With the Major League Baseball postseason now underway, I thought I would celebrate each of the franchises and their storied pasts by selecting an All-Time Team for every club.
The teams consist of one player per infield position (1B, 2B, SS, 3B, C), three outfielders, three starting pitchers, and two relief pitchers. Each American League squad also consists of a designated hitter.
So without further ado, here is part 20 of a 30-part series documenting each franchise’s all-time greats.
First Base: Willie Stargell 1962-82
A seven-time All-Star and two-time NL home run champion, Stargell was one of the feared hitters of his time.
The one-time NL RBI leader’s career was headlined by a magnificent 1979 season, a year in which Stargell was named the NL MVP. The Pirates reached the playoffs as NL East champions, riding Stargell’s bat to a World Series title while he was named both NLCS and World Series MVP.
Playing his entire 21-year career in Pittsburgh, Stargell guided the Pirates to six NL East titles and a pair of both NL pennants and World Series championships before retiring in 1982.
After his career, Stargell was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988 and had his No. 8 jersey retired by the Pirates.
Second Base: Bill Mazeroski 1956-72
Spending his entire 17-season career in Pittsburgh, Mazeroski was named to 10 All-Star teams and received eight Gold Gloves for his defensive prowess.
A member of the Baseball Hall of Fame (2001) whose No. 9 jersey is retired by the Pirates, Mazeroski helped the franchise win three NL East titles and a pair of both NL pennants and World Series championships.
While his playing career was Hall of Fame level, he is most well known as the player who hit the only World Series Game 7-winning in MLB history when the Pirates defeated the Yankees to win the 1960 title.
Shortstop: Honus Wagner 1900-17
One of baseball’s most notable early stars, Wagner won eight NL batting titles and led the league in RBI on five occasions.
Also a five-time NL stolen bases leader, Wagner is a distinguished member of the 3,000-hit club, as well as the MLB All-Time and All-Century Teams.
A 1936 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee whose No. 33 is retired in Pittsburgh, Wagner guided the Pirates to four NL pennants, highlighted by the franchise’s first World Series championship in 1909.
Third Base: Pie Traynor 1920-35, 1937
Playing his entire career with the Pirates, Traynor was named an All-Star twice in a row from 1933-34.
A Baseball Hall of Famer (1948) whose No. 20 is retired in Pittsburgh, Traynor helped guide the Pirates to a pair of NL pennants during his tenure, highlighted by a World Series title in 1925.
Catcher: Jason Kendall 1996-04
A three-time All-Star during his nine-year run in Pittsburgh, Kendall also hit for the cycle during the 2000 season.
Outfield: Barry Bonds 1986-92
MLB’s all-time home runs (762) and base on balls (2,558) leader, Bonds began his historic career playing seven seasons in Pittsburgh.
Bonds won three Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers in a row from 1990-92, also making a pair of All-Star teams. A two-time NL MVP (1990, ’92), Bonds helped the Pirates win three straight NL East titles from 1990-92 before departing for San Francisco.
Outfield: Paul Waner 1926-40
A four-time All-Star and three-time NL batting champion, Waner was one of the game’s top outfielders during his time in Pittsburgh.
The 1927 NL MVP and RBI leader, Waner helped the Pirates win the 1927 NL pennant and reached the 3,000 hits (3,152) milestone during his career.
Following his career, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1952 and had his No. 11 jersey retired in Pittsburgh.
Outfield: Roberto Clemente 1955-72
Undoubtedly an icon of the sport, Roberto Clemente was named to 15 All-Star teams, winning 12 Gold Gloves in a row from 1961-72.
A four-time NL batting champion and 3,000 hits club member, Clemente was named the 1966 NL MVP, as well as MVP of the 1971 World Series.
The cornerstone of the MLB Latino Legends Team and Baseball Hall of Fame inductee (1973), Clemente’s No. 21 jersey is retired by the Pirates after he led the team to three NL East titles and a pair of both NL and World Series championships.
Starting pitcher: Vern Law 1950-51, ’54-67
Playing his entire career in Pittsburgh, Law’s career was highlighted by a memorable 1960 campaign.
Named to both of that season’s All-Star teams, Law won the Cy Young Award while helping the Pirates win the 1960 World Series championship.
Starting pitcher: Bob Friend 1951-65
A four-time All-Star and the 1955 NL ERA leader, Friend also led the league in wins during the 1958 season with 22.
The Pirates’ all-time strikeouts (1,682) and innings pitched (3,480.1) leader, Friend helped the Pirates win the 1960 World Series title before finishing his career in New York.
Starting pitcher: Doug Drabek 1987-92
Pitching six seasons in Pittsburgh, Drabek led the NL in wins during the 1990 season while taking home the NL Cy Young Award.
He also helped the Pirates win three straight NL East titles from 1990-92 before signing a free-agent deal with Houston.
Relief pitcher: Roy Face 1953, ’55-68
The Pirates’ all-time games pitched (802) and saves (186) leader, Face was named to six All-Star teams while helping Pittsburgh win the 1960 World Series.
Relief pitcher: Mark Melancon 2013-16
One of the top closers in the league during his time in Pittsburgh, Melancon was named an All-Star three times in his four seasons.
The 2015 NL Reliever of the Year and NL saves leader, Melancon helped the Pirates reach the postseason three times in a row as a wild card from 2013-15, the first playoff berths for the team since 1992.