This edition of “Today in Pittsburgh Pirates History” takes us back into 2007. Despite being only 12 years ago, many may not even know the man who is featured in this piece. His involvement with both the Buccos and baseball came in the early 1900’s, but his impact continues to resonate to this day.
Barney Dreyfuss, who owned the Pittsburgh Pirates for 32 years (1900-1932), was elected to the Hall of Fame via the Veterans Committee on this day back in 2007. Naturally, two questions arise. First, who the heck is Barney Dreyfuss? Second, what did he do to get into Cooperstown?
Who is Barney Dreyfuss?
For starters, Dreyfuss was instrumental in the construction of Forbes Field. For those who don’t know, it was the third stadium the Pirates ever played in, and the initial home of the Pittsburgh Steelers. It resided in the neighborhoods of Oakland and was one of the most innovative parks of its time. It replaced Exposition Park, made primarily of wood, and used mostly steel and concrete, one of the first ballparks to do so.
After running a franchise in Louisville, Kentucky, in the late-1800’s, Dreyfuss purchased half the rights to the Pirates. Prior to departing Louisville, he traded some of his club’s best players to Pittsburgh, including Honus Wagner. This led to Bucco dominance (sigh) through the first decade of the 20th century, including three straight NL pennants.
Along with other owners, Dreyfuss is credited with designing the National Agreement in 1902. This essentially squashed the feud between the American and National Leagues.
The First Fall Classic
After the 1903 season, Boston had won the American League while Pittsburgh dominated the National side. With a desire to crown a true champion, Dreyfuss got in touch with Boston owner Henry Killilea and orchestrated what would be the first ever World Series. Boston would win, but this marked the start of one of the best events in all of sports. Dreyfuss would capture two Fall Classics in Pittsburgh, one in 1909 and the other in 1925.
As a German immigrant, Dreyfuss came to America and became one of the most innovative figures ever in the game of baseball. Helping rethink how baseball stadiums should be designed is certainly impressive. Putting an end to a beef between the two leagues and starting the World Series, however, is all the more a legendary feat. His recognition in the Hall of Fame back in 2007 is certainly warranted, and fans continue to enjoy the results of his work today.