It is hard to know exactly what the Pittsburgh Pirates’ newly created team Hall of Fame will look like in the future.
The Pirates have committed to conduct a yearly ceremony to induct new members. However, they haven’t decided much beyond that.
“We intentionally have not pinned down a process because it’s hard to know exactly what’s going to happen as we go forward,” Pirates owner Bob Nutting said Saturday after the Pirates inducted their first 19-member class. “We’re going to stay flexible, but we are going to find ways to continue to tell the stories. I think it’s such an important part of our legacy and we need to be responsible to share and celebrate that story every way we can.”
Even with the large first class, which included 16 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the Pirates still have a deep pool of candidates. After all, the franchise has been in business since 1882.
If the Pirates asked me – and they won’t – these would be my next five inductees (in alphabetic order):
The Pirates haven’t had a truly great pitcher in their long history. However, Adams is as significant as anyone who has ever taken the mound for the franchise.
Adams was a member of two Pirates’ World Series-winning teams that were, amazingly, 16 years apart in 1909 and 1925.
As a rookie in 1909, Adams had a spectacular season with a 12-3 record and 1.11 ERA in 12 starts and 13 relief appearances. He then went 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA in three World Series starts against the Detroit Tigers and Ty Cobb.
Then 43 years old, Adams was nearly at the end of the line in 1925. However, he did pitch one scoreless inning in his lone appearance in the World Series when the Pirates beat the Washington Senators and Walter Johnson.
Adams finished his 18-year career with the Pirates with a 194-140 record, 44 shutouts and a 2.74 ERA.
I’m not going to go into detail because I covered this subject last month. However, I will again remind everyone that Bonds is the only player in Pittsburgh Pirates’ history to win two National League MVP awards.
To not consider him one of the best players in franchise history is ludicrous, regardless of what anyone thinks about the man personally.
Joe L. Brown
He was the Pirates’ general manager for 21 years from 1956-76 and architect of World Series champions in 1960 and 1971.
Brown made too many shrewd moves to document in this space. But the Pirates were competitive throughout the 1960s and 1970s because of the rosters he constructed.
Brown also had a weekly radio show on KDKA-AM each Sunday during the season. That is a tradition, unique to any other franchise in baseball, that continues to this day with the Ben Cherington Show.
The Gunner was a Pirates’ broadcaster for 28 years from 1948-75 and one of most-beloved figures in franchise history. Some older fans still haven’t forgiven the Pirates for firing him following the 1975 season.
In fact, I still haven’t forgiven the Pirates for canning the colorful Prince. I was 11 years old then but my memories of listening to him call games remain vivid.
The Pirates tried to right a wrong in 1985 when they brought Prince back to do select games in the weeks preceding his death. They could try to right that wrong again with a spot in their Hall of Fame.
Yes, his 711-685 record in nine seasons as the Pittsburgh Pirates’ manager from 1977-85 is barely above .500. However, no one has guided the franchise to the World Series since Tanner led the Pirates over the Baltimore Orioles in 1979.
Until things fell apart at the end of his tenure, Tanner oversaw some of the most exciting teams in baseball with his willingness to steal bases and use strategies that were unconventional at the time.
Even after being fired, the always-upbeat Tanner, a native of New Castle, still spread the gospel of the Pirates to anyone who would listen. He finished his long career in the game as a special assistant in the organization.
A more wonderful guy you’d never find.