Pittsburgh Pirates: Top 5 Shortstops in Franchise History

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: Dick Groat #24 of the Pittsburgh Pirates fielding during a MLB game against the New York Mets on April 13, 1962 in New York, New York. (Photo by Herb Scharfman/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: Dick Groat #24 of the Pittsburgh Pirates fielding during a MLB game against the New York Mets on April 13, 1962 in New York, New York. (Photo by Herb Scharfman/Sports Imagery/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 6
Next
CINCINNATI, OH – CIRCA 1973: Johnny Bench #5 of the Cincinnati Reds blocks the plate in front of Gene Alley #14 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during an Major League Baseball game circa 1973 at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Bench played for the Reds from 1967-83. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH – CIRCA 1973: Johnny Bench #5 of the Cincinnati Reds blocks the plate in front of Gene Alley #14 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during an Major League Baseball game circa 1973 at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Bench played for the Reds from 1967-83. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

Number 5 Gene Alley

After Dick Groat departed from Pittsburgh in the early 1960’s, Gene Alley took over at the position. Alley, like Dick Groat, was a fairly weak batter. Throughout his entire career, which he spent in a Pirates’ uniform, Alley hit only .254/.310/.354 with an 87 wRC+ and sub-.300 wOBA (.296). However, Alley was a top-notch defender at the position.

He only ever twice posted above average offensive numbers. That being in 1966 and 1967 when he had a 108 OPS+ in both seasons. Defensively, however, Alley was a wizard for the Bucs.

Alley posted 58 total zone runs above average in his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates with 36 coming at the shortstop position. From 1965 to 1970, Alley had put up an impressive 13.1 dWAR in 788 games with the Pirates. He was rewarded for his glove work with a back-to-back Gold Glove Awards in 1966 and 1967. In terms of FanGraphs’ positional adjustments, Alley was 116.1 above average. That’s pretty darn good.

When Alley’s MLB career was all said and done, he had spent 11 seasons with the Pirates. This included playing 114 regular season games for the 1971 World Series Champion Pirates. In 1971, he had his best postseason with the bat slashing .250/.400/.250, all postseason career highs, in three games played.