By Jason Shetler
Here is a look back at the Top 10 Pirates postseason performers in franchise history.
10. Bert Blyleven: The Pirates acquired Bert Blyleven in a four team deal from the Texas Rangers prior to the 1978 season. The 2011 Hall of Fame inductee pitched well during the 1979 postseason. Blyleven tossed a complete game to sweep the Cincinnati Reds in the NLCS. He then pitched two games in the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles where he posted 1.80 ERA.
9. Bill Madlock: In the summer of 1979, the Pirates pulled off a blockbuster trade by acquiring Bill Madlock from the San Francisco Giants. The four-time NL batting champ posted a .357 on base percentage with an .857 OPS in the NLCS that year. Madlock was even better in the Fall Classic, as he put up a .483 on base along with an .899 OPS against the Orioles.
8. Honus Wagner: The first Hall of Famer in Pirates history also had the privilege of being on the franchise’s first World Series championship team in 1909. Wagner certainly did not disappoint on the big stage, as he posted an on base of .467 while posting a .967 OPS against the Detroit Tigers.
7. Pie Traynor: Pie Traynor played a big role in the Pirates capturing their second World Series title in 1925. The Hall of Fame third baseman hit .346 with a 1.029 OPS against the Washington Senators.
6. Max Carey: For as good as Pie Traynor performed in the 1925 Fall Classic, his Hall of Fame teammate Max Carey put up even better numbers against the Senators. The Pirates all-time stolen base leader had an outstanding .552 on base as well as a 1.177 OPS.
5. Bill Mazeroski: The greatest defensive second baseman in baseball history also did quite well at the plate in the 1960 World Series against the heavily favored New York Yankees. Mazeroski compiled a .320 average including an OPS of .960. He hit two home runs during that World Series with one of them of course being the game-winning homer in Game 7 off Yankees reliever Ralph Terry to give the Pirates their third championship in club history.
4. Steve Blass: Baseball got to witness so many great pitchers during the 1960’s and early 70’s, but perhaps one of the most underrated pitchers from that era might have been Steve Blass. The Pirates longtime broadcaster struggled in the 1971 NLCS, however, that was wiped away very quickly. With the Bucs down 2-0 in the 71′ World Series to the Orioles, Blass went the distance in Game 3. The series went to a deciding Game 7 in Baltimore, and Blass rose to the occasion again, as he tossed another complete game victory to hand the Pirates their fourth World Series crown.
3. Willie Stargell: After not doing much during the 1971 postseason, Willie Stargell made that a distant memory. He had solid numbers in later postseasons, particularly in the 1979 World Series. Stargell put on a show in that Fall Classic, as he batted .400 along with a 1.208 OPS against the Orioles, and was named the World Series MVP in the process. During that 1979 postseason as a whole, Stargell hit five home runs, which still remains the Pirates postseason record.
2. Babe Adams: Considered the first great pitcher in Pirates history, Charles “Babe” Adams was instrumental in the Pirates first World Series championship team. In the 1909 World Series, Adams completely dominated the Tigers, as he posted a stellar 1.33 ERA in three complete game victories.
1. Roberto Clemente: For as great as Roberto Clemente performed during the regular season, he was just as better when it came to the postseason. Clemente did well in the 1960 World Series, as he batted .310. In the 1971 NLCS, he wound up hitting for a .333 average. Clemente shined in the 1971 World Series against the Orioles, batting .400 with a 1.210 OPS, and was the World Series MVP. In Clemente’s final postseason in the 1972 NLCS, he posted a .350 on base along with an .821 OPS. Clemente performed well in three different postseasons, making him the greatest postseason performer in Pirates history.