By Jason Shetler
Before they were the Pirates, Pittsburgh’s baseball club was known as the Alleghenys. From 1882 to 1890, the Alleghenys were associated with both the American Association, as well as the National League. So who were some of the most notable Alleghenys? – Here now are the five greatest players to have dawned the uniform of the Pittsburgh Alleghenys.
5. Pud Galvin: Pud Galvin was one of the better pitchers in baseball pre-1900 when he pitched for the Buffalo Bisons of the AA from 1879 to 1885. Known as “The Little Steam Engine”, for standing just 5’8, Galvin was purchased by the Alleghenys from the Bisons on July 13th, 1885. He pitched five seasons with the Alleghenys, as well as two with the Pirates where he posted a 3.10 ERA, a 107 ERA+ and a 1.25 WHIP in 246 games pitched. Galvin was selected to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee in 1965.
4. Fred Carroll: The Alleghenys purchased Fred Carroll from the Columbus Buckeyes on October 30th, 1884. Carroll was a catcher/outfielder, who played in Pittsburgh from 1885 to 1891, posting a .365 on base percentage along with an OPS of .772 and a 136 OPS+. Carroll’s best season with the Alleghenys was in 1889 where he led the NL with a .486 on base and a .970 OPS.
3. Jake Beckley: From 1888 to 1896, Jake Beckley was the first baseman of the Alleghenys/Pirates. During his time in Pittsburgh, he batted .300 while posting an .801 OPS and had an OPS+ of 123. Beckley was inducted into Cooperstown in 1971 by the Veteran’s Committee.
2. Ed Morris: In 1885, the Alleghenys had quite the pitching tandem of Pud Galvin and “Cannonball” Ed Morris. In his five seasons with the Alleghenys, Morris put up an ERA of 2.81 with a 115 ERA+ and a WHIP of 1.13 in 241 games pitched. Although the Pirates have had five pitchers strikeout 200 batters in a season, Morris was the first Pittsburgh pitcher to accomplish the feat when he struckout 298 in 1885.
1. Ed Swartwood: One of the original Pittsburgh Alleghenys was outfielder Ed Swartwood. Swartwood played in the Alleghenys inaugural season in 1882. Despite playing just three seasons for them, he had very impressive numbers, hitting .325 along with an .820 OPS and a 171 OPS+. Swartwood was the best offensive player in 1883 when he batted .357 with an OPS of .869, both of which were tops in the AA. While he wasn’t the same productive player after being purchased by the Brooklyn Grays, Swartwood’s time in Pittsburgh made him the best player in the Alleghenys history.