The team was managed by Fred Clarke, who was also their starting left fielder. Clarke, in his fifth year as a manager at age 28, won his first pennant. The Pirates won the National League championship in the next two years as well.
The Pirates were led offensively by Honus Wagner, who led the league in RBI and stolen bases. Although the "Flying Dutchman" had never played shortstop in the majors until 1901, he appeared 61 times at shortstop that year in addition to spending time at third base and the outfield.
In a league that batted .267 as a whole, the Pirates outfield was notable for its hitting. Ginger Beaumonthit .332, player-manager Fred Clarke hit .324, and Lefty Davis hit .313.
^In 1891 the United States Board on Geographic Names forced the city of Pittsburgh to undergo a controversial name change by having them drop the "h" at the end of the name, making the team's official name the "Pittsburg Pirates" from the adoption of the Pirates nickname until Pittsburgh was able to get the "h" restored to its name in 1911.