The Pittsburgh Alleghenys left the American Association on November 18, 1886 to join the National League as an expansion team. In 1891, the Pittsburgh team would become known as the Pirates, a name derived from an incident involving the franchise accused of being “piratical” for taking players from rival teams in other leagues.
At the Bank Street Grounds on September 12, 1883, John Reilly of the Red Stockings hit for the cycle, collecting three singles, a double, a triple, and a home run in Cincinnati’s 27-5 victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Alleghenys. The following week, the 24 year-old first baseman accomplished the feat once again at the same ballpark when the Red Stockings defeated the first-place Philadelphia Athletics, 12-3.
The Pittsburgh Alleghenys, now known as the Pirates, played their first game in the National League on April 30, 1887, defeating the defending league-champion Chicago White Stockings, 6-2, at Pittsburgh’s Recreation Park. Formerly an American Association team the Alleghenys posted a 55-69 record in their first season, finishing in 6th place in the eight-team circuit.
On May 23, 1890, the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Alleghenys stole a combined seventeen bases in a single game, setting a National League record that still stands today. New York won the contest, 17-10.
The overall Major League single game record for combined stolen bases was set on April 22, 1890 by Philadelphia and Syracuse in the American Association.
James Francis “Pud” Galvin of the Pittsburgh Alleghenys became the first pitcher to reach 300 victories on October 5, 1888 when Pittsburgh defeated the Washington Senators, 5-1. Pitching in an era when two-man pitching rotations were the norm, Galvin accumulated 6,003 innings pitched and 646 complete games over his career, numbers second only to those of Cy Young. He reached the 300-victory landmark at the age of 31, and would finish his career with a 365-310 record.