Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pirates GM Confidently Predicts Return to Playoffs in '94; World Series in '96

This article originally appeared in the November, 1992 edition of "Souf Oaklin fo' Life!!!" -

In an interview with the Sporting News last week Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager, Ted Simmons, has predicted that his team will be back in the playoffs in 1994 and will win the World Series by 1996.

"The '93 season is going to be tough for us with the loss of Bonds and Bonilla from the lineup as well as Doug Drabek," began Simmons, "but I feel that we will quickly rebuild and be back in contention very soon."

The Pirates lost the core of their team after the season with the departures of Barry Bonds, along with his 34 homers, 103 RBIs, and .311 average. Also gone are Bobby Bonilla, Jose Lind, Mike Lavalliere, Cecil Espy, Gary Varsho, Gary Redus, Doug Drabek, and Danny Jackson.

Simmons added that "the Pirates draft choices in June, two of which were acquired from the Mets for Bonilla, will help the Pirates field a winning team. In fact, I feel confident in saying that we will be a playoff team in 1994 and contenders for the World Series by 1996."

Pittsburgh made Jason Kendall their first overall pick and labeled him their franchise player; also selected were Shon Walker, and Danny Clyburn in the June Amateur draft.

"These draftees are the future of our team. Kendall has the potential to hit 300 every season with 25 to 30 homeruns. Walker and Clyburn will provide great defense, solid hitting, and speed on the bases for a long time to come."

Pirates skipper, Jim Leyland, who was in the clubhouse enjoying a cigarette with pitcher Bob Walk, declined to comment on Simmons' prediction but did state that he will remain a part of the Pirates organization through their rebuilding process and is looking forward to working with their new talented players.