The team that would become the Pirates was founded as the Pittsburgh Alleghenys in and played in the American Association before moving to the National League NL in The winner of eight batting titles and a member of the first group of players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame , Wagner led the Pirates to three straight pennants at the turn of the 20th century and to an appearance in the first World Series , which Pittsburgh lost to the Boston Red Sox in eight games.
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The Pirates won their first World Series title in , but the team struggled in the s before returning to the World Series to defeat the Washington Senators in Facts Matter.
In the mids the Pirates acquired sluggers Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla, and the team finished atop the NL Eastern Division in three consecutive seasons —92 but failed to advance to the World Series each year. In the Pirates had their 17th straight losing season, a record for a professional franchise in the four major North American sports leagues.
That streak extended to 20 consecutive seasons until it was broken in , when the Bucs, led by NL Most Valuable Player Andrew McCutchen, won 94 games and earned a berth in the postseason, where the team won the one-game Wild Card play-off but was eliminated in the NL Division Series.
Pittsburgh returned to the postseason the following year but was eliminated in the Wild Card game.
Louis Cardinals , and the Bucs again lost the one-game play-off.