Barney Dreyfuss

Bernhard "Barney" Dreyfuss (February 23, 1865 – February 5, 1932) was an executive in Major League Baseball who owned the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise from 1900 to his death.

He is often credited with the creation of the modern baseball World Series. He also built one of baseball's first modern steel and concrete baseball parks, Forbes Field, in 1909. During his period of ownership, the Pirates won six National League pennants and World Series titles in 1909 and 1925; only the New York Giants won more NL championships (10) during the same period.

Barney Dreyfuss
Barney dreyfuss
Barney Dreyfuss at Exposition Park in 1903.
Owner, Executive
Born: February 23, 1865
Freiburg, Baden, German Confederation
Died: February 5, 1932 (aged 66)
New York, New York, United States
As Owner
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Election MethodVeteran's Committee

Early years

Dreyfuss was born in Freiburg, Grand Duchy of Baden in 1865. He attended school in Freiburg and later worked in a bank in nearby Karlsruhe. At the age of 16, he emigrated in 1881 to the US to escape conscription into the German Army. At the time, his prospects of being drafted into the military was high, and as a young Jew, his potential for advancement there was low. Dreyfuss's father, Samuel Dreyfuss (1832–1896), was actually an American citizen since 1861, who had returned to Germany at the outbreak of the Civil War. Samuel Dreyfuss had made a fortune selling spirits to the Native Americans.

Once in America, Barney Dreyfuss lived and worked with the Bernheim family in Paducah, Kentucky. The Bernheims were relatives of his grandfather, Leon Bernheim. In 1888, he moved with the Bernheim family to Louisville, Kentucky. Dreyfuss arrived knowing little English, but he became a quick learner. In just a few years, he rose from being a clerk to an officer of Bernheim Brothers, the creator of I. W. Harper bourbon.

Louisville Colonels

Dreyfuss enjoyed the game of baseball. He fueled his interest by organizing amateur baseball teams first for the distillery workers, then semi-pro clubs around Louisville. In 1889 the distillery expanded into larger quarters of Louisville. Dreyfuss quickly used the increased profits to buy a piece of the Louisville Colonels of the American Association. The team won the league pennant in 1890 against the Brooklyn Bridegrooms (today's Los Angeles Dodgers). However, the American Association fell apart in 1891. As a result, Dreyfuss moved the Colonels into the National League.

One of his best decisions was hiring a local city editor and educated lawyer, Harry Clay Pulliam, to serve as his club secretary; he later appointed Pulliam president. When Dreyfuss immigrated to America, it was Pulliam who taught him how to speak English (though to the day he died, he spoke with a marked German accent). However Pulliam's greatest contribution to Colonels occurred when he convinced Dreyfuss to sign future Hall of Famer Honus Wagner to the team.

For much of the 1890s, the Colonels were in last place in the National League. In 1899, Dreyfuss paid $50,000 to acquire full ownership of the Colonels. By this time, however, the National League contracted several teams after the 1899 season and Dreyfuss purchased a half-interest in the Pittsburgh Pirates. As part of the deal, he negotiated the transfer of the best Louisville players, namely Wagner, Fred Clarke, Tommy Leach, Deacon Phillippe, and Rube Waddell to Pittsburgh. To pull off this deal, Dreyfuss accepted an option to purchase an interest in the Pirates, then traded the best of the Colonel's players to the Pirates; he then used this leverage to buy out his partners. The Colonels' president, Harry Pulliam, also left for the Pirates with Dreyfuss and became the team's president.

Pittsburgh Pirates

In Pittsburgh, Honus Wagner soon emerged as the National League's biggest star. The Pirates then won NL pennants in 1901, 1902, and 1903.

