The Pittsburgh Pirates said yesterday their success on the field and at the box office last season did not translate into financial success.

Despite winning the National League East Division and substantially increasing attendance with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball, the Pirates said they lost $7.6 million in 1990.

The team said its total revenue increased to $42.8 million in 1990 from $32.8 million in 1989, helped by a sharp increase in network television revenue and a jump in attendance to 2.1 million fans from 1.4 million in 1989. But expenses increased in virtually all categories, and the team was liable for an $8.1 million payment as part of its share of damages awarded to players in the collusion case.

The Pirates are the only major league team that publicly reports its financial performance.

Pirates officials have said they are concerned about the team's long-range financial health, arguing they are being squeezed by rising player salaries and limited potential revenue in the Pittsburgh market. The team's relatively low total player payroll of $16.4 million last year is expected to increase sharply over the next couple of years, particularly if the team signs such stars as Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla to long-term contracts. . . .

Pat Santarone, the Orioles' head groundskeeper since 1969, and Joe Hamper, the club's chief financial officer and one of two members of the front office staff who have been with the Orioles since 1954, are retiring from the club. Both will assume transitional roles for an indefinite period of time.

Paul Zwaska, Santarone's assistant since 1985, will become head groundskeeper. Zwaska, 30, has a degree in soil science from the University of Wisconsin. Aric Holsinger, 27, a 1985 graduate of the University of Virginia, will be the team's new chief financial officer.