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What Would the Pittsburgh Pirates All-Time Team Look Like?

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What Would the Pittsburgh Pirates All-Time Team Look Like?
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For over a century, Pittsburgh has been home to the Pirates, and while there have been ups and downs in the organization's history, an abundance of all-time great players have called Pittsburgh home. 

With the 2014 regular season approaching and the Pirates seeking their second straight trip to the playoffs, let's take a look at the greatest players in Pittsburgh's history. 

 

Catcher: Jason Kendall

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Jason Kendall was drafted by the Pirates in 1992, and four years later he made his major league debut.

In his 1996 rookie campaign, Kendall batted .300 with 31 extra-base hits in 130 games played.  He would go on to catch for the Pirates through the 2004 season, making the All-Star team three times. 

Over his 15-year career, Kendall batted .288 with 2,195 hits and 744 runs batted in.  He was as reliable as anyone else in the league behind the plate, playing in 2,085 games in his career. 

Kendall was an all-time great at his position for the Pirates, and his 2,195 hits rank fifth on the all-time list for catchers. 

 

First Base: Willie Stargell

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Willie Stargell was a baseball icon, playing 21 seasons at the major league level and all for the Pirates. 

During his career, Stargell blasted 475 home runs and drove in 1,540 runs while batting .282 for Pittsburgh. 

In 1979, Stargell won the National League Most Valuable Player Award after he batted .281 with 32 home runs and 82 runs batted in. 

Stargell was a seven-time All-Star and in 1988, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. 

 

Second Base: Bill Mazeroski

Bill Mazeroski made his major league debut when he was only 19 years old, and he went on to play his 17-year career with the Pirates. 

In 2,163 career games, Mazeroski batted .260 with 2,016 hits.  He also made the All-Star team seven times in his career while winning eight Gold Glove Awards for his outstanding contributions on defense. 

Mazeroski's most notable achievement was his walk-off home run in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series that clinched the championship for the Pirates. 

After decades of waiting, Mazeroski was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2001. 

 

Shortstop: Honus Wagner

This was probably the easiest choice to make, as Honus Wagner is one of the most well-known baseball players in history. 

In 21 major league seasons from 1897-1917, Wagner collected 3,420 hits while driving in 1,733 runs for the Pirates.  He was a career .328 hitter, making him an easy selection for the Hall of Fame in 1936. 

In 1909, Wagner led his team to a World Series title, batting .333 in 24 at-bats while stealing six bases in seven games against Detroit

 

Third Base: Pie Traynor

Pie Traynor played all 17 seasons of his career for the Pirates, and he was an incredible player. 

In 1,941 career games, Traynor batted .320 with 2,416 hits and 1,273 runs batted in for Pittsburgh. 

Traynor finished in the top 13 in MVP voting in eight different seasons, making him a lock for the Hall of Fame in 1948. 

 

Left Field: Ralph Kiner

Ralph Kiner is still one of the most notable players in Pittsburgh Pirates history, and he was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1975. 

In only 10 major league seasons, Kiner batted .279 with 1,451 hits and 369 home runs.  He hit an average of 41 home runs per every 162 games he played.

Kiner was a six-time All-Star in his 10-year career, and his .398 career on-base percentage was what really made him such an important player for the Pirates. 

 

Center Field: Andrew McCutchen

Andrew McCutchen's career is far from over, but his statistics already make him one of the greatest center fielders in Pirates history. 

After playing only five major league seasons, McCutchen ranks ninth in hits among all Pirates center fielders.  His .489 slugging percentage ranks first all time in Pirates history among players at his position. 

With many years still left in his career, McCutchen will go down as one of the greatest players in Pirates history. 

And oh yes, he already has three All-Star team selections, one Gold Glove Award and one National League Most Valuable Player Award. 

 

Right Field: Roberto Clemente

Any time you have an award named after you, you know you have made a huge impact on the game of baseball. 

In 18 major league seasons, Roberto Clemente batted .317 with 240 home runs and 3,000 hits. 

Clemente was a 12-time All-Star and also won the MVP Award in 1966, when he batted .317 with 29 home runs for the Pirates. 

Prior to his tragic death in an airplane crash, Clemente was widely regarded as one of the best players in the league, and he was completely deserving of his Hall of Fame induction in 1973. 

 

Starting Pitcher: Wilbur Cooper

Wilbur Cooper played 15 seasons in the major leagues, 13 of which were with the Pirates. 

In 517 career games, Cooper posted a dazzling 2.89 ERA with 216 wins and 178 losses. 

In 1916, Cooper posted a 1.87 ERA in 42 games pitched.  His seemingly rubber arm led Pittsburgh's pitching staff for over a decade, and his contributions were unmatched. 

Cooper retired at the age of 34 in 1926. 

 

Rest of Rotation

Doug Drabek

Doug Drabek won the National League Cy Young Award in 1990 after going 22-6 with a 2.76 ERA for the Pirates.  Over his career he won 155 games while pitching to a 3.73 ERA. 

 

Vern Law

In his 16-year career, Vern Law went 162-147 with a 3.77 ERA. 

However, he won the Cy Young Award in 1960 while leading his team to a championship with a 20-9 record and 3.08 ERA.  His 18 complete games that season proved that he was the guy the Pirates wanted out there on the mound at any time. 

 

Jesse Tannehill

Jesse Tannehill only played six seasons in Pittsburgh, but over those years he was brilliant on the mound.

In 1902, Tannehill posted a 1.95 ERA in 231.0 innings pitched for the Bucs, as he won 20 games while losing only six. 

Over his 15-year career, Tannehill went 197-117 with a 2.80 ERA. 

 

Vic Willis

Vic Willis only played four seasons for the Pirates, but he was a solid ace for Pittsburgh when he was there. 

In 1906, his first season with Pittsburgh, Willis went 23-13 with a 1.73 ERA.  He is the Pirates' all-time leader in earned run average, holding a 2.08 ERA in 160 games with Pittsburgh. 

Over his 13-year career, Willis pitched to a 2.63 ERA while collecting 249 wins. 

 

Relief Pitcher: Kent Tekulve

Kent Tekulve made his major league debut with the Pirates in 1974, and he was a staple in the bullpen for over a decade. 

Over his 16-year career, Tekulve pitched in 1,050 games while posting a 94-90 record and a 2.85 ERA. 

He finished fifth in the Cy Young Award voting in both 1978 and 1979 and was elected to the All-Star team in 1980. 

 

While every team has had its share of great players, the Pirates are an organization rich in tradition of developing stars. 

This all-time team could match up with any other franchise's all-time team, as there is not one hole in the lineup. 

As the regular season edges closer, Andrew McCutchen will hope to lead his team back to the postseason and continue to cement his name in baseball lore forever. 

 

*Statistics Courtesy of Baseball Reference

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