World Series

However a bidding war was taking place between the National League and the upstart American League. Dreyfuss was victorious in attempt to keep the new league out of Pittsburgh. However, he knew that the bidding war needed to end for the leagues to be prosperous. In 1903, Dreyfuss brokered the peace treaty that recognized two major leagues. It also instituted a single set of rules, established agreements with the minor leagues, set up cooperative scheduling, and recognized each league's rights to its own players. To cash in on the peace between the leagues, an agreement with terms was created by Dreyfuss and Boston Americans' (today's Boston Red Sox) owner Henry Killilea to create the modern World Series. Although his Pirates would lose to the Boston Americans 5 games to 3, the games proved to be a success. Dreyfuss further cemented his reputation by adding his own share of the gate receipts to the players' winnings.

Forbes Field

At the end of the 1908 season, Dreyfuss decided it was time that Pittsburgh had a new, larger stadium for its growing fan base and winning team. The team's current field, Exposition Park, was made of wood and so close to the banks of the Allegheny River that the outfield regularly flooded after heavy rains.[1] Meanwhile, across the state in Philadelphia, Philadelphia Athletics owners Ben Shibe and Connie Mack had decided to build a steel and concrete venue for their team. Dreyfuss, with no intention of being one-upped, began the construction of Forbes Field.

The new stadium was built in the city's Oakland district and was named after John Forbes, the French and Indian War general who captured Fort Duquesne in 1758 and renamed it Fort Pitt. Dreyfuss purchased seven acres of land near the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, adjacent to Schenley Park, with assistance from his friend, industrialist Andrew Carnegie.[2] The low-priced land was selected so Dreyfuss could spend more on the stadium itself.[2] Dreyfuss signed a contract that he would "make the ballpark ... of a design that would harmonize with the other structures in the Schenley Park district."[3] The site was initially labeled "Dreyfuss's Folly" due to its long distance—a 10-minute trolley ride—from downtown Pittsburgh; however, the land around the park developed and criticisms were dropped.[2][4] Official Pirates' records show that Forbes Field cost US$1 million for site acquisition and construction, but some estimates place the cost at twice that amount.[4][5]

The new park opened on June 30, 1909, and Dreyfuss personally shook hands with the fans as they entered through the gates. The crowd for the stadium's inaugural game included Pittsburgh Mayor William A. Magee, Harry Pulliam (now the National League President), and Congressman John K. Tener, a former Major League player who was soon to become the Governor of Pennsylvania. While Pirates did lose their first game at Forbes to the Chicago Cubs, they did go on to win the 1909 World Series later that year, over the Detroit Tigers.

1910 to 1932

In 1912, Dreyfuss became one of the major stockholders of Welte & Sons Inc. However, he was still involved in every decision made involving the Pirates. Under his leadership, the Pirates won two more National League pennants and the 1925 World Series over the Washington Senators. He successfully helped fight off the Federal League in 1914 and 1915, and then helped form the commission that investigated the 1919 Black Sox Scandal. He also worked to abolish the three-man commission that ran the National League in favor of appointing a baseball commissioner, a post to be occupied by Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis. He also worked to outlaw "freak" pitches such as the spitball, and he was a force in ridding the game of gambling.

Pittsburgh Stars

In 1902, Dreyfuss and Pittsburgh Pirates minority owner William Chase Temple were suspected of being the secret owners to the Pittsburgh Stars, a professional American football team in the first National Football League. Both men denied any connection to the Stars' finances, as well as being the team's true owners. While the team's owner on paper, David Berry, insisted that he was the team's sole owner, it was impossible for him to afford the money to finance the team without the backing of Temple or Dreyfuss. The Stars would go on to win the 1902 NFL championship.[6]


Dreyfuss died on February 5, 1932,[7] at age 66 in New York City. He was buried in West View Cemetery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the time of his death, he was vice president of the National League. Landis, the presidents of both the National and American Leagues, club executives from competing teams, and players such as Honus Wagner and Deacon Phillippe, served as honorary pallbearers at his funeral.


A small stone monument to Dreyfuss was eventually installed in straightaway center field at Forbes Field. When the Pirates moved to Three Rivers Stadium in 1970, the monument was brought along and displayed in the stadium concourse. The monument has since been moved to the Pirates' current field, PNC Park, located on the concourse behind home plate.

