Two Former Pittsburgh Pirates Make 2021 Hall of Fame Ballot
The Pittsburgh Pirates will see two former players show up on the 2021 Hall of Fame Election ballot. Both played vital roles during the most recent playoff years.
The Pittsburgh Pirates do not have a lot to celebrate in terms of their recent history. Other than three playoff runs from 2013-2015, the team has had nothing but tough times for the better part of the last 30 years. Even still, those playoff years were electric, and there were a couple of players who played key roles on those teams. Now those two players will be on the 2021 Hall of Fame ballot, to go along with Barry Bonds who will once again be on the ballot.
The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired AJ Burnett during the 2011-2012 offseason. He is often credited with helping the Pittsburgh Pirates become relevant again. He was a visible leader on and off the field, mentoring all the young pitchers, and sticking up for teammates when he needed to. With Burnett on the pitching staff, the Bucs were able to make two playoffs runs in 2013 and 2015 (Burnett pitched for the Phillies in 2014).
Aramis Ramirez was kind of the symbol for what the Pittsburgh Pirates future held. Back in 2003, the Bucs traded their young third baseman for a handful of players that would never amount to much. Meanwhile, Ramirez would go on to become a three time all-star with the Cubs and Brewers. This was viewed as one of the worst trades of the decade, and put the Bucs whole organization behind even more than they already were.
Ramirez did have a chance to return to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Neal Huntington had a very busy 2015 deadline and brought in multiple veterans to help, with Ramirez being one of them. He ended up playing in 53 games for the Bucs and had one last shot at the playoffs with the team.
Neither of these two will go down in Pittsburgh Pirates history for their stats. Their overall body of work was more impressive in other places. However, they both were vital parts of the organization at one point or another. Without AJ Burnett, the Bucs may not have ever turned the corner the way they did. Bringing Ramirez back for a playoff run was the ultimate feel good move after the disaster of a trade that sent him away many years earlier.
Both will always been cemented in Pittsburgh Pirates history. Unfortunately, they will not be in Cooperstown. While Burnett and Ramirez had strong careers, they were never at that elite level. Ramirez was a good career hitter, batting .283 with a .833 OPS, but he only accumulated 38.5 WAR over his 17 years, putting him well below the typical expectation. The same can be said for Burnett, who put together a WAR of 42.5 over 16 years. While both should always be remembered by Pittsburgh Pirates fans, their overall numbers will not be enough to immortalize them in baseball.