Category Archives: Custom Pittsburgh Pirates Jerseys

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Misfortune has followed the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Erik Gonzalez to the Dominican Republic.

The utility infielder fractured his left foot this past weekend while playing winter ball. It is his second bone break in the past seven months after he fractured his clavicle April 19 in a collision with Pirates center fielder Starling Marte in a game at PNC Park against the San Francisco Giants.

A surgical procedure was performed Wednesday by Dr. James Sferra at Allegheny General Hospital to fixate and stabilize the fracture. Gonzalez is projected to resume full baseball activities in 10-12 weeks, the Pirates announced.

The first injury cost Gonzalez 3½ months of the 2019 season. He rejoined the team Aug. 3. He was limited to 53 games and 142 at-bats while hitting .254 with one home run and six RBIs.

With Santo Domingo of the Dominican Winter League, he was hitting .250 in 11 games.

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PITTSBURGH — The Pirates’ next general manager is going to have to figure out the club’s immediate future and long-term plan behind the plate. Francisco Cervelli is gone. Elias Díaz, once a well-regarded prospect, followed up an encouraging 2018 campaign with a stunningly poor season. There isn’t a catcher among the club’s Top 30 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline.

It’s entirely possible that Pittsburgh’s next starting catcher isn’t currently on the roster. But part of the solution might have emerged amid the disappointment of this past season.

Jacob Stallings spent the past four years as the Pirates’ third or fourth option at catcher, which means he’s familiar with the road between Pittsburgh and Triple-A Indianapolis. But this season, Cervelli’s concussion and Díaz’s struggles opened the door for Stallings to receive more regular playing time.

Stallings’ offensive performance was fine, especially compared to the Pirates’ other catchers. But the 29-year-old earned the club’s trust with his diligent preparation and his performance behind the plate. By the end of the year, most of Pittsburgh’s starting pitchers had asked to work with Stallings.

• Predicting the Pirates’ 2020 Opening Day roster

Where that leaves Stallings going forward is anybody’s guess. Maybe a new GM will view him as a short-term starting option for a team focused on the future or perhaps as a spiritual successor to Chris Stewart: a quality, defensive-minded backup on a potential contender.

Before looking forward, though, let’s review Stallings’ season.

What went right?
His defensive work, primarily. It’s tough to quantify everything about catchers’ defense, but Stallings graded out well in the areas we can measure and those in which we depend upon the word of his teammates.

Stallings has long been praised by pitchers for his preparation and game-calling, and that showed this year. By late May, Chris Archer worked exclusively with Stallings. Joe Musgrove soon followed suit. Most of Trevor Williams’ and Mitch Keller’s starts down the stretch came with Stallings behind the plate.

Adam Berry

@adamdberry
Joe Musgrove, on working with Jacob Stallings tonight: “Stalls was spot-on with everything. It makes my job a lot easier when I trust my catcher to call the game. It’s almost like he’s the brains and I’m the muscle. You just tell me where to throw it, and I’ll throw it there.”

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11:26 AM – Jul 21, 2019
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Catcher ERA is a flawed statistic in some regards, but it can paint part of the picture here. Consider how Pirates pitchers performed when throwing to Stallings (4.47 ERA), how similar that was to their work with the veteran Cervelli (4.42) and how different it was with Díaz behind the plate (5.95).

There are more advanced metrics to consider, too.

Stallings ranked eighth among all Major League catchers in adjusted Fielding Runs Above Average, according to Baseball Prospectus, and 11th in Framing Runs. The latter was a focal point for Stallings this season, as he committed himself to the skill of framing pitches with former bench coach Tom Prince and bullpen catcher Jordan Comadena.

Musgrove fans 9 in 7 1/3 frames
Aug 17th, 2019 · 1:06
Musgrove fans 9 in 7 1/3 frames
Stallings did all the necessary drill work, catching weighted balls and properly positioning his body behind the plate and his glove around the strike zone. He watched video of elite pitch-framers and noticed how well they were able to keep their gloves in the zone, rather than letting the ball move them, so he strengthened his body in the weight room.

“It’s been a continual growth process. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better as the year’s gone on,” Stallings said in late September. “It’s been more this year than ever in the past.”

What went wrong?
This is not a knock on Stallings, but the answer is probably his games played total (71) and the fact that he had more plate appearances (210) than Cervelli.

