Pittsburgh Pirates VS Cy Young

If you’re anything like me with baseball history, some numbers just instantly bring baseball players to mind because of historic stats. If I see 7:14 or 7:55 on a clock, I always think of Aaron or Ruth. My dad was a big Mickey Mantle fan, so 5:36 always stands out for him. Today when I saw the date was 5/11, the first thought I had was Cy Young, for his all-time win total. That number for wins is so staggering to think about, no one even considers it to be an attainable goal for any young pitcher coming up with great stuff. You need to win 25 games a year for twenty years and you would still be eleven short. In short, it won’t be done. Today’s pitchers are too restricted on their chances, how many guys even make 511 starts in their career, forget the fact they would need to win every start even if they reached that mark. For the record, only 40 other pitchers have made that many starts in their career.

What this article is about though, is how did the Pirates stack up to Young during his time. He played from 1890-1911, that’s twenty-two seasons. From 1890-1900 he was in the NL, then he briefly came back at the end of his career, plus he pitched against the Pirates in the 1903 World Series. First part is, how many wins did the Pirates team leader have in each one of those seasons compared to Young. The second part will be, just how did the Pirates fare head-to-head against baseball’s all-time winningest pitcher. Simply, when Young started against them, how often did they win/lose.

Young vs Pirates best

1890: As a 23 year old rookie, Young won nine games. The Pittsburgh Alleghenys as a team won just 23 games, then changed their team name the next year. Billy Gumbert won four games to lead the team. Young +5 (running +/- total)

1891: Young won 27 games. Mark Baldwin led the Pirates with 21 wins. Young +11

1892: Young led the NL with 36 wins. Baldwin finished ten behind him. Young+21

1893: Young eclipsed the thirty win mark again, winning 34 times. Frank Killen however, led the NL with 36 wins. Young+19

1894: Young “only” won 26 times. Red Ehret led Pittsburgh with 19 wins. Young+26

1895: Cy  amassed 35 wins. Pink Hawley led the way with 31. Young+30

1896: Young had 28 victories. Killen again beat him out with a league leading 30 wins. Young+28

1897: Young dropped down to 21 but the Pirates leader was less, Hawley with 18. Young+31

1898: Cy won 25 times. Jess Tannehill tied him. Young+31

1899:  Young won 26 times in the last year of his first decade.  Tannehill was close behind at 24. Young+33

1900: Young had a 19-19 record, first .500 or worse season. Tannehill and Deacon Phillippe each win twenty. Young+32

1901: Cy goes to AL and dominates with league leading 33 wins. Phillippe leads the way with 22 wins. Young+43

1902: Young leads AL again, 32 wins. Jack Chesbro gives him a run with 28 wins. Young+47

1903: Young makes it three straight AL win titles with 28. Phillippe and Sam Leever win 25 apiece. Young+50

1904: Cy doesn’t lead AL with 26 wins. Patsy Flaherty wins 19 times. Young+57

1905: Young had a 1.82 ERA and an 18-19 record. Phillippe/Leever win 20 each. Young+55

1906: Cy wins 13, leads AL in losses. Hall of Famer Vic Willis wins 23. Young+45

1907: Young bounces back at age 40 to win 21 games. Willis ties him. Young+45

1908: Another 21 win season for Young. Willis and Nick Maddox each win 23 times. Young+43

1909: Young wins 19 times. Howie Camnitz enters the fray with 25 victories. Young+37

1910: Young became old, wins just seven times. Babe Adams win 18 times. Young+26

1911: Cy’s last sigh. Seven again. Adams emerges victorious 22 times. Young+11

Final tally, Cy Young 511 wins. The Pirates best pitcher from 1890-1911, 500 wins. That total is from 14 different Pirates pitchers.


1890: Alleghenys went 0-3

1891: Pirates went 1-6

1892: Pirates went 2-3

1893: Pirates went 2-2

1894: Pirates went 3-1

1895: Pirates went 1-3

1896: Pirates went 4-0

1897: Pirates went 0-2

1898: Pirates went 2-3

1899: Pirates went 2-3

1900: Pirates went 4-3

1903: Pirates went 1-2 in the World Series

1911: Pirates went 0-2

Finally tally against the all-time win leader, 22-33 for the Pirates. Pittsburgh bested him during just two seasons.

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John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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