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What's in a Name?
The athletics mascot and nickname have long been some of the most recognizable symbols of a university. Throughout its storied history, Seton Hall University has seen just four incarnations of its own athletics moniker. At the inception, SHU's sports teams were known as the Villagers (1890-1900's). A short time after the turn of the century, these nicknames were succeeded by the White & Blue, a reference to the school's official colors.
The SHU baseball program holds a special place on the school's nickname timeline. From 1890 to the 1910s, the squad had an exclusive epithet, playing under the name the Alerts before transitioning to the more conventional White & Blue nickname characteristic of the SHU athletics teams of the time. Seton Hall continued to be known by their signature colors for the better part of three decades. Presumably this tradition would have continued further, had it not been for one fateful day on a ball field in Worcester, Mass., when an improbable rally spawned a cognomen that lasts to this day.
The Pirates are Born
The date is April 24, 1931. Comfortably ahead by four runs in the ninth inning, fans of the defending Eastern Intercollegiate Champion Holy Cross Crusaders are filing towards the exits, assured that their home team had placed another notch in the win column.
In quintessential Seton Hall style, the SHU nine gives clear notice that they did not share the same sentiment. The visiting team shot ahead behind a series of walks, hits and errors that caused many of the departing Crusader supporters to promptly pull an about face. Five runs later, Seton Hall had taken an 11-10 advantage that would eventually stand as the game's final score. That day, SHU became the first team in four years to defeat regional power Holy Cross twice in the same season and that day, Pirates became synonymous with the blue & white.
The commotion that was the last-ditch comeback prompted a local sportswriter in attendance to exclaim, "This Seton Hall team is a gang of Pirates!" Upon hearing of the proclamation after the game, the SHU team decided that their newfound name was fitting, and that they would return to South Orange and be known as the Pirates thereafter.
In many ways, the origin of the Pirate nickname is representative of the Seton Hall spirit. On that New England afternoon, the original gang of Pirates did not shy away in the face of adversity. Instead, they continued forward, rising to the occasion and emerging victorious.
Hazard Zet Forward.