Stallings started 53 games for the Pirates this year, which is not how you draw it up for your third catcher leaving Spring Training. Díaz started 75 games behind the plate despite having a brutal year overall, and Cervelli made 32 starts before he was sidelined and later picked up by the Braves.

Offensively, Stallings was more or less who he’s always been. The 29-year-old batted .262 with a .325 on-base percentage and a .382 slugging percentage. The good news is he tapped into a little more power to hit six home runs, as many as he’s ever hit in a professional season. He credited hitting coach Rick Eckstein for that improvement.

Stallings’ line-drive smash
Aug 13rd, 2019 · 0:42
Stallings’ line-drive smash
“Working with him, learning about my body and my swing,” Stallings said. “Pulling the ball in the air with backspin was something I struggled with. I used to always just topspin the ball because I wasn’t putting myself in a good position to hit. I really dove into that. It’s something that I will always struggle with because I’m so big and lanky with a lot of moving parts, but body position to hit has been the biggest change for me this year.

• Five questions facing the Pirates this offseason

“I feel like I have a good swing. I just don’t put myself in position to hit all the time. So we worked a lot on that, and it’s something we always have to work on. Putting myself in a more consistent position to hit has helped a lot.”

Best moment
How about June 27, when Stallings had three hits and a homer and caught a shutout against the eventual American League champion Astros in a 10-0 Pirates win at Minute Maid Park?

Recap: PIT 10, HOU 0
Jun 28th, 2019 · 3:16
Recap: PIT 10, HOU 0
Or how about the Pirates’ September series in San Francisco? Stallings hit two of his six homers in a historically pitcher-friendly ballpark while catching a pair of victories.

Stallings’ solo home run
Sep 10th, 2019 · 0:46
Stallings’ solo home run
2020 outlook
Stallings is under club control, so he should be back in some role. But will the next management group take another shot on the upside Díaz showed in 2018?

There are plenty of free agents available, and the Pirates picked up recent contributors like Cervelli and Stewart through smart trades. How would that decision or another acquisition affect Stallings? Stay tuned.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates completed their leadership makeover Wednesday, hiring Derek Shelton to be their new manager.

Shelton spent the past two seasons as the Minnesota Twins’ bench coach. This will be his first major league managerial job.

“I have known Derek for more than 15 years and have great admiration for his passion for the game and players, work ethic, curiosity and desire to learn,” Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said in a statement.

Shelton’s previous stops include a season as quality control coach for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017 — his tenure overlapping Cherington’s stint as Toronto’s vice president of baseball operations — and seven years as a hitting coach with the Tampa Bay Rays. Shelton broke into the majors as hitting coach for the Cleveland Indians from 2005 to 2009, and he has managed in the New York Yankees’ minor league system.

Cherington added that Shelton “will help lead an elite playing and coaching environment at the major league level and be a true partner to all of baseball operations.”

Shelton, 49, said in a statement that he wants to facilitate a “player-centric culture built on strong communication and relationships with our players, our staff and the entire organization.”

He replaces Clint Hurdle, who was fired in September amid the franchise’s worst season (69-93) since 2010.

The Pirates hired Cherington to be their general manager earlier this month and named Travis Williams as their new president in October.

Shelton filled the eighth and final managerial vacancy, joining Joe Maddon (Angels), Joe Girardi (Phillies), David Ross (Cubs), Jayce Tingler (Padres), Mike Matheny (Royals), Carlos Beltran (Mets) and Gabe Kapler (Giants). Beltran was the only racial minority hired.

Shelton inherits a team that finished below .500 in three of the past four seasons, though the on-field product during a miserable 25-48 second half proved to be just part of Pittsburgh’s issues in 2019. Relievers Keone Kela and Kyle Crick were suspended for their roles in separate dustups with members of the team’s coaching and support staff. All-Star closer Felipe Vazquez was arrested in September on felony charges stemming from an alleged sexual assault of a minor.

Cherington said shortly after his hiring that the Pirates need to do a better job of continuing to develop players once they reach the major leagues. Owner Bob Nutting expressed frustration at seeing former Pirates prospects flourish elsewhere, including Rays outfielder Austin Meadows and pitcher Tyler Glasnow.

Amid the losing, there were bright spots. First baseman Josh Bell became an All-Star while hitting 37 home runs. Rookie outfielder Bryan Reynolds hit .314 and finished fourth in National League Rookie of the Year balloting, and shortstop Kevin Newman hit .308 in 130 games after being elevated to the starting role following an early season injury to Erik Gonzalez.