Dreyfuss had groomed his son, Samuel, to inherit the Pirates upon his death. However, Samuel died in 1931, a year before his father. Dreyfuss' widow, Florence, urged her son-in-law, William Benswanger, to take over as president and operating head of the franchise. Benswanger ran the team until it was sold in 1946, ending the Dreyfuss-Benswanger family's half-century in baseball.

Dreyfuss was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008 following his election by the Veterans Committee.


  1. ^ Roberts, Randy (2000). Pittsburgh sports: stories from the steel city. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 246.
  2. ^ a b c Gershman 1993, p. 89
  3. ^ Cicotello 2007, p. 16
  4. ^ a b Leventhal 2000, p. 52
  5. ^ McCollister 2008, p. 99
  6. ^ *Carroll, Bob (1980). "Dave Berry and the Philadelphia Story" (PDF). Coffin Corner. Professional Football Researchers Association. 2 (Annual): 1–9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-15.
  7. ^ Kelly, George Edward (1938). Allegheny County, a sesqui-centennial review. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, Digital Research Library. p. 357.
  • Cicotello, David; Angelo J. Louisa (2007). Forbes Field: Essays and Memories of the Pirates' Historic Ballpark, 1909–1971. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7864-2754-3.
  • Gershman, Michael (1993). Diamonds: The Evolution of the Ballpark. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-61212-8.
  • Leventhal, Josh; Jessica MacMurray (2000). Take Me Out to the Ballpark. New York: Workman Publishing Company. ISBN 1-57912-112-8.
  • McCollister, John (1998). The Bucs! The Story of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lenexa, Kansas: Addax Publishing Group. ISBN 1-886110-40-9.
  • Dvorchak, Robert (July 20, 2008). "Fame finally comes to Barney Dreyfuss". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved February 11, 2011.
  • "Barney Dreyfuss". Retrieved 2011-02-11.
  • "Forbes Field". Retrieved 2011-02-11.
  • "First World Series". Retrieved 2011-02-11.

External links

1890 Louisville Colonels season

The 1890 Louisville Colonels baseball team finished with an 88–44 record and won the American Association championship. The previous season, the Colonels had lost 111 games, the most any team in the Major Leagues had lost up to that point (the record was broken during the 1890 season by the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, who lost 113 games). This "worst to first" transformation was accomplished partly because of new ownership led by Barney Dreyfuss. Competition was also diminished due to the advent of the Players' League and a couple of the best AA teams jumping to the National League.

After the season, Louisville played the NL champions, the Brooklyn Bridegrooms, in the 1890 World Series. The Bridegrooms were one of the teams that had jumped to the NL, and had been the champions of the AA in 1889. The World Series wound up in a 3–3–1 tie.

1899 Louisville Colonels season

The 1899 Louisville Colonels baseball team finished with a 75–77 record and ninth place in the National League. Following the season, owner Barney Dreyfuss bought the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and folded his Louisville team. Manager Fred Clarke and most of the players moved over to the Pirates where they enjoyed much more success in the coming years. The Colonels, a perennial also-ran through their National League run from 1892 to 1899, appeared to be on the cusp of becoming a strong team when the National League contracted from 12 teams to 8 after the end of the 1899 season. Louisville started the season with a 15–37 record after 52 games, but then went 60–40 in their last 100 in the first glimpse of what was to become a strong Pirates team in the years to come. Many star players, including several Hall of Famers, of the first decade of the 20th Century came from the 1899 Louisville squad including Clarke, Honus Wagner, Rube Waddell, Deacon Phillippe, Tommy Leach and Claude Ritchey.

1903 World Series

The 1903 World Series was the first modern World Series to be played in Major League Baseball. It matched the American League (AL) champion Boston Americans against the National League (NL) champion Pittsburgh Pirates in a best-of-nine series, with Boston prevailing five games to three, winning the last four.

