Category Archives: Wholesale Pirates Jerseys

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The website MLB Trade Rumors put out their yearly offseason free agent predictions. The site has the Pittsburgh Pirates inking two notable ones this offseason.
While the Pittsburgh Pirates continue to search for a new General Manager and manager, the offseason keeps moving. Teams are starting to put together their offseason agenda, who they would like to acquire, who they want/need to trade, and other personnel moves. Still, there is plenty of time before the action really starts.

The Pittsburgh Pirates currently have interim General Manager Kevan Graves helping make some early offseason roster decisions, most of these decisions will not have much of an impact on the Bucs offseason. Meanwhile, it has been reported that the team has an outside firm leading the search for a new General Manager. This will likely result in a hire sooner than later, which means the new hire should have plenty of time to get their offseason agenda ready.

Even though the team does not have a General Manager, this has not stopped writers, reporters, and bloggers from trying to forecast the Bucs offseason moves. Here at Rum Bunter we have posted multiple articles about catchers the team should pursue and so on.

The website MLB Trade Rumors is one of the best baseball websites around. It is a site that has been around for years and does a great job of tracking all player movement in the league as well as rumors. Over the years, MLBTR has grown into a popular website for fans to check out, especially during the offseason with their free agent predictions. The team at MLBTR tries to look at each team’s situation and determine who they could try and sign in the offseason.

MLB Trade Rumors projects the Bucs to sign two notable free agents (top 50). Obviously, the Pittsburgh Pirates are never predicted to sign one of the big fish free agents. Even with a change in the front office, the Bucs are still going to operate like a small market team. So, MLBTR is projecting the Pittsburgh Pirates to sign corner outfielder Kole Calhoun and left-handed pitcher Drew Smyly.

Both make sense as potential targets. Smyly would give the team a potential left-handed starter in a right-handed heavy rotation. He also fits the mold of the classic bounce back starter candidate that the previous regime always looked for on the market. Smyly was expected to breakout in 2018 after an impressive World Baseball Classic, but he had to undergo Tommy-John surgery early that year. He has bounced around over the last year and has yet to regain form. Still, he could be a low-risk, high reward free agent.

Calhoun’s place on the roster would not be as clear. He is a corner outfielder who bats left-handed and the team has switch hitter Bryan Reynolds in left and left-hander Gregory Polanco in right field, so there is no spot. This is unless the team does in fact trade Starling Marte, something that will likely occur. The team then could slide Reynolds to center and allow Calhoun to man a corner spot. Calhoun was solid last year, batting .232/.325/.467 with 33 home runs, 29 doubles, and one triple. Obviously, the batting average is a little low, but with his left-handed power he could be a real threat at PNC Park.

NEXT: General Manager Hiring News
This cannot be the Pittsburgh Pirates only moves this offseason. Obviously, there is a lot that has to go on and will go on, but this would be a solid start to the team’s offseason. Both players could be very intriguing fits for the team in 2020.

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The Pirates are in need of an upgrade at third base. Colin Moran has had two seasons to prove he’s the answer at the hot corner but the results are less than encouraging. It might be time for top prospect Ke’Bryan Hayes to be ushered in as the heir to third base for the foreseeable future.

In 2018, Moran posted a 0.7 WAR with average metrics across the board, offensively. He took a step back in 2019, posting a sub-par .315 wOBA and a much too high 23.3% K-rate. His chase rate jumped almost 10% last season, a clear indication that he was pressing at the plate.

Defensively he regressed as well. In 2018, his defensive runs saved (DRS) was a -8. Last year it dropped even further to a -13. His overall ultimate zone rating (UZR) is a dismal -15.8.

That, coupled with the fact that Moran isn’t due to hit free agency until the 2024 season (2020 is his arbitration year), perhaps he’d be better suited in more of a utility role than a starting infielder. Moran can fill in at any infield position (save for catcher) as well as a spot start in left field.

It might be time to insert top prospect and 2015 first round pick, Ke’Bryan Hayes. The Pirates are in rebuild mode so there is no pressure on Hayes to perform immediately. He’ll turn 23 prior to the start of the 2020 season and has spent the last four years progressing through the Pirates minor league system.

There is no doubt in any prospect analysts mind that Hayes is already looking like an elite defender. His defensive ratings for fielding put him as high as a 70 (in the 20-80 rating system) with a 60-grade arm. He’s quick both in the field and on the bases.

Hayes projects to be a decent hitter but there is uncertainty about his power. If that’s able to be developed, the Pirates will have themselves a true five-tool player.

Last year, Hayes accumulated 480 plate appearances for AAA Indianapolis Indians and hit .265 with 10 home runs and 53 RBIs. Hayes has a good, yet still developing, eye that has kept his K-rate below 20% throughout his minor league career.

The top available third base free agents (Anthony Rendon, Josh Donaldson, and Mike Moustakas) will likely demand a salary that wouldn’t make sense for the Pirates at this stage. Some older veterans (Asdrubal Cabrera, Todd Frazier, or Eric Sogard) might be feasible but ultimately if the team isn’t expected to compete, wouldn’t it make sense to see what the Pirates have in their younger players?

What do you think?

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Please remember that all of these Atlanta Braves deals, and these mentioned concerning other teams, are simulations, not actual trades or signings.

In Thursday’s post, I noted that the simulated deal sending Johan Camargo to the Orioles left Charlie Culberson as the Atlanta Braves only utility player. On Friday, I filled that void by signing Brock Holt to a two-year, $5M deal.

The multi-talented Holt started his professional career as a Pirate but spent his whole Major League career as the Swiss Army Knife on the Boston Red Sox. Over the last two seasons in Boston, Holt batted .286/.366/.407/.772, with a .336 wOBA and 106 wRC+ while playing everywhere except pitcher and catcher.

I spent a good deal of the remainder of the day unsuccessfully trying to negotiate with the Mariners for Mitch Haniger.

Their GM never said what he wanted other than good prospects; after several offers said they were out. I think he was waiting for me to offer a whole lot more than I feel Haniger is worth so he could get a win. I had more success in landing a starter.

