First Pitch: Various “Best of 2019” Lists

First of all, I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year tonight! We’re about to start on a new year and a new decade, which means you’ve probably seen plenty “best of” lists related to both.

We’ve got some Pirates-related “best of the decade” lists coming in January. I’ll also have my look ahead at what to follow with the Pirates in 2020 in tomorrow’s First Pitch.

Today’s post is a random assortment of lists, with some of my favorite things from 2019. I hope they give you some ideas on some good beers, movies, shows, games, and/or music that you can enjoy today or in 2020.


  1. Spider-Man: Far From Home
  2. Avengers: Endgame
  3. Joker
  4. Vice
  5. Captain Marvel
  6. Bombshell
  7. Shazam
  8. Us
  9. Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker
  10. Happy Death Day 2u (I only put this to intentionally leave X-Men: Dark Phoenix off the list)

TV Shows

  1. The Boys (Amazon)
  2. The Office re-runs (Netflix)
  3. All of the other shows I started streaming, thought were interesting, but never finished and started streaming something else (Everything)

Comedy Specials

  1. Dave Chappelle – Sticks and Stones
  2. Mike Birbiglia – The New One
  3. Gary Gulman: The Great Depresh

Live Bands

  1. The Killers
  2. Portugal. The Man
  3. Heart


  1. The Obscure by Green Bench
  2. Barrel Aged Adjunct Trail by Angry Chair and Prairie
  3. 4th Anniversary Grand Cru by Angry Chair
  4. Mooore Rare Scooop by Cycle
  5. Hommage by 3 Fonteinen
  6. Peanut Butter Cup Medianoche by Weldwerks
  7. Marshmallow Handjee by Three Floyds
  8. VSOJ by Revolution
  9. Bour-Ben German Chocolate Coffee Cake Batter by Boiler
  10. Rollin’ Out by Calusa


  1. Calusa Brewing (Sarasota, FL)
  2. Angry Chair (Tampa, FL)
  3. Brewery Bhavana (Raleigh, NC)
  4. Burial Beer (Asheville, NC)
  5. Cycle Brewing (St. Pete, FL)

Comic Books

  1. Mister Miracle by Tom King
  2. Batman: White Knight by Sean Murphy
  3. Preacher by Garth Ennis
  4. Vision by Tom King
  5. Joker by Brian Azzarello
  6. Spider-Geddon (2019 Marvel series)
  7. infinity Wars (2019 Marvel series)
  8. Venom (Current Donny Cates run)
  9. Southern Bastards by Jason Aaron
  10. Redneck by Donny Cates




By John Dreker

Today is the 47th anniversary of the tragic passing of a legendary Pittsburgh Pirates player. The great Roberto Clemente died in a plane crash en route to Nicaragua to deliver relief aid after the country was struck by an earthquake. He was just 38 years old.

We have just two former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date.

Esteban Loaiza, pitcher for the 1995-98 Pirates. He signed with the Pirates as an amateur free agent in 1991. Loaiza went 5-1, 2.26 in the GCL his first season, then followed that up the next year with a 10-8, 3.89 record in 143.1 innings in low-A ball with Augusta. In 1993 he pitched 152 innings, posting a 3.49 ERA and reaching Double-A at age 21. He was very consistent with his stats in the minors, posting a 3.79 ERA in 154.1 innings, while making 24 starts. Despite never pitching in Triple-A, he made the jump to the majors in 1995 and made a league leading 31 starts. He threw 172.2 innings, posting a 5.16 ERA and an 8-9 record, finishing second on the team in wins during that strike-shortened season.

Loaiza was back in the minors for part of 1996, making 11 starts in Triple-A and ten starts for the Pirates. He was back in the big league rotation for all of 1997 and his 11-11, 4.13 record helped the Pirates to 79 wins and a second place finish. Loaiza started the 1998 season with the Pirates going 6-5, 4.52 in 21 games before he was shipped to the Texas Rangers for minor league second baseman Warren Morris and pitcher Todd Van Poppel. Loaiza pitched 14 seasons in the majors, ending his career in 2008 with a 126-114, 4.25 record in 333 starts and 14 relief appearances. He won 23 games for the White Sox in 2003, finishing second in the Cy Young award voting that year.

Bobby Byrne, a third baseman for the 1909-13 Pirates. The Pirates acquired him in August of 1909 from the St Louis Cardinals in exchange for light-hitting third baseman Jap Barbeau and backup infielder Alan Storke. At the time of the trade, Byrne was batting .214 with 61 runs scored and 21 stolen bases. The Pirates won the NL title in 1909 and Byrne hit .256 with 31 runs scored in 43 games to finish the season. In the World Series he hit .250 with five runs scored, as the Pirates beat the Tigers in seven games.

Byrne was a .227 hitter his first three seasons in the majors, but in 1910 he broke out in a big way, having the best season of his 11-year career. He led the NL with 178 hits and 43 doubles, while scoring 101 runs and stealing 36 bases. He also batted .296 with 66 walks and a career high 52 RBIs. He matched that RBI total the next year and nearly matched his 1910 runs total with 96 runs, while playing a career high 153 games. On the downside, the batting average was down to .259 and he led all NL third baseman in errors with 35. Byrne had a solid 1912 season batting .288, while scoring 99 runs in just 130 games. In 1913 Byrne was having a typical season of his years in Pittsburgh when in late August the Pirates traded him and star pitcher Howie Camnitz, who was struggling at the time, to the Philadelphia Phillies. In return the Pirates received third baseman Cozy Dolan and cash. Byrne was a career .254 hitter in 1,283 games, but with the Pirates he hit .277 in 590 games.

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Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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