With all the superstars who have played major league baseball in Pittsburgh, it’s unfathomable that the Pirates did not have their own Hall of Fame before 2022. Well, that oversight was rectified on September 3, when the Pittsburgh Pirates held a special induction ceremony at PNC Park’s Riverwalk and honored their inaugural class. Nineteen members were inducted for their achievements and contribution to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Homestead Grays, and the Pittsburgh Crawfords. Of those 19 members, 16 have already been inducted into the Baseball of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Beckley played in Pittsburgh from 1888 to 1896. During his career, the first baseman played for the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, Pittsburgh Burghers and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Nicknamed “Eagle Eye,” Beckley had a .309 batting average and an MLB record 23,767 putouts. He continues to rank fourth all-time among major leaguers in triples, as well as top ranks for most career putouts and most games played at first base. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.
Blass spent 60 years with the Pirates, signing with the team out of high school. Blass was one of the top pitchers between 1968 and 1972. After his remarkable pitching career, he worked for the team as a broadcaster. He is noted for his complete-game victory in Game 7 of the 1971 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles. Blass was inducted into the Kinston Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.
Brown played from 1930 to 1948 in the Negro Leagues; He played for the Homestead Grays from 1932 to 1945 and again for the 1947-48 season. The pitcher had a 122-45 Win-Loss record and won two Negro World championship titles. In 1938, Brown was the second player in Negro league history to win the pitching Triple Crown. Brown was named to the Washington Nationals Ring of Honor in 2010 for his “significant contribution to the game of baseball in Washington, D.C” as part of the Homestead Grays. He was elected to the Baseball of Fame in 2006.
Carey played for the Pirates from 1910 to 1926 as a left fielder. He became a World Series champion in 1925 and led the league 10 times in stolen bases. In 1926, Carey coached the Pirates for the 1930 season and entered the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1961.
Charleston was a center fielder and manager in the Negro Leagues. He played for the Homestead Grays during the 1930-32 seasons. Charleston began playing for and managing the Pittsburgh Crawfords in 1932. He played with the team until 1937 but stayed on as manager for another year. During his career, Charelston won three Negro National League pennants and three triple crowns. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976.
Clemente played 18 seasons for the Pirates until his tragic death in a plane crash on December 31, 1972. The right fielder made 15 all-star appearances, won 12 Gold Gloves, and 4 NL batting championships in addition to winning two World Series Championships. He also joined the exclusive 3,000 hits club. The beloved Clemente was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1973 as the committee suspended the rule of a player needing to be retired for five years before being granted consideration for membership.
Clarke played for the Pirates from 1900 to 1911 and again from 1913 to 1915. During that time, he also managed the team. Clarke played in the first World Series in 1903; unfortunately, the team lost to the Boston Red Sox. The Pirates returned to the series in 1909, this time, taking home the championship title. Clarke was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945.
Gibson played for the Homestead Grays at three different times: 1930-1931, 1937-1939, and 1942-1946. He played for the Pittsburgh Crawfords during those first gap years from 1932 to 1936. Considered one of the greatest power hitters and catchers in baseball history, Gibson won two Negro World Series championships, was a three-time batting champion, and a two-time Triple Crown winner. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.
Kiner played for the Pirates from 1946 to 1953. He was a six-time all-star and seven-time National League homerun leader. The left fielder also led the National League in RBIs in 1949. He joined the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975.
Leonard played with the Homestead Grays from 1934-1950. During his illustrious career, he won three Negro World Series championships and two Negro National League batting championships as well as making 13 all-star appearances. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.
Mazeroski is a former second baseman who played his entire career for the Pirates from 1956 to 1972. He sealed his superstar status in game 7 of the 1960 World Series. In the ninth inning Mazeroski won the championship title with a walk-off home run, the only time that has happened in Game 7 of the World Series. He received the Babe Ruth Award for his play in the Series. The 8-time Gold Glove Award winner is one of two players on the 1960 team who also earned the championship title in 1971. The Pirates retired Mazeroski’s uniform number in 1987. He entered the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001.
Murtaugh held many positions with the Pirates over his nearly 30 years with the organization. He played for the Pirates from 1948 to 1951. Murtaugh coached the team for the 1956-57 season before taking on the position of team manager from 1957-1964, 1967, 1970-1971, and 1973-1976. The second baseman won two World Series Championships in 1960 and 1971 as the team’s manager. In 12 years of managing the Pirates, Murtaugh led the team to nine winning seasons and achieved five postseason appearances, the most in team history.
Parker spent 11 seasons with the Pirates, beginning his tenure in the unenviable position of taking over Roberto Clemente’s spot as right fielder. “The Cobra” played on the 1979 World Series Championship team and earned numerous all-star appearances. He was the 1978 and 1979 National League Batting Champ and garnered three Gold Glove Awards and three Silver Slugger Awards.
Stargell played for the Pirates from 1962 to 1982 as a left fielder and first baseman. The slugger notched 475 homeruns while with the team and led the National League in homeruns in 1971 and 1973. He won two World Series Championships in 1971 and 1979. The Pirates retired the seven-time All-Star’s uniform number in 1982. Stargell joined the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988.
Traynor was another of the inductees who played as well as coached. One of the best third basemen ever, Traynor played with the Pirates from 1920 to 1935 and again in 1937. He managed the team from 1934 to 1939. The two-time all-star won the World Series with the Pirates in 1925. He was the first third baseman to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Vaughan played for the Pirates from 1932 to 1941. During that time he was one of the best-hitting shortstops. The nine-time all-star won the National League batting title in 1935 and was the stolen base leader for the National League in 1943. He entered the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.
Wagner, “The Flying Dutchman” was born in Carnegie and played for the Pirates from 1900 to 1917. He coached the team from 1933 to 1951 and managed for one year in 1917. He won the World Series with the Pirates in 1909 and is one the best players to ever take the field. Wagner won numerous titles throughout his career and was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team and the Major League Baseball All-Time Team. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 when it held its first election, tying for second with Babe Ruth.
L. Waner, nicknamed “Little Poison” played for the Pirates from 1927 to 1941 and then again in 1944 and 1945. In his first three seasons the center fielder had a record-setting 678 hits. After retiring from the Pirates, he worked as a scout. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967.
P. Waner, brother to Lloyd, played right fielder for the Pirates from 1926 to 1940. Nicknamed “Big Poison,” Waner was a three-time National League batting champ. In 1927, he led the league in runs batted in and earned the title of league MVP. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1952.
By Janice L. Palko