Atlanta Braves make a simulated pitch for Joe
After contacting the Rockies about German Marquez and Jon Gray, and being told they were not available, I entered a long discussion with the Pirates about simulated deals for Gregory Polanco and Joe Musgrove.

RELATED STORY:In the beginning
I had a deal pending to move Ender Inciarte and saw Polanco as a replacement, but the Inciarte deal disappeared when the other team moved on. After a protected negotiation – really long – I completed the simulated acquisition of Musgrove in exchange for Kyle Wright, Touki Toussaint, Greyson Jenista, and Alex Jackson.

Some asked on Twitter what players I saw as being worth an apparent over-pay: Musgrove was on that list.

Last season the Atlanta Braves unsuccessfully attempted to land Matthew Boyd. Musgrove was as good or better than Boyd (depending on your favorite stat) while pitching on a team stumbling from one major problem to another and pitching to a talented but inexperienced catcher.

name Age WARP fWAR DRA FIP ERA HR BB SO BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB
Mike Soroka 21 4.8 4.0 3.24 3.4 2.68 14 41 142 .280 79.9% 51.2% 11.1%
Joe Musgrove 26 4.0 3.3 3.59 3.77 4.44 21 39 157 .299 63.2% 44.5% 11.7%
Matt Boyd 28 3.7 3.3 3.93 4.35 4.56 39 50 238 .307 74.4% 35.6% 18.2%
(Statistics from Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus)
The price for Musgrove hurt. No one loves Kyle Wright more than I, but Musgrove’s under team control for two years and relatively inexpensive at $3.4M. Most importantly, he proved he can pitch at the highest level, take the ball every five days, and give his team a chance to win.

Having sent a series or relief pitchers and starters away, I began filling the void by acquiring RHRP Justin Shafer from Toronto in a simulated deal for cash considerations. Shafer threw 39-1/3 inning for Toronto this year, striking out 39 and pitching to a 3.86 ERA. He’ll begin the season at Gwinnett.

That’s a wrap
The simulated acquisitions over the last two days make the roster stronger and the rotation better. Holt has a history of providing sound defense wherever he plays, and Musgrove fits nicely in the rotation.

Musgrove should enjoy greater success with Roberto Perez behind the plate and our defense behind him, not to mention a clubhouse atmosphere that plays together instead of fighting each other.

I’ve arranged for Josh Donaldson and Musgrove to have a pillow fight and settle any remaining issues between them.

The simulation continues until 10:00 eastern time tonight; I have two deals in the works that will change the look of the roster if I’m able to complete them.

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Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Clay Holmes said he doesn’t blame Eugenio Suarez for getting mad.

Suarez is having another fine season for the Cincinnati Reds, already up to 14 home runs and 39 RBIs after totaling 34 and 104 last year.

The last thing he needs is an injury when he’s hit by an errant pitch. But Holmes’ first pitch of the eighth inning Wednesday hit him in the left hand.

“Nobody enjoys getting hit,” Holmes said, “but at the same time there were no bad intentions behind it from me.”

After getting hit, Suarez walked to the mound, not necessarily to fight. Rather, he was on a fact-finding mission.

“He asked me if it was intentional,” said Holmes, the son of an Alabama preacher. “I told him it wasn’t. Kind of cleared that up.

“It’s not something I want to be known as. I was not trying to hit him. Not trying, for sure, to hurt anybody, ever. It was the first pitch of the inning. It slipped, got away from me. Unfortunately, it hit him.”

Yet the incident stirred more hurt feelings between the Pirates and Reds, coming a month after the teams’ benches and bullpens emptied when the Pirates’ Chris Archer threw behind Derek Dietrich.

After Suarez, who was uninjured, calmly walked to first base, apparently satisfied there no malice in the Holmes’ heart, Reds manager David Bell angrily confronted home plate umpire Cory Blaser and got himself ejected.

Later, Bell said of the Pirates, “We knew they’ll do it intentionally. I was doing what I could to protect our players. Clearly, we’re not going to get protected, so we have to do whatever we can. We have to take matters into our own hands.”

Reds pitcher Jared Hughes, who played for the Pirates from 2011-16, told The Athletic he agrees with Bell’s accusation that the Pirates intentionally throw at batters.

“Yeah, I think so for sure,” Hughes said. “Is it something that I saw when I was there? Yeah.”

Predictably, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle declined to get drawn into the controversy.

“I haven’t kept up with all of it,” he said before the game Thursday against the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park. “The interesting part of the game is always how people watch and they view it, because we can watch the same game and have different opinions and different thoughts.

“It’s third-person for me,” he said when asked about Hughes’ remarks. “I don’t read. It’s personal opinion. More often than not, we get very reactionary when things happen, and feelings and facts can be confused.

“But those men have their opinions, and they desire to express them. My opinion, I’m keeping to myself.”

For the record, Pirates pitchers hit 22 batters in the first 54 games this season (16th in MLB). The Reds are next with 21. Holmes has hit three in 13 innings, which leads all Pirates relievers.

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault said the situation could have ended badly, but players remained calm on the field.

“The one thing I do believe, this is still a game and people getting hurt (because of a purposeful act) over playing a game is ridiculous,” he said. “I don’t like it that much, but I understand protecting your teammates and making sure it doesn’t happen again.

“They figured it out, which is why we didn’t fight. I thought it was very mature of (Raisel) Iglesias (the subsequent Reds pitcher) to come in and just throw his inning and not hit anybody and end it there. I appreciated that.”

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Yesterday, Nick wrote an article talking about how the Twins deserve credit for acquiring Jake Odorizzi and working with him to find his best self in 2019. Today, I wanted to continue the “Finding the Next Gerrit Cole” theme by literally trying to find someone who could possibly provide the type of impact that Cole had on the Astros. Maybe there is one potential trade candidate out there who fits that mold.

Twins fans (at least those who read Twins Daily) have known about Jon Gray and his pitching talents since before the Colorado Rockies made him the third overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft. The Twins Geek wrote up a Draft Profile on the flame-thrower from Oklahoma. That year, Gray was taken after the Astros took Mark Appel and the Cubs selected Kris Bryant. One pick after the Rockies drafted Gray, the Twins used the fourth overall pick on Kohl Stewart. Gerrit Cole, of course, was the first overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of UCLA.

