Build your all-time Pirates roster

This week, we’ve assembled the greatest Steelers defense and the greatest Steelers offense of all time.

Both files received 90-plus comments, and some of you asked to expand the idea to other sports … so here we are. Today, we move on to baseball and your Pittsburgh Pirates, a team that, despite recent hardships, has produced some of the most elite talents in the game’s history.

This one’s going to be tough. You have your starting lineup depicted on the diamond below, but be sure to also fill out your bench/bullpen with 11 additional pitchers (12 total), a backup catcher and four wild cards — any position(s), just four more players who you’d want on your all-time team.

Here we go:


Our resident baseball guru Alex Stumpf will comments his picks below to get us started. Let’s have some fun.


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Harold H.joeheidRennie.336Luke Man52my3sons Recent comment authors
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Alex Stumpf
Alex Stumpf

Not to influence anyone:

Starting outfield: Clemente, Cutch, Bonds.
Starting infield: Stargell, Maz, Wagner, Pie Traynor, Sanguillen.
My bench: Kendall, Paul Waner, Vaughn, Kiner…ugh there’s no way I can justify having six outfielders. Sorry Giles, I need an infielder. Jack Wilson as my utility guy.

Starting pitchers: (In no particular order) Law, Friend, Candelaria, Drabek, Adams. Probably would have Candy starting.
Bullpen: Closer Melancon. Watson and Teke as set-up. Ramon Hernandez as the lefty. Face, Hanrahan as my other relievers, and Gerrit Cole as my swingman.

Alex Stumpf
Alex Stumpf

For the record I’m not sure I made the right choice with Kendall over Russell Martin. Maybe I’m putting too much into longevity.

You know what, Martin over Kendall

Jarrod Prugar
Jarrod Prugar

Catcher: Ronny Paulino
1B: Brad Eldred
2B: Pokey Reese
3B: Jose Bautista
SS: Ronny Cedeno
OF: Lastings Milledge, Tike Redman, Adam Hyzdu
Bench: Rob Mackowiak, Nate McClouth, Akinori Iwamura, Adam LaRoche, John Vander Wal.

Starters: John Van Benschoten, Bronson Arroyo, Sean Burnett, Oliver Perez, James McDonald.
Closer: Mike Williams. Relievers: Francisco Cordova, John Grabow, Jose Lima, Kip Wells, Arquimedes Caminero.


Somehow you left Matt Morris, Operation Shutdown and Raul Mondesi off your team


Somehow Lonnie Chisenhall didn’t make it to your list😞😂


Cutch over Al Oliver is insane lol. But you’re a young guy, and never had the chance to experience Scoops’ career in real time so it’s understandable 😎. But as our Pirates scribe Alex, I think you would have a lot of fun doing a piece on him.

He’s originally from Portsmouth, OH and one of the all-time great Buccos. 2700+ hits and a .303 lifetime batting average along with a great glove. As a kid, I was mesmerized by just how hard he hit the ball. Man, he should be in the Hall of Fame.

Harold H.
Harold H.

Al Oliver SHOULD be in the HOF, Willie. Great call. How is Harold Baines IN the Hall? Ridiculous. That said, Cutch v. Oliver on an All Time Bucco team is a good argument. Don’t forget about Lloyd Waner (check out how many times he DIDN’T strike out). LW manned center field for the Bucs for 14 years and is a Hall of Famer. Brother Paul Waner needs to start in any All Time Pirate outfield. No question. How about Fred Clarke? Max Carey? What about pitchers Deacon Phillippe or Sam Leever? I know it was a long time ago, but they were dominant in their time. Shouldn’t be neglected.

Luke Man52
Luke Man52

Catcher- Sangy 1st- Bob Robertson 2nd- Stennett SS- Gene Alley 3rd- Richie Hebner Left- Stargell Center- Bill Virdon Right- Roberto
Bench- Oliver, Giles, Russell Martin, Cutch and Maz
Starters- Bob Friend, Candy, Drabek, Bob Veale and Blass
Bullpen- Grilli, Watson, AJ Burnett, Tekulve, Melancon, Face and Cole
Closer- Gossage
Manager- Murtaugh


Yes to Rennie and Sangy


How many teams would Dave Parker, probably legitimately, have trouble making a team as the 6th outfielder. Clemente, Paul Waner, Kiner, Lloyd Waner, Fred Clarke, and Max Carey are all in the Hall of Fame. Bonds, if he hadn’t done steroids, would be. Parker and Al Oliver are borderline. And McCutchen, who is an All-Time Pirate because of what he meant to the organization and the city.
Throw in Doug Froebel and Sixto Lezcano, and Parker has trouble cracking the top 10! (Just kidding)


I tried not to look at other’s list before compiling mine:

Starting OF: B.Bonds, R. Clemente, P.Waner

Starting IF: P. Traynor (3B), H. Wagner (SS), Maz (2B), W. Stargell (1B), S. Burgess (C)

Starting Pitchers (in order): B. Adams, J. Candelaria, D. Drabek, P. Galvin, V. Willis

Bullpen: E. Face (closer), K. Tekulve (set-up), S. Leever, B. Friend, D. Phillippe, V. Law

Bench: M. Sanguillen (C), F. Clarke (OF), L. Waner (OF), A. Vaughan (IF)

Sorry but as much as I like him, Cutch doesn’t make the all time list here with all of the OF greats this franchise has seen. My case for Burgess as starting C is rooted in the fact that he caught Haddix’s then perfect game into the 13th inning in ’59 and the Bucs were 4-1 in World Series games when he was behind the plate….0-2 when he didn’t and they were blown out in both of those games in ’60.

