Best duos in Pittsburgh Pirates history

Written by:
May 16, 2022
Schyler // Wikimedia Commons

Best duos in Pittsburgh Pirates history

In Major League Baseball, it takes more than one skilled player to field a championship contender. It takes talent all over the field at a variety of positions, both in terms of pitchers and hitters. While having a star pitcher and a star hitter at the same time is no guarantee of success, it does put your team in a position to have the type of season that fans will talk about for generations.

While it’s not quite the same as the NBA, where one standout duo can take a team from the cellar to playoff contention, it’s not uncommon for an outstanding season from a pitcher and position player duo to add 20 wins or more, according to Baseball Reference’s wins above replacement player metric. The number is designed to illustrate the difference between a star player and the type of player that would be considered “replacement level”—that is, one who could be easily signed as a midseason free agent or called up from the minor leagues.

The following is a list of the top pitcher/position player duos in Pittsburgh Pirates history. Using wins above replacement, Stacker compiled a list of the seasons in franchise history that had a pitcher and hitter with the most combined value. Note that, for the purpose of capturing and examining the game's "modern era", only seasons after 1969 were used for this list.

#10. 1984 Pittsburgh Pirates
- Tony Pena: 5.9 WAR (#19 position player in 1984)
- Rick Rhoden: 5.2 WAR (#6 pitcher in 1984)
- Total: 11.1 WAR

#9. 2000 Pittsburgh Pirates
- Brian Giles: 6.4 WAR (#12 position player in 2000)
- Kris Benson: 5.1 WAR (#7 pitcher in 2000)
- Total: 11.5 WAR

#8. 1991 Pittsburgh Pirates
- Barry Bonds: 8 WAR (#2 position player in 1991)
- Doug Drabek: 3.6 WAR (#33 pitcher in 1991)
- Total: 11.6 WAR

#7. 1975 Pittsburgh Pirates
- Dave Parker: 6.3 WAR (#12 position player in 1975)
- Jerry Reuss: 5.4 WAR (#17 pitcher in 1975)
- Total: 11.7 WAR

#6. 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates
- Willie Stargell: 7.9 WAR (#1 position player in 1971)
- Steve Blass: 4 WAR (#26 pitcher in 1971)
- Total: 11.9 WAR

#5. 1978 Pittsburgh Pirates
- Dave Parker: 7 WAR (#3 position player in 1978)
- Bert Blyleven: 5.1 WAR (#16 pitcher in 1978)
- Total: 12.1 WAR

#4. 1989 Pittsburgh Pirates
- Barry Bonds: 8 WAR (#4 position player in 1989)
- Doug Drabek: 4.1 WAR (#23 pitcher in 1989)
- Total: 12.1 WAR

#3. 1990 Pittsburgh Pirates
- Barry Bonds: 9.7 WAR (#2 position player in 1990)
- Doug Drabek: 4.2 WAR (#18 pitcher in 1990)
- Total: 13.9 WAR

#2. 1992 Pittsburgh Pirates
- Barry Bonds: 9 WAR (#1 position player in 1992)
- Doug Drabek: 5.3 WAR (#17 pitcher in 1992)
- Total: 14.3 WAR

#1. 1977 Pittsburgh Pirates
- Dave Parker: 7.4 WAR (#5 position player in 1977)
- John Candelaria: 7.4 WAR (#5 pitcher in 1977)
- Total: 14.8 WAR

Trending Now