Pittsburgh Pirates: 10 Single Season Stats Worth a Deeper Dive

CHICAGO - 1991: Barry Bonds of the San Pittsburgh Pirates bats during an MLB game versus the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois during the 1991 season. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
CHICAGO - 1991: Barry Bonds of the San Pittsburgh Pirates bats during an MLB game versus the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois during the 1991 season. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – CIRCA 1964: Roy Face #26 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for this photo before the start of a Major League Baseball game circa 1964 at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Face played for the Pirates from 1953-68. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – CIRCA 1964: Roy Face #26 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for this photo before the start of a Major League Baseball game circa 1964 at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Face played for the Pirates from 1953-68. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

Because the Pittsburgh Pirates have been around as long as they have, there are bound to be interesting tidbits in their history. These 10 single season stats might standout in the crowd.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been around for a long time. They officially became an MLB team in 1887, and have remained in the National League since. They have a long, storied history behind them including playing in the first World Series, and owning some of the best players to ever step onto a baseball field.

Playing for so long is bound to make interesting stories. Old or new, stats can tell a great story, and ones that really make you look twice at a player. So today, let’s take a look at some really interesting statlines that have since developed throughout the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates. There have been plenty of times in the franchise’s history that have made for interesting looking numbers.

18-1

Pitching record has been part of baseball for nearly its entire existence, but is an awful way to identify a good or bad pitcher. It solely relies on the ability of your offense to score runs. For example, A.J. Burnett went 10-11 in 2013 despite giving up more than four earned runs just six times across his 30 starts. Overall, he was a lot better in 2013 than he was in 2012, but went 16-10 in 2012.

Seven, one run innings can be a loss just as easily as 6 innings of four run ball can be a win. It’s even worse for relief pitchers as they can give up a lead, yet still get a win if the offense can take the lead the next time they come to the plate.

Because this stat can be so easily manipulated by factors out of the pitcher’s control, there’s bound to be multiple times when something different has happened with it that has created an interesting single season pitch record. That’s what happened to Roy Face 1959.

Roy Face was the first ever closer for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was the first Pirate in history to record double digits in saves that being in 1957. Two years later in 1959, Face pitched in 93.1 innings, posting a 2.70 ERA, 2.60 FIP and 1.24 WHIP. He only walked 6.6% of the batters he faced, surrendered only five home runs, and posted a 18.2% strikeout rate, and while that doesn’t seem very high in today’s game, it was really good for thr 50s and 60s. For the era, he had a 70 ERA- and 69 FIP-, showing he was well above average.

But Face had an 18-1 record, as a relief pitcher. It’s the seventeenth most wins in a single season in Pirate history, but the most wins by a relief pitcher in a single season with no starts. In four of those 18 wins, Face blew the save, but still got the win because the offense bailed him out in the next inning. It just goes to show how much an offense can easily manipulate pitcher records.

Regardless, the flaws in how the stat is recorded helped Face record a whopping 18 wins. It’s interesting to think how lucky Face got, pitching in the right place at the right time.

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