Pittsburgh Pirates played 60 straight road openers?

I was just at sporcle, and according to a quiz, the Pirates played 60 straight opening days on the road. Anyone know why?

I’m not seeing it, unless I understand it wrong. Looks like 2010 was a home game.

Pittsburgh’s Opening Days

If it’s true, I’d guess because it’s Pittsburgh - a very cold place in late March/early April.

Via Mahaloth’s link, looks like they went 35 straight, from 1919 until 1953.

I think it has to do with attendance. Certain teams draw better attendance and perhaps putting those teams on the road for opening day gets people to the park who would otherwise not bother do to a boring team.

If the link is correct, then quality of team isn’t necessarily the problem either. The Pirates appeared in 2 World Series in the 20’s, and won one (1925 against the Senators) and lost in 1927 against the Yankees (arguably the best team of all time.

True, they didn’t do much after 27, but that’s 8 years off the 35, bringing it down to 27, which is much lower than the claimed 60.

There is no way any team in MLB would get 60 season starts on the road…

Does the Sporcle quiz give a site? Also, can you link the quiz? I’m a Pirate fan and have never heard of this.

:annoying nitpicker arriving:


:annoying nitpicker leaving:


The link ignores the years before 1919. The Pirates have existed since the 19th century. A quick check of the schedules for the 1917 and 1918 seasons find they opened on the road then too. A spot check finds they opened at home in 1893, but not 1894. I don’t feel like checking 1895-1916, but I’m willing to entertain the notion that the Pirates opened on the road every year from 1894-1953.

If that’s the case (and it’s certainly likely), I would hazard a guess that they were in Cincinnati for at least half of those. Cincinnati was always (?) given the honor of the first game of the year, since that’s where the first MLB game was (National League game, I guess, if you want to be specific (cue someone to come along and be even more specific)).

Since I’m a glutton for punishment, I’ll take a look… Going through, there are some interesting games:

1907: Opens at Cincy on 4/11 for a one game series - their next game is at home on 4/17.
1901: Sort of the same thing - open in Cincy on 4/20 for a one game series, then travel to StL to play on 4/23.

Not until 1893 do we find an Opening Day home game. Poor Bucs…

Wait, so it is actually true? Are we sure?

Yup - I just went through all the game logs. 60 straight!

There wasn’t a huge tendency towards Cincy, but more than the other NL teams in the area (Chicago, St. Louis, and Louisville).

Good grief! That truly sucks.

How is Pittsburgh colder than Cincy, Chicago, St. Louis, or Louisville during the first week in April?

Or did the schedule maker just make a master schedule in the mid 1890’s and churn out the same schedule for 60 years?

Man, the Pirates were even good in the 1900’s.

Oh, and site? :smack: Dammit! Thanks for pointing that out. cite. cite. cite!

It wasn’t the weather–at least not the cold weather.

From Fred Lieb’s The Pittsburgh Pirates, pp. 22-23, written in '47 or thereabouts (and yes, I know Lieb is not necessarily the most reliable of sources for some things, but this one seems as accurate as any):

“With the end of the Players League [in 1890] the Pirates moved back to Exposition Park…It [was] down toward what is known as the point, where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers converge to form the Ohio…Every time there was a sudden rise in the rivers, the waters of the Allegheny backed up through a sewer into Exposition Park, and the park became better suited for ducks and canoeing than for baseball. A good-sized lake would form in center field and eventually take in second base. Flood gates were put in the sewers, but they worked only under certain conditions. The custom of the Pittsburgh club annually opening away from home dates back to the [eighteen-] nineties and first decade of this [20th] century, when high water on the Allegheny and Monongahela made it advisable to keep the Pirates on the road for the first week of the season.”

So, unplayable fields in early April, then simple tradition once Forbes Field came along. Interesting stuff–I hadn’t known any of this!

Ask and ye shall receive.

Cincinnati was given the honor of opening the season because they were the home of the first professional baseball team ever, starting in 1869.

The current Reds date from 1882 and joined the National League in 1890. The Cincinnati team that was a founding member of the National league was thrown out of the league for playing baseball on Sundays and serving beer.

Baseball certainly has its traditions.

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