Pittsburgh Pirates: Ranking the Team’s Eight MVP Seasons

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 31: Former Pirate MVPs Dick Groat and Barry Bonds stand with 2013 National League MVP Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during Opening Day at PNC Park on March 31, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 31: Former Pirate MVPs Dick Groat and Barry Bonds stand with 2013 National League MVP Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during Opening Day at PNC Park on March 31, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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PITTSBURGH – 1938. Paul Waner, outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, takes some cuts before a game at Forbes Field in 1938. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH – 1938. Paul Waner, outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, takes some cuts before a game at Forbes Field in 1938. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images) /

1927 National Leavue MVP – Paul Waner

Paul Waner was the first National League MVP in the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1927, the Hall of Fame outfielder was outstanding, even for his time. In a whopping 709 plate appearances, Waner batted .380/.437/.549.

No player was a home run hitter as this was the Deadball Era, so he only hit 9 home runs. But Waner still collected plenty of extra base hits including 42 doubles and 18 triples. Waner’s overall offense was placed at 155 OPS+ and 160 wRC+.

Waner was primarily a right fielder, where he was an excellent defender. He had +6 total zone runs above average to go with 20 outfield assists. He also only made seven errors. Pretty good considering the construction of a baseball glove and that he was only one of five players to make less than 10 errors.

Waner had a 7.4 fWAR, which ranked 3rd in baseball. His wRC+ 2nd, and his .450 wOBA was also number two in baseball in 1927. The only man to rank ahead of Waner in those three categories consistently was Cardinals’ legend Rogers Hornsby, who overall was a much better ball player, but it’s still a bit odd even by going with the old standards of voting. Hornsby had way more home runs at 26, a few less RBIs, and a still strong .361 batting average.

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