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EXCERPT | May 4, 1992
The retooled Pirates again overpowered the NL East
May 23, 2010
After two straight trips to the playoffs, the Pirates endured a major shakeup before the '92 season. But even without such former stars as Bobby Bonilla, Pittsburgh kept right on winning. Steve Rushin reported for SI.
You've heard of the Mudville Nine? The Pittsburgh Pirates are the Vaudeville Nine. Yes, we have no Bonilla, they'll tell you. Pirates prospects aren't merely sent to Triple A, they're shuffled off to Buffalo. Who's in first? The Pirates, who are so far out front in the National League East that it's hard to tell What's in second. I Don't Know? Third place.
The Pirates, two-time defending division champions, have the best record in baseball: 14--4 through Sunday. They've been so dominant of late that even after losing 5--4 to the Cubs on Sunday in Chicago, the manual-scoreboard operator at Wrigley Field reflexively recorded a 5--4 Pirates victory. The error remained there long after the players and spectators had departed.
At first blush these Pirates look like the same guys who won the East last season by 14 games. The early 4½-game gap between them and the second-place New York Mets at week's end looked so large you could have driven Cecil Fielder through it. Pittsburgh has already had a nine-game winning streak this season, equal to its longest run of a year ago. Leftfielder Barry Bonds continues to go long, like an Oscar acceptance speech, seemingly every time he steps to the plate. Pitchers Doug Drabek (3--1), Randy Tomlin (4--0) and Zane Smith (3--1) are racking up W's like unlucky Scrabble competitors.
The Bucs won another division title but fell for the third year in a row in the NLCS. They haven't returned to the postseason since.
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