Pittsburgh pitcher Sam Leever injured his shoulder while trap-shooting, so his teammate Deacon Phillippe pitched five complete games. Phillippe won three of his games, but it was not enough to overcome the club from the new American League. Boston pitchers Bill Dinneen and Cy Young led Boston to victory. In Game 1, Phillippe struck out ten Boston batters. The next day, Dinneen bettered that mark, striking out eleven Pittsburgh batters in Game 2.

Honus Wagner, bothered by injuries, batted only 6 for 27 (.222) in the Series and committed six errors. The shortstop was deeply distraught by his performance. The following spring, Wagner (who in 1903 led the league in batting average) refused to send his portrait to a "Hall of Fame" for batting champions. "I was too bum last year", he wrote. "I was a joke in that Boston-Pittsburgh Series. What does it profit a man to hammer along and make a few hits when they are not needed only to fall down when it comes to a pinch? I would be ashamed to have my picture up now."Due to overflow crowds at the Exposition Park games in Allegheny City, if a batted ball rolled under a rope in the outfield that held spectators back, a "ground-rule triple" would be scored. Seventeen ground-rule triples were hit in the four games played at the stadium.In the series, Boston came back from a three games to one deficit, winning the final four games to capture the title. Such a large comeback would not happen again until the Pirates came back to defeat the Washington Senators in the 1925 World Series, and has happened only eleven times in baseball history. (The Pirates themselves repeated this feat in 1979 against the Baltimore Orioles.) Much was made of the influence of Boston's "Royal Rooters", who traveled to Exposition Park and sang their theme song "Tessie" to distract the opposing players (especially Wagner). Boston wound up winning three out of four games in Allegheny City.

Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss added his share of the gate receipts to the players' share, so the losing team's players actually finished with a larger individual share than the winning team's.

The Series brought the new American League prestige and proved its best could beat the best of the National League, thus strengthening the demand for future World Series competitions.

1904 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1904 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 23rd season of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise; the 18th in the National League. The Pirates finished fourth in the National League with a record of 87–66.

1908 Kentucky Derby

The 1908 Kentucky Derby was the 34th running of the Kentucky Derby. The race took place on May 5, 1908. Muddy track conditions made the winning time 2:15.20 the slowest Derby ever.

1909 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 28th season for the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise, during which they won the National League pennant with a record of 110–42 and their first World Series over the Detroit Tigers. Led by shortstop Honus Wagner and outfielder-manager Fred Clarke, the Pirates scored the most runs in the majors. Wagner led the league in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and runs batted in. Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss opened the Pirates' new ballpark, named Forbes Field, on June 30, 1909.The Pirates' 110 wins remain a team record, a record they set in the last game of the season by beating the Cincinnati Reds 7–4 in muddy conditions on October 5. It is in fact the best regular season win percentage by any World Series winning team.

Deacon Phillippe

Charles Louis "Deacon" Phillippe (originally Phillippi) (May 23, 1872 – March 30, 1952) was a Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Louisville Colonels and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Eclipse Park

Eclipse Park was the name of three successive baseball grounds in Louisville, Kentucky in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were the home of the Louisville baseball team first known as the Louisville Eclipse and later as the Louisville Colonels.

The unusual name for these ballparks derived from the original name of the Association club, the Eclipse. The more local name "Colonels" eventually won out. Nonetheless, "Eclipse" was among the early team names to be a singular word, despite "sounding like" a plural.

Semi-pro baseball had been played at the first Eclipse Park as early as 1874. The Louisville Eclipse played there from 1882 to 1884. The team was then renamed the Louisville Colonels and continued to play under that name from 1885 to 1893. The team was a member of the American Association until 1891 when it joined the National League when the American Association folded. The park was destroyed by fire on September 27, 1892. The 1893 season started in what was left of the park.

The original park was located at 28th and Elliott streets in west Louisville. The second Eclipse Park was built just south of the original. City directories given the location as 28th Street (east) and Broadway (north). The Louisville Colonels played there from early in the 1893 season until well into the 1899 season. This is the ground at which Hall of Famer Honus Wagner made his Major League debut on July 19, 1897.