The pitching staff, however, is in tatters. Ace Jameson Taillon is out for 2020 after Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow for a second time. Pittsburgh finished with a team ERA of 5.18, next to last in the NL and 26th in the majors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Pirates found out that they will be without one of their best relief pitchers in 2019
This season, the Pittsburgh Pirates have had one of the best bullpens in the National League. A big reason for the bullpen’s success has been rookie right hander Edgar Santana.

In 69 games this season Santana posted a 3.26 ERA and a 3.58 FIP in 66 1/3 innings pitched. He owned a 4.4% walk rate, 19.9% strikeout rate, and became one of Clint Hurdle‘s most trusted high leverage relievers.

Looking ahead to the 2019 season the Pirates appear ready to have one of the best bullpens in the league once again. A big reason for this was Santana. However, it turns out the Pirates will be without Santana in 2019.

After undergoing an MRI on his right elbow on Monday, a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament has been found. For Santana, this means going under the knife for Tommy John Surgery. Like Chad Kuhl, who had this same procedure done last week, Santana will now miss the entire 2019 season.

In Santana’s final outing of the season it was clear something was wrong. Friday night against the Brewers Santana faced three batters, allowed two home runs, and was then lifted from the game. Prior to this outing, Santana had allowed just five home runs all season.

NEXT: Looking At The Success Of Trevor Williams
Despite the loss of Santana, the Pirates still figure to have a strong bullpen in 2019. Anchored by Felipe Vazquez, Keone Kela, Kyle Crick, and Richard Rodriguez, the Bucs have four reliable high leverage relievers. Nick Burdi is a promising young relief arm as well.

However, with the loss of Santana, adding relief help may become more of a priority for the team this offseason. Adding left-handed bullpen help was already going to be toward the top of Neal Huntington’s offseason plans, but adding another right-handed reliever may be now, too.

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One way or another, Josh Bell will be the key to returning the Pirates to respectability.

The Pirates will enter 2020 with new leadership. They will bring with them a new plan in hopes of returning the Pirates to prominence. I believe Josh Bell holds the key to that plan, and it may involve the new general manager trading the new Pirates’ star.

Newly announced team president Travis Williams doesn’t have a baseball background. However, he DOES have experience with winning organizations.

As COO of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Mr. Williams was an integral part of that franchise’s success. He knows what it takes to build a winner, he understands a winning culture, and he brings that wealth of knowledge and a fresh perspective to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Hiring a general manager will be his first priority and that person will, undoubtedly, have a track record of success with a small market operation.

This club has a number of young, talented players on the roster so a total rebuild will be an unlikely scenario. With a roster that includes Kevin Newman, Brian Reynolds, Cole Tucker, and Mitch Keller, and with a farm system that includes corner infielders KeBryan Hayes and Will Craig, there are pieces that fit in the short term.

Josh Bell, after his breakout season in 2019, is the key to unlocking the future for this franchise, however.

Bell’s numbers in his age 27 season were All-Star caliber:. 277 average, 37 home runs, and 116 runs batted in. Any team would consider Bell a key piece with those numbers.

So, the logical thing to do would be to offer Bell a long-term deal such as the deals offered to Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco.

Not so fast.

Bell’s agent is none other than Scott Boras, who has little to no interest in having a client sign for well under market value. Unless the Pirates offer Bell a deal in, say, the $20-22 million a season range, he isn’t signing anything.

The next logical move, despite likely fan reaction, is to trade Bell THIS off-season for a haul of pitching prospects.

Bell, not Marte, is the Pirates’ best trade chip and the new general manager will be well aware of this.

The timing could not be better, either.

After a promising start to his major league career in 2016 and 2017, Bell struggled in 2018. He lacked the power projected of him. His average hovered in the low to mid. 200s. He was, by all accounts, a disappointment.

Rick Eckstein was brought in by the previous regime as hitting coach last season and did wonders for Bell. His stance was simplified. His timing improved. The results speak for themselves.

Bell will be entering his age 28 season in 2020, which is considered his prime. He is coming off a career year and is under team control through 2022. His trade value could not be higher.

