Pittsburgh Pirates: Top 5 Shortstops in Franchise History
By Noah Wright
Number 4 Dick Groat
Dick Groat paired with Bill Mazeroski up the middle to make one of the most sure-handed double play combos in the history of baseball. Throughout the middle infielder’s 14 year career, Groat racked up 51 total zone runs above average, a 17.3 dWAR, and eight seasons with a dWAR of at least 1.0.
Although Groat was mostly known for his glove, he did have his moments with the bat. In 1960, Groat led the league with a .330 batting average, while striking out a minuscule 35 times in 629 plate appearances. His 116 wRC+ would have been 2nd among all shortstops had the stat existed in the 60’s. Because of his contributions with the bat and glove in 1960, Groat won the National League MVP.
While Groat took home the ’60 MVP, his best season with the Pirates was probably the 1957 season. During that year, Groat batted .315/.350/.437. Despite a sub-par looking slugging percentage, Groat was fairly above average. In ’57, the average slugging percentage was .391. Overall, Groat had a 116 OPS+ and 113 wRC+. His wRC+ ranked 3rd among all shortstops. Defensively, Groat had +6 total zone runs above average, and 1.3 bWAR. His best career season was in 1963, but by then he was the St. Louis Cardinals primary shortstop.
In Groat’s Pirates’ tenure, he finished it off with a mediocre .290/.329/.370 line, with an 89 OPS+, but a strong 10.6 dWAR. Groat was also an All-American basketball player at Duke. The Pittsburgh native will forever be remembered as one of the greatest athletes in the history of the city of Pittsburgh.