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Lou Bierbauer

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Title: Lou Bierbauer  
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Subject: Pittsburgh Pirates, History of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Pirates all-time roster, Pittsburgh/On this day/April 22, Brooklyn Ward's Wonders players
Collection: 1865 Births, 1926 Deaths, 19Th-Century Baseball Players, American People of German Descent, Baseball Players from Pennsylvania, Brooklyn Ward's Wonders Players, Buffalo Bisons (Minor League) Players, East Liverpool Potters (Baseball) Players, Erie Sailors Players, Hartford Indians Players, Major League Baseball Second Basemen, Minor League Baseball Managers, People from Erie, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Athletics (Aa) Players, Pittsburgh Pirates Players, St. Louis Browns (Nl) Players
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Lou Bierbauer

Lou Bierbauer
Second baseman
Born: (1865-09-28)September 28, 1865
Erie, Pennsylvania
Died: January 31, 1926(1926-01-31) (aged 60)
Erie, Pennsylvania
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 17, 1886, for the Philadelphia Athletics
Last MLB appearance
April 30, 1898, for the St. Louis Browns
MLB statistics
Batting average .267
Hits 1,521
Runs batted in 835

Louis W. Bierbauer (September 28, 1865 – January 31, 1926) was an American professional baseball player of German descent. He was a second baseman in Major League Baseball during the late 1880s and 1890s.[1] Over that period of time, he played for the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association before joining many other major leaguers in jumping to the Brooklyn Ward's Wonders in the newly formed Players' League for the 1890 season, a league which folded after just one year of play.[1]


  • A "piratical" act 1
  • Legacy 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

A "piratical" act

When the Players' League folded in 1891, pretty much every player that left the National League or the American Association for the league in 1890 was allowed to return to their original team. However Lou Bierbauer never signed a contract to return to Philadelphia Athletics. The National League's Pittsburg Alleghenys realizing Bierbauer's absence in the Athletics line-up soon became determined to sign him at all cost.

Alfred Spink, the founder of the Sporting News, wrote about the incident in his 1910 book "The National Game". According to Spink, the Alleghenys' manager, Ned Hanlon, traveled to Presque Isle in the dead of winter to sign him, crossing the ice on the harbor during a snow storm. He finally reached Bierbauer's home and got him to sign a contract with Allegheny.

The Athletics, upon learning of this deal, objected to Bierbauer’s signing and stated that he should return to the A’s, since that was the team that employed him before his defection to the failed Players' League. An official for the American Association also objected to Bierbauer signing with the Alleghenys and called the act "piratical." However the Alleghenys contended that since “the [American Association] did not reserve Bierbauer, he was a free agent". An arbitrator agreed, and soon players and fans alike were calling the team the "Pittsburg Pirates."[2]


Bierbauer played for the Pirates for six seasons before moving on to the St. Louis Browns from 1897 to 1898. He later finished his professional baseball career in the minor leagues.

Alfred Spink would go on to call Bierbauer the "one-time king of second basemen," a great "all-around player" who dominated both the National League and the American Association. In a 1955 story also reprinted in The Pirates Reader, a friend of Bierbauer told the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph that "Louie loved the Pirates and rooted for them until the day of his death in 1926."[2]

Bierbauer died in his hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania at the age of 60, and is interred at Erie Cemetery.[1]

See also


  • Nemec, David (2004). The Beer and Whisky League : The Illustrated History of the American Association—Baseball's Renegade Major League. Guilford: The Lyons Press.  
  1. ^ a b c "Lou Bierbauer". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Why is our baseball team called the Pirates? Pittsburgh City Paper, August 14, 2003.

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs
  • Lou Bierbauer at Find a Grave
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