By Anthony Caruso III
Clemente wore No. 21 for the Pirates, before his death. But the Pirates will not ruin his number, as the Pirates have clinched their first winning season in 21 years.
The last time that Pirates had a winning season was in 1992. That was when Barry Bonds, before he allegedly juiced with steroids, was their best player.
When Bonds signed with the San Francisco Giants, the hopes of winning went away for two decades. That was before the 2013 Pirates decided to put an end to that run.
The Pirates won their 82nd game of the season tonight, as they won 1-0 against the Texas Rangers. And they are one step closer to sealing a postseason berth, as they are presently one of the two Wild Card teams.
The Pirates are joined by the Cincinnati Reds, as the top two Wild Card teams. The Washington Nationals are going to need a miracle to upend the Reds or the Pirates, as they need to make up 8 games in less than three weeks of baseball left.
Should the Pirates make it, as expected, this would be their first Wild Card berth. The Wild Card came about for the 1994 season.
But after their last postseason berth in 1992, the team has failed on a prolonged attempt at rebuilding their franchise. They would give up on high-priced players in order to go with a younger crowd.
When they decided to go younger, the team would make mistakes left and right. And they would finish in the bottom half of the division during this streak.
In 1997, the Pirates finished in second place of the division. However, they finished the season with a 79 and 83 mark, but failed to make the postseason.
This is also the first time since the 1992 season that the team has won more than 80 games. Last season and in 1997, they were close with the 79 seasons. Yet, if you subtract 1997 and 2012, nearly every since they could not muster more than 78 wins.
In 1992, the Pirates lost to the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series. Since the Pirates won the Division, they would automatically make the NLCS, before losing to the Braves 4 games to 3 games.
This was the end of a three-year stretch, where the Pirates made the postseason from 1990 to 1992, as they finished first in the division each season. All three years, the Pirates lost in the NLCS, as they lost back-to-back years to the Braves in 1991 and 1992.
And in 1990, they lost to the Cincinnati Reds in the NLCS. In that series, they lost 4 games to 2 games.
With their current dynamics, the team has a chance to win a series. The team has not won a postseason series since 1979 when they won the NLCS against the Reds in a three-game sweep, before beating the Baltimore Orioles 4 games to 3 games in the World Series.
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