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 Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images) /

Pittsburgh Pirates: The Franchise All-Time Bracket

No. 3 vs. 6 seed

The 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates are probably the most obscure World Series champion in franchise history, and one of the more obscure in all of baseball. But it was a  deserving champion, led by Pie Traynor at third base and Max Carey in the outfield. Traynor hit .320, Carey batted .343 and right-fielder Clyde Barnhart hit .325. Yet none of them led the team in batting because center fielder Kiki Cuyler turned in a .357 mark.

At .307, the team led the National League in batting average. Traynor, Cuyler, Barnhart, and shortstop Glenn Wright all topped 100 RBIs.

The pitching wasn’t quite as dominant, but it was good enough with five 15-game winners.

Its opponent is another largely overlooked team the 1902 National League champions. This team pre-dated the 1903 inaugural World Series contestants by one season, but it was in many ways superior.

For starters, Jack Chesbro – who would jump to the American League at season’s end – led the 1902 team’s mound staff with an imposing 28 wins against just six defeats. The Pirates actually had three 20-game winners, counting Deacon Phillippe (20-9) and Jesse Tannehill (20-6) alongside Chesbro.

Wagner and Clarke were, of course, the offensive stars. Honus hit .330 in 1902 and Clark batted .316. But they had help. Outfielder Ginger Beaumont hit .357 and first baseman Kitty Bransfield batted .305. This was a deep and intimidating team both offensively and defensively, good enough to breeze to the NL pennant by a staggering 27.5 games.

In fact, the Pirates clinched the championship on Sept. 3, literally a month before the season’s end.

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Game 1: The 1902 team’s 110-42-2 record, a .694 percentage, is one of the best in the game’s history, and is the best in franchise history.

Game 2: Since the World Series had not been invented in 1902, the 2015 team wins this one in a walkover, even with its 0-1 post-season record.

Game 3: The rout is on. The 1902 team’s 119 team OPS+ bludgeons the 2015 team’s 103.

Game 4: Not only did the 19102 Pirates have a 119 OPS+, but they also had a 119 ERA+. That’s good enough to beat even the 2015 club’s 115.

Game 5: The 1902 Pirates are too deep. Their 54.2 team WAR puts away the 2015 team, which manages just a 43 WAR.

Result: 1902 in five games