Pittsburgh Pirates: Five Best Second Basemen in Franchise History

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PITTSBURGH – 1960: Bill Mazeroski #9 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates in the locker room after a 1960 World Series game against the New York Yankees at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Morris Berman/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH – 1960: Bill Mazeroski #9 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates in the locker room after a 1960 World Series game against the New York Yankees at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Morris Berman/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Number 1 – Bill Mazeroski

Bill Mazeroski is number one on this list, and is probably the best fielding infielder the Pittsburgh Pirates have ever had. He’s kind of like an anti-Walker. While Walker was pretty much all bat, Mazeroski was all glove.

Mazeroski has a .260/.299/.367 line, an 84 OPS+, and 82 wRC+. He also only had a .649 OPS in high leverage situations. Among the 89 Pirates players who stepped to the plate at least 2500 times in a Pirate uniform, Maz ranks 74th out of 84 in wRC+, OPS, and 79th out of 84 batters in wOBA at .293. Although he was not a great batter, he did have his moments like having a .964 OPS in his 34 postseason plate appearances. This, of course, included him hitting the greatest home run baseball history when he walked off Game 7 of the 1960 World Series to defeat the New York Yankees.

But Mazeroski was easily one of, if not the best, defensive second basemen of all time, and ranks among some of the best defenders of all time. He is easily the best defensive second basemen since the turn of the 20th century. Mazeroski had a total zone runs above average mark of 148.

Among all second basemen, that ranks 3rd, only behind Bid McPhee and Joe Gordon. In 12 of the 17 seasons of his career, he posted a defensive WAR of at least 1. 5 different times he posted a dWAR of at least two. Although Gold Gloves Awards aren’t the best way to identify a good fielder, Mazeroski has eight well earned Gold Glove Awards, which falls just one short for the most by any National League second baseman (Ryne Sandberg has nine).

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His 24.0 dWAR mark is the 30th highest of all time, and the highest mark of any primary second baseman. The next closest is the aforementioned Gordon, who ranks 35th all time. Needless to say, there’s a bit of a gap between the best defensive second baseman of all time, and the second best. Despite his below average offensive output, Mazeroski leads all Pirates second basemen in fWAR at 30.9.

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