Pittsburgh Pirates: Five Best Second Basemen in Franchise History

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CLEVELAND, OH – JULY 09: A general view of Progressive Field prior to the 90th MLB All-Star Game on July 9, 2019 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH – JULY 09: A general view of Progressive Field prior to the 90th MLB All-Star Game on July 9, 2019 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /

Number 2 – Claude Ritchey

Claude Ritchey was the Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman at the turn of the century. He locked down the potion for the Bucs from 1900 to 1906. In the seven seasons he played in a Pirates uniform, Ritchey hit for a solid .277/.351/.350 slash line.

Clearly, he wasn’t any sort of a power hitter with only 201 extra base hits and a single home run. While, yes, this was the Deadball Era and home runs were extremely rare, that does not mean there was not any players with higher slugging percentages.

Regardless, Ritchey had a 105 OPS+ and 109 wRC+ making him about 5 to 10% better than a league average hitter. Notably, he stole at least 10 bases in six of the seven seasons he played with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

But Ritchey wasn’t known for his bat. It was his defense where he made his name known. With the Pirates, Ritchey had +74 total zone runs above average, the second highest mark among all time Pirates second baseman, and 4th highest among all Pirates players. Overall, the switch hitter had a 24.9 fWAR. This is the second highest among all Pirate second basemen in the franchise’s history.

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