Cole is listed at 6-foot-4.
Gray is listed at 6-foot-4.

Cole is listed at 225 pounds.
Gray is listed at 227 pounds.

Of course, height and weight are important in scouting, but in this analysis, it means nothing. There are dozens of MLB (and minor league) pitchers that are 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds or so. I thought it would be interesting to compare more to see how similar the two might be.

To do so, I looked at Gerrit Cole in 2017. He was 26 years old and had two more years of arbitration remaining. In 2019, Jon Gray was 27 years old, and as we look forward, he has two more years before he can become a free agent.

So let’s take a look at how Gerrit Cole performed for the Pirates in 2017 and compare it to how Jon Gray pitched for the Rockies in 2019. And hey, just for fun, let’s throw Cole’s 2019 numbers in there too.

Screen Shot 2019-11-22 at 8.44.21 AM
What does it show us? Obviously we know that Win-Loss record doesn’t tell us anything. Gray’s ERA was better, but Cole held a slight advantage in xFIP (Fielding Independent Pitching). Cole had the better WHIP. It might surprise people to see that Gray actually struck out more batters, though it’s statistically close enough, especially when strikeouts continue to increase across the league. Cole had better control.

The biggest difference is that Cole topped 200 innings in 2017 while Gray pitched just 150 innings in 2019. Gray went on the injured list in mid-August with a fractured left foot. He had surgery and should be ready in advance of spring training. He had a similar foot/ankle injury in 2017 that cost him two-and-a-half months.

Gray gets more ground balls, though I can’t help but wonder if that’s due to how he chooses to pitch in Colorado. The two had very similar strikeout rates.

Again, comparing those numbers to what Cole became in 2019 is more just fun than anything else, something to dream on.

Some will say that Gray isn’t as good as Cole was in 2017. I think that the numbers above show that they are more similar statistically than we may have even thought.

But I think it’s more important to look at how they pitch to see whether or not they are similar. Is their stuff comparable? Here are some numbers, again comparing Gray in 2019 with Cole in 2017. And, of course, I needed to add Cole in 2019 to the chart for fun, but also for a point.

Screen Shot 2019-11-22 at 8.43.06 AM
(SETH CORRECTION: Jon Gray threw 33.5% sliders, not 13.5%. Sorry if that created confusion.)

I happen to think this chart is really interesting. Again, comparing Gray in 2019 with Cole in 2017, there are a lot of similarities.

They both had an average fastball of 96 mph. They both throw 88 mph sliders. Gray’s curveball came in just a little slower, and so did his changeup. Cole threw more fastballs. Gray threw a lot of sliders and didn’t throw many changeups. Cole gave up less contact and got a higher percentage of swing-and-misses on strikes. It all speaks to his stuff being right on par with Garrit Cole’s in 2017.

The big question
In my mind, the big question is – and should be with any pitcher the Twins consider with trades or free agency: Do the Twins pitching coaches, coordinators and evaluators think that Jon Gray can take it a step up from his 2019 numbers the same way that Cole’s performance jumped from 2017 to 2019?

Cole added 1 mph on his fastball and on his slider. He did so while throwing a fewer fastballs and changeups and a few more sliders and curveballs.

Can Jon Gray add a tick or two to his velocity? Can his pitch mix be altered in such a way to reduce his contact rate and improve his swing-and-miss stuff?

Ultimately that’s what the Twins brass needs to consider.

What might it take?
If they do consider Gray to be a guy that could take a step forward in performance and possibly be an elite starting pitcher, well, then they need to figure out what they are willing to give up to acquire him from the Rockies.

So again, let’s look at Gerrit Cole for a comparison.

The Houston Astros acquired Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for four players:

RHP Michael Feliz – He was 24 years old and spent two-plus seasons with the Astros before the trade. He had a 5.13 ERA over that time period before the deal.
OF Jason Martin – He was a 22-year-old at the time of the deal. He split 2017 between High-A and AA and hit 35 doubles and 18 home runs that season.
1B/3B Colin Moran – He was 25 and had been a high draft pick. He was a Top 100 prospect in previous years but no longer at the time of the deal.
RHP Joe Musgrave – He was a 24-year-old, a first-round pick in 2011. He spent time as a part-time starter with the Astros in 2016 and 2017.
So what might a similar deal look like for the Twins? Obviously this is a hypothetical, but I think it would take something similar to below. I think that the package should be similar, but still a little less than what was required to acquire Cole.

RHP Fernando Romero – Romero is currently 24 years old and has spent parts of 2018 and 2019 in the big leagues. While his numbers in 2019, his first year as a bullpen arm, weren’t great, his potential is still high.
IF Travis Blankenhorn – He was just added to the 40-man roster, but like Martin, he split 2019 between High-A and AA and hit 19 home runs despite missing a bit more than a month with a broken finger.
OF/1B – Brent Rooker – Can you imagine what Brent Rooker could do to baseballs in the Mile High City? Rooker had been in the top 100 prospects last year but injuries cost him time in 2019. But his power is legit.
RHP Griffin Jax – Now, when I put this together, I wasn’t sure if Jax would be added to the 40-man roster. The Denver-area native wasn’t added to the 40-man roster, so he’s less likely to be tradable until after the Rule 5 draft. But there are any number of similar pitchers in the organization that the Rockies might have an interest in as well. If I were to keep the theme of Denver-area people, Bailey Ober might be a candidate. Or, might it take a pitcher with some big-league service time like a Devin Smeltzer or even Lewis Thorpe to be a sufficient final piece?
Let’s be honest. There’s no way to know what the Rockies would ask for. Maybe instead of four similar prospects, they may ask for one big prospect with one lesser prospect, or maybe the fourth player in this deal could be two other players.

