Top 50 Pittsburgh Pirates

One of the oldest teams in Major League Baseball, the Pittsburgh Pirates, began in the American Association as the Pittsburgh Alleghenys in 1881.  They joined the National League in 1887 and changed their name to the Pirates four years later.

Pittsburgh won their first World Series in 1909, with Honus Wagner leading the way.  A second title came in 1925, but it would not be until 1960 when they won their third, punctuated by Bill Mazeroski’s Game 7 walk-off Home Run.  Led by Roberto Clemente, they won a fourth World Series in 1971, and their fifth came in 1979 with Willie Stargell and the “We Are Family” team.

This list is up to the end of the 2022 regular season.

Note: Baseball lists are based on an amalgamation of tenure, traditional statistics, advanced statistics, playoff statistics, and post-season accolades.

Bob Veale was a Pittsburgh Pirate for most of his career, signing as an Amateur Free Agent in 1958, debuting for the Pirates in 1962, and joining the starting rotation two seasons later. From 1964 to 1967, Veale won at least 16 Games and was the league leader in Strikeouts (250) in '64.  He fanned at least 200 batters the next two years, and again in 1969, but he was also prone to delivering Walks, leading the NL four times in that category. Late in his Pirates career, Veale helped Pittsburgh win the 1971 World Series.  He was sold to Boston shortly…

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A product of the Dominican Republic, Starling Marte began his professional baseball career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team that signed him in 2007 and which he debuted for in 2012. Playing in Centerfield, Marte had at least 140 Hits from 2013 to 2016, showing a nice blend of power and speed, belting 53 Home Runs and 1478 Stolen Bases while going to the All-Star Game on the strength of his first .300 Season in 2016.  Defensively, Marte was fabulous, winning two Gold Gloves (2015 & 2016) and the Wilson Defensive Award in 2015. Marte 80 Games in 2017 due to…
Pittsburgh Pirate in the middle of his career, Brian Giles was at his best when he played in the black and yellow. Giles was traded from Cleveland after four years to the Padres and was the bright spot on some awful Pittsburgh teams.  In the four full seasons he was with Pittsburgh, he never had a year where he did smack at least 35 Home Runs, received an MVP vote, and batted over .300 in three of them.  Giles was a National League All-Star in 2000 and 2001, but the slumping Pirates traded him to San Diego during the 2003 campaign. With…
Rick Rhoden was an All-Star with the Dodgers, helping them reach the World Series, but they were concerned with his shoulder and agreed to trade him to the Pittsburgh Pirates before the 1979 Season.   Rhoden's shoulder was in bad shape, and he only played in one Game in Pittsburgh's 1977 World Series-winning season.  The Pirates' patience paid off as Rhoden returned to form and won at least 10 Games for the club from 1982 to 1986, peaking at 15 in 1986.  That season, Rhoden was named to his first All-Star Team in a decade while posting a 2.84 ERA and 1.131 WHIP.  For…
The Pittsburgh Alleghenys purchased Jake Beckley's contract in 1888, and it was in Pittsburgh where he became a star. The First Baseman was solid in his first two years, batting over .300, but like many other National League players, Beckley bolted for the Players League in 1991, staying in the Steel City with the Burghers.  To Beckley’s credit, he was open about his decision, citing that he was “only in this game for the money."  The Players League was a bust, and Beckley returned to National League. After a decent 1891, “Eagle Eye” slumped to poor levels in 1892 (.236/.288/.381), Beckley rebounded…
Frank Killen stood at 6' 1" and was long and lean, which might not seem impressive with today's eyes, but for the 1890s, he looked like a supreme athlete. Killen reached the highest level of Baseball in 1892 with the Washington Senators, but the highly emotional Pitcher proved hard to control, and the management of the Senators looked to deal him away, despite his high skill level. Washington traded Killen after one year to Pittsburgh, who were willing to take a chance on the temperamental southpaw. Killen, who won 29 Games for the Senators in '92, led the National League with…
When Jay Bell played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, he knew his role was; provide good defense and get his baserunners over.  He did his job well! Bell was the player to be named later in the pre-1989 season transaction with Cleveland, and after appearing in 70 Games that year, he entered 1990 as Pittsburgh's starting Shortstop.  What Bell lacked in pure athleticism, he made up for in intelligence.  Bell always seemed to know where the batters would hit ground balls, and as a Pirate, he was in the top six in Defensive bWAR three times, while also leading all National League Shortstops in…
Gene Alley played his entire career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, debuting in 1963 until he retired after the 1973 Season. Alley became Pittsburgh’s starting Shortstop in 1965, and though he was not a potent hitter, he proved to be an excellent defensive player.  In Alley's best offensive year, 1966, he had career-highs in Hits (173) and Batting Average (.299), was 11th in MVP voting, and won the first of two Gold Gloves.  Alley went to two All-Star Games (1967 & 1968), was twice the National League leader in Defensive bWAR (1965 & 1968), and aided the Pirates in their 1971 World Series win.…
Emerson “Pink” Hawley played for Pittsburgh for three seasons in the 1890s, where the ten-year veteran was at his best in the game. Hawley first arrived in Pittsburgh when he was traded from St. Louis in 1895, and the Pitcher responded with his best professional baseball season.   That year, he led the NL in Games Pitched (56) and Innings (444.1) and had a career-best 3.18 ERA and 31 Wins. He played for Pittsburgh for another two years, winning 40 Games, and posting a 71-61 Record before being dealt to Cincinnati after the 1897 Season.
Tony Pena signed with the Pirates as an Amateur Free Agent in 1975, and five years later, the Dominican Catcher made his first appearance for the parent club. Pena became Pittsburgh’s lead Catcher in 1982, and he was an All-Star that year.  Batting .301 with 15 Home Runs in 1983, Pena received the most MVP votes of his career, with an 11th place finish.  Pena also won the Gold Glove, his first of three straight, and over the next two seasons he led the NL in Runners Caught Stealing.  He would also finish in the top ten Defensive bWAR four times, including a league-leading…
Playing all but his last two years in the Majors with Pittsburgh, Gus Suhr debuted in 1930 for the Pirates, where he was their starting First Baseman for the majority of the decade. Suhr went to the 1936 All-Star Game and had eight 150-plus Hits years, twice batting over .300.  He would only have 79 Home Runs for Pittsburgh but was a good clutch hitter with 789 RBIs.    Notably, Suhr was at one time the National League Iron Man, having played in 822 consecutive Games.   With the Pirates, he had 1,379 Hits and batted .278.
Bill Swift was a Pittsburgh Pirate for most of his career, first appearing in 1932, where he went 14-10 as a rookie and led the NL in BB/9 (1.1).   Swift was never a permanent starter in his career, and was used wherever needed.  Winning 70 Games against 57 Losses in his first five years, Swift at least 200 Innings in all of those years, complied either as a starter or reliever, and was one of the better Pitchers in not allowing Walks. He would be moved to more of a bullpen role in his later three years with the Pirates and…