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1985 Pittsburgh Pirates

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[edit] 1985 Pittsburgh Pirates / Franchise: Pittsburgh Pirates / BR Team Page

Record: 57-104, Finished 6th in NL Eastern Division (1985 NL)

Managed by Chuck Tanner

Ballpark: Three Rivers Stadium

[edit] History, Comments, Contributions

The '85 Bucs were not the worst team in Pirates history, but were unquestionably the most depressing. After the disappointing 1984 campaign, management tried to rejuvenate the team by acquiring veterans who were down on their luck but might have one good year left in them. Almost all of these players, namely George Hendrick, Steve Kemp, Sixto Lezcano, Al Holland, and Tim Foli, flopped instantly, and by mid-May it was apparent that the season would be a long, hard slog. Fans were especially displeased by Hendrick's habit of jogging, not running out ground balls. Attendance fell to just 735,000 -- the lowest since 1968, and the lowest the Pirates would ever record in their 30 years at Three Rivers Stadium.

The team's frustrations were symbolized by pitcher Jose DeLeon. Time after time, DeLeon, a righty with a untouchable splitter, would pitch well in the early innings only to lose because of errors and mental lapses. His confidence and poise gradually unraveled, but the Pirates kept pitching him because they had no one better. He finished the season with a 2-19 record and one of the worst winning percentages (.095) in major league history.

The lone high point of the year came on May 3rd, when longtime announcer Bob Prince returned to the Pirates' broadcasting booth for the first time since his firing 10 years before. As if by magic, the Pirates broke out with a nine-run fourth inning against the Dodgers, and went on to win 16-2. The night allowed Prince to finish his career on a night of triumph. He broadcast only two more games for the Pirates, and died of cancer later that year.

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