The Pittsburgh Pirates’ No All-Star Game All-Star Team

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 08: Neil Walker #18 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the game at PNC Park on August 8, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 08: Neil Walker #18 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the game at PNC Park on August 8, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) /
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Catcher

Mike LaValliere

Behind the dish, we have one-time Gold Glover Mike “Spanky” LaValliere. LaValliere was the Pirates’ catcher from 1987 up through 1992. Lavalliere was acquired along with outfielder Andy Van Slyke for 5x career all-star catcher Tony Pena from the St. Louis Cardinals.

LaValliere was a very solid batter for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He hit .278/.363/.351 with a .320 wOBA, 102 wRC+ and OPS+. LaValliere wasn’t much of a power hitter. He only had 13 home runs throughout all 2077 plate appearances with the Bucs. But he made up for that with his plate discipline. He walked at an 11.7% rate while only striking out 7.6% of the time.

However, Lavalliere was mostly known for his defensive ability. Throughout his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, LaValliere was worth +6.2 defensive WAR. He won a Gold Glove in 1987, his first season with the Bucs while having a dWAR of at least 1 on 4 different occasions.

The lefty catcher’s best season was in 1988. Through 409 plate appearances, he hit .261/.353/.330 with a .308 wOBA. For the year, he was about an average hitter with a 99 wRC+ and 100 OPS+. LaValliere was an outstanding defender, catching 35% of would-be base stealers while having a +1.4 dWAR. His fWAR of 2.5 was a career-best.

LaValliere played with the Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, and Chicago White Sox. However, the only time he played a mostly full season outside of a Pirate uniform was in 1986 with the Cards before being sent to the Pirates. So almost all of his opportunities to make the all-star game were with the Bucs.

Honorable mention: Francisco Cervelli