Pittsburgh Pirates: 30 greatest players in franchise history

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(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) /
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player. 4. . OF. 1910-26. Max Carey. 7

In the early days of the Pirates, Max Carey was the guy they could rely on to steal a base. We often associated those Deadball Era players with playing small-ball. They hit lots of singles and steal bags. This was the type of player Carey was, except he was one of the better to do it.

Carey led the league in stolen bases 10 times from 1913 to 1925. The 63 bags he stole in 1916 was the high. Amazingly, this was never a single-season record for the franchise. In fact, Carey’s National Baseball Hall of Fame career doesn’t include any single-season records for Pirates players.

Carey does own other achievements. His 688 stolen bases with the Pirates is more than anyone else in franchise history. He’s the ninth-best base stealer of all-time with 738 for his entire career. If we only include the bases he stole with the Pirates, he’s still No. 12.

Unfortunately, Carey’s career began in 1910, so many of his best seasons took place before the MVP award existed. He retired before the first All-Star Game, too. Those are just additional accomplishments he could have added to his Pirates’ resume.

During his 17 seasons in Pittsburgh, Carey managed to compile a 52.3 WAR. This ranks sixth all-time in team history.

The speedy center fielder made one trip to the World Series in 1925, when the Pirates took on the Washington Senators. Carey made the most of the October seven-game series, batting .458/.552/.625 in 31 trips to the plate. The Pirates won the series after they were down 3-1. Carey’s three doubles in Game 7 against Walter Johnson certainly helped.

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