The second Eclipse Park was destroyed by fire on August 12, 1899. The club was on a road trip at the time. They returned to a partially-rebuilt park ten days later, but the stands were inadequate and the club played the final month as a road team.

The fire contributed significantly to the once-strong Louisville club being contracted after the end of the season. Team owner Barney Dreyfuss moved on to acquire the Pittsburgh Pirates. Instead of being scattered to the wind, the best players from the Louisville team roster were brought onto the Pittsburgh payroll, including Wagner, third baseman Tommy Leach, outfielder-manager Fred Clarke, and ace right-hander Deacon Phillippe. This influx of talent soon turned the perennial cellar-dwelling Pirates into a three-peat pennant winner, and a participant in the first modern World Series.

After a one-year absence of professional ball, a Louisville Colonels entry in the Western Association opened at the remnants of the park in 1901. The club drew poorly and transferred to Grand Rapids, Michigan near the end of June.

The third and last Eclipse Park was built on a block bounded by 7th Street (east); Kentucky Street (south); 8th Street (west); and Florence Place (north) in the Limerick neighborhood of Louisville. This ballpark was built by George "White Wings" Tebeau as the home for the American Association minor league Louisville Colonels who played there from 1902 through 1922.

The final Eclipse Park had better luck than the first two, remaining in operation for more than twenty years, until it too was destroyed by fire, on November 21, 1922.

All three Eclipse Park locations had been destroyed by fire of various origins. The Louisville Courier-Journal covered each of these events in the days following. After the 1922 fire, the paper editorialized that wooden ballparks were obsolete and should be replaced by steel and concrete. The ball club followed that advice, opening Parkway Field the following spring.

Forbes Field

Forbes Field was a baseball park in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from 1909 to June 28, 1970. It was the third home of the Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Baseball (MLB) team, and the first home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the city's National Football League (NFL) franchise. The stadium also served as the home football field for the University of Pittsburgh "Pitt" Panthers from 1909 to 1924. The stadium was named after British general John Forbes, who fought in the French and Indian War, and named the city in 1758.

The US$1 million ($27.9 million today) project was initiated by Pittsburgh Pirates' owner Barney Dreyfuss, with the goal of replacing his franchise's then-current home, Exposition Park. The stadium was made of concrete and steel (one of the first of its kind) in order to increase its lifespan. The Pirates opened Forbes Field on June 30, 1909, against the Chicago Cubs, and played the final game against the Cubs on June 28, 1970. The field itself featured a large playing surface, with the batting cage placed in the deepest part of center field during games. Seating was altered multiple times throughout the stadium's life; at times fans were permitted to sit on the grass in the outfield during overflow crowds. The Pirates won three World Series while at Forbes Field and the other original tenant, the Pittsburgh Panthers football team had five undefeated seasons before moving in 1924.

Some remnants of the ballpark still stand, surrounded by the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Fans gather on the site annually on the anniversary of Bill Mazeroski's World Series winning home run, in what author Jim O'Brien writes is "one of the most unique expressions of a love of the game to be found in a major league city".

James Callahan (ice hockey)

James F. Callahan was the owner of the Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets and later the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National Hockey League. James, who had the reputation as a frugal businessman, was a lawyer from Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighborhood.

In 1925, the Yellow Jackets were owned by former referee Roy Schooley. After winning the US Amateur Championship in 1924 and 1925, the Yellow Jackets are sold to Callahan who wanted to get the team into a professional league. Schooley sold the team to Callahan due to financial hardships. Callahan changed the team's name to the Pittsburgh Pirates, borrowing the nickname from Pittsburgh's professional baseball team. Callahan was able to use the Pirates nickname after he cashed in favor from Pirates owner, Barney Dreyfuss. The Pirates would become the NHL's third team in the United States on November 7, 1925 in joining the New York Americans and the Boston Bruins. Callahan's brother, who was a member of the Pittsburgh Police Department, offered used emblems from police jackets to place on the uniform sleeves.

