The Pittsburgh Pirates might have been known as one of the jewels of Major League Baseball considering the success they had in the early 20th century and 1970s, but they have since become one of the most inept, cheap franchises.
This was crystallized by a nearly two-decade long gap between winning seasons, a mark we may never see topped again. The Pirates are never short of promising prospects everyone thinks will be the next Willie Stargell or Roberto Clemente, but they can only muster about one season of quality performances before fading away.
3. Evan Meek (2010)
The 2010 Pirates, who won just 57 games, were one of the most putrid teams in all of baseball over the last decade. Someone had to be the team's All-Star representative, and Meek, who wasn't even the team's closer, got the honor. He finished the year with a solid 2.14 ERA and 189 ERA+, but his blistering fastball soon left him after multiple injuries prompted a release in 2012 after putting up a 6.75 ERA. He briefly resurfaced with the Baltimore Orioles, where he became famous for giving up a walk-off single to Derek Jeter in his final at-bat at Yankee Stadium.
2. Brad Eldred (2005)
The Pirates finally thought they found their next great corner infielder in Eldred, as the 6-6, 270-pound first baseman blasted 12 home runs in under 200 at-bats with the team in 2005. Unfortunately, Eldred's poor health swallowed him up after this season, as he missed all of 2006 following an injury in Spring Training. He was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis in May of 2007, and played in just 16 MLB games with the Rockies and Tigers between 2007 and 2012. Luckily, he carved out a very successful career for himself with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in Japan, hitting 133 home runs in seven seasons while being named an All-Star twice.
1. Mike Dunne (1987)
Whenever a hotshot young Pirates pitcher starts reeling off a few great starts in a row, jaded fans are always hesitant to crown him as the next franchise savior due after what happened to Dunne. The tall right-hander went 13-6 with a 3.03 ERA in 1987, coming in second in NL Rookie of the Year voting behind San Diego Padres catcher Benito Santiago. Dunne slightly regressed in 1988, and his first three 1989 starts yielded a 7.53 ERA. The Seattle Mariners took a chance on the oft-injured Dunne, but he could only muster a 5.27 ERA in 15 starts, After brief stints with the Padres and White Sox, he was out of baseball just as soon as he entered. Dunne's health robbed him of what should have been a long, successful career in Pittsburgh.