With Jameson Taillon out for next season, the pitching staff needs an influx of talent. Musgrove, Williams (Trevor, not Travis), Archer, and Keller are decent. However, the jury remains out on most of them. Williams has shown himself to be a solid third or fourth guy in a rotation. Same for Joe Musgrove. Perhaps a new pitching coach can harness something out of Chris Archer and perhaps hasten the development of Keller. I used ‘perhaps’ twice in that sentence. I think you get the point.

The bullpen was in shambles as well. As I see it, the Pirates have three dependable arms: Keone Kela, Kyle Crick, and Richard Rodriguez.

Perhaps.

Bottom line is this: the Pirates cannot afford to head into 2020 with anything resembling the staff of 2019.

Josh Bell provides the club with an opportunity to cash in on his stellar 2019 season by flipping him for a bounty of pitching.

The Pirates actually have options at first base that, while unlikely to compare to Bell’s 2019 season, will provide solid production. Colin Moran could move to first in a platoon with Jose Osuna. Moran is below average defensively at third base so moving him across the diamond would limit his deficiencies in the field. Osuna is solid defensively at third or first and provides plenty of power from the right side of the plate. A platoon here makes sense because neither player should be overexposed regularly. Is it unreasonable to expect 30 home runs and close to 100 RBI from these two?

Also, Will Craig is worth mentioning as well. He’s close to being ready for the show and would immediately provide a defensive upgrade at the position, with his Gold Glove in tow to attest for his prowess at the position.

Josh Bell holds the key to the Pirates’ future in 2020 and beyond. The old cliche “strike while the iron is hot” comes to mind. The fans may not be happy, but they may be more understanding with a new regime calling the shots than they had with Neal Huntington.

The new general manager will get a honeymoon of sorts his first year or two. He needs to take advantage of the situation and trade Josh Bell.

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The Pirates picked up left-handed relief pitcher Sam Howard off waivers from the Colorado Rockies as the first move of the post-Neal Huntington era. Howard will be a possible lefty option out of the bullpen for the 2020 season.

Howard has very limited MLB experience and has yet to prove he has the ability to stick with a big league team long-term.

The 26-year-old Howard, a 2014 third-round pick (82nd overall) by the Rockies, appeared in 20 games for Colorado, pitching 19 innings and posting a 6.63 ERA (6.27 FIP), 1.63 WHIP, a 2.30 K/BB-rate, and a 2.37 HR/9.

We are working with small samples on Howard, but even the prospect projections aren’t very high on his abilities.

Howard has a so-so low-90s fastball, slightly above average slider, and a mediocre changeup that showed signs of improving as he increased its usage in the minors. However, not throwing a single change in 2019, he has resigned himself to a fastball/slider reliever more suited for mop up duty and the occasional lefty specialist situations.

Depending on whom the Pirates hire for their new pitching coach, its possible Howard could become a steady middle reliever. Howard held a 3.61 ERA with a nearly 3-1 K-BB ratio through 50 and two-thirds innings for the Albuquerque Isotopes this past season.

So long as lefty Steven Brault remains in the rotation (he deserves another shot), the Pirates don’t have many other alternatives in terms of left-handed relievers. Williams Jerez, picked up off waivers from the Anaheim Angles back on September 13th, and another late-season waiver claim, Wei-Chung Wang (from the Oakland Athletics), are the only other lefties that present themselves as options out of the bullpen.

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After having a historically good month of May, Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Josh Bell has been named the National League Player of the Month.
There was never any doubt, was there? In the month of May, Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Josh Bell was historically good. It was not just one of the best months in franchise history, but also in National League history.

Following his month long ambush on MLB pitching staffs, Bell has been named the National League Player of the Month. While this is the first time in Bell’s career he was won a player of the month award, it is safe to say it will not be the last. Hell, it may not be the last this season.

Bell slashed .390/.442/.797 during the month of May. His .501 wOBA, 218 wRC+, and .407 ISO all led the league during the month. His slugging percentage, ISO, and wRC+ all led the league, as did his 46 hits, 12 doubles, 24 extra base hits, and 31 RBI. His 12 home runs were tied for the lead league, while his wOBA were second in the league and his OBP was third.

During the month Bell collected 94 total bases which broke Ralph Kiner‘s franchise record for total bases in a single month. He also joined Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson as the only players in NL history to collect at least 12 doubles and 12 home runs in the same month.

