Pittsburgh Pirates Top Five Center Fielders
1. Max Carey (1910-1926)
How good of a baserunner was Max Carey? Well, he once scored five runs in a game – without getting a hit. He stole home 33 times, a National League record and the second most in baseball history. Carey was also adept at getting on base, once reaching nine times in a single game.
Maybe Carey’s batting line for the Pittsburgh Pirates is not eyepopping, as he produced a .287/.363/.391 batting line, but the context is important. This was mainly during the deadball era, as power and gaudy batting lines were not yet a part of the game. Carey made up for that with his blazing speed, stealing 688 bases with the Pirates and still ranks ninth overall in baseball history.
Carey was also a stellar defensive player. Had Gold Gloves existed in his day, the center fielder award may well be named for Carey. Even now, Carey ranks fifth all time with a 2.97 range factor in center, is third with 87 double plays turned in the outfield and is second with 215 assists from center. At a time when every run was precious, Carey was a true two way star.
Even though Max Carey does not look impressive at first glance, he was a true star in his time. Even though Andrew McCutchen is rapidly closing in, Carey remains the best center fielder in Pittsburgh Pirates history.