The Pittsburgh Pirates became an organization back in 1882 as the Pittsburgh Alleghenys. They transitioned to the Pirates in 1891. The club has won five World Series titles with the most recent one coming in 1979. Including Jackie Robinson‘s number 42, the Pirates have 10 retired numbers. Here is a potential all-time starting lineup for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
1. Honus Wagner, Shortstop (1900-1917)
The Pittsburgh Pirates retired Wagner’s number 33 in 1952.
Hall of Fame Inductee in 1936
While Honus Wagner is known for his very rare baseball card, he also put up some big numbers for the Pirates over a century ago. His career slash line with the Pirates is .328/.394/.468. From 1900-1910, Wagner went on a streak of 11 seasons with at least 30 doubles. Wagner also had at least 100 RBIs in seven different seasons with Pittsburgh. The shortstop had six RBIs and eight hits in the clubs first World Series victory back in 1909.
2. Andrew McCutchen, Center Field (2009-2017)
In Andrew McCutchen’s nine seasons with the Pirates, he got one playoff win in the 2013 Wild Card Game. Although the team didn’t fare the best while he was there, McCutchen still had a lot of success with the team. He made the All-Star game each year from 2011-2015. The center fielder won four Silver Sluggers and a Gold Glove award in that span, too. On top of that, McCutchen was the 2013 NL MVP in a year where he slashed .317/.404/.508.
3. Ralph Kiner, Left Field (1946-1953)
The Pittsburgh Pirates retired Kiner’s number 4 in 1987.
Hall of Fame Inductee in 1975
Ralph Kiner had a fairly short career, but still managed to have Hall of Fame numbers. From 1947-1951, he finished in the top 10 of the NL MVP race. His closest to winning it was when he got fourth in 1949 in a season where he hit 54 homers, had 127 RBIs and walked 117 times. Kiner had 40 or more home runs in those same years of 1947-1951. His career slash line with the Pirates is .280/.405/.567.
4. Willie Stargell, First Base (1962-1982)
The Pittsburgh Pirates retired Stargell’s number 8 in 1982.
Hall of Fame Inductee in 1988
Willie Stargell spent his whole MLB career with the Pirates. He made seven All-Star games, won a World Series MVP in 1979 and a regular season MVP in the same year. In 1979, Stargell had 32 homers, 19 two-baggers and 82 RBIs. Then in the World Series, he hit three long balls and had seven RBIs. Stargell was the MVP of the Championship Series in 1979 as well, where he had five hits and six RBIs in three games.
5. Roberto Clemente, Right Field (1955-1972)
The Pittsburgh Pirates retired Clemente’s number 21 in 1973.
Hall of Fame Inductee in 1973
Roberto Clemente is a 15-time All-Star, a 12-time Gold Glove winner and was the NL MVP of the 1966 regular season as well as the 1971 World Series. In his MVP year, Clemente had 202 hits, 71 of which went for extra-bases. He slashed .317/.360/.536 that year. In the 1971 World Series, Clemente had a 1.210 OPS with 12 hits and four RBIs.
6. Jason Kendall, Catcher (1996-2004)
Jason Kendall’s .387 career OBP as a Pirate is very solid as a catcher. Kendall debuted with Pittsburgh in 1996, and made the All-Star game while finishing third for Rookie of the Year that season. He went on a streak from 1998-2000 where his OBP was over .410. He also made two more All-Star games in that three year span. In 1999, he had a single-season best OPS of .939.
7. Pie Traynor, Third Base (1920-1937)
The Pittsburgh Pirates retired Traynor’s number 20 in 1972.
Hall of Fame Inductee in 1948
Pie Traynor played in at least 130 games in 12 of his 17 big league seasons. He had one of his best seasons in 1923 when he slashed .338/.377/.489. Traynor had a career high in triples (19) and homers (12) that year. He was a member of the first MLB All-Star game in 1933 in a year where he had 190 hits and 85 runs scored. Traynor also had four RBIs in the teams’ 1925 World Series victory that went seven games.
8. Bill Mazeroski, Second Base (1956-1972)
The Pittsburgh Pirates retired Mazeroski’s number 9 in 1987.
Hall of Fame Inductee in 2001
As one of the best defensive second basemen in his playing days, Bill Mazeroski won eight Gold Glove awards in his career. He had over 2,000 career hits as well as 853 RBIs and 294 doubles. Mazeroski is also a 10-time All-Star and a two-time World Series winner. In his Postseason career, Mazeroski had a slash line of .323/.364/.581 in 12 games played.
9. Wilbur Cooper, Starting Pitcher (1912-1924)
In 3,199 regular season innings pitched with the Pirates, Wilbur Cooper had a 2.74 ERA with 1,191 strikeouts. In both 1920 and 1921, he pitched a single-season high 327 innings. He also had a single-season best 134 strikeouts in 1921. One of his best seasons was before that in 1916. That year, Cooper pitched 246 innings with a 1.87 ERA.
Relief Pitcher- Kent Tekulve (1974-1985)
Kent Tekulve debuted with the Pirates in 1974. He had a career 2.68 ERA in 1,017 1/3 innings pitched with the club. Two of his best seasons came in 1978 and 1979. Tekulve had 31 saves in both of those years, appeared in over 90 games and pitched 135 1/3 innings in 1978 with just one innings less in 1979. He finished in fifth for the NL Cy Young in both of those years.
Featured Image Courtesy of SportsLogos.net.