Pirates making home run history

It is widely known that the Pirates set a team record with 45 home runs in the month of August. It was a fun time to watch Pirate baseball, as the team seemingly scored at will. However, even with that eruption of power, the Bucs are currently tied for 20th in Major League Baseball with 135 home runs. Overall, it does not seem like a historically significant season. But take a look at the team’s individual leaders in home runs:

  • Adam LaRoche – 21
  • Jason Bay – 20
  • Xavier Nady – 17
  • Jose Bautista – 14
  • Nate McLouth – 12
  • Freddy Sanchez – 11
  • Ronny Paulino – 10
  • Jack Wilson – 9
  • Ryan Doumit – 9

What is noteworthy about these numbers? This is only the third team in the history of the franchise that has boasted seven players with ten or more home runs. If Wilson can hit one more in the final few weeks, it will be the first to have eight. The other two occasions in which seven players achieved the feat were in 1973 (Willie Stargell-44, Richie Hebner-25, Al Oliver-20, Bob Robertson-14, Manny Sanguillen-12, Rennie Stennett-10, Richie Zisk-10) and 1964 (Willie Stargell-21, Jerry Lynch-16, Roberto Clemente-12, Donn Clendenon-12, Bob Bailey-11, Bill Mazeroski-10, Jim Pagliaroni-10).
Keep in mind that these numbers do not indicate that the Pirates are developing into a powerful lineup. The fact that this has occurred only three times in the team’s history simply highlights the Pirates’ consistently feeble offense during Major League Baseball’s power explosion over the past 20 years. In fact, having seven or more players reach double digits in home runs is fairly common among the rest of the league. Taking a quick look around the league, I counted ten other teams that have accomplished the feat in 2007 alone. The New York Yankees have achieved the mark every year since 1996.
So let us enjoy watching this edition of the Pittsburgh Pirates make franchise history. However, as we are conditioned to do as Pirate fans, we must keep the feat in perspective. We are still taking baby steps when compared with the rest of the league.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference Play Index

Author: Matt Bandi

Matt has covered the Pirates at Wait ‘Til Next Year, Pittsburgh Lumber Co. and now Pirates Prospects. He served as Pirates team expert for Heater Magazine in 2009 and 2010 and has contributed to Graphical Player 2009, 2010 and 2011. Matt was also the editor of the 2011 and 2012 Pirates Prospects Annuals.

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  • http://mvn.com/mlb-pirates Cory Humes

    Just out of curiosity, I figured I’d check out where the Pirates’ lineup ranks in the power categories in the NL:
    135 home runs are good for 11th (of 16), 69 behind Milwaukee.
    296 doubles are good for 4th, 6 behind Chicago.
    .413 SLG ties us with Arizona for 8th, .047 behind the Phillies.
    I had a hunch that we were a a run-of-the-mill offense as far as power goes. Guys like Freddy and LaRoche seem to find the gap a lot, and while there’s an obvious difference between doubles and homers (namely, two bases), I think we can get by without having any true Prince Fielder types on the team.
    It’s going to be finding a balanced attack that’s most important moving forward, and that means finding two bats to complement LaRoche, Sanchez, Wilson, Nady, Bay and Pearce.

  • Randy

    Well done, Matt. Any post that mentions Pags has to be good.