I said I would show off some noncardboard items from time to time so here is entry 2 in that format.
Today we will be looking at the 2015 Pirates Yearbook, but first I want to tell some of personal interactions with yearbooks..
I remember when I was younger I could go to the Vet (Veterans Stadium, home of the Philadelphia Phillies) and buy full size batting helmets (with no ear flaps) for any of the teams and even yearbooks for any of the teams. I know this because I had all 28 helmets represented hanging across the top of my bedroom walls. The Devil Rays and Diamondbacks weren't in the league yet, but I had the Marlins and Rockies.
In addition to being able to buy helmets of any team there were also many other licensed products available at the souvenir shops inside the stadium. I bought the inaugural Marlins yearbook (with a very young Trevor Hoffman in it), White Sox yearbook, and Rockies yearbook. I know the Phillies were a pretty bad team for a decade until their magical 1993 season, but why were the vendors selling other teams products?
I stopped watching baseball after the 1994 strike and hadn't attended a baseball game in person until 2005. I did attend a baseball game with a female friend of the family in 1997, but all we did was avoid watching any baseball (I was 16 and don't need to explain any further details).
That 2005 game reunited my love for the Pirates (specifically a fan of Ryan Doumit), but there was NO Pirates merchandise to be found inside the stadium. It was nothing but Phillies merchandise.
When did this change happen?
Were other teams selling merchandise of other teams in the late 80s/early 90s?
Well, after 2009 I began making the Pirates my favorite thing to collect and I started to add a Yearbook and/or Media Guide to every trip I made out to Pittsburgh.
I got the 2015 Yearbook when I attended the home opener in person against an interleague matchup vs the Detroit Tigers.
I decided to flip through it and thought it would be fun (and heart breaking) to see how much the organization has changed in only 5 seasons since the 2015 season ended.
It's Been Only 5!!!! ?????
On the cover we have one of the best players in baseball, Andrew McCutchen, who had just come off his 3rd straight top 3 MVP award votes along with the 2013 NL Comeback Player of the Year, Francisco Liriano, and the local Pittsbugh native, Neil Walker.
Open up the cover and you get two more images of the former MVP, Andrew McCutchen
Both are local reporting agencies. Tribe Total Media is a local newspaper and Root Sports is the local channel for 150 Pirates games.
There is also a table of contents, which I will get into a bit later
There is a copy of the yeam's schedule along with seating information for purchasing tickets.
The Pirates went on to a 98-64 record in 2015, good for the second best record in the majors that season, unfortunately it was also only good for second best in their own division. This meant they would have to host the 1 game Wild Card Game, which they ultimately lost to the Chicago Cubs.
There is information about the Pirates ties to the military and how they wore home camo jerseys to support the troops.
Neil Walker appears in an Allegheny Health Network advertisement.
There's a great article about the resurgence of the team and the core of exciting players they grouped together to put together this winning culture in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately following the 2015 season, the core was broken up as Pedro Alvarez was released and Neil Walker was traded to the New York Mets.
The article goes on to talk about the team becoming a destination for free agents and a future Cy Young vote getter Charlie Morton says that he is proud of where the organization is now, knowing where it was.
(He would also be traded following the season)
The yearbook then goes on to look at the Pirates by position
Following the 2014 season many baseball insiders claimed the Pirates had the best outfield in baseball. They had a perennial MVP centerfielder (McCutchen), a rising star and gold glove left fielder (Starling Marte), and the best outfield prospect in baseball who was on the verge of his first full season in the majors (Gregory Polanco).
The team also had one of the best front four rotations in baseball lead by former number one pick, Gerrit Cole. AJ Burnett returned to Pittsburgh in 2015 to finish out his career in the Steel City. Francisco Liriano and Charlie Morton Both had shown to be solid back of the rotation guys.
The yearbook also features information about how to get unique items from PNC Park like throwing out a first pitch, shagging flyballs in batting practice, or changing the bases during the game.
There is an article that talks about new players to join the Pirates in 2015 that weren't part of the team in 2014. AJ Burnett, who spent 2012 and 2013 with the Pirates chose to opt out of his deal with the cross state Phillies to rejoin the Pirates because he thought they had the best chance to win in what Burnett chose to be his final playing year in his career. Jung Ho Kang, the first Korean position player, would also join the Pirates in 2015 (and finish 3rd in Rookie of Year).
Continuing the trend of former Yankees catchers (Martin, Stewart) the Pirates traded for Francisco Cervelli and he immediately took over the void of losing Russel Martin in the off season.
There is a deep look at the Pirates top 10 prospects in 2015. The Pirates top prospect in 2015 was Tyler Glasnow, who was a top 15 prospect in baseball.
Speaking of top 15 prospects, the Pirates also had guys like Jameson Taillon, Josh Bell, and Austin Meadows on the farm system.
Of the four listed above, only Taillon is still with the organization as both Meadows and Glasnow were traded for Chris Archer in 2018. Bell was traded less than a month ago to the Washington Nationals for a pair of pitching prospects.
These three were all traded or released in recent years. Reese McGuire looks to be an everyday catcher for the Toronto Blue Jays .
Each player on the 40 man roster received a black and white photo along with some basic player information (birthday, jersey number, height/weight, bats/throws, and position).
I had a lot of fun going through this yearbook again as it brought back A TON of excitement and enjoyment from the 2015 season and thinking for the future.
Only Gregory Polanco remains on the 25 man roster from the 2015 team that won 98 games.
I would consider getting a second copy to cut out and frame some of the images in the book.
Have you ever removed pages from a Yearbook to hang up?
Do you collect old team yearbooks?
Are you happy with your team's current status from where they were 5 seasons ago?