Summary
The Twins – and every team in baseball – want to find the next Gerrit Cole.
Rockies ace Jon Gray has a lot of similarities to Gerrit Cole pre-trade, both statistically and in terms of stuff.
The Twins – and every team in baseball – will need to attempt to evaluate if they have ways that could make Gray take the next step toward becoming an elite starter.
Determine how much your team is willing to trade in exchange for Jon Gray (and then go-ahead and try to convince the Rockies that it is enough).
Hope! Hey, just because there are similarities between pitchers (age, size, stats and stuff) does not necessarily mean that they will have the same success. There is a lot of luck involved. But Derek Falvey has a reputation for developing pitchers. Wes Johnson got a lot of credit for some of the Twins’ pitching successes and improvements in 2019.
If nothing else, it’s fun to think about. Finding the next Gerrit Cole is half the battle. Helping him develop into that pitcher is another thing. Maybe there are red flags, concerns about Jon Gray specifically. Maybe there are other issues that the Twins need to factor and consider. We can’t know it all, but as fans, we’ve been waiting for a true ace since Johan Santana.

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On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Pirates added five players to their 40 man roster in order to protect them form next month’s Rule 5 Draft
5 PM on Wednesday afternoon was the deadline for MLB teams to add minor league players to their 40 man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. With this, new Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Ben Cherington had his first course of action as the team’s new GM.

Cherington, with the help of assistant Kevan Graves and minor league director Larry Broadway, chose five players to add to the 40 man roster. These five players were third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, shortstop Oneil Cruz, first baseman Will Craig, and pitchers Blake Cederlind and Cody Ponce.

Entering Wednesday the Pirates had 39 players on their 40 man roster. Due to this, in order to add five players to their 40 man roster, four had to come off. This led to the team designating four players for assignment. These four players were all pitchers – Dario Agrazal, Luis Escobar, Montana DuRapau, and Williams Jerez.

None of the players added to the 40 man roster come as a surprise. Hayes and Cruz are arguably the team’s top two prospects, and two of the top 100 prospects in all of baseball. If all goes according to plan, Hayes will be the team’s starting third baseman at some point in 2020.

While I am not as high on Craig as others, he has hit for impressive power in the minor leagues and will likely make his MLB debut at some point in 2020. Both Cederlind and Ponce are intriguing relief pitcher prospects. With the exception of Cruz, each of the players that were protected are likely to make their MLB debut at some point during the 2020 season.

NEXT: Pirates Mailbag: November 20th, 2019
Each of the four players that were designated for assignment spent time at the MLB level for the Pirates in 2019. However, each of them struggled in their time with the Bucs. In fact, this is the second consecutive offseason in which Agrazal has been designated for assignment.

The Pirates 40 man roster is now full. So, in order to add anyone to it via free agency, a waiver claim, or a trade that does not send someone on the 40 man roster to the other team involved in the deal, the Pirates will have to take someone off the 40 man. This is just the start of a busy offseason for Cherington and the Pirate front office.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates are reliant upon their farm system, and their 15th-ranked prospect pipeline can’t fill the demand in Pittsburgh.

You don’t have to look too far into the past, the off-season between 2016 and 2017 to be exact, to find a time when the Pittsburgh Pirates had a minor league system ranked among baseball’s elite. At the time the Pirates were ranked fifth in Major League Baseball.

Number one prospect Tyler Glasnow had spent the previous season breezing through AA/AAA with a 1.93 ERA, 144/68 K/BB in 117 inning and allowing just 69 hits. He did struggle in his 23 MLB innings – posting a 4.63 ERA, but his 97 MPH fast ball, along with a plus curveball could easily make you look past that small sample size.

Austin Meadows was battling his way through AA/AAA, struggling with injuries and posting a 266/.333/.536 slash line with 12 homers.

Mitch Keller had performed very well in low and high A. In 130 innings the young Keller struck out 138 batters with a 2.35 ERA.

Josh Bell had shown glimpses of his potential in his first taste of the majors during the previous season, especially with a Grand Slam against the Cubs in only his second game. He had 121 at bats, just under the threshold of 122, so this could skew the numbers a little bit, but not enough to really matter.

Over the past three years the Pirates have quickly fallen from the elite ranking of 2016-2017 to the completely average ranking of #15 this offseason. Several promotions (Josh Bell, Kevin Newman, Steven Brault, Elias Diaz and Trevor William), a glaring swing and miss (Nick Kingham) and an ill-advised trade (Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and Shane Baz) have led the Pirates to this point. Regressions for Will Craig, Ke’Bryan Hayes and Kevin Kramer also have not helped the Pirate’s cause. For some teams this would not have been as detrimental as it has been to the Pirates, but with a limited/restricted MLB salary and less players that have fit the top prospect mold (only 3 currently in the MILB top 100); it has been absolutely devastating. How are the Pirates supposed to compete with this level of lost talent, along with the restrictions (real and imagined) that have been placed on them? Well, their 69-93 record of 2019 should tell you that as the roster, both in the majors and minors, is currently constructed it is a long shot to say the least.

The question now is, how do the Pirates get back to the place they were in prior to the 2017 season? My advice is to look toward some of the successful organizations that both new Pirates’ President Travis Williams and recently hired GM Ben Cherington have mentioned during their press conferences/meet and greets over the past couple of weeks; specifically the Tampa Rays and the Oakland A’s.

The Tampa Bay Rays have long been the gold standard as to how to put a competitive product on the field, while maintaining an extremely low payroll. And, what about the Rays? For one, they always have an elite-level farm system. Currently they are ranked #2 with such highly touted prospects as SS Wander Franco (#1 overall in MILB), LHP/DH Brendan McKay (#15), 2B/SS Vidal Braun (#44), RHP Brett Honeywell (#75) and of course RHP Shane Baz (#96). Over the past five years the lowest the Rays have been ranked is #11 and this only lasted for one off-season before they climbed their way back up to #2. They have also been able to identify, acquire and develop players that other major league teams have set aside, given up on or just haven’t been able to get the best out of.

The A’s on the other hand have steadily moved up and down through the farm system rankings based on promotions/graduations. However, they regularly returned to the top 10; settling in at #7 currently. They have done this through diligent player development, as well as through trades. Currently 10 of their top 30 prospects have been acquired via trade.

