Pittsburgh Pirates: 30 greatest players in franchise history
By Tim Boyle
In the 1950s and 1960s, Bob Friend was usually the best pitcher on the Pirates. In his 15 seasons with the club, he won 191 games while pitching to a 3.55 ERA.
While not spectacular, these numbers stand out in the franchise’s history. The win total ranks fourth all-time in team history. The 47.7 WAR he earned over those seasons is third.
Friend is a little more modern than other Pirates pitchers on this list. Because of this, we can more easily measure where he is among all-time franchise greats.
Friend never won a Cy Young, but in the short period he had a chance, he did finish third in the voting once. This occurred in 1958, when he won a league-best 22 games over 38 starts.
Nobody on the Pirates struck out more batters than Friend did. His 1,682 is a franchise record that remains today.
While with the Pirates, Friend did make one postseason appearance. The 1960 World Series included a memorable match-up between the Pirates and New York Yankees. Unfortunately for Friend, he pitched terribly. Friend went 0-2 in the series with a 13.50 ERA in two starts and a relief appearance.
Friend’s career was far from Hall of Fame worthy. However, he pitched incredibly well at a time when the Pirates needed him most. If not for a regular season in 1960 that included 18 wins and a 3.00 ERA, they may not have even had a chance to win it all. For this and other reasons, he’s an all-time great for the Pirates.