Pittsburgh Pirates: The Worst Players Since 1992
For most Major League teams, it's extremely hard to make an all-time team. For the Pirates, it's hard to make a list of the worst players throughout the last 18 years. If you're looking for the best Pirate players during that span, you'll have to wait until I finish it. Aren't we all used to the bad times of Bucco baseball anyways?
There have been so many terrible players over the years that it is nearly impossible to format this list as a single lineup, per se, so instead I've just thrown all of the bums together for entertainment's sake. This list is most likely endless with the multitude of poor play we've witnessed over the years. All of them were so bad, rendering this list unrankable. Here is just a handful of the atrocities that stick out in my mind.
This is probably one of the first names out of your mouth. Bell is still considered to be the worst acquisition in all of sports when the Buccos brought him in prior to the 2001 season, signing him to a two-year deal.
He awarded the team, and the city by posting a whopping .173 batting average, and made a famous threat in spring training the following year.
"Nobody told me I was in competition. If there is competition, somebody better let me know. If there is competition, they better eliminate me out of the race and go ahead and do what they're going to do with me. I ain't never hit in spring training and I never will. If it ain't settled with me out there, then they can trade me. I ain't going out there to hurt myself in spring training battling for a job. If it is [a competition], then I'm going into 'Operation Shutdown.' Tell them exactly what I said. I haven't competed for a job since 1991."
His only two Major League seasons were with the Pirates in 1997 and 1998, hitting .189 in the latter. Baffling to me, he played in a total of 160 games. More importantly, he bares a striking resemblance to Sylvester Stallone.
I think we've all come across a few athletes who we can't stand to watch, but never understood why they are even out on the field. This guy was that to me. Wilson wasn't even qualified, in most years of his career, to come off the bench for an MLB club.
In Pittsburgh he got spot duty in the middle infield. Throughout the 2000 and 2001 seasons in which he spent here, he hit .224 with four home runs and 23 RBI. In July of 2001 the Pirates unbelievably convinced the New York Yankees to accept a trade for him.
He spent most of his career in San Francisco, before coming to Pittsburgh in 1999. Was a very good fielder, hence his role as a late game defensive specialist, but couldn't hit his way out of a wet bag of Mancini's Italian bread. If this were a list of the best facial hair in Pittsburgh Sports, he would definitely be in the top five.
With the 10th overall selection in the 1995 MLB June Draft, the Buccos took what they considered their savior and future center fielder for the next decade or so. Hermansen was the first prospect who set today's precedent for Pirate prospects: dominate at the minor league level, then once you've made it to the Majors, look like you've never picked up a bat before.
Finally, the Pirates gave up on him and traded him to the Cubs for Darren Lewis, who chose to retire instead of coming here. For his career, he has an average of .195 with 13 home runs and 34 RBI's. Did I mention that was for his entire career?
John Van Benschoten
After hitting 31 home runs during the regular season at Kent State, good enough to lead the entire country, the Buccos drafted him with the eighth pick in the 2001 draft. Remarkably, the Pirates decided to swing him around and groom him as a pitcher. After numerous Pirate-esque performances, Van Benschoten still holds the current MLB all-time record for highest career ERA with at least 75 innings pitched (9.20), a record that was recently challenged by Charlie Morton and his "shoulder fatigue."
He was supposed to be our version of Kenny Lofton. Brown was brought up to the majors in 1997, and immediately succumbed to the same ailment that Hermansen seemed to have. Despite being a starter, Brown's best season statistically was in 2000 when he hit .315, but only had four home runs, 28 RBI's, and 13 steals to boot.
Perez came to the Pirates, along with Jason Bay via the Brian Giles deal with San Diego. He teased us with Randy Johnson's potential as he posted 239 strikeouts in the 2004 campaign, but fell to the other ailment Pirate players suffer from: coach got a hold-of-ya syndrome.
The coaching staff forced Perez to take some velocity off his 95-97 mph fastball. What resulted over the next two seasons? A massive decline in strikeouts, an ERA that grew by two to three runs, a broken toe due to kicking a laundry cart in St. Louis, and a fastball that still hasn't made its way back to the range it once was.
Was once the figurehead for the typical Pirate acquisition. Making it past the extreme plateau of four home runs was one of the many obstacles that Reboulet could not accomplish throughout his 12-year-career. Despite playing in 100 games twice and earning 200 at-bats five times, he never got more than 63 hits in a single season. Remarkably, that is good enough to "hold it down" in the Pirate infield.
Reboulet's play also led to the birth of the Pirate Propaganda Crew (Greg Brown, Bob Walk, and friends) as they would marvel at every bunt he laid down out of the two-hole or every time he moved the runner over, only to be stranded later in the inning.
The current figurehead for the typical Pirate acquisition. As attendance dwindles in luscious PNC Park by the season, the Pirates tend to stir the fans a bit by bringing in a washed-up All-Star, and making it seem like they elected a new Pope to the Vatican.
I wasn't fooled by this one. Burnitz came here after saving his career with 37 home runs as a Rockie. The number fell to 24 as a Cub the following year and fell even more to 16 with the Bucs in 2006. He hasn't been heard from in baseball since.
Jimmy Anderson- Just like Kris Benson, this Bucco pitcher was heralded as the second coming as he was brought to the MLB scene. Anderson, too, caught the Hermansen illness. Thus finishing his Pirate career with a 24-42 record. He did have a career ERA of 5.42, which is top-notch for Pirate pitchers these days.
I know there are many more where that came from. That's what the comments section is for.
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