Pittsburgh Pirates: Will This Year Be A Charming Third Time In The Playoffs?


Apr 21, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop

Jung Ho Kang

(27) high-fives second baseman

Neil Walker

(18) after Walker scored a run against the Chicago Cubs during the sixth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As the Pittsburgh Pirates are off to a sub .500 season in 2015, Buccos fans are hopeful that their team will be returning to the post-season for a third straight season.

Chances of that are slim if history repeats itself. For a team that began playing professional baseball in the Steel City in 1882 as the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, The Alleghenys/Pirates have made the playoffs in three successive years just twice. Those years were from 1970-1972 (coincidentally ’72 was Roberto Clemente‘s final season), and from 1990 to 1992.

Pittsburgh won the World Series in 1971 but with Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla powering the team in the early ’90s, those teams failed to make it to the baseball’s final round.

Having made it to the post season in 2013 and 2014, and outside of those two “three-peats,” Pittsburgh has made a return trip to the post-season party in successive years just ONCE. That came about in 1974 and 1975 which saw the Bucs fail to get past first the Los Angeles Dodgers and then the Big Red Machine from Cincinnati.

In their 133 year history, Pittsburgh has made it to a playoff series just 16 times. In 16 playoff appearances, there has been seven trips to the World Series and five of those resulted in a world title (1909, 1925, 1960, 1971, and 1979).

So the 2015 Pirates will try to buck the trend and become just the third group of players that make a three-peat a fact. Perhaps those 1990’s teams with Bonds and Bonilla were the biggest disappointment because they seemed to be a championship club and came ever so close in 1992 when Sid Bream broke the hearts of the Pirates faithful by scoring the winning run in the seventh game of that league championship series.

That set Pittsburgh off into a tailspin of losing records that would cover nearly 21 years. But the Pirates made it back to the playoffs in 2013 and returned last season.

With the 2015 season in full swing, there are new faces on the Pirates and some players who feel like they have something to prove, Pedro Alvarez in particular. Most people think it is Alvarez that will be the key to Pittsburgh getting back to the playoffs and thus far he is off to a pretty good start switching positions on the field moving from the hot corner to first base.

Andrew McCutchen has cut off his famous dreadlocks and has gotten off to a slow start, and Gregory Polanco is in his first full season. A.J. Burnett is back and the pitching staff is strong.

PNC Park has been jumping again and the excitement is in the air for Pirates fans once again as they have seen their team in the playoffs for two straight seasons.

Clint Hurdle wants nothing more than to get another shot at making the World Series and if this team avoids major injuries and the pitching staff holds up, once the bats start cranking in what might be the league’s best outfield, chances are that the Pirates will in fact become that third Pittsburgh team to make three straight post-season appearances.

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