On October 8, 1928 financial problems forced Callahan to sell the team to an ownership group which included Bill Dwyer. However, because he already owned the New York Americans, Dwyer had ex-lightweight boxing champion, Benny Leonard act as the team's owner.

List of Pittsburgh Pirates owners and executives

The Pittsburgh Pirates are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They play in the National League Central division. The team began play in 1882 as the Alleghenies (alternately spelled "Alleghenys") in the American Association. The franchise moved to the National League after owner William Nimick became upset over a contract dispute, thus beginning the modern day franchise.From the franchise's beginning, the owner and manager fulfilled the duties of the general manager. However, in 1946, Roy Hamey left his position as president of the second American Association to become the Pirates' first general manager. The franchise's second general manager, Branch Rickey, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1967. Hired in September 2007, Neal Huntington is the Pirates's current general manager. Barney Dreyfuss purchased the franchise in 1900, bringing players including Honus Wagner and Fred Clarke with him from the Louisville Colonels, which he had previously owned. In his 32 years as owner, Dreyfuss built Forbes Field and helped to organize the World Series. Dreyfuss was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2008. Robert Nutting served as chairman of the board from 2003 to 2007, at which point he became majority owner of the franchise.

Louisville Colonels

The Louisville Colonels were a Major League Baseball team that played in the American Association (AA) throughout that league's ten-year existence from 1882 until 1891. They were known as the Louisville Eclipse from 1882 to 1884, and as the Louisville Colonels from 1885 to 1891. The latter name derived from the historic Kentucky colonels. After the AA folded in 1891, the Colonels joined the National League and played through the 1899 season. Until the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington in 2004, Louisville was the last city to lose a Major League Baseball franchise and not have another franchise eventually replace it.

"Colonels" was also the name of several minor league baseball teams that played in Louisville, Kentucky, in the 20th century.

Mordecai Davidson

Mordecai Hamilton Davidson (November 30, 1845 in Port Washington, Ohio – September 6, 1940 in Louisville, Kentucky) was a Major League Baseball owner and manager. He is best known as the primary owner of the Major League Baseball Louisville Colonels during the worst period of the team's history. He was also one of three managers of the Colonels in 1888, while he owned the team.Davidson, a Union army veteran, was working for a local mercantile house in Louisville when he became a shareholder of the Colonels in 1887. Prior to the 1888 season, he was named the Colonels' secretary-treasurer, and on June 7 bought out most of the team's other shareholders. Two days later, Davidson relieved manager John Kelly 39 games into the season, and managed the team himself for three games, winning one. After John Kerins managed the team for seven games, Davidson took over as manager once again and managed the team for the rest of the season. During his second tenure as manager, Davidson managed 90 games, winning 34 and losing 52 with 4 ties. Overall, Davidson's record as manager was 35 wins, 54 losses and 4 ties. It was his only experience as a major league manager.Prior to the 1889 season, Davidson brought in Dude Esterbrook as manager, while also seeking to sell the team. Esterbrook did not last long, either, and the club went through four managers during the season. By June, the players were in open revolt over Davidson's handling of the club, and several of them refused to play outright on June 14. A special meeting of the AA board was called, and Davidson was issued an ultimatum to strengthen the club or be forced out.

In July, Davidson surrendered the team to the control of the AA, and it was eventually purchased by Barney Dreyfuss before the 1890 season.

Phil Auten

Phil Auten was the co-owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team of the National League from 1891 through 1899 with William Kerr. They purchased the team from William A. Nimick in 1891. They sold the Pirates to Barney Dreyfuss in 1900.

Thomas P. Johnson

Thomas Phillips Johnson (June 8, 1914 – May 23, 2000) was an American attorney, businessman, philanthropist, Republican Party activist, and sportsman who was perhaps best known as a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Baseball franchise from 1946 through 1984.

