennant, improving on a 14-game streak from late May into mid-June.

Wagner batted .339 with 100 RBIs, while player-manager Fred Clarke hit .287. With a .260  team batting average, the Pittsburgh Pirates led the National League.

The team’s true strength, though, was on the mound. Howie Camnitz won 25 games, Vic Willis added 22 and the club’s top six pitchers all landed ERAs below 2.40.

light. More. Montreal Expos: Pedro Martinez and the Cy Young sayonara

Game 1: The 1909 team’s 110-42-2 regular-season record stands a full 17 games better than even the 1991 club’s 98-64 mark.

Game 2: The 1909 team won a seven-game World Series. The 1991 club lost a seven-game NLCS. That makes it 2-0 for 1909.

Game 3: By the narrowest of margins,  1991 gets on the board. That team’s 108 OPS+ is one point better than the 1909 team’s 107 OPS+.

Game 4: It’s going to be difficult for anybody to improve on the 1909  champions’ pitching. That team had a staff ERA+ of 125. Even with Drabek, the 1991 club, couldn’t manage better than 104.

Game 5: This series is over. The 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates compiled a 50.0 team WAR. The 1991 version only rose as high as 42.3.

Outcome: 1909 in six games