Stark: The Pirates’ epic journey to win No. 82

From SABR member Jayson Stark at on September 11, 2013:


Finally time to stop replaying Francisco Cabrera’s most famous wave of the bat and Sid Bream’s torturous journey toward home plate.

Finally time to stop uttering the phrase, “haven’t had a winning season since Barry Bonds headed west.”

Finally time to stop muttering about Dave Littlefield, Jim Tracy, Gene Lamont, Cam Bonifay and John Russell . . . not to mention Derek Bell, Ian Snell, John Van Benschoten, Bryan Bullington, Chad Hermansen, Brad Eldred, Emil Brown and everyone responsible for putting them in black and gold.


The Pittsburgh Pirates are officially off the schneid. It’s a wrap. Shoot off that black and gold confetti. It’s a beautiful day in western Pennsylvania.

Now it’s true that win No. 82 for this team didn’t come real easily. Or swiftly. But that doesn’t matter now. What matters is that win No. 82 is in the books.

And because it is, the longest streak of losing seasons in the history of major North American professional sports — 20 of them in a row (yes, 20!!!) — is already receding into the rearview mirror. Just like Rod Barajas, Midre Cummings and Ravelo Manzanillo.


So now that The Streak is over, let us try to put these past two decades into their proper historical perspective — because only when you look back at them does it become clear how tough it was for any team to do what the Pirates did over the past 20 seasons.

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Originally published: September 11, 2013. Last Updated: September 11, 2013.