Pittsburgh Pirates: John Nogowski Becoming a Yinzer Cult Hero

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: John Nogowski #69 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action against the New York Mets during the second game of a double header at Citi Field on July 10, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 10: John Nogowski #69 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action against the New York Mets during the second game of a double header at Citi Field on July 10, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Since joining the Pittsburgh Pirates earlier this month first baseman John Nogowski has started to become a cult hero among yinzers

We have all seen it before. Cult heroes rise up from time to time among sports fans, including fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Players who seemingly come out of nowhere are given an opportunity, play well and, usually due a variety of other reasons, work their way into being a cult hero among fans.

That is currently happening with yinzers far and wide due to John Nogowski. Since joining the Pittsburgh Pirates, Nogowski has been playing his way into becoming a yinzer cult hero. Right now, we are all living in the world of the Big Nogowski.

With injuries piling up both at first base and in the outfield, the Pirates acquired Nogowski from the St. Louis Cardinals on July 3. At the time Nogowski was playing at the Triple-A level and the Pirates were able to acquire him for just cash considerations.

Since arriving in Pittsburgh the right-handed hitting Nogowski has been given an extended look at the Major League level for the first time in his MLB career. Thus far, Nogowski has taken the bull by the horns.

Nogowski quickly made an impression on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their fans. In his first game with the team he started at first base and went 2-for-4 with a walk, a RBI and 3 runs scored. Combine this with Nogowski rocking a nice number 69 jersey and he was off and running with Pirate fans.

While it is a small sample size, Nogowski has accumulated 35 plate appearances as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In those 35 PAs, Nogowski has hit for a .469/.514/.531 slash line to go with a 192 wRC+.

Again, it’s a small sample size, and Nogowski will regress to some extent, but there is reason to believe he could continue to find success. His 89.9 MPH exit velocity as a Pirate is slightly above the league average exit velocity of 89.3 MPH. If Nogowski continues to hit the ball hard he can continue to produce for the Pirates, even when the regression that a .556 batting average on balls in play will eventually lead to.

Oh, and don’t forget that appearance Nogowski made as a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates. On July 7, in just his third game with the Pirates, Nogowski took to the mound for some position players pitching action. Facing a strong Atlanta lineup Nogowski allowed a single, but retired the other three batters he faced.

Ohtani who?

In Friday night’s 4-1 Pirate victory over the Mets, the legend of Nogowski took the next step toward truly solidifying himself as a yinzer cult hero. After lining out with a RISP to end the 5th inning, Nogowski got into a shouting match with New York starting pitcher Marcus Stroman which led to the benches clearing.

With the Big Nogowski shouting at Stroman while being restrained, Stroman proceeded to become physically ill on the field and puke. While Stroman would blame it on his foot being stepped on, we all know the truth, Stroman fears the Big Nogowski.

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He is the Big Nogowski. Nogowskimania is runnin’ wild. No matter how you want to paint it, John Nogowski is becoming a cult hero among yinzers and fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates. At least for now, the career journeyman has found his home.

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