Number 4 – Smoky Burgess
Smoky Burgess was an All-Star caliber catcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played with the Pirates from the late 1950’s through the early 1960’s.
Burgess made four different All-Star Games with Pittsburgh, and for a good reason. Burgess batted .296/.352/.445 in his 2,029 plate appearances with the Pirates. He also hit 51 home runs, and had outstanding pitch recognition. Burgess struck out only 4.5% of the time and walked 8.1% of the time.
Burgess was also outstanding defensively. According to FanGraphs, his adjusted defensive rating was 38.8 and he racked up 4.1 defensive WAR in Pittsburgh. Both above average numbers. He also consistently posted very good caught stealing numbers, including a 50% caught stealing rate in 1960 when he helped the Pirates upset the New York Yankees in the World Series. Running games were more prevalent during this era of baseball, adding to the impressiveness of these numbers. Overall, Burgess had the 5th highest catcher fWAR in Bucs’ history.