Pirates' 2024 Hall of Fame class announced

Members include MLB's all-time home run leader, an upcoming Cooperstown inductee, and a two-time World Series champion
Mar 31, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates former outfielder Barry Bonds (left) and former manager Jim Leyland (right) react at a news conference prior to the Pirates hosting the Chicago Cubs in an opening day baseball game at PNC Park. The Pirates won 1-0 in ten innings. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 31, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates former outfielder Barry Bonds (left) and former manager Jim Leyland (right) react at a news conference prior to the Pirates hosting the Chicago Cubs in an opening day baseball game at PNC Park. The Pirates won 1-0 in ten innings. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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The Pittsburgh Pirates announced their 2024 Hall of Fame class before Tuesday evening's game. This year's class will include Barry Bonds, Jim Leyland, and Manny Sanguillen, and will be inducted during a pre-game ceremony at PNC Park on Aug. 24.

Bonds was the Pirates' top draft choice (#6 overall) in 1985 and made his MLB debut less than a year later. He spent the first seven of his 22 MLB seasons in Pittsburgh and slashed .275/.380/.503, averaging 25 home runs, 79 runs batted in, and 36 stolen bases across those seven seasons.

MLB's all-time home run leader hit 176 of those long balls as a Pirate but was a very well-rounded player during his time in Pittsburgh. Bonds won the NL MVP award in 1990 and 1992 and narrowly missed claiming the award in 1991 as well, finishing just a handful of votes behind Atlanta's Terry Pendleton. Bonds took home a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove each season from 1990-1992.

But it wasn't always sunshine and rainbows in Pittsburgh for Bonds. He drew intense criticism for his postseason struggles - the Pirates were bounced in the NLCS each year from 1990-1992, and Bonds slashed just .191/.337/.265 in those series. His lone home run in 20 playoff games as a Pirate came in the penultimate contest, a game which the Pirates won by nine runs. His final play as a Pirate was his failure to throw Sid Bream out at the plate in Game 7 of the '92 NLCS.

Attitude issues plagued Bonds all throughout his career and especially while in Pittsburgh. He frequently didn't get along with fans and media and got into an infamous altercation with his manager in Spring Training 1991. Thankfully, all the personal problems appear to be water under the bridge, and Pirates fans seem ready to honor Bonds as one of the franchise's best players ever.

Jim Leyland becomes the second inductee to join the Pirates Hall of Fame due to his managerial accomplishments, joining Danny Murtaugh, who led the Pirates to World Series titles in 1960 and 1971 and was a member of the inaugural 2022 class. Admittedly, this honor won't represent the highlight of Leyland's summer, as he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in December and will be officially enshrined in July.

After winning the World Series in 1979 under manager Chuck Tanner, the Pirates posted a .496 winning percentage from 1980-1984 before bottoming out to the tune of a 104-loss 1985 season. Out went Tanner, and in came Leyland, who had never managed at the MLB level previously. The Pirates lost 98 games in Leyland's first season but averaged 79 wins per season from 1987-1989 and 96 wins per season from 1990-1992.

Each of those three seasons resulted in NL East titles which, to this day, still represent the Pirates' most recent division championships. Tragically, none of Leyland's three World Series appearances came during his time in Pittsburgh, as the Bucs fell to the Reds in six games in 1990 and to the Braves in seven games in 1991 and 1992.

1992 was Leyland's final winning season in Pittsburgh, and the Pirates' last one until 2013. He remained with the Pirates through the 1996 season, after which he joined the Marlins and promptly won a World Series, making them the quickest expansion franchise to win a championship.

Leyland actually posted a losing record in his 11 seasons as Pirates manager, largely due to the roster he inherited and the club's inability to keep its star players, but it was during his time at the helm in Pittsburgh that he garnered his reputation as one of the sport's most highly-regarded and well-respected skippers. He played a pivotal role in turning the franchise around in the early-90s and will always be remembered fondly for that.

Manny Sanguillen spent all but one of his 13 big league seasons with the Pirates, with his MLB career spanning from 1967-1980. He was a member of both the 1971 and 1979 World Series championship teams and, to this day, remains one of the best catchers in franchise history and one of the best Panamanian baseball players of all-time.

Sanguillen had elite bat-to-ball skills - he hit .296 across his MLB career and .316 in his first three full seasons from 1969-1971. He didn't hit for much power (65 home runs, .398 slugging percentage) and very seldom walked (4.1 percent career walk rate) or struck out (6.2 percent). He hit .282 in the playoffs, including a .375 average in 32 World Series plate appearances.

Among all catchers in Pirates history, Sanguillen's fWAR (27.3) and career hit total (1353) trail only Jason Kendall, and he leads all catchers in team history in Fangraphs' total defense metric, where he has a slight edge over Tony Pena.

Sanguillen can often still be found around PNC Park at Manny's BBQ, a barbecue stand along the park's outfield concourse where Sanguillen frequently hangs around to chat and sign autographs for Pirates fans. While his play on the field was more than sufficient, this has further cemented his status as a legend of Pirates baseball.

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