Pittsburgh Burghers

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Pittsburgh Burghers
Pirates 22.png
Information
LeaguePlayers' League
LocationAllegheny, Pennsylvania
BallparkExposition Park
Year founded1890
Year disbanded1890
League championships0
ColorsNavy blue, white          
ManagerNed Hanlon

The Pittsburgh Burghers were a baseball team in the Players' League, a short-lived Major League that existed only for the 1890 season. The team included a number of players who had jumped from the National League's Pittsburgh Alleghenys (now the Pittsburgh Pirates), including Hall of Famers Pud Galvin, Ned Hanlon, and Jake Beckley. Hanlon served as the team's manager. Meanwhile, John Tener, who would go on to represent Pittsburgh in the United States Congress and be elected the 25th Governor of Pennsylvania, finished his pitching career with the Burghers in 1890. Later Tener would become the president of the National League, and a director of the Philadelphia Phillies.

In its only season, the Burghers finished in 6th place with a 60-68 record. Hall Of Fame first baseman Jake Beckley was a powerhouse slugger for the Burghers. He hit .324 with 10 home runs and 120 RBIs. In addition, he led the PL by hitting 22 triples. But even Beckley's fine work could not overcome the weak hitting of the Pittsburgh team in general. The Burghers finished tied for the worst batting average in the loop with a .260 mark. The team played at the Alleghenies' former home, Exposition Park. The stadium and the team was located in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, which was not incorporated into the city of Pittsburgh until 1907. The area is currently known today as the North Side of Pittsburgh, and the site of Exposition Park was later used for Three Rivers Stadium.

In an indirect way, it can be argued that the Burghers, alone among the old Players' League franchises, still exist today. Nearly all of the Alleghenys' stars had jumped to the upstart league. The remains of the Alleghenys made a wretched showing, finishing with what is still the worst record in franchise history (and the second-worst in National League history). The resulting drain on attendance led Alleghenys owner Dennis McKnight to return his franchise to the National League. He then joined the Burghers' ownership group as a minority owner. This group repurchased the Pittsburgh National League franchise under a different corporate name, thus allowing them to legally regain title to most of the players who had bolted to the Players' League a year earlier. It is this franchise that forms the current ownership lineage of today's Pirates.[1] In fact, the Pirates nickname can also be traced back to this Burgher episode. On reacquiring the National League franchise, the new owners scooped up Lou Bierbauer, a second baseman from the Brooklyn Ward's Wonders of the defunct Players' League, inadvertently left off the roster of the American Association's Philadelphia Athletics, who as his prior team claimed his rights. This led an AA official to denounce the Alleghenys' actions as "piratical"—an accusation that led the Alleghenys to rename themselves the Pirates for the next season.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Purdy, Dennis (2006). The Team-by-Team Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball. New York City: Workman. ISBN 0-7611-3943-5.

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