Barney Dreyfuss (1865-1932) immigrated to Kentucky from Freiburg, Germany, about 1881. He worked as a clerk on a steamboat and later invested in a distillery before taking an interest in the relatively young game of baseball. He purchased a share of the Louisville Colonels and then acquired the team outright in 1899. That same year, the National League closed the franchise, and Dreyfuss acquired an interest in the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The subsequent consolidation allowed him to bring Kentucky all stars, such as Honus Wagner, Fred Clarke and Rube Waddell to Pittsburgh. Under Dreyfuss’ ownership, the Pirates won the National League pennant in 1901, 1902, 1903, 1909, 1925 and 1927. In 1903, as a result of his efforts to unify and standardize the American League and National League, Dreyfuss was responsible for the creation of the modern World Series, in which the Pirates played in four times during his ownership, winning in 1909 and 1925.
In 1909, Dreyfuss also commissioned Forbes Field, one of the first concrete and steel sports stadiums in the country. The Pirates played at Forbes Field in Oakland until 1970.
Dreyfuss was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.
In 1892, Barney Dreyfuss met Florence Wolf, of Kentucky, while both were traveling to Cincinnati to attend a music festival. They married in 1895. The Dreyfusses were prominent members of the German Jewish community of Pittsburgh. For a time, Barney Dreyfuss was the treasurer of the Westmoreland County Club. On at least one occasion, he allowed the Jewish Home for the Aged to hold an event in Forbes Field, free of charge.
Barney and Florence Dreyfuss had two children, Samuel and Eleanor. Samuel Dreyfuss worked for his father. Eleanor Dreyfuss married William Benswanger, who owned the Pirates from 1932, when Barney Dreyfuss died, until the family sold the team in 1946.