After witnessing the success ex-Pirates Charlie Morton and Gerrit Cole had in 2017 and 2018 with the Houston Astros, I wondered about what other former Pirates played well after their playing days in Pittsburgh.
My intention is not to evaluate the Pirates trades over the years, as there are articles already written about that, but to field an all-time team of ex-Pirates for their accomplishments after their playing days for the Pirates. Presenting the All-Time Post Pittsburgh Pirates team (all statistics listed are from a player’s post-Pirates career):
P – Bert Blyleven – Traded in 1980 with Manny Sanguillen to the Cleveland Indians for Gary Alexander, Victor Cruz, Bob Owchinko and Rafael Vasquez. Blyleven spent three years in Pittsburgh and in his post-Pirate days, finished in the top five of Cy Young balloting three times, made the All-Star Game once, and amassed 131 wins to close out his Hall-of-Fame career.
P – Burleigh Grimes – Traded by the Pirates with Al Mamaux and Chuck Ward to the Brooklyn Robins for George Cutshaw and Casey Stengel in 1918. After going 5-19 in his first two years as a Pirate, Grimes went on to post four 20-win seasons with Brooklyn with six seasons of 19-wins or better. Grimes won 158 games in nine seasons before returning to the Pirates for a second stint with the Buccos in his Hall-of-Fame career.
P – Preacher Roe – Traded with Billy Cox and Gene Mauch to the Brooklyn Dodgers for Hal Gregg, Vic Lombardi and Dixie Walker in 1947. In Roe’s seven seasons with Brooklyn, he would go on to become a four-time All-Star and have a 93-37 record with Brooklyn with a 3.26 ERA.
P – Jason Schmidt – Traded in 2001 with John Vander Wal to the San Francisco Giants for Armando Rios and Ryan Vogelsong. Schmidt played six of his 14 seasons with the Pirates and as a non-Pirate, Schmidt made the All-Star Game three times and had an 81-43 won-loss record.
P – John Tudor – Traded in 1984 with Brian Harper to the St. Louis Cardinals for Steve Barnard and George Hendrick. In his first year with the Cardinals, all Tudor did was win 21 games, pitch 10 shutouts, have a 1.93 ERA and finished second in the Cy Young Award balloting. After his Pirate playing days, Tudor went 66-29 with a 2.52 ERA, but we did get George Hendrick.
P – Dazzy Vance – Purchased by the New York Yankees from the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1915. Vance appeared in one game for the Pirates in 1915 pitching two and two-thirds innings and giving up three earned runs before heading first to the Yankees and then to Brooklyn. Vance would go on to have three seasons of 20 wins or more with Brooklyn, winning 197 games against 139 losses in a Hall-of-Fame career.
P – Rube Waddell – Purchased by the Chicago Orphans from the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1900. In his post-Pirates years, Waddell won 178 games with a 2.09 ERA and had four 20-win seasons and six seasons of 19 wins or better on his way to a Hall-of-Fame career. Waddell also led the league in strikeouts six times.
P – Tim Wakefield – Released by the Pirates in April of 1995 after just two seasons, Wakefield would play for 17 more years in the major leagues winning 186 more games with 11 10-win seasons, four seasons of 16-wins or more and made an All-Star Game with the Boston Red Sox.
P – Wilbur Wood – Traded in 1966 to the Chicago White Sox for ultimately, Juan Pizzaro. Wood spent two of his 17 seasons as a Pirate and would go on to win 20 games four times, be a three-time All-Star and win 163 games after his Pirate playing days.
CL – Rich Gossage – Free Agent after the 1977 season. The Goose spent one season as a Pirate and then became a free agent. After his Pirate days, he was a 6-time All-Star, compiled an 84-62 record and had 254 saves on his way to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
C – Tony Pena – Traded in 1987 to the St. Louis Cardinals for Mike Dunne, Mike LaValliere and Andy Van Slyke. Pena gets the call as a Pirate catcher that went on to do well after he was a Bucco. Pena spent his first seven of his 18-years in the major leagues in Pittsburgh. The trade truly was a good one for the Buccos as Pena would only have one more All-Star season and win just one more Gold Glove in St. Louis.