Throughout the month of May Bell’s limitless potential as a hitter was on full display. His play in the month also turned him into both a legitimate NL MVP contender, as well as the front runner to start at first base for the NL in the All-Star Game next month. This is shaping up to be a magical, unforgettable season for Bell.

Congrats to Josh on a historically good month of May! And congrats on turning into some NL Player of the Month hardware!

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Josh Bell was named the National League Player of the Month on Monday after hitting .390 with 12 home runs and 31 RBIs in May.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no Pirates player had ever produced an average that high with as many home runs and RBIs in a month.

The numbers for Bell were nothing short of staggering, especially when you’re talking about those involving the Triple Crown — average, home runs and RBIs.

The only comparable month over the past 18 seasons belonged to J.D. Martinez with Arizona in September 2017 (.404, 16 home runs, 36 RBIs).

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington takes in batting practice Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.

Paul Zeise: It’s now up to Neal Huntington to give Pirates chance to compete
Bell led all MLB players in total bases (94), hits (46), extra-base hits (24) and RBIs in May. He tied for the lead in homers, equaling Jason Bay’s Pirates record for May 2006.

In addition, Bell had the most bases for an MLB hitter in May since Willie Mays’ 102 in 1958. Pirates-wise, that’s the most bases for any hitter in any month; the previous mark was held by Ralph Kiner, who had 92 in June 1947.

Voting on the award was conducted around the league over the weekend. The last Pirates player to win the monthly honor was Andrew McCutchen in 2017. Bell is the first Pirates first baseman to win the award.

Bell became just the third player in National League history to produce at least 12 doubles and 12 home runs in any calendar month. Hank Aaron (12 and 12) and Frank Robinson (12 and 13) both did it in July 1961.

The 24 extra-base hits tied the Pirates record for a single month. Paul Waner got to 24 twice — June 1927 and August 1928.

The Pirates are off Monday. They’ll host the Atlanta Braves at PNC Park, Tuesday through Thursday.

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Grant Jackson certainly is synonymous with Fostoria as the only native of the city to play baseball in the major leagues.

He’s become synonymous with Pittsburgh, too, where he experienced his greatest triumph as a pitcher and has lived for the last 40-plus years.

“My kids like it and I like it, so we’ve stayed,” he said in a telephone interview this week.

And with another baseball season having begun, fans will again occasionally see Jackson at PNC Park watching the Pirates, for whom he pitched from 1977-81 and during part of the 1982 season before wrapping up his 18-year career.

Though he mostly heads to the local VFW hall or stays home to watch the Pirates on TV, he typically makes his way to a few home games in a season. Going back to his playing days, he’s always made it a point to be friendly with fans, but sometimes it becomes too much when he’s simply trying to enjoy a day at the ballpark.

“If they become autograph sessions, I’ve got to go to the press box,” he said.

At the same time, such things away from the park are profitable for the 76-year-old in the form of card shows and speaking engagements. They’re nice supplements to the pension he garners as a former player, and he’s in a good location for such opportunities.

“There’s money being in the city of champions,” he said, referring to titles won by the Pirates in baseball (five), the Steelers in football (six) and the Penguins in hockey (five).

Jackson acknowledged that he enjoys some popularity in the Steel City.

“I’m loved in Fostoria, too, but love doesn’t pay the bills,” he said with a laugh.

Jackson grew up as a farmboy in the Fostoria area and starred in football, basketball, and track and field at Fostoria High School, from which he graduated in 1960. FHS did not have a baseball program at the time, but the left-handed Jackson became well-known for his pitching feats in American Legion ball.

Among those he impressed was Tony Lucadello, a Philadelphia Phillies scout who lived in Fostoria. Jackson signed with Philadelphia in 1961. Lucadello went on to sign many other stars, including future Hall of Famers Ferguson Jenkins and Mike Schmidt.

Like Jenkins, Jackson debuted with the Phillies in 1965. (Jenkins would be traded to the Chicago Cubs in the offseason.)

Jackson began his career as a starting pitcher, and he made the National League All-Star team in 1969 before finishing the season with a 14-18 record and a 3.34 earned run average.

He eventually became an effective relief man who enjoyed a 1976 season in which he went 7-1 with four saves and a 2.54 ERA while pitching in a combined 34 games for the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees.

Jackson pitched in the World Series for the Orioles in 1971 and the Yankees in 1976 as those teams fell to the Pirates and Cincinnati Reds, respectively.

