Seventeen. Seventeen losing seasons are what Pirates fans have had to endure.
In the '70s the Pittsburgh Pirates were a dynasty with the "We Are Family" era alive and well. Winning baseball was something that was expected in that time, and now as I am typing this article, I realize that even one winning season to break the losing streak would be cause for a parade.
Going from a World Series team to the laughingstock of the league is what the Pirates did. Yet, in 2007, the Pirates hired a new general manager in Neal Huntington after firing what some call the destroyer of the franchise, Dave Littlefield. This move was supposed to turn the tide for the team, and so far, the case is still out.
In his three years with the team, Huntington has basically imploded the Pirates roster. The team at the end of the 2009 season had only a few players remaining from the Opening Day lineup of that year. Instead of doing this only halfway, Huntington has completely gutted the team. This is difference between Huntington and Littlefield and is what makes me have some hope, even though that hope might be all for nothing.
I tend to side with the fans that are optimists when they say "why keep the players that you can't win with?" If you think about it, that's a great point. A good amount of fans though have grumbled about the trades of All-Star caliber players like Jason Bay and Nate McLouth.
On July 31, 2008, Bay was traded to the Boston Red Sox in a three-team deal that sent Manny Ramírez to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Andy LaRoche and Bryan Morris to the Pirates from the Dodgers and Brandon Moss and Craig Hansen to the Pirates from the Red Sox. On June 3, 2009, McLouth, the team's only 2008 All-Star, was traded to the Atlanta Braves for prospects Jeff Locke, Charlie Morton, and Gorkys Hernández. These trades are often questioned still today, but the case is still out.