Born in New Castle, Pennsylvania, Johnson attended local primary schools and preparatory school in Washington, D.C. He graduated summa cum laude from Rollins College in 1934. Three years later, he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He began the practice of law in Pittsburgh in 1937. After he interrupted his legal career to serve in the United States Navy during World War II, at war's end he became a founder of the law firm of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart; by the time of Johnson's death, the firm (now K&L Gates) had become Pittsburgh's largest. During his career, he served as an officer or director of more than 50 companies, as well as on the Rollins College board of trustees.In August 1946, Johnson joined a group headed by Indianapolis businessman Frank E. McKinney that purchased the Pirates' franchise from its longtime owners, the Barney Dreyfuss family. With McKinney initially holding 50 percent of the team's stock, Johnson acquired 15 percent interest. His fellow minority partners included entertainer Bing Crosby (15 percent) and Columbus, Ohio-based real estate magnate John W. Galbreath (20 percent). Four years later, in 1950, McKinney sold his controlling interest and Galbreath became majority owner. Johnson retained his share in the team until selling it to the Galbreath family in 1984 and, as a Pittsburgh resident and leading member of its business and legal circles, played a key role in ownership and management decisions through three Pirate World Series championship seasons (1960, 1971 and 1979). During his tenure as an owner, the Pirates moved from venerable Forbes Field to Three Rivers Stadium in 1970.

A committed Pirates' fan who attended 55 Opening Day games, Johnson remained passionate about baseball after 1984 and once again invested in the Pirates as part of a new ownership syndicate headed by Kevin McClatchy in 1996. He died in Pittsburgh from cancer-related respiratory failure at the age of 85.

Tommy Leach

Thomas Andrew Leach (November 4, 1877 – September 29, 1969) was a professional baseball outfielder and third baseman. He played in Major League Baseball from 1898 through 1918 for the Louisville Colonels, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds.

Leach played in the first modern World Series in 1903 with the Pirates, hitting four triples to set a record that still stands. He played alongside legendary ballplayers such as Honus Wagner and Mordecai Brown. Leach began his career primarily as an infielder including playing shortstop, second base and, mostly, third base. Later, to take advantage of his speed, Leach played mostly outfield. Leach is also famous for being interviewed for Lawrence Ritter's The Glory of Their Times collection.

William Benswanger

William Edward Benswanger (February 22, 1892 – January 15, 1972) was an American businessman who served for almost 15 years as president and chief executive of the Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Baseball franchise, from 1932 through 1946.

Born in New York City, Benswanger moved with his family to Pittsburgh when he was five years of age. Upon adulthood, he entered his family's insurance business, then served in the United States Army's balloon corps during World War I. He also was an accomplished pianist and musician and served on the board of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for two decades.

William Kerr (baseball)

William Kerr was the co-owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team of the National League from 1891 through 1899 with Phil Auten. They purchased the team from William A. Nimick in 1891. They sold the Pirates to Barney Dreyfuss in 1900.

Kerr was known throughout the organization for his short temper. He changed managers frequently during his tenure with the Pirates. It was reported that after the 1896 Pirates season, in which the team posted a 66-63 record, team manager, Connie Mack, left the Pirates due to Kerr's frequent outbursts.

Willis Richardson (American football)

Willis Richardson was an early professional football player-coach for the Homestead Library & Athletic Club and the Pittsburgh Stars of the first National Football League. He won the Western Pennsylvania State Championship with Homestead in 1900 and 1901. Then in 1902, he brought along many former Homestead players to the Stars team, which was formed by the former Latrobe Athletic Association manager, Dave Berry, and probably funded by the Barney Dreyfuss and William Chase Temple of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team. During the Stars "championship game" against the Philadelphia Athletics, Willis scored an extra point to help lead the Stars to an 11–0 victory and the 1902 championship.

Prior to playing professionally, Richardson played at the college level for Brown University. While at Brown he was a two-time All-American on Walter Camps second team. He is best known as the player who kicked Brown’s first ever field goal in 1899. In 1898 he earned his first All-American status by running 103 yards for a touchdown against Princeton.

In 1971 Willis was inducted into the Brown University Football Hall of Fame.

Veterans Committee
J. G. Taylor Spink Award
Ford C. Frick Award
Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award
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