In 1979, he was in his third year with the Pirates as they overcame a rough start to the season and made their way to the World Series to again face Baltimore.

Those Pirates became famous for more than their baseball prowess, as they rallied to the Sister Sledge song “We are Family” and future Hall of Famer Willie Stargell handed out “Stargell Stars” for players to wear on their caps in recognition of standout performances.

“Pops was the leader,” Jackson said, using the team’s nickname for the 39-year-old standout, who was named Most Valuable Player for both the season and the World Series in 1979. “If you had any problem between the lines, he would help you.”

The Pirates fell behind the Orioles 3-1 in the 1979 World Series before bouncing back to force a Game 7 in Baltimore. Jackson recorded a strikeout and two walks in 2.2 innings and ended up as the winning pitcher, as Stargell’s two-run homer in the sixth inning gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead on their way to a 4-1 triumph.

Jackson called that championship the top moment of his career.

“I’ve been asked that 1,000 times,” Jackson said of what it was like to play on that ’79 Pirates squad. “And I always say the same thing: It was tremendous.”

Jackson finished his career with an 86-75 record with 79 saves and a 3.46 ERA after pitching in 692 games. In addition to the Phillies, Orioles and Yankees, Jackson spent time with the Montreal Expos and Kansas City Royals.

He later had stints as the pitching coach for the Pirates and Reds.

Though a professional baseball season is a grind that includes travel, games and more hours at various ballparks than the average fan would imagine, Jackson said his enjoyment was such that “I never had a job.”

The pace is more easygoing for him now.

“I cut the grass, pick up leaves, shovel the driveway — just take it easy,” he said.

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There once was a Pittsburgh Pirates player who was a two-sport athlete that played both baseball and basketball. He is officially retiring from sports.
Many years ago, the Pittsburgh Pirates had a player by the name of Dick Groat. Groat was born in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania in 1930. He went on to star as a two-sport athlete who went on to be one of Pittsburgh most beloved sports icons. Groat first went to Duke University from the years 1949-1952.

At Duke, Groat starred on both their basketball team and their baseball team. While he will always be known better for his baseball career, Groat also had a really nice college basketball career. For Duke basketball, Groat became a two-time All-American coming in the 1951 and 1952 seasons. His best season came in 1952 when he set the NCAA record for points scored and took home the National Player of the Year award. After his time was up on the hardwood, Duke retired Dick Groat’s number 10.

Groat went on to be the third overall pick in the 1952 NBA Draft by the Fort Wayne Pistons. He ended up playing just three seasons of basketball, averaging about 12 points per game. However, he eventually stepped away from basketball because his professional baseball career was taking off.

The Pittsburgh native got the opportunity to also play baseball. He signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1952 and went on to play 14 seasons in the MLB. He was primarily a shortstop, but also played some third base in his career. Groat’s first nine years in Major League Baseball were spent with his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates, and he made quite the career with them. He spent his last three years with the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies before retiring.,

All in all, Groat had a strong career slash line of .286/.330/.366 with 2138 hits. Groat’s numbers could have been even more impressive, but he missed the 1953 and 1954 season due to military service. His best year with the Pittsburgh Pirates was one of the best years for the franchise.

During the 1960 season, Groat was paired with Hall of Fame second baseman Bill Mazeroski, creating one of the best double-play tandems of all time. Of course, 1960 is most noted for the Pittsburgh Pirates beating the New York Yankees in the World Series. However, Groat also brought home the National League Most Valuable Player. Groat hit .325/.371/.394 with 32 extra base hits, including 26 doubles, four triples, and two home runs. The shortstop was a three-time all-star with the Bucs and a five-time one in his career.

The reason that Dick Groat is being talked about right now is that the former Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop and Pittsburgh native is stepping away from sports for the first time since he served in the military. Groat has become a Pittsburgh icon not only for his time spent on the field, but also his career off of it. For the last 40 years, Groat has called the University of Pittsburgh’s college basketball games. He announced a few days ago that he would not be returning for year 41 next year.

Dick Groat is considered to be one of the greatest athletes of all time. He was a two-sport star who was a top NBA draft pick, a baseball MVP, and a World Series champion. He spent a good chunk of his life dedicating his time to Pittsburgh, being a role model in the community and becoming one of the great basketball commentators. Dick Groat has spent nearly 70 of his 88 years of living in sports, his retirement is well deserved.