Ah, nostalgia strikes back in all of it’s Jason Kendall slap a one hopper to second base glory in the preseason video for the 1997 Bucs. The video, which we posted below, has the look of something Kevin McLatchey had an intern at Robert Morris put together for the team.
But looking at just how well the 1997 Bucs played is about all Pirates fans can point to in recent history. It’s all we have. So it’s still shitt, but it can’t help but give all Pirates fans a glimmer of hope heading into Spring Training. As you recall, the ’97 club was nicknamed the ‘Freak Show’ and finished 79-83 under skipper Gene Lamont.
Kendall posted an .825OPS, Kevin Young hit 18 bombs and slugged .535, All-Star 2B Tony Womack had 178 hits, and Al Martin popped a few lies and a 114 OPS+. The pitching staff had names like Jon Lieber, Jason Schmidt, Francisco Cordova, Esteban Loaiza, and lefty Steve Cooke.
It was far from pretty, but it was just about enough to catch the awful Astros. In all however, we always talk about the season and it just pisses us off. The die hard Pirates fans wanted something added to the team, but it never happened. Citing the past is important, but understanding it is critical.
But the 1997 season did make the Post Gazette piss themselves with joy.
As you know, that Pittsburgh Pirates club had a pathetic payroll of just over $9 million bucks headed into the season. Maybe coming so close with so little is what still haunts the big league club.
Well, enough looking backward because it all sounds so familiar. So many questions. So many what ifs…but remember, there is always hope. Pitchers and catchers report in a few hours….
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