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This Day in Pirate History - 11/20   
Posted: Wednesday, November 20, 2002

By 81omar_moreno

On this date in 1985 the Pirates signed Jim Leyland as manager. He replaced Chuck Tanner, who had been the manager since 1977 and led the team to a win in the 1979 World Series. Leyland who was 41 at the time, would join the team with no previous Major League experience and take over a team that finished last with over 100 losses.

His first season proved to be a tough one as the team finished last in the NL, though it did improve 7 games over the previous seasons. The team included rookies Bobby Bonilla and Barry Bonds. The Pirates also finished last in attendance in the NL, barely breaking the 1 million mark. The 87 season would prove to be much better for Leyland and the Bucs as they improved 16 games over the previous season and just barely missed reaching .500 on the season.

The 1988 team under Leyland would have its first winning season since 1983, posting 85 wins. They would finish 2nd and the team would improve also in attendance, drawing over 700,000 more than the previous season. The 1989 team would not continue the upward trend for Leyland, as the team would finish 14 games under .500.

Just when it looked bad for the team, they improved drastically the next season behind MVP Barry Bonds and Cy Young winner Doug Drabek. They would win 95 games, a 21 game improvement and finish first for the first time since 1979. It would be the first of 3 straight pennants that Leyland would win. Leyland would also win the NL manager of the year twice with the Bucs.

From 93-96, Leyland and the Bucs struggled as they would not finish over .500 any season. After the 96 season, Leyland would sign with the Marlins and lead them immediately to a World Series win in his first season. He would manage just one more season for each the Marlins and Rockies after that, finishing his career with 1069 wins, though he still could manage if he had wanted to. Jim would finish 3rd on the Pirates all-time list of managerial win behind just Danny Murtaugh and Fred Clarke.

On this date in 1950, Pirates GM Roy Hamey stepped aside so Branch Rickey could take over the team. Hamey took over GM duties in 1946 and will be remembered for bad trades. They include the one that sent Preacher Roe to the Dodgers and the one-sided deal that acquired Billy Herman to be a player manager. The Bucs would finish a suprising 4th one year, but finish under 500 the other 3 seasons Hamey was GM.

One of the lone bright spots during his tenor was the signing of future Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg. Greenberg was retired but the Bucs coaxed him out of it for one year to help young Ralph Kiner refine his game and it worked very well.

Finally, born on this date in 1887 was John Scheneberg who pitched one game for the 1913 Pirates. Making his Major League debut on September 23rd in the first game of a doubleheader, he started and gave up 4 runs in 6 innings of work, taking the loss in a 6-1 game vs the Dodgers. He did, however, drive in the only run of the game, going 1-2 overall. John would not pitch in the majors again till 1920. He only pitched 2 innings of one game for the St Louis Browns, giving up 6 runs and finishing his career 0-1 with an ERA of 11.25.

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