Pittsburgh Pirates Black History Month Tribute: The First All-Minority Lineup in MLB History

PITTSBURGH - JUNE 21: Manny Sanguillen #35 of the World Series Champion 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates salutes the crowd after being introduced before the game against the Baltimore Orioles on June 21, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH - JUNE 21: Manny Sanguillen #35 of the World Series Champion 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates salutes the crowd after being introduced before the game against the Baltimore Orioles on June 21, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) /
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Left field: Willie Stargell

Just like with Clemente, you already know who Willie “Pops” Stargell is. At this point in the hulking lefty’s career, Stargell was becoming one of the most feared sluggers in all of baseball. From his breakout 1964 season to 1970, Pops had a .278/.345/.510 line, and blasted a grand total of 185 long balls through 3,729 plate appearances. His 136 wRC+ in this eight season span ranked 19th in the Majors, and was tied with Yankee legend Joe Torre.

Stargell’s 1971 season cemented himself as an extremely feared hitter in the Majors when he blasted 48 home runs, and hit for a .295/.398/.628 line through 606 plate appearances. Not only did he lead the league in long balls, but placed second in wRC+ (186). The only other man who passed Stargell in wRC+ that season? The legendary Hank Aaron. However, Stargell still led the league in fWAR at 8.2, passing the next guy by almost one whole win (Greg Nettles who finished with 7.4 fWAR).

While Stragell wasn’t nearly the great fielder as Clemente was, Stargell still finished 1971 with a solid 8 outfield assists from left field.

Stargell would continue his reign over pitchers up until his late-30’s. From ‘72 up until his age 39 season in ‘79, Stargell blasted 217 more home runs, and hit .289/.376/.550. No other batter, not Reggie Jackson, not Joe Morgan, posted a higher wRC+ (154) than Stargell through this outstanding eight season run.

Stargell’s tragic passing at just 61 years old happened to be on the day of PNC Park’s first game and the unveiling of his statue outside the ballpark.

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