1B – Jake Beckley – Beckley was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates to the New York Giants for Harry Davis and $1,000. Even back then the Pirates were cutting payroll by trading established stars. Beckley would bat over .300 seven times collecting 1,627 hits and batting .312 in his final 12 seasons away from the Pirates and be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
2B – Willie Randolph – Traded in 1975 with Ken Brett and Dock Ellis to the New York Yankees for Doc Medich. Randolph was traded after one season as a Pirate and would spend 17 more in the major leagues. Randolph would go on to be a six-time All-Star, amass over 2,200 hits, steal 270 bases and hit .276 as a non-Pirate.
SS – Joe Cronin – Purchased by Kansas City from the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1928. After two seasons and only 50 game appearances with the Pirates, Cronin wound up playing 18 more years and had a Hall-of-Fame career. Cronin drove in 90 or more runs in 11 times, drove in 1,410 runs, and had 2,258 hits and batted .302.
3B – Aramis Ramirez – Traded in 2003 with Kenny Lofton and cash to the Chicago Cubs for Matt Bruback and Jose Hernandez. Ramirez was 25 years of age at the time of the trade and then went on to have one of the best careers a third baseman ever had in major league baseball history. Ramirez spent seven of his 18 seasons as a Pirate and as a non-Pirate, he was a three-time All-Star, hit 30 or more home runs in four times, drove in 100 runs or more in a season seven times, hit 304 home runs, had 1,068 runs batted in and hit .291 as a non-Pirate.
OF – Moises Alou – Traded in 1990 with Willie Greene and Scott Ruskin to the Montreal Expos for Zane Smith. After Alou’s first season with the Pirates, Alou would go on and become a six-time All- Star, score 1,109 runs, have 2,133 hits, 421 doubles, 332 home runs, 1,287 runs batted in and hit .303.
OF – Barry Bonds – Free Agent after the 1992 season. Bonds spent his first seven of his 22 years in major league baseball as a Pirate. In his years as a non-Pirate, he was an 11-time All-Star, won four MVP awards, won nine Silver Slugger awards, five Gold Gloves, drove in 100 or more runs nine times, score 100 or more runs nine times, have a 40/40 season in 1996 and led the National League in walks 11 times. That all worked out to be 1,555 runs, 381 doubles, 586 home runs, 1,400 runs batted in, 1,947 walks and hit .312 after being a Pirate.
OF – Joe Kelley – Traded with cash to the Baltimore Orioles for George Van Haltren in 1892. After just one season as a Pirate at the age of 20, Kelly went to Baltimore and blossomed into a star. In his Hall-of-Fame career, Kelly would score over 100 runs in a season six times and drive in over 100 runs in a year five times and would hit .300 or better 11 consecutive seasons and hit .322.
The Post-Pirates All-Time Bench:
1B – High Pockets Kelly – Kelly was selected off waivers by the New York Giants from the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1917. After batting only .087 with two hits in 23 at-bats in 1917 at the age of 21, two years later Kelly matured and his Hall-of-Fame career took off. Kelly had five seasons of 100 runs batted in or more, seven seasons of 90 runs batted in or more and hit .302 over his final 13 seasons.
1B – Al Oliver – Traded in 1977 along with Nelson Norman to the Texas Rangers as part of a four-team trade. The Pirates ended up receiving Bert Blyleven from the Rangers and John Milner from the New York Mets. Oliver played his first 10 of his 18 seasons in Pittsburgh and continued doing what he did best, and that’s hit. Oliver hit over .300 for seven straight seasons and overall hit .311 as a non-Pirate winning a batting title in 1982 with Montreal with a .331 batting average. Oliver was a four-time All-Star as a non-Pirate.
2B – Dave Cash – Traded in 1973 to the Philadelphia Phillies for pitcher Ken Brett. Cash spent his first five seasons as a Pirate and 12 altogether in major league baseball. Cash would make the All-Star Game three times with the Philadelphia Phillies and had 180 hits or more four times with the Phils. Cash would hit .282 in his non-Pirate career.
