Pittsburgh Pirates: Three More Forgotten All-Stars From 20 Years of Losing
By Noah Wright
1997 – Second Baseman Tony Womack
The mid-to-late 90s Pittsburgh Pirates had a few of more notable players like Francisco Cordova, Jason Kendall, and Kevin Young. However, despite all three producing above average seasons, none of the trio made the 1997 All-Star Game. The Pirates’ lone representative that year was second baseman Tony Womack.
Womack wasn’t any sort of top prospect or anything, and 1997, his age 27 season, was actually his rookie campaign. He was your typical speedy, light hitting middle infielder, and played parts of the 1993, 1994, and 1996 seasons. Going into the break, the Pirates’ second baseman only had a .272/.318/.357 batting line, coming in with a sub-.700 OPS. Womack did do better in the second half with a .730 OPS, but still finished with an overall mediocre season with the bat that included a .278/.326/.374 batting line, 81 OPS+, and 82 wRC+.
Womack actually had a negative bWAR and fWAR in 1997, both putting him at -0.9 wins above replacement because not only was he a below average batter, but an awful fielder. At second base, the lefty batter had -26 total zone runs above average, and a -2.3 dWAR. He did provide positive value on the bases, stealing a league leading 60 bags in 67 attempts, and was worth 9.0 base running runs above average.
Although he never really got much better with the bat, he did see some improvements with the glove, and became a useful utility man throughout his career seeing time in the outfield and shortstop along with the keystone. Womack played his last season in 2006, and stole 363 bases with the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Cardinals, Yankees, Cubs and Cardinals.