So what’s the next step? For now it will be up to Cherington and Williams to assemble an organizational team that recognizes the strengths and weakness that exist under the current structure and is able to move forward in the framework that teams such as the A’s and Rays have created. Or, if they really want to make a difference, one that is on the forefront of player development and acquisition that would make even these teams jealous.

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Josh Bell’s 472-foot home run at PNC Park on Wednesday created plenty of chatter around town, but it pales in comparison to two struck by legendary Pirates Hall of Famer Willie Stargell.

It also wasn’t Bell’s longest this season — he hit a 474-foot shot April 7 — and only tied teammate Jung Ho Kung for the third-longest by the Pirates since 2015, according to Statcast.

Bell’s two tape-measure blasts this season rank fourth and fifth all-time at PNC Park.

Here is a list of the five longest documented home runs in Pirates history. Some of the distances are estimated. Statcast didn’t start tracking distances until 2015.

1. Willie Stargell, May 20, 1978, Olympic Stadium, Montreal, 535 feet

Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson said Stargell had “power enough to hit home runs in any park, including Yellowstone.”

Stargell hit 475 home runs in a 21-year career, including two of the inside-the-park variety at cavernous Forbes Field.

He arrived at Stade Olympique only two home runs shy of tying Duke Snider on the all-time list. Serendipitously, Snider was part of the Expos’ broadcast team that day. Stargell hit two off Expos pitcher Wayne Twitchell, but the second one — with John Milner on base — was the most memorable.

“He made perfect contact,” Twitchell later said in an article on baseballhall.org. “This ball made it to the upper deck in a heartbeat. It was like trying to watch a tracer bullet — you could hear it when it hit. I was kind of in shock.”

“One of the most awesome things I have ever seen in my life,” Expos pitcher Rudy May said.

The baseball kept carrying and appeared like it might hit the far side of the dome. But it landed in the upper deck in right field.

The Expos painted the seat where Stargell’s blast landed in Pirates yellow. It was relocated to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ontario, after the Expos moved to Washington, D.C., and became the Nationals.

Stargell, apparently, liked hitting long home runs in Montreal.

Prior to playing their games in Olympic Stadium, the Expos played in Jarry Park, which had a public pool outside the right-field scoreboard. The team presented Stargell with a life preserver to commemorate “all the swimmers he chased out of the pool.”

2. Stargell, Aug. 5, 1969, Dodger Stadium, 506 feet

Hall of Fame Dodgers pitcher Don Sutton didn’t surrender this home run, but he saw it.

Later, he commented in a baseballhall.org article, “I never saw anything like it. (Stargell) doesn’t just hit pitchers. He takes away their dignity.”

The solo blast off Alan Foster was the first to clear every part of Dodger Stadium and land in the parking lot.

“I never saw anything like it,” Sutton said.

3. Pedro Alvarez, PNC Park, Oct. 4, 2015, 479 feet

Alvarez’s home run was struck on the last game of the season against Cincinnati Reds pitcher Josh Smith, leaving his bat at 115.4 mph. It helped the Pirates to a 4-0 victory, No. 98 on the season and the most in 24 years.

The home run was second-longest in PNC Park history and the longest by a Pirate. The PNC Park record (484 feet) was set by the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa in 2002.

Alvarez’s homer was a solo shot that didn’t reach the Allegheny River, but he had four others that did. One of those was struck in 2015 against the Minnesota Twins’ Rick Nolasco. It landed 461 feet from home plate in a boat docked between the fourth light tower and foul pole.

4. Josh Bell, PNC Park, April 7, 2019, 474 feet

The game against the Reds was better known for the benches-clearing fracas that erupted when Chris Archer threw behind Derek Dietrich, a retaliatory measure for Dietrich admiring a home run he hit previously.

Bell’s blast against Anthony DeSclafani left his bat at 113.3 mph in the fourth inning and is the fourth-longest at PNC Park.

5(t). Jung Ho Kang, Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Sept. 8, 2015, 472 feet

Kang’s home run against the Reds’ Collin Balestar was his 14th of the season, and it led to a 7-3 victory.

5(t). Bell, PNC Park, May 8, 2019, 472 feet

Bell’s home run against the Texas Rangers’ Shelby Miller was his team-leading ninth of the season and it was only the fourth all-time that landed in the Allegheny River on the fly.

But the dramatic blast that tied the score, 2-2, in the fourth inning, got lost amid the bullpen woes that are currently plaguing the Pirates. The Pirates lost, 9-6.

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One of the many great things about baseball is that time can never run out. In baseball, a comeback is always possible. The game’s not over until you get the 27th out — or, sometimes, a lot more than that.

Extra-inning games are nothing unusual in Major League Baseball, of course. But some games in MLB history have truly gone to the extreme. Every once in a while, two teams meet on the field and produce a game far longer than a single game has any business going — even beyond the 20-inning mark.

MLB.com takes a look back at those marathon contests. Here are the longest games played, by number of innings, in Major League history since 1900.

1. May 1, 1920: Brooklyn Robins 1, Boston Braves 1
Length: 26 innings
The longest game by innings in Major League history could have gone even longer — after 26 innings, the game was called due to darkness. The Robins (the predecessors to the Dodgers) and Braves were tied at 1, and that’s how the game ended. The entire episode took just three hours and 50 minutes.

Brooklyn’s run came courtesy of leadoff man Ivy Olson, who lined an RBI single over Hall of Fame shortstop Rabbit Maranville’s head in the fifth. Boston’s Tony Boeckel drove in the tying run with a single to center in the bottom of the sixth. The teams traded zeros for 20 innings until night fell at Braves Field.

The next day’s New York Times story joked that umpire Barry McCormick “remembered that he had an appointment pretty soon with a succulent beefsteak. He wondered if it wasn’t getting dark. He held out one hand as a test and decided that in the gloaming it resembled a Virginia ham. He knew it wasn’t a Virginia ham and became convinced that it was too dark to play ball. Thereupon, he called the game, to the satisfaction of himself and (fellow umpire Bob Hart) and the chagrin of everybody else concerned.”

This game is unbelievable by today’s standards. Not just for its sheer length, but because of the pitchers’ duel that it contained. Both starting pitchers, Brooklyn’s Leon Cadore and Boston’s Joe Oeschger, pitched the entire 26 innings of the game. Somehow, they only allowed one run apiece.

