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Dreyfuss' impact lands him in the Hall

Dreyfuss' impact lands him in the Hall

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Andrew Dreyfuss had a message for his great-grandfather, Barney, who was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday afternoon and as the president of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the early 20th century was "mortified" when the Yankees swept his team in the 1927 World Series.

"Great-granddad, I am very proud to report that the Pirates settled the score with the Yankees on October 13, 1960, at Forbes Field," Andrew Dreyfuss said. "A future Hall of Famer, Bill Mazeroski, hit the classic seventh-game home run in the bottom of the ninth to give the Pirates the World Series."

That would likely bring a smile to his great-grandfather, who passed away in Pittsburgh in 1932 at the age of 66, serving as the team's president from 1900 until his death. He created the tradition of the World Series, became the National League's first vice president and helped direct the erection of one of baseball's storied ballparks.

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A German-born citizen, Dreyfuss came to the United States in 1885 at the age of 19, and he eventually made a permanent mark on the Pittsburgh franchise.

He arrived in Pittsburgh after investing in the American Association's Louisville Colonels and working his way up to full ownership of the team by 1899. But with baseball enduring a period of restructuring, Dreyfuss decided to prevent the Colonels from folding by merging the club with the Pirates. Dreyfuss purchased half ownership of the Pittsburgh club in 1900 and would assume full ownership very shortly after.

After beginning his association with the Pirates, Dreyfuss ushered in a group of players that included Hall of Famer Honus Wagner, Rube Waddell and Fred Clarke, all of whom left Louisville to join the Pirates. With a total of 14 players moving in that particular transaction, Dreyfuss' deal still remains the largest transaction in Pirates history.

As an owner of the Pirates, Dreyfuss watched his club win two World Series championships (1909 and 1925), claim six pennants and finish second or higher in the National League 13 times. Though Dreyfuss and the Pirates organization endured a string of frustrating seasons from 1914-20, he was still always widely recognized as one of the best talent evaluators in the game.

The Pirates lost that first World Series in 1903 to the Boston Pilgrims, but the tradition became a yearly fixture from that point onward. Dreyfuss also spent the 1903 season successfully mending a growing fraction between the American and National Leagues, something that became one of his most pivotal accomplishments.

A generous man, Andrew Dreyfuss said, Barney made another accomplishment that year: The players from the losing team (the Pirates) in the World Series earned more than the players from the winning team.

"Our great-grandfather was so enamored by the 1903 Pirates that he decided to give his share of the earning to the players," Andrew Dreyfuss said.

Dreyfuss is the first member of the Pirates family since Mazeroski, in 2001, to be elected into the Hall. Among the other 12 are 11 Pirates players, as well as Clarke, who spent 15 years managing during Dreyfuss' tenure as Pittsburgh's owner.

The 13th member of the Pirates family to be elected into the Hall of Fame, Dreyfuss was one of three former baseball executives to gain entrance to the Hall by a newly formed Veterans Committee. There were 10 executives considered, and votes were cast by a 12-member panel of current and former executives, Hall of Fame members and veteran media members. Dreyfuss' name appeared on 10 of the 12 ballots (83.3 percent).

Willie Bans is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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