The Pittsburgh Pirates compete in Major League Baseball as a member club of the National League (NL) Central division. The franchise was created in 1882 as a founding member of the now-defunct American Association. In 1887, the team left the American Association and joined the rival National League, where they have remained since. The team currently plays their home games at PNC Park (2001-present), having previously played at Three Rivers Stadium (1970-2000), Forbes Field (1909-1970), Exposition Park III (1891-1909), Recreation Park (1884-1890), and Exposition Park I, II (1882-1883). Like all other professional sports teams from Pittsburgh, the team uses the black and gold as their colors, echoing the colors of the city flag.
The team was originally known as simply "Allegheny" in its formative years, after the city in which it was founded (now an incorporated part of Pittsburgh). The nickname "Pirates" did not arise until 1891 when the team was accused of illegally signing a contract with a player belonging to a rival team, the American Association's Philadelphia Athletics. The move was referred to by the rest of the American Association as "piratical," and the team formally adopted the "Pirates" monicker beginning the following season in 1891.
The Pirates played in the inaugural World Series in 1903, losing to the Boston Americans in the best-of-nine series. The team won the first of their five World Series titles in 1909 against the Detroit Tigers. Pittsburgh won subsequent World Series in 1925 against the Washington Senators, in 1960 against the New York Yankees, in 1971 against the Baltimore Orioles, and in 1979, again against the Orioles. Additionally, the Pirates have won nine National League pennants in the team's history.
Note: Be aware that in the early years baseball teams used pennants rather than flags, and a host of manufacturer's variants of these pennants and later fan flags were marketed for the Pirates and their fans. They include flags, banners, and pennants too numerous to all be shown here. Randy Young, 23 February 2019
A number of commemorative flags exist for the Pittsburgh Pirates and their fans. Most common among these are the pennants that are awarded to the teams that capture the American League and National League championships, as well as the winners of the annual World Series between the two league pennant winners. Randy Young, 23 February 2019
In the case of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the flags that fly at their home stadium to celebrate their World Series victories take the form of a black broad pennant, the top, bottom, and fly edged in gold, with the year of the World Series victory centered in large gold numbers. Randy Young, 23 February 2019
In Major League Baseball, a team that wins their respective league championship prior to reaching the World Series is said to have "won the pennant." This refers to the original reward for said team, which was the authorization to fly at their home field a pennant denoting the team as the champions. This tradition continues today, with teams that have "won the pennant" flying at their home stadiums pennants representing their historical championships. In the case of the Pittsburgh Pirates, their Division pennants are in the form of a gold broad pennant, edged in black, with the year of the Division championship centered in large, black numbers, essentially the reverse of the World Series pennants. Randy Young, 23 February 2019
These popular variants of the American national flag have been produced for all the MLB teams and displayed by their enthusiastic fans. In the canton of the first illustrated here, the white stars of the national flag have a Pirates "buccaneer" logo superimposed over the stars, on a black field instead of blue. The 13 red and white stripes in the fly have been replaced with the black and gold colors of Pittsburgh Pirates. The second variant shown here features the Pirates' "P" logo as well as less stripes and less stars, 11 gold and black stripes and 13 stars to be exact. Both of these designs can be found incorporating either of the team's logos in the canton. Randy Young, 23 February 2019
While the capital "P" logo is the official logo of the Pittsburgh Pirates, there is a second logo that plays on the team's nickname, the Bucs or the Buccos, from the term "buccaneers." This logo features a pirate's face superimposed over crosseds baseball bats. There are a number of fan flags using this design, usually centered on a field of black, red, gold, or white, and with the name "PIRATES" in gold capital letters above the logo. Randy Young, 23 February 2019
image by Randy Young, 23 February 2019
A second group of fan flags uses the team's official capital "P" logo, usually on a black field, but adds a clarifying statement along the hoist: a vertical gold bar, approximately one-quarter the length of the flag, upon which is written the team's name - "PITTSBURGH" in black, san serif, capital letters above "PIRATES" in a fancier, gold font fimbriated black. Randy Young, 23 February 2019
Considering the team's mascot, it is not at all uncommon for fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates to fly historical pirate flags in lieu of a team flag. Additionally, there are several manufacturer variants of pirate flags featuring the team's name or logo superimposed on a historical Jolly Roger.
The example above, however, takes it a step further, calling out the Jolly Roger pirate flag by name, showing the team's pirate face logo in the center of a black field, surrounded by the words "Raise The" and "Jolly Roger" in gold lettering. Randy Young, 24 February 2019
image by Randy Young, 24 February 2019
Another example of a Jolly Roger type flag actually shows a modified Jolly Roger-style pirate flag flying. The modified Jolly Roger has replaced the crossbones of the original pirate flag with crossed baseball bats. This flag is shown flapping against a gold field, with the word "PIRATES" in the team's distinctive script above it. Randy Young, 24 February 2019
These flags tend to be more popular among NFL football fans, but can also be found for baseball fans. These flags feature the team's colors and logo and declare the area to be part of the "Man Cave" for fans of that team. Randy Young, 24 February 2019
A series of flags has been created for those fans who live in households with members who support rival teams. These flags feature the logos of the two rival teams on a field that appears to be ripped in half, with the words "A HOUSE DIVIDED" in white letters across the top. Randy Young, 24 March 2019
For those Pittsburgh Pirates fans who own yachts or sailboats and want to display their team loyalty, a separate flag is sold for them. The flag takes the form of a black and gold burgee with the Pirates' "P" logo. Randy Young, 28 April 2019
Also for those baseball fans who own boats and want to display their team loyalty afloat, these flags are also available for them. The flags take the form of either a broad pennant or a square boat flag with either text, or a cap or team logo near the hoist. Each uses the individual team's colors in their designs. Note: Because of the small size of these nautical broad pennants, usually about a foot tall (approximately 30.48 centimeters), they have also gained popularity as "golf cart" flags. It should also be noted that a broad pennant, or any other flag shape, is only called a "burgee" if it designates an organized boating club. Pete Loeser, 17 May 2019