Which Teams Have the Pittsburgh Pirates Performed Best Against?

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TAMPA, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 24: Josh Bell #55 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the dugout during the spring training game against the New York Yankees at Steinbrenner Field on February 24, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 24: Josh Bell #55 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the dugout during the spring training game against the New York Yankees at Steinbrenner Field on February 24, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

According to Baseball Reference, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been in existence since 1882. The franchise has been around for a long time. So, which teams have the Pirates had the most success against?

A quick sort by year of inception on Baseball Reference shows the Pittsburgh Pirates being tied for the second oldest franchise in all of Major League Baseball, trailing only the Cubs and Braves, both of whom are tied for first.

Because of the sheer age of the Pirates, they’ve played plenty of baseball games. Assuredly, they’ve also played a lot of games against certain teams. Any teams that were originally created with them are bound to be high on the list of games played, as well as divisional rivals once that format began to take shape.

There are seven teams the Pittsburgh Pirates have played over 2,000 games against, which includes three current divisional rivals, the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, and Cincinnati Reds. After the seventh team, the number of “games against” drops precipitously to 752 games (the New York Mets).

There were two obvious ways to determine who the Pirates played the best: total wins and winning percentage. Because of how numbers work out, there are going to be really high winning percentages against teams they only played a handful of times. So we’ll focus on total wins and then winning percentage that meets my somewhat arbitrary criteria.

Because the Pittsburgh Pirates are such an old franchise, they’ve played more than the other 29 teams currently in Major League Baseball. Over the course of their long history, the Pirates have played 43 different teams, like the Washington Statesmen and Richmond Virginians, both of which only lasted one season in 1884.

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