The 1971 Pirates were unique.
The year saw the team’s first full season at Three Rivers Stadium, four All-Stars, a World Series championship and unprecedented roster in Major League history.
Fifty years ago today, on September 1, 1971, the Pittsburgh Pirates made history as the first all-minority starting lineup in MLB history.
Home to the Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh started future Hall of Fame outfielder Willie ‘Pops’ Stargell left and ‘The Great One’ Roberto Clemente right, current All-Stars or future Al Oliver at start, Dave Cash at third and Manny Sanguilen behind the plate. Dock Ellis took the mound for the Bucs, who previously pitched one of the most unique hitterless in history, walking eight and striking out six hitters against the San Diego Padres on June 12, 1970 as ‘he was taking LSD.
Gene Clines (center fielder), Rennie Stennett (second baseman) and Jackie Hernandez (shortstop) completed the roster, leaving a lasting impact on the game 24 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier on April 15, 1947.
The Complete Line of Historical Pirates:
- Rennie Stennett, 2B
- Gene Clines, FC
- Roberto Clemente, RF
- Willie Stargell, LF
- Manny Sanguillen, C.
- Dave Cash, 3B
- Al Oliver, 1B
- Jackie Hernandez, SS
- Ellis Pier, P
Manager Danny Murtaugh has been among regular starters including first baseman Bob Robertson, third baseman Richie Hebner and shortstop Gene Alley, all of whom have seen consistent playing time throughout the season. , in favor of the unique one of its kind. over time — alignment, offering its players the opportunity to break their own barrier in the big leagues during an evolving but tense period.
On a Wednesday night in front of 11,278 fans, the 138th game of the regular season, the Pirates defeated the Phillies 10-7, giving doubters no reason to speculate on the potential success of a batting order and defensive unit. entirely in the minority, exceeding it. all with the first Pirate Championship since 1960.
The Bucs celebrated the 1971 World Series champions in a weekend series at PNC Park against the New York Mets from July 16-18.
The organization also paid tribute to the Homestead Grays of the Negro League this latest homestand, wearing replica Grays jerseys on Friday, August 27, welcoming the St. Louis Cardinals to recognize African-American players, including the great Josh Gibson , who represented Pittsburgh for 17 league seasons, winning three Negro World Series (1943-44, 1948).
As the Pirates and the City of Pittsburgh honor the 1971 club in 2021 for a number of feats and milestones, the September 1 lineup from Stennett, Clines, Clemente, Stargell, Sanguillen, Cash, Oliver, Hernandez and Ellis opened the door for those to follow in America’s national pastime, being recognized with increased notoriety and recognition than was originally described half a century ago for one of the baseball’s most historic franchises.