Shortstop: Jack Wilson, 2004
To be clear, Jack Wilson was in no way a big league bust. ”Jumping’ Jack Flash” was arguably the most popular player to dawn a Pirate uniform between 2000 and 2010. But as nice a guy and as slick a fielder as Jack Wilson was, he never wowed anybody with what he could do at the plate. Aside from the 2004 season, that is.
What Jack Wilson did in 2004 defies logic. In 3 years in the Majors before that, Wilson never hit above .256 and never had an OPS above .660. But for whatever reason, 2004 was the year everything clicked. Wilson’s slash line for that magical year reads .308/.335/.459, all the while contributing 11 big flies, 59 RBI and, perhaps most astounding of all, 12 triples! The thing that sticks out to me most of all about that season was that Wilson finished the season with 201 hits, the most by a Bucco shortstop since the Flying Dutchman himself. Wilson made his first and only All-Star appearance in 2004.
After that season, Wilson played 4 and 1/2 more year with the Bucs and only once (2007) did he ever get close to the hitter he was in 2004. For those still contentious, Jack Wilson is a good dude and the fact that he never won a Gold Glove is a crime, but the fact that for a brief time, he was mentioned in the same breath as Honus Wagener shows that he deserves to be on this list.