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1977 Pittsburgh Pirates

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[edit] 1977 Pittsburgh Pirates / Franchise: Pittsburgh Pirates / BR Team Page

Record: 96-66, Finished 2nd in NL Eastern Division (1977 NL)

Managed by Chuck Tanner

Ballpark: Three Rivers Stadium

[edit] History, Comments, Contributions

The 1977 Pirates were a very solid team that couldn't quite catch the superior Phillies. In line with the Pirates' habit during these years, the team got off to a slow start, and fell ten games out of first in early July after the Phils swept them four straight at Veterans Stadium. Then came the charge, led by the red-hot bat of Bill Robinson, who hit grand slams to seal victories on both July 28th and July 30th. A doubleheader sweep of the Reds on August 5th put the Bucs one game out. But that would be as close as they got. The Phils went 22-7 in August, and not even multiple Pirate winning streaks could close the gap. The 1977 Pirates set a franchise record for home victories with a record of 58-23 for a winning percentage of .716. Percentage wise though it is still only their third best behind the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates who went 56-15 for an .829 percentage, and behind the 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates who went 56-21 at home for a .727 winning percentage.

This was the breakthrough year for Dave Parker, who led the National League in batting (.338), hits (215), doubles (44), and outfield assists (22). It was also the peak year for Robinson, a one-time Yankee prospect who finally found his groove with 26 HRS and 104 RBI. Pitcher John Candelaria won 20 games for the only time in his career and led the league with a 2.34 ERA.

If anything could have made a difference, it would have been a healthy Willie Stargell, who spent more than half the year on the disabled list with a pinched nerve. His 13 HRS were his lowest total since 1963.

One fashion note: 1977 marked the debut of the Pirates new uniforms. With classic '70s excess, the Pirates jettinsoned the traditional white-at-home, gray-on-the-road unis for an array of options that included:

  • Black uniforms with gold trim
  • White uniforms with thick gold stripes, plus black and gold trim
  • Gold uniforms with black and white trim. The "gold" looked suspiciously like banana.

The uniforms were topped off with a black pillbox cap with gold stripes going all the way around the head. In time, the players would begin affixing gold "Stargell stars" to their caps, given out by the team's captain for game-winning hits and plays.

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