It was a season that would be more known for its indiscretions than anything else in the form of the gang of eight, which was more popularly known as the Black Sox. While Shoeless Joe and his Chicago brethren were in the process of throwing the World Series to the Reds, the Pirates were proving that 1918 was no fluke by staying in the first division, finishing the 1919 campaign again above .500.
Perhaps the main surprise of the season was the resurgence of 37-year old pitcher Babe Adams, Adams, who was left for dead after 1916, got another chance as the Bucco roster was depleted during World War I and made the most of it finishing 17-10 with the 5th best ERA in the league at 1.98.
The starting outfield once again included the two great managers in Billy Southworth who hit .280 in left and the colorful Casey Stengel in right, a .293 hitter until he was dealt to the Phillies in August for Possum Whitted, who led the team with a .389 average in 131 at bats the rest of the way for Pittsburgh.
Before leaving, Stengel would truly show his colors in a game against the Dodgers on May 25th when he tipped his hat to the crowd and a sparrow came out from underneath. He was truly nothing if not entertaining.
A third member of the outfield, centerfielder Max Carey, hit for his best average to date, .307, but was limited to 244 at bats due to a lingering illness.
Despite the fact that the offense and pitching were only average as evidenced by the fact they finished 5th in both runs scored and team ERA, Pittsburgh did boast a solid duo defensively in the middle of the diamond as second baseman George Cutshaw and shortstop Zeb Terry, who the Pirates acquired from Boston in the off season both led the NL in their respective positions with .980 and .960 fielding percentages respectively. Neither were offensive powers though with .242 and .227 averages and a combined 78 RBI’s.
After the season ended, the club, along with a few members of the Dodgers and Braves, went down to Cuba to play an exhibition series against the Cuban Nationals, which included Negro League great Cristobal Torriente. The Cubans upset the Bucs and company, winning the series 13-11. Both Carey and Southworth were held in check hitting .250 each, while George Cutshaw hit only .231.
Overall it was a decent way to end a rather strange decade for both the Pirates and baseball in general. The last two seasons of the 1910’s marked the beginning of the Pirates next run at glory in the mid 20’s and with the retirement of Wagner two year before, the end of the former dynasty.By Pirates Encyclopedia
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- Babe Adams, Billy Southworth, Casey Stengel, George Cutshaw, Max Carey, Possum Whitted, Zeb Terry