Pittsburgh Pirates: Constructing the Franchise’s All-Offense Line Up
By Noah Wright
Right Field Paul Waner
Paul Waner won the first Pittsburgh Pirates’ MVP Award back in 1927, and for a good reason. He’s probably the best Pirate right fielder in terms of what he did in the batter’s box.
From 1926 up through 1940, Waner hit for an outstanding .340/.407/.490 line, 136 OPS+ and 138 wRC+. While Roberto Clemente might be a top three Pittsburgh Pirate of all time, but Waner edges out the great one in terms of batting. In comparison, Clemente hit .317/.359/.475. More importantly were the era and park adjusted stats where Clemente had a 129 wRC+ and 130 OPS+.
Nobody during this era was a home run hitter, but he still got plenty of extra base hits. Waner hit 558 doubles with the Pirates, the most by any Pirate ever. Among Pirates all time, Waner ranks 7th in wRC+, just edging out the aforementioned Andrew McCutchen. He’s also 6th all time in Pirate wOBA at .409. His OPS is the 4th highest mark in Pirates history, just outdoing Willie Stargell and Jason Bay.
During this era, batting average meant a whole lot more than it does now, and while it’s not very important anymore, it’s still worth mentioning that Waner leads all Pirates in that, and has three batting crowns to his name. In addition to being a member of the Hall of Fame, Waner also has his number 11 retired by the Pirates.