Pittsburgh Pirates Countdown: Top Five Catchers in History

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credit: wtae.com

2. Manny Sanguillen (1967,1969-1976,1978-1981)

Back in the heyday of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1970’s, Manny Sanguillen was the man behind the dish most nights. A three time All-Star, Sanguillen had a solid bat and an excellent glove, helping to keep the Pirates among the elite of the national League for the better part of the decade.

At the plate, Sanguillen produced solid numbers throughout most of the decade, excluding the 1977 season he spent with the Oakland A’s. With the Pirates, San guillen had a career .299/.329/.403 batting line with 59 home runs. While not a power threat, Sanguillen still had excellent bat control, and a solid ability to put the ball in play.

Defensively, Manny Sanguillen was special. He routinely ranked among the top catchers in the National League during the 1970’s, and likely deserved to win at least one Gold Glove during his career. His throwing arm, which helped him to a 39% caught stealing rate during his career, was strong enough where Sanguillen was one of the players the Pittsburgh Pirates used to replace Roberto Clemente in right during the 1973 season.

Sanguillen may have been the best overall catcher that the Pirates have had, in terms of his all around play, but he just missed the top spot on this list.

Next: The lone bright spot in the dark days