By Randi Petrello
Spring training for the Pittsburgh Pirates is underway in Bradenton, Fla., with the home opener scheduled this weekend against the Atlanta Braves. With baseball on the brain, Sperling’s Best Places created a list of America’s “Best Baseball Cities.” The list ranks the towns that generate the most major league baseball players, and Pittsburgh did pretty well.
Pittsburgh came in at No. 14 on the list, with a per capita of 7.4 players since 1920, with 171 hometown boys making the big leagues.
San Francisco, which happens to be home of the reigning World Series Champions, took the top spot, with 14.8 major league players per capita and 364 in the majors since 1920. The other cities filling out the top 10 were St. Louis; Los Angeles; Sacramento; Cincinnati; Birmingham, Ala.; San Diego; Tampa, Fla.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Austin, Texas.
At the bottom of the top 50 major metropolitan areas was Minneapolis, Minn. Perhaps athletes there take to the ice rather than the ball field, given the colder weather.
In what Sperling calls the “modern era,” or players from 1990 and on, Pittsburgh has a per capita of 7.6 players with 39 players making it to the big leagues.
Los Angeles is No. 1 in the modern era, with a whopping 434 players making it to the major leagues, for a per capita rate of 16.9.
If you take a look at all 361 major cities in the United States, Burlington, N.C., has the most players per capita with 17.7 players in the majors since 1920. None of those players are from the modern era, however.
Orlando, located just about 117 miles northeast of the Bucs in Bradenton, ranks No. 46 on the list, with a per capita of 4 and 25 players in the major leagues since 1920. From 1990 on, the Orlando-Kissimmee area has a per capita rate of 4.3 with 15 locals playing major league ball.