Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew McCutchen's Spot in the Team's All-Time Outfield
Andrew McCutchen is undoubtedly one of the best players in Pittsburgh Pirates history. Where would you rank him among the team's best outfielders?
After the first month of the 2023 MLB season, the Pittsburgh Pirates are unquestionably the feel-good story of the year thus far. The feel-good story of the feel-good story has to be the return of outfielder Andrew McCutchen.
The contributions that McCutchen gave to the Pittsburgh Pirates in his first stint were exceptional. Aside from the fact that the Pirates participated in three straight post-seasons from 2013-15, which were the only ones since 1992, McCutchen's personal stat line was impeccable.
In McCutchen's nine years, he hit for a .291 average with 292 doubles, 44 triples, 203 home runs, 725 RBIs, scored 804 runs, and stole 171 stolen bases. In 2013, McCutchen won the NL Most Valuable Player award, as well.
After spending time with San Francisco, the New York Yankees, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee since 2018, McCutchen re-signed with Pittsburgh back in January.
In his first month back with the Pirates, McCutchen hit for a .256 average with 5 doubles, 5 home runs, 14 RBIs, he scored 15 runs and stole 4 bases. There is no question, however, that his intangible contributions such as leadership, experience, and enthusiasm have been an even bigger lift to this young team than his tangible ones.
McCutchen is 36 years old and is certainly in the autumn of his career. There is no question that McCutchen is beloved in Pittsburgh and probably always will be for both tangible and intangible reasons.
The question to be pondered in this article is McCutchen's place in Pirate history. In other words, would McCutchen have a place on Pittsburgh's all-time team and would he start in the all-time outfield?
Everyone will have their own opinion on this matter, so it is thrown out there just as something fun for the reader to ponder individually. While time and space are not available to draw comparisons of whether or not McCutchen would have a roster spot on the all-time Pirate roster, would he be in YOUR all-time Pirate outfield?
Let's make one thing clear at the start. One spot in the all-time Pirate outfield is reserved for right fielder Roberto Clemente, whose contributions could fill an entirely different article and, more accurately, an entire book's worth.
Another caveat to this discussion is excluding Willie Stargell. While he was an outfielder for several years and a very good one, for these purposes, his spot will be as our all-time first baseman.
That leaves two spots in the all-time starting outfield for the Pirates. If McCutchen is not one of the two men to fill those positions, who would it be?
The Pittsburgh Pirates have been around since 1887, so there are no shortage of candidates to consider. This article is not written to make a claim that McCutchen should or should not be in the all-time starting outfield, but rather a listing of other outstanding Pirate outfielders of which the reader can ponder and decide on their own.
What follows will be a grouping by era of potential outfield candidates that would contend with McCutchen for the coveted two all-time starting outfield spots with Clemente. Statistics and contributions will be left out because there just isn't enough time or space here to do so, but they can be easily found by clicking on their names.
PNC Park Era: Jason Bay, Starling Marte, Brian Giles (Part PNC, Part TRS).
Three Rivers Stadium Era: Barry Bonds, Andy Van Slyke, Al Oliver, Dave Parker, Richie Zisk, Bobby Bonilla.
Pre-1970: Fred Clarke, Ralph Kiner, Max Carey, Lloyd Waner, Paul Waner, Kiki Cuyler.
There is no question that McCutchen is one of the greatest Pirates of all time and can arguably be considered the best Pirate player of the 21st century thus far. But is McCutchen one of Pittsburgh's all-time starting outfielders? If not, who in your opinion, would start alongside Roberto Clemente in that dream outfield? To play along, leave your comments below.