Hailing from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, when anybody speaks about historic baseball teams in MLB, the Pittsburgh Pirates are definitely up there in the list of oldest and most important teams in the history of American baseball. With a historic record of five World Series Championships, their last coming in 1979, as well as nine National League Championships, the last again coming in 1979 amongst other accolades, the Pirates have become one of the most endearing teams in the National League.
They have a historic rivalry against another great team from the state of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Phillies and some of the game’s most important players such as Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Ralph Kiner, Honus Wagner, and of course the great Bill Mazeroski, whose walk-off, ninth inning home run to give the Pirates the 1960 World Series title against the New York Yankees is to this day still considered the greatest home run ever hit, have all donned Pittsburgh’s characteristic black, gold and white colors.
The 2021 season was one that saw the Pirates sadly finish last in their division with a 61-101 record. But if we’re looking at the broader picture, Pittsburgh did manage to squeeze out some bright spots even while surrounded by such a negative spectrum. Pitcher David Bednar and OF Bryan Reynolds were the two brightest spots in all of the Pirates’ 2021 season. On the one hand, Bednar stepped up as a key player in Pittsburgh’s pitching future and Reynolds managed to score his first trip to the All-Star Game, all while showing signs that his room for growth is one that’s great and constantly growing more and more.
While the Pirates did finish with one of the worst records in MLB, in part due to constant injury issues around the roster and all-around inconsistency from all sides of the ball, manager Derek Shelton was still able to salvage a few pieces for both the mediate and immediate future of the team. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the team managed to score the 1st pick from this season’s draft, where they chose catcher Henry Davis from the University of Louisville in what seems to be a great move by the team looking forward for years to come.
If there is one thing that all Pirates fans can agree on is that while the present might not look as bright right now, the future does seem way more promising. Pittsburgh’s minor league farm system has shown immense signs of promise with young players coming up through the system at very positive rates. Prospects Oneil Cruz, Nick Gonzales, Roansy Contreras and Quinn Priester are all looking poised to become the backbone of Pittsburgh’s baseball future in the upcoming years.
For now, all signs point towards this season being one where the Pirates will continue to show signs of improvement, avoiding another 100-loss season. Most importantly though, while they might not be a playoff team right now, they will be more competitive, and their young, up and coming roster will surely continue to grow as they gear up for what looks like some great years of baseball to come for Pittsburgh.