Pittsburgh Pirates Flashback Friday: The 2005 Team

(Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images) /

The 2005 Pittsburgh Pirates was a rather unsuccessful team that did not even win 70 games.  However, they had a lot of younger players who would stick around a while after.

With Major League Baseball shutting down over the next few weeks, now is a good time to look back at some of the Pittsburgh Pirates teams from the past 20 years.  The Pittsburgh Pirates and their fans have had a lot of ups and downs over those years, with most of them being down.  However, there are still a lot of Pittsburgh Pirates teams and players who will always be remembered for better or worse.

The 2005 team was definitely one of those teams that were not very good but had a lot of notable Pittsburgh Pirates on it.  The Bucs were still being managed by Lloyd McClendon and Dave Littlefield remained the team’s General Manager.  Overall, the Bucs finished with a really poor record of 67-95 which gave them a last-place finish.

The team was led by two players who would become the best part of Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball during the mid-2000s, Jason Bay and Freddy Sanchez.  Bay was the only All-Star that season but had the numbers to back it up.  He batted .306 with 32 home runs and a .961 OPS, leading the team in all three categories.  Meanwhile, Freddy Sanchez started to break out as well, batting .284 as the team’s third baseman after taking the job from veteran Ty Wigginton.

Other players on the team were second baseman Jose Castillo, who tragically passed away in December of 2018 in a car accident.  Castillo always showed promise at times especially with his versatility in the infield.  Rounding out the infield was first baseman Daryle Ward and fan-favorite shortstop Jack Wilson. The outfield was made up of an assortment of players throughout the year, including Rob Mackowiak, Jason Bay, Tike Redman, and Matt Lawton (Lawton was eventually traded to the Cubs).

The pitching staff was one of the worst in baseball that year.  Oliver Perez started his decline as a starter, the same could be said for Kip Wells.  Both Perez and Wells had earned run averages above 5.00.  The team also had Josh Fogg, Mike Redman, and David Williams make starts but Williams and Redman had ERAs in the 4.00s and Fogg saw his above 5.00.

There were some signs of potential from the pitching staff.  Eventually, the team called up left-handed starter Zach Duke.  Duke made 14 starts and had an ERA of 1.81.  Also, the bullpen had a couple of solid pieces that performed well.  Both Salomon Torres and Mike Gonzalez had ERAs under 3.00 for the year.

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By the end of the season, Lloyd McClendon found himself out of a job.  The team let go of the longtime baseball coach at the beginning of September.  They then hired bench coach Pete Mackanin to finish out the year.  He actually had them play somewhat decent baseball, going 12-14 in the final 26 games.