“If a pitcher couldn’t go the distance,” Oeschger would tell the Sarasota Herald-Tribune decades later, “he soon found himself some other form of occupation.”

2 (Tie). May 8, 1984: Chicago White Sox 7, Milwaukee Brewers 6
Length: 25 innings
This is the longest game in MLB history in terms of time. It took eight hours and six minutes — and it had to be completed over two days.

The game began on May 8. With 14,754 fans in attendance at Comiskey Park, the two teams played 17 innings before the game was suspended at 1 a.m. with the score tied, 3-3. There was an American League rule that no new inning could begin after that time.

Milwaukee looked like it would win in regulation after taking a two-run lead in the top of the ninth inning. But down to their final out and facing Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers, the White Sox rallied to tie the score on a double by Julio Cruz and a single by Rudy Law.

Neither team scored again until the next day. When the game resumed, the Brewers took the lead again in the 21st inning on a three-run homer by Ben Oglivie. Somehow, Chicago managed to tie the game again in the bottom half, on RBI knocks by Carlton Fisk and Tom Paciorek, and the two teams played on.

In the bottom of the 25th — after a scoreless top half by Tom Seaver, on in relief — the White Sox ended the game with a bang. Harold Baines drove a walk-off home run off Chuck Porter to win it for Chicago.

2 (Tie). Sept. 11, 1974: St. Louis Cardinals 4, New York Mets 3
Length: 25 innings
The 13,460 fans who arrived at Shea Stadium on this Wednesday night in September had no idea what they were in for: A seven-hour, four-minute contest that wouldn’t end until 3:13 in the morning, becoming the longest continuous Major League game (by innings) where a winner was decided.

Jerry Koosman carried a 3-1 lead into the ninth for the Mets, but he gave up a game-tying homer to Ken Reitz with two outs. Neither team scored again until the 25th, when St. Louis’ Bake McBride — aptly nicknamed “Shake ‘n Bake” — made something happen with his wheels. McBride led off with an infield hit, then scored all the way from first on a wild pickoff throw by Hank Webb. With sunrise barely three hours away, the Cards held on for the 4-3 win. The Mets estimated about 1,000 fans were left in the stands.

“I figured I could get to third,” McBride said after the game, per The Associated Press report. “Then, when I turned second, I said to myself, ‘I’m going all the way.’”

Other historical footnotes: Yogi Berra, the Mets’ manager at the time, was ejected in the 20th inning, at about 1:30 a.m. Lou Brock came into the game with 105 stolen bases, but was caught trying for No. 106. Keith Hernandez appeared in only 14 games for the Cards as a rookie in 1974, and this was one. Claude Osteen pitched 9 1/3 scoreless innings in relief for St. Louis; Jerry Cram pitched eight scoreless innings in relief for New York. Fifty players appeared in the game, and about 180 baseballs were used.

Joe Torre, a Cardinals outfielder then, said afterwards: “That was the fastest 25-inning game I ever played.”

4 (Tie). April 15, 1968: Houston Astros 1, New York Mets 0
Length: 24 innings
The Mets, it seems, have a penchant for playing in historically long games. Six years before they played 25 innings in Flushing, they played 24 against the Astros in Houston. Incredibly, the game was scoreless until the bottom of the 24th, the longest any Major League game has ever stayed scoreless.

The six-hour, six-minute contest at the Astrodome began Hall of Famer Tom Seaver on the mound for the Mets and Don Wilson for the Astros. Both starters were at the top of their game. Wilson went nine scoreless and allowed only five hits. Seaver, who was in his second MLB season and a year away from leading the Miracle Mets to the 1969 World Series title, threw 10 shutout innings and allowed just two hits. Tom Terrific retired 25 straight batters between the bottom of the second and the bottom of the 10th.

As the teams marched on, they eventually set the record to that point for the longest night game in history, a note posted to the Astrodome scoreboard — along with some lighthearted messages to the fans who stuck it out. In the 20th inning, the scoreboard read: “We hope you are enjoying tonight’s third game as much as you enjoyed the first two.”

The game was finally decided when, with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 24th inning, Houston’s Bob Aspromonte hit a routine ground ball to short. It could have been an inning-ending double play to send the game to the 25th. But it skidded off the Astroturf and through shortstop Al Weis’ legs, allowing the game’s lone, walk-off run to score.

“I just plain blew it,” Weis said after the game.

4 (Tie). July 21, 1945: Detroit Tigers 1, Philadelphia Athletics 1
Length: 24 innings
Before the White Sox and Brewers surpassed them four decades later, the Tigers and A’s had the AL record for longest game. This game, like the Robins and Braves’ 26-inning record-setter, ended in a tie.

The two teams met on a Saturday afternoon at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, and they played all 24 innings in a brisk four hours, 48 minutes. Both the Tigers and A’s used only two pitchers.

For the Tigers, Les Mueller handled the first 19 2/3 innings, allowing only one unearned run. Mueller was one of the many ballplayers just returning from military service in World War II when this game was played. With two runners on and two outs in the 20th inning, manager Steve O’Neill called on Dizzy Trout in relief. Trout had pitched 4 2/3 innings the day before, but he escaped the jam and pitched the final 4 1/3 innings of the game without allowing a run.

The A’s were still managed by the legendary Connie Mack, 82 years old and in his 45th season with the team. Mack let starting pitcher Russ Christopher go the first 13 innings; he allowed one run. Then Joe Berry came in to pitch the final 11 frames, and he held the Tigers scoreless.
Philadelphia’s only run came in the bottom of the fourth, when Buddy Rosar knocked an RBI single to left field. Detroit tied things up in the top of the seventh on a Doc Cramer run-scoring groundout. That’s how the score stayed until the game was called due to darkness.

4 (Tie). Sept. 1, 1906: Philadelphia Athletics 4, Boston Americans 1
Length: 24 innings
Connie Mack managed the A’s for so long, he was a part of two separate 24-inning games nearly four decades apart. Mack was only in his sixth season in Philadelphia when the first of those games took place before an estimated crowd of 18,000 on a Saturday afternoon at the Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston — the home of the Red Sox before Fenway Park, when they were still called the Americans.

