Pittsburgh Pirates: Top Five Center Fielders in Franchise History

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PITTSBURGH – 1938. Lloyd Waner, outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, takes some cuts before a game in Pittsburgh in 1938. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH – 1938. Lloyd Waner, outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, takes some cuts before a game in Pittsburgh in 1938. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images) /

Number Five – Lloyd Waner

Lloyd Waner played nearly his entire career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Of his 8,337 career plate appearances, Warner stepped to the plate as a Pittsburgh Pirate for 7,777 of those plate appearances.

Warner was the team’s primary center field defender from 1927 to 1939. In that 13 season span, Warner hit .321/.358/.402 with a 101 OPS+. He did appear with the Pirates in 1940, 1941, 1944, and 1945, but in total he had just 214 plate appearances across those four seasons.

Overall, Waner hit .319/.356/.399 with a 101 wRC+ and 100 OPS+. While those numbers do not look too good today, remember the era he played in. Low walk rates, low power numbers and slap hitters were pretty common then, so Warner wasn’t all that bad for the era. Plus considering that he struck out just 2.1% of the time, Warner was really good at putting the ball in play.

Defensively, Waner was pretty good with +17 across his entire career. He was also a decent base runner with +9.5 base running runs above average.

During his time in Pittsburgh Waner was fondly known as “Little Poison.” This was due to his older brother, and fellow Hall of Fame member, Paul “Big Poison” Waner joining him in the Pittsburgh outfield.

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