Ranking Every Pittsburgh Pirates Hall Of Famer Player

The Pirates have 12 players in Cooperstown, but how do they rank compared to each other?

Roberto Clemente Action
Roberto Clemente Action / Transcendental Graphics/GettyImages
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Honus Wagner
Honus Wagner 1910 / Transcendental Graphics/GettyImages

Number One
Honus Wagner (1936)

At the number one spot and the best Hall of Fame player who wears a Pittsburgh Pirates cap in Cooperstown is none other than Honus Wagner. Wagner was one of the other players who got traded from Louisville to Pittsburgh alongside Fred Clarke. The Flying Dutchman spent 18 of his 21 MLB seasons in Pittsburgh from 1900 to 1917. Not only did he establish himself as arguably the best Pirate of all time, but the best baseball players of all time as well, regardless of team or position.

Wagner was a career .328/.391/.467 slasher with a 151 wRC+. Wagner saw time all across the field, with the only position he didn’t log one inning at being catcher. Wagner was a great defender wherever he played, but shortstop was by far his best position where he had a +5.63 range factor per game compared to +5.36 throughout the league.

Wagner racked up +21.3 defensive WAR. Only 50 players have reached the +20 milestone, with Wagner ranking 44th. That surpasses some of the best defenders of all time, including Mike Schmidt, Carlton Fisk, and Nellie Fox, as well as modern stars like Nolan Arenado, Kevin Kiermaier, and Brandon Crawford.

Wagner is simply the best-hitting shortstop of all time. Only Derek Jeter has more hits than him among players who played at least half of their games up the middle. He and Willie Wells are the only shortstops to have an OPS+ above 150 through at least 2000 career plate appearances, but Wells played his entire pro career in the Negro Leagues. Wagner also stole 723 bases, which is nearly 100 more than the second most by a SS, Bert Campaneris with 649, and is the 10th most of all-time. He also has the most doubles and triples.

Wagner not only reached the +100 bWAR milestone but shattered it by reaching +131, the tenth most of all time. You could combine Clemente and Maz’s career bWAR and still only match Wagner. I don’t see how you couldn’t put Wagner at the top of this list. Wagner was part of the inaugural Hall of Fame class in 1936, where he, alongside Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson, all got to Cooperstown. Wagner received 95.1% of the votes, the same amount Ruth did.

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