The A’s struck first with a run-scoring infield hit by Harry Lord in the top of the third inning. Boston answered in the bottom of the sixth, when Freddy Parent tripled to the wall in right field and Chick Stahl, in his last year as the Americans’ player-manager, drove him in with a single.

That was the only offense until the 24th inning, when the A’s broke open the game on a tiebreaking RBI single by Osee Schrecongost and RBI triples by Socks Seybold and Danny Murphy. As darkness started to fall, Philadelphia closed out the win.

Both starting pitchers — A’s rookie Jack Coombs and the Americans’ Joe Harris — pitched the entire game. Coombs was especially brilliant, yielding just the one run and striking out 18. Harris’ performance was of course nothing to sneeze at, as he was strong until the 24th and struck out 14 himself.

7 (Tie). May 31, 1964: San Francisco Giants 8, New York Mets 6
Length: 23 innings
A 25-, a 24- and now a 23-inning game for the Mets, who are the only MLB team to play three games of at least 23 innings. Unfortunately for them, they lost all three.

This tilt against the Giants, whose move to San Francisco in 1957 was one of the catalysts for the Mets becoming an MLB franchise, was played in front of 57,037 fans at Shea Stadium. It was the Mets’ first year at Shea — the then-lovable losers had just left the Giants’ old home, the Polo Grounds.

It wasn’t just your ordinary 23-inning game, though. It was the second game of a doubleheader. Yes, the Mets and Giants had already played nine innings (the Giants won, 5-3), when they took the field for 23 more. Their grand total of innings played on the day: 32.

In the 23-inning Game 2, the Giants jumped out to a 6-1 lead, including a first-inning RBI single by Willie Mays. But the Mets fought back and tied the game in the bottom of the seventh on a three-run homer by Joe Christopher. The next runs came 16 innings later, when the Giants prevailed.

In the top of the 23rd, Del Crandall ripped an RBI double to right field, and Jesus Alou followed with a run-scoring infield hit. The win went to a young Gaylord Perry, who pitched 10 scoreless innings in relief with nine strikeouts. In his book “Me and the Spitter,” the Hall of Famer would write that this was the game where “they saw Gaylord Perry throw a spitter under pressure for the first, but hardly the last, time in his career.”

7 (Tie). June 27, 1939: Brooklyn Dodgers 2, Boston Bees 2
Length: 23 innings
Not content with their MLB-record 26-inning matchup nearly two decades before, these same two clubs met again for 23 more in 1939. The Robins had since become the Dodgers, while the Braves were now in the middle of a five-year spell nicknamed the Bees. But though the names had changed, the result was the same: Just as in the first marathon, no winner was decided. Yes, the teams played 49 innings across those two games and ended up with two ties.

On this Tuesday at Braves Field, the Bees took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on an RBI single by Hank Majeski and a sacrifice fly by Eddie Miller. The Dodgers got one back in the next half-inning on a run-scoring groundout by Mel Almada, and they tied the game in the top of the eighth on an RBI single by Ernie Koy. That was all for the scoring.

After five hours and 15 minutes, with the sun setting, the game was called. But the Bees would have won in the 13th if not for a cruel twist of fate. When Dodgers third baseman Cookie Lavagetto let a grounder go through his legs, pinch-runner Otto Huber was rounding third to score the winning run … when he tripped and fell over the base. He retreated to third, and a strikeout and groundout ended the threat.

Dodgers starter Whit Wyatt pitched 16 innings of two-run baseball, while Lou Fette started for the Bees and allowed two runs in nine innings. Neither bullpen allowed a run, with Boston’s Milt Shoffner turning in an especially strong relief effort, throwing eight scoreless innings to conclude the game.

22-inning games

There have only been eight Major League games of 23 innings or longer, while there have been nine at exactly the 22-inning mark. Here is a rundown of that next-longest tier of games.

April 17, 2008: Colorado Rockies 2, San Diego Padres 1
The April after their “Rocktober” run to the 2007 NL pennant — which began with a win over San Diego in a one-game tiebreaker to determine the Wild Card — the Rockies prevailed in a six-hour, 16-minute affair against the Padres at Petco Park. The game started as a pitchers’ duel between San Diego’s Jake Peavy, who threw eight scoreless innings and struck out 11, and Colorado’s Jeff Francis, who went seven scoreless.

No runs were scored until the 14th inning, when Brad Hawpe drew a bases-loaded walk to give Colorado a 1-0 lead in the top half, only for the Padres to tie the score on a Josh Bard RBI single in the bottom half. The teams played seven more scoreless innings until the 22nd, when Troy Tulowitzki drove the go-ahead double to deep left-center, and the Rockies held on.

Aug. 31, 1993: Minnesota Twins 5, Cleveland Indians 4
The AL Central foes clashed for six hours and 17 minutes at the Metrodome before the home team came away with the win. RBI doubles by Albert Belle and Jim Thome had given the Tribe a 4-1 lead in the eighth inning, but the Twins got two back in the eighth and tied the game at 4 on a Terry Jorgensen double in the bottom of the ninth. That’s where the score stayed for 11 1/2 extra innings, until in the bottom of the 22nd, Pedro Munoz ended the game with a walk-off home run off Jason Grimsley.

Aug. 23, 1989: Los Angeles Dodgers 1, Montreal Expos 0
This six-hour, 14-minute game at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium ended in favor of the visitors. No one scored until the 22nd and final inning, making this game second only to the 24-inning Mets-Astros 1968 tilt as far as longest scoreless start. The lone run was a homer by Rick Dempsey leading off the 22nd against Expos ace Dennis Martinez, who’d been called on in relief, his first appearance out of the bullpen since 1986 and his last until 1993. Los Angeles got strong pitching performances from Orel Hershiser, who shut out the Expos for the first seven innings, and a rookie John Wetteland, who did so for the final six.

