I suppose this list starts with a requirement. You almost have to be more than a Pirates fan, you have to be a baseball fan as well. Its easier to think you’re ready than to actually out loud admit it sometimes. Many Penguins fans have learned they don’t secretly have a soft spot for Alex Ovechkin alone. Here We Go!
- Eddie Murray – OK, it makes it a bit easier to admit since the Buccos won against his Baltimore Orioles in 1979. But Eddie was one Bad Man. He hit for power and average, played slick defense and did it from both sides of the plate. He probably stuck around a bit too long and some folks around my age may not remember him when he was EDDIE.
- Gary Carter – Arguably the best catcher of his era both defensively and offensively, Gary started his career with Montreal, but where I learned to love him was during the 1988-89 seasons when he was with the Mets. The Pirates were approaching contention and the Mets were the main obstacle, admitting you liked watching Carter do his thing was not a popular opinion.
- Daryl Strawberry – Same reason as Carter really. Strawberry had just about the smoothest swing I’d ever seen at the time, plus he guest starred on the Simpsons (back when it was good). You wanted to see the Pirates win, but if Daryl hit one out in the process, that was ok.
- Barry Larkin – From 1986 to 2004 Barry held down Short Stop for the Reds. That alone is enough reason for a Pirates fan to dislike the guy. I loved watching the guy play, he was an incredible fielder and well, a career .295 hitter kinda says it all. He spanned multiple eras of baseball and finished his entire career in one place.
- Anthony Rizzo – Rizzo conflicts me. I hate the way he hangs over the plate and kills the strike zone, when I really think about it though, and if I’m honest, I hat the umps for letting it happen. Anthony is steady, strong and plays a great first base too. boy it pains me to like any Cubs but God help me he’s a great player to watch.
- Chipper Jones – Quite possibly the best Third Baseman of my lifetime. He crushed everyone from both sides of the plate and I’m pretty sure he hustled even on vacations with his family. Nobody stuck the knife in and twisted quite like the Atlanta Braves, but Chipper was special.
- Christian Yelich – OK, you’re right he hasn’t been around as long as these other entries, but how often can you witness visible torque in a swing? I mean you can see everything coil and fire through the zone. He has power but somehow makes it look effortless. I love watching the guy hit.
- Matt Carpenter – He kills the Pirates. He kills alot of teams. I love his swing and his seemingly endless versatility, is there a position the Cards haven’t played him at? Think about it, they need a first basemen, Matt can take it. Need a power hitter, Matt will just start swinging for homeruns more. Can’t find anyone to hit leadoff, Matt will just adjust and take more walks, maybe even show some steal ability. You’re lying if you say you wouldn’t love him on your club.
- Charlie Blackmon – Maybe its the beard, he wore it before it was cool you know. Surely there have been better Rockies players, hell even right now Story and Arenado are better, but Blackmon always caught my eye. He’s fast, hits for power and can admirably play any outfield position. Hits lefties and righties. Just a fun player to watch.
- Gerrit Cole – I simply loved watching him pitch in Houston. Doesn’t matter if you believe he was held back here or just found his game and put it all together in Houston, the man was just close to impossible to hit. Wish it would have been in Pittsburgh, but I can’t hold it against him.
So who did I miss? Only picking ten was a challenge but these are some of my very favorites. Share your memories! It makes it so much more fun than just adding to the list.