This was really fun. Thanks for the distraction today!


I find it disappointing that no-one has Kiki Cuyler as part of their bench. In seven years with the Bucs, he had a .336 batting average and arguably the second greatest clutch hit in team history (Game Seven, 1925).


This is tough because we have too many great OFers! Plus, out of the top 4 all-time buccos, 2 played SS and two played RF. So, I am going to have to get creative…

C: Sanguillen (Kendall out stats him but I have to go with my heart here)
1B: Stargell
2B: Honus Wagner (he played everywhere including here)
3B: Pie Traynor
SS: Arky Vaughan
LF: Paul Waner (he played a bit here)
CF: Max Carey
RF: Roberto Clemente

Bench: Kendall, Maz, J. Wilson, Kiner, and Bonds

SPs: Babe Adams, Sam Leever, Wilbur Cooper, Bob Friend, and John Candelaria
Swing Man: Brice Kison (who else would you trust to step in at a moments notice in the World Series?)
BP: Elroy Face, Dave Guisti, Ramon Hernandez, Melancon, Watson
Closer: Kent Tekulve

Manager: Danny Murtaugh


I love seeing Arky Vaughan getting well deserved props on these lists!


This team is loaded with players from when my grandpa started following the Pirates before World War I, as many know even before KDKA broadcasted the games. This team has players he got to see in the list below in person or followed them in the paper or radio. He told many stories, always complaining they did not have enough pitching. It took some research, but it was worth it getting to think of the names and the fond memories I had with my grandpa.

OF – Roberto Clemente, Paul Waner, Andrew McCutchen
1B – Willie Stargell
2B – Bill Mazeroski
SS – Honus Wagner
3B – Arky Vaughn
C – Manny Sanguillen
SP – Wilbur Cooper (L)

Barry Bonds – OF
Max Carey – OF
Ralph Kiner – OF
Dick Groat – INF
Tony Pena – C

Starting Pitchers
Babe Adams (R)
Bob Friend (R)
Sam Leever (R)
John Candelaria (L)
Deacon Phillipe (R)

Short Relief
Elroy Face (R)
Dave Giusti (R)
Kent Tekulve (R)

Long Relief/Spot Starter
Bob Veale (L)
Doug Drabek (R)
Vernon Law (R)


Only one quibble – Pie Traynor?

Scott Nelson
Scott Nelson

OK, here we go.
LF Kiki Cutler, CF Max Carey, RF Clemente, 1st Pops, 2nd Maz, SS Wagner, 3rd Traynor, C Sangy Pena Bench P. Waner, Cobra, Vaughan, L. Waner
SP Adams, Drabek, Candy, Cooper, Phillippe, Cole
RP Teke, Melancon, Watson, Gossage, Hanrahan, Face, Hernandez
If you don’t like my one year of Gossage then Guisti.


I’m going to choose players from when I started following the Pirates (1988) through the current roster.
C: Russell Martin
1B: Josh Bell
2B: Freddy Sanchez
SS: Jay Bell
3B: Bobby Bonilla
LF: Barry Bonds
CF: Andy Van Slyke
RF: Andrew McCutchen

SP: Doug Drabek
SP: Gerrit Cole
SP: Francisco Liriano
SP: AJ Burnett
SP: Tim Wakefield

RP: Zane Smith
RP: Bob Walk
RP: Denny Neagle
RP: Francisco Cordova
RP: Oliver Perez
RP: Tony Watson
RP: Mark Melancon

C: Jason Kendall
IF: Neil Walker
IF: Josh Harrison
OF: Starling Marte
OF: Brian Giles

Bob Maddamma
Bob Maddamma

C: Kendall
1B: Stargell
2B: Mazeroski
3B: Traynor
SS: Wagner
RF: Waner
CF: McCutchen
LF: Bonds

Backup C: Sanguillen
Bench: Clemente, Vaughn, Parker, Cuyler
SP: Candelaria, Adams, Friend, Drabek, Cole
RP: Veale (6th starter), Tekulve, Watson, Hanrahan, Giusti
Closer: Melancon


1B Stargell
2B Maz
SS Wagner
3B Traynor
RF Clemente
CF Carey
LF P Waner
C Sanguillen
SP Adams

C Pena
IF Vaughn
OF L Waner
OF Kiner
IF Grantham

SP Cooper
SP Leever
SP Phillippe
SP Candelaria
RP Face
RP Tekulve
RP Melancon
RP Giusti
RP Al McBean
RP Veale (would use as lefty out of pen and could start also)


OF – Clemente, Cutch, Bonds
1B – Pops (Kevin Young best since Pops retired)
2B – Maz (Johnny Ray best since Maz retired)
3B – I know Traynor is the answer, but my vote goes to Hebner.
SS – Again, Wagner is the answer but Jay Bell is the best Pirate SS I saw play.
C – Ed freakin’ Ott! (Ok, maybe Kendall with Ott as a back up)
P – Candelaria

Bench – Parker, Kiner, Wilson, Van Slyke (yes, I’m going with 6 OFers)
SP – Friend, Law, Drabek, Cole
RP – Teke, Melancon, Guisti, Mike Williams, Rod Scurry, Veale, Moose

Field of Dreams
Field of Dreams

Finally, somebody with a brain! Gotta have Richie Hebner at least on the bench. That gravedigger was my favorite player in my youth!


As someone who grew up in the Lumber Co. days I might be a tad bias to that era! I’ll keep players on the positions they actually played (hence why I have, for example, Dave Parker and Paul Waner on the bench behind Clemente in RF).

C — Manny Sanguillen
INF — 1B Willie Stargell 2B Bill Mazeroski SS Honus Wagner 3B Pie Traynor
OF — LF Lloyd Waner CF Barry Bonds RF Roberto Clemente
SP — righties: Vernon Law, Deacon Phillippe lefties: Wilbur Cooper, John Candelaria, Bob Veale
RP — righties: Elroy Face, Kent Tekulve, Dave Giusti, Mark Melancon lefties: Grant Jackson, Tony Watson
Bench — Andrew McCutchen, Al Oliver, Dave Parker, Paul Waner
Backup catcher — Tony Pena (though he starts when we play the Reds because he’d be the only catcher who could gun down Billy Hamilton!)

Manager: Danny Murtaugh


First off Candelaria is on my team just for the time I met him in a bar in Carnegie in 1996. It is the greatest story ever told and easily makes John Candelaria the coolest guy in MLB History.


1B Stargell
2B Maz
SS Wagner
3B Traynor
C Tony Pena
RF Clemente
CF Van Slyke
LF Bonds

Blass (pre yips)
Bob Walk
Jim Gott
Don Robinson
Kent Tekulve
Elroy Face

James Barger
James Barger

Here’s mine. I limited myself to Pirates I actually have seen, so no Pie, no Kiner, no Waners, Arky or Honus. But I can claim six-plus decades of watching…
C — Tony Pena
INF — 1B Willie Stargell 2B Bill Mazeroski SS Dick Groat 3B Bill Madlock
OF — Roberto Clemente, Barry Bonds, Dave Parker
SP — John Candelaria, Vernon Law, Steve Blass, Doug Drabek, Dock Ellis, Bob Veale
RP — Elroy Face, Kent Tekulve, Felipe Vazquez, Dave Giusti, Tony Watson, Mark Melancon
Bench — Andrew McCutchen, Al Oliver, Rennie Stennett, Starling Marte
Backup catcher — Manny Sanguillen


Move McCutchen to the outfield, Bonds to the bench.


Here we go:

C-Sanguillen, Pena
3B-Tommy Leach
SS-Anybody who doesn’t choose Wagner can be disregarded in any baseball related post from now on.
RF-Clemente. Very tough choice over Waner.
Others-P.Waner, Arky Vaughan, Fred Clarke, Kiner

Pitchers are a lot tougher.

SP – Sam Leever
P – Babe Adams
P – Wilbur Cooper
P – John Candelaria
P – Deacon Phillippe
P – Bob Veale
P – Doug Drabek
P – Bob Friend
P – Dave Guisti
P – Mark Melancon
P – Kent Tekulve
P – Roy Face


Baseball’s GOAT shortstop.
comment image

I have gardening gloves bigger than his baseball mitt.

Gary Morgan
Gary Morgan

Outfield: Kiner, Clemente, Bonds.
Infield: Stargell, Ray, Wagner, Traynor, Pena.
Bench: Sangy, Paul Waner, Vaughn, Cutch, Bonilla

Starters: Law, Cole, Candelaria, Drabek, Rhoden.
Pen: Melancon, Watson, Face, Landrum, Friend, Rivero (lol)


It would be cool if there was a draft kings type fill in for the players to build an all time roster


This will produce much debate. The Steeler teams included offense and devfensive units. This has to be a combination of both, difficult to do mainly because offensive stats are more readily available.

Just for a start, I don’t see players like Kiner or Stuart on this team. Neither could play defense. I
Saw many a game they played. Both well below average on defense. I am looking forward to selections offered here. Great idea to fill down time in sports. I commend what you are doing. I look forward to seeing selections here. .