Pittsburgh Pirates: Teams You Didn’t Know These Players Played For

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 8: Andrew McCutchen #26 of the New York Yankees is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after hitting a home run during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 8, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. The Yankees won 4-2. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 8: Andrew McCutchen #26 of the New York Yankees is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after hitting a home run during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 8, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. The Yankees won 4-2. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /
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UNSPECIFIED – CIRCA 1960: Bob Friend #19 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for this photo before a Major League Baseball game circa 1960. Friend played for the Pirates from 1951-65. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED – CIRCA 1960: Bob Friend #19 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for this photo before a Major League Baseball game circa 1960. Friend played for the Pirates from 1951-65. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

Bob Friend – New York Yankees and New York Mets

Bob Friend spent 16 total years in the major leagues. 15 of those seasons were spent with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Friend had a phenomenal stretch from 1955 through 1965. He only once had an ERA+ below 100 while receiving MVP votes in three different seasons, finishing third in Cy Young voting in 1958, making three All-Star Games, and winning a silver slugger.

Friend also led the league in statistical categories like ERA and ERA+ in 1955, innings pitched in 1956 and 1957, FIP and K/BB ratio in 1960, and BB/9 in 1963. He’s the only Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher to reach the 60 fWAR mark (60 on the dot) and is also one of two pitchers to reach 50. The other is Babe Adams.

After the 1965 season, the Pirates decided to part ways with Friend, trading him to the New York Yankees for reliever Pete Mikkelsen. However, Friend’s streak of six straight seasons of an ERA+ of 100 or greater ended here. He pitched 44.2 innings with the Yanks, posting a 4.84 ERA and 1.57 WHIP, but also had a 2.76 FIP. Friend continued to prevent walks as he had a 4.6% walk rate and only allowed two homers.

Friend was then purchased off the Yankees by the crosstown Mets. Friend continued to struggle with a 4.40 ERA and 1.36 WHIP through the final 86 innings of his career. Like with the Yankees, Friend’s FIP well out-did his ERA at 4.11.

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