Bucco Blast From The Past: Billy Meyer

By Zane Heiple
Photo Credit:  Corbis Images
Welcome Pirates’ fans to another edition of Bucco Blast From The Past.  This week we go way back and look at a man who has his uniform number 1 retired at PNC Park, Billy Meyer.
Meyer’s time in a Pittsburgh uniform was not as a player, but as a manger.  He managed the Pirates from 1948-52 and compiled a record of 317-452.  The season prior to his arrival in Pittsburgh, the Pirates finished seventh in the eight-team National League for the second straight year.  With Meyer on the bench, the team finished fourth with a record of 83-71.  This 21-game improvement earned Billy The Sporting News Major League Manager of the Year award.  The New York Yankees were so impressed by this improvement, they asked for permission to offer the managerial position to Meyer.  Pittsburgh denied this request, allowing Billy to return for the ’49 season. 
Unfortunately, the Pirates’ fourth place finish was the highest they would reach with Meyer.  In his final season as manager in 1952, the Buccos would finish 42-112, which, to this day, is the worst record in the history of the organization.  After being replaced as manager, Meyer spent the next three years as a scout for the Pirates.
Despite being the manager of the ’52 team and having a sub-.500 record, the Pirates retired his number in 1954.  The following year he suffered a stroke and died two years later in his hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee.  Before becoming a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Meyer played one year for the Chicago White Sox and two years with the Philadelphia Athletics.  After his playing days, he managed for nearly two decades in the Minor Leagues.
Be sure to check back next week for another edition of Bucco Blast From The Past.
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!

Zane Heiple

Zane is Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands and a weekly contributor for Armchair Report on NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, and NCAA related topics. He's also the smartest man in the world. Just ask him.

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