Once upon a time in the 1880s, there was a baseball league called the Players’ League. It was a rival to the National League, started by some of the most prominent players in the game of baseball. The league collapsed under pressure from NL owners, and Pittsburgh “raided” the roster of a few teams. As a result, they were called “pirates” for poaching players. The nickname, meant originally as an insult, was adopted by the club.