Races tight for Pirates' All-Time 9
Fans have until Sept. 23 to decide dream Bucs lineup
LOS ANGELES -- George Grantham in 1930 or Bill Mazeroski 36 years later? Manny Sanguillen or Jason Kendall? Barry Bonds' 34-homer season in 1992 or Roberto Clemente's 119-RBI season in 1966?
Pittsburgh fans are being asked to pick the best of the best.
With 123 years of history and seven franchise players enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Pirates have an unarguable storied history. And now fans have been asked to choose their dream Pirates lineup. In other words, which Pittsburgh player has had the greatest season at each position?
Here's a look at how the Pirates' closest races are shaping up:
Kendall and Sanguillen remain neck-in-neck for catching honors, with Kendall leading Sanguillen by about 500 votes at last count. Being compared are Sanguillen's 1971 season and Kendall's year in 1998. Sanguillen hit .319 with seven homers and 81 RBIs in '71. Kendall finished the '98 season with a .327 average, 75 RBIs, 26 stolen bases and 95 runs scored.
At second base, the vote is even closer. The choice seems to be between Mazeroski's 1961 season and Grantham's production in 1930. Currently, Mazeroski trails Grantham by about 400 votes. Grantham hit .324 with 18 homers, 99 RBIs and 120 runs scored in 1930, while Mazeroski batted .262 with 16 homers, 82 RBIs and 56 runs scored in '61.
With a bevy of worthy Pittsburgh outfielders to select from, Pirates fans have made Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Ralph Kiner the early leading vote-getters in the outfield. Clemente's best season came in '66 when he hit .317 with 29 homers and 119 RBIs. Kiner's 1949 season, in which he hit a club-record 54 homers and drove in 127, certainly stands out in the bunch. Stargell, the Pirates' all-time leader in home runs and RBIs, had his career year with 48 homers and 125 RBIs in 1971.
Closely trailing that trio are outfielders Bonds (.311, 34 homers, 103 RBIs in 1992), Andy Van Slyke (.324, 89 RBIs, 103 runs scored in 1992) and Dave Parker (.334, 30 homers, 117 RBIs in 1978).
Hall of Famer Pie Traynor, who played 17 seasons with the Pirates, enjoys a sizable lead ahead of Aramis Ramirez for honors as the team's best season by a third baseman. Traynor hit .366 and drove in 119 runs in 1930.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.