Skip to main content

That 1997 season by the Bucs wasn't so bad

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been taking a lot of heat lately for their string of trades in order to build a winning team.

Many people think it's purely based on saving a buck.

In their criticisms of the franchise, pundits are quick to point out that the Pirates haven't had a winning season since 1992.

They're right, of course. How could any Pirates fan forget?

But it hasn't been a total disaster since '92.

In all of the negative comments about the franchise -- and I've heaped my share in the past -- no one likes to remember the season of 1997.

I like to think of it as the last time the Pirates were competitive, not 1992.

They weren't expected to compete in '97, as their payroll in the neighborhood of $9 million. They proved many people wrong. The Bucs were in first place as late as mid-July and were .500 or better as late as August. They finished in second place in a weak NL Central.

One of the highlights that season was the combined no-hitter from Francisco Cordova and Ricardo Rincon against the Houston Astros in 10 innings. Another bright spot was a three-game sweep against the Chicago White Sox, a team featuring Albert Belle and Frank Thomas, who were getting more money than the entire Pirates roster.

That season included a pennant race, ultimately lost to the Astros. It also featured a trade for Shawon Dunston to help get the team over the hump. Dunston didn't help much, but it was nice having a team buying instead of selling.

I know, I know, it might be trivial to point out a season in which the Bucs finished 79-83. It didn't end a string of losing seasons that goes to this day. And it doesn't say much for a franchise to point toward a losing record as a highlight.

But it wasn't bad, either.

I can't wait for the next pennant chase.


Popular posts from this blog

Scary news from Antwaan Randle El

Embed from Getty Images

Every Steelers fan knows Antwaan Randle El.

His pass in Super Bowl XL helped clinch the Steelers' fifth Lombardi.

Now people might know Randle El for another reason: He's having trouble remembering things and having trouble walking down stairs.

The Post-Gazette's story was a grabber, with Randle El saying he wouldn't play football if he could do it over again.

Here's a quote:

The kids are getting bigger and faster, so the concussions, the severe spinal cord injuries, are only going to get worse. It’s a tough pill to swallow because I love the game of football. But I tell parents, you can have the right helmet, the perfect pads on, and still end up with a paraplegic kid. There’s no correcting it. There’s no helmet that’s going to correct it. There’s no teaching that’s going to correct it. It just comes down to it’s a physically violent game. Football players are in a car wreck every week.
He played football for nine seasons. Now he worries ab…