OF – Jose Bautista – Drafted by the Baltimore Orioles from the Pirates in the 2003 Rule 5 Draft. In 2004, the Pirates re-acquired Bautista in a trade with the Mets and in 2008, traded Bautista to the Toronto Blue Jays for Robinzon Diaz. In all, Bautista played five of his 15 seasons with the Bucs, and as a non-Pirate, Bautista would hit 40 home runs in three times, hit 54 home runs in 2010, hit 301 home runs and be a six-time All-Star.
OF – Jay Buhner – Traded in 1984 with Dale Berra and Alfonso Pulido to the New York Yankees for Tim Foli, Steve Kemp and cash. In his 15 seasons after being in the Pirates organization, Buhner would hit 20 or more home runs in eight times, hit 40 or more home runs in a season three times, and hit 310 home runs in his career.
OF – Kiki Cuyler – Traded in 1927 to the Cubs for Sparky Adams and Pete Scott. Cuyler spent his first seven of his 18 seasons with the Pirates and in those his years away from Pittsburgh he would hit .315, amass 1,619 hits, steal 198 bases and lead the league in steals three times on his way to a Hall-of-Fame career.
OF – Dave Parker – Free Agent after the 1983 season. The Cobra spent the first 11 of his 19-major league seasons patrolling right field for the Pirates and in the years after he opted for free agency, Parker hit 173 home runs, made the All-Star Game three times and hit .276.
Those making honorable mention:
P – Jon Lieber – Traded in 1988 to the Chicago Cubs for Brant Brown. Lieber spent five of his 14 seasons with the Buccos, and in his post-Pirate playing days, would become a 20-game winner, make the All-Star Game and win 93 games.
P – Woodie Fryman – Traded in 1967 with Harold Clem, Bill Laxton and Don Money to the Phillies for Jim Bunning. Fryman played two years with the Buccos and then would play 16 more in the major leagues. Fryman would make two All-Star Games and win 126 wins in his post-Pirates career.
P – Rick Reuschel – Traded in 1987 to the San Francisco Giants for Scott Medvin and Jeff Robinson. Reuschel would spend three of his 19 seasons in the major leagues in Pittsburgh and in his first two seasons after being traded, went on to win 19 and 17 games respectively for the San Francisco Giants and make the All-Star Game once.
SS – Dick Groat – Traded with Diomedes Olivo to the St. Louis Cardinals for Don Cardwell and Julio Gotay in 1962. The Swissvale, PA, native spent nine of his 14 years as a Pirate, and was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals where he had an immediate impact for them. In 1963, Groat finished second in the National League’s MVP balloting collecting 201 hits, 43 doubles and hitting .319. Groat would make the All-Star Game twice for the Cardinals.
3B – Bob Elliott – Traded with Hank Camelli to the Boston Braves for Billy Herman, Elmer Singleton, Stan Wentzel and Whitey Wietelmann in 1946. In his five seasons with the Braves, Elliott would score 90 or more runs three times, drive in 100 runs three times, and was named an All-Star three times. Elliott hit .285 in his post-Pirate days.
3B – Don Money – Traded in 1967 with Harold Clem, Woodie Fryman and Bill Laxton to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jim Bunning. Money would be a four-time All-Star in a 16-year career in the major leagues.
OF – Bobby Bonilla – Free Agent after the 1991 season. Bobby Bo spent six of his 16 years in the major leagues as a Pirate and in his years after he left Pittsburgh, he hit 171 home runs, was named an All-Star twice and had a .275 batting average.
OF – Manny Mota – Drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 1968 expansion draft. Mota spent six of his 20 major league seasons as a Pirate and in those 14 years away from Pittsburgh, Mota would hit .315 and be named an All-Star once.
There you have it, the All-Time Post-Pittsburgh Pirates team. Pirates fans hope there will be no new additions to ever make that team.
John Baranowski is a sports historian and contributor to newspapers, sports publications and sports websites. This and other articles written by him can be found on his blog: