Pittsburgh Pirates Top Five Third Basemen
By David Hill
2. Richie Hebner (1968-1976, 1982-1983)
Richie Hebner earned his interesting sobriquet due to his offseason job. Yes, back in the days when ballplayers had to work a second job to make ends meet, Hebner worked as a grave digger when he was not playing third for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
What Hebner was on the field was a line drive hitter who had decent power and virtually zero speed. That lack of speed likely cost him when it came to the amount of doubles he hit in his career, but Hebner still somehow managed to eight triples in 1970 and 1971.
Richie Hebner had his best overall season in 1972. At age 24, he produced a .300/.378/.508 batting line with 19 home runs and 24 doubles. That year, he finished sixth in slugging percentage, seventh with an OPS of .886 and fifth with a 153 OPS+. It appeared as though the Pirates potentially had a star in the making.
While Hebner never really improved off that season, he was still a solid producer for the Pirates. Overall, Hebner produced a .277/.350/.442 batting line, hitting 128 home runs and 180 doubles. He was never an All-Star, and only earned two MVP votes, both coming in 1974, but he was a solid contributor with the bat and a key member of quite a few winning ballclubs.
Next: The life of Pie