June 3, 1989: Houston Astros 5, Los Angeles Dodgers 4
The Astros won their 24-inning game against the Mets, and they won this game, too, beating the Dodgers in a seven-hour, 14-minute contest at the Astrodome. The score was 4-4 after six innings, with the key knocks including a home run by Kirk Gibson for the Dodgers and a two-run single by Ken Caminiti for the Astros. After the sixth, the teams played the next 15 1/2 innings without another run. But in the bottom of the 22nd, Rafael Ramirez lined a walk-off single to right field to give Houston the victory.

May 12, 1972: Milwaukee Brewers 4, Minnesota Twins 3
The Brewers went on the road to Metropolitan Stadium and came away with a win over the host Twins after five hours and 47 minutes. Hall of Famer Rod Carew accounted for two of the Twins’ first three runs with a pair of run-scoring hits, while the Brewers’ Tommie Reynolds hit a game-tying two-run single in the seventh. After 14 innings of scoreless play, Milwaukee broke the tie in the 22nd on Mike Ferraro’s single off none other than Bert Blyleven, who was just 21 years old at the time. That was the Hall of Famer’s only relief appearance that season, and he didn’t make another until eight years later.

June 12, 1967: Washington Senators 6, Chicago White Sox 5
It took six hours and 38 minutes, but the home team finally prevailed at D.C. Stadium. The Senators and White Sox were tied 4-4 after nine innings, with Cap Peterson having hit two home runs for Washington, including going back-to-back with Frank Howard in the fourth. But Washington almost lost in the 10th after Don Buford knocked a go-ahead single for the White Sox. Jim King, though, came through with a game-tying sac fly in the bottom of the inning, and the score stayed tied until the 22nd. Paul Casanova came to bat for the Senators with the bases loaded and smacked a walk-off single to left field.

June 24, 1962: New York Yankees 9, Detroit Tigers 7
The Yankees would win the World Series in 1962, the last title of the Mickey Mantle dynasty, and they were also the winners of this seven-hour game at Tiger Stadium. The Yanks jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the top of the first — Mantle opened the scoring with an RBI single, Yogi Berra hit a sac fly, Moose Skowron had an RBI hit and Clete Boyer hit a three-run homer. But by the sixth, the Tigers had tied the game at 7, on Rocky Colavito’s run-scoring single. That was the last of the scoring until the 22nd inning, when Jack Reed’s two-run homer off Phil Regan gave New York the lead for good.

Still, the highlight of the game might have been Colavito’s offensive performance for the losing side. The Tigers’ cleanup hitter went an incredible 7-for-10 at the plate, making him one of just six players in Major League history with a seven-hit game, regardless of game length.

May 17, 1927: Chicago Cubs 4, Boston Braves 3
Boston’s Bob Smith was a hard-luck loser in this game at Braves Field — the hurler went all 22 innings but gave up the decisive hit to the Cubs’ Charlie Grimm in the 22nd. The Cubs, meanwhile, divided up the innings between three pitchers. The winner, Bob Osborn, entered in the ninth and tossed 14 scoreless frames, allowing only six hits. On the offensive side, Hall of Famer Hack Wilson had the most hits of any player in the game, going 4-for-8 for Chicago, including an RBI single all the way back in the fifth inning.

Aug. 22, 1917: Brooklyn Robins 6, Pittsburgh Pirates 5
You might remember Leon Cadore as the starting pitcher for the Robins who went all 26 innings in MLB’s longest game. Well, he also started this 22-inning game at Ebbets Field three years earlier, although he went only seven innings and was removed after the Pirates tied the game against him with a pair of runs in both the sixth and the seventh. Larry Cheney came on in relief and threw 13 scoreless innings, followed by Hall of Famer Rube Marquard, who entered in the 21st and pitched the final two frames.

For the Pirates, Elmer Jacobs pitched 16 2/3 innings in relief and allowed just one run … unfortunately, the winning run. In the bottom of the 22nd, Jim Hickman led off with his fifth hit of the day. He would score the walk-off run on a fielder’s choice, coming home all the way from second when Pittsburgh second baseman Jake Pitler hesitated in deciding whether to try to turn a double play on Otto Miller’s ground ball. One piece of trivia: This was one of Honus Wagner’s final big league appearances — the 43-year-old Hall of Famer, in his final MLB season, pinch-hit for the Pirates during the game.

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Many Hall of Famers made it to the big leagues with their bats or their arms. Max Carey did it with his legs.

Carey, nicknamed “Scoops”, set a National League record with 738 career stolen bases and led the NL in steals 10 times.

“He was just as fast between the ears as he was with his feet,” said future Hall of Fame pitcher Joe Williams. “That’s what made him harder to stop than a run in a silk stocking.”

Born on Jan. 11, 1890, Carey was on track to become a minister at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Mo., but after playing baseball in college, he signed with South Bend of the Cactus League in 1909.

He became a switch hitter and joined the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1910. By 1913, at age 23, Carey led the NL in plate appearances (692), at bats (620), runs (99) and (61) stolen bases while hitting .277. It was the first of six seasons Carey would steal over 50 bases.

“The secret is getting a good jump,” said Carey. “I’d watch the pitcher’s motion and then be at full speed after two steps. I think stealing third can sometimes be easier than stealing second. It all depends on the pitcher.”

In 1922, Carey stole 51 bases in 53 attempts. He kept his legs in good shape in the off season and believed it took a smart man to steal bases.

“Base-stealing is a battle of wits between the runner and the pitcher,” said Carey.

In 1926, Carey had an argument with management and was waived by the Pirates. He joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, where he finished his career in 1929.

Carey not only excelled on the basepaths, but led the National League in outfield putouts nine times and established a then-career record of 6,363. He hit over .300 six times for a lifetime batting average of .285. He also posted 2,665 hits, 159 triples and 1,545 runs scored.

In 1930, Carey returned as a coach for the Pirates and also managed the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1932-33. He stayed active in baseball as a scout for the Orioles and managed several minor league teams.

In 1944, he became a skipper in a different league. He managed the Milwaukee Chicks of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. He was president of the AAGPBL from 1945-49 and managed the Fort Wayne Daisies from 1950-51.

Carey was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1961 by the Veterans Committee.

Carey died on May 30, 1976.