Ranking the Pittsburgh Pirates' five World Series winning teams

The Pirates have won five World Series in their long history, but which is the best among the five?

Philadelphia Phillies v Pittsburgh Pirates
Philadelphia Phillies v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages
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Number Four

You can draw some comparisons between the 1960s Pirates team and the 1925 team. Both teams had a very well-rounded roster. Although the 1960s team didn’t have one star player who stood out above the rest, the 1925 team did, which, in my opinion, gives this vintage team the edge and puts it in our number four spot.

Again, this team didn’t really have a bad hitter. Eight players received at least 300 plate appearances. All had a wRC+ of 102 or greater. The lowest was Glenn Wright, their shortstop, who still posted a solid .308/.341/.480 triple slash, 18 home runs, and a 102 wRC+. Wright was also an extremely valuable defender, racking up +14 total zone runs.

Most of the Pirates’ regulars this season sat in the 110-130 wRC+ range. Five of the eight regulars fell into this range. One was then-future Hall of Famers, third baseman Pie Traynor and center fielder Max Carey. Although this was an era when rosters weren’t nearly as deep, and players were expected to play almost every single day, bench guys like Johnny Gooch and Stuffy McInnis both were pretty solid semi-regulars.

Though like I stated earlier, there was one player who stood out above the rest, and that was outfielder Kiki Cuyler. Cuyler batted .357/.434/.598 with a 151 wRC+. Cuyler was a positive influence in center field with +5 total zone runs. In terms of fWAR and wRC+, this was the very best season of the Hall Of Fame outfielder’s career.

The pitching staff was also quality. Five pitchers started 26 or more games, but each had an ERA+ of 108 or better. In terms of ERA, all were 5% better than average or better. Again, none stood out as better than the rest, with the best being Lee Meadows with his 3.67 ERA, 2.96 FIP, and 1.32 WHIP.

The worst was Emil Yde. Even though Yde was technically the worst, he still had a quality 4.13 ERA, 3.61 FIP, and 1.59 WHIP. It is worth noting that all five starters had a FIP below 4.00. 43-year-old Babe Adams was the only pitcher to have appeared in at least 25 games and have a below-average ERA. But even then, he still had a solid 2.92 FIP.