In the 21st feature of an extensive series, we will take a look at the top 10 home run hitters of every Major League Baseball franchise. Here we feature the Pittsburgh Pirates. The history includes the Pittsburgh Allegheny from 1882 to 1890.
10) Bill Mazeroski
The Hall of Fame second baseman from Wheeling, West Virginia hit 138 home runs for the Pirates from 1956 to 1971. Mazeroski had a career-high 19 home runs in 1958. The 10-time All-Star will be best remembered for hitting the game-winning home run in the 1960 World Series in a 10-9 Pirates win over the New York Yankees. It is the only time in Major League history that a player hit a walk-off home run in the seventh game of the World Series. Mazeroski’s dramatic dinger was one of two home runs he hit in the 1960 World Series, as he also smoked a jack in game one, a 6-4 Pirates win.
9) Jason Bay
The left fielder from Trail, British Columbia, Canada hit 139 home runs for the Pirates from 2003 to 2008. He hit 26 home runs (which led all National League rookies) as the National League Rookie of the Year in 2004, 32 home runs as a National League All-Star in 2005, and 35 home runs as a National League All-Star in 2006. In May of 2006, Bay hit 12 home runs, setting a Pirates record for most home runs in a month.
8) Frank Thomas
Most remember Frank Thomas with the White Sox, but this Frank Thomas was an outfielder for the Pirates from 1952 to 1958, and hit 163 home runs. The native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who went to high school in Canada, hit a career-high 35 home runs in 1958. Thomas also hit 23 home runs as a National League All-Star in 1954, and 25 home runs as a National League All-Star in 1955.
7) Brian Giles
The outfielder from El Cajon, California hit 175 home runs with the Pirates from 1999 to 2003. He hit a career-high 39 home runs in 1999, 35 home runs as a National League All-Star in 2000, 37 home runs as a National League All-Star in 2001, and 38 home runs in 2002.
6) Dave Parker
The right fielder from Grenada, Mississippi hit 166 home runs with the Pirates from 1973 to 1983. He hit 21 home runs as a National League All-Star in 1977, 30 home runs as the National League MVP in 1978, 25 home runs as a National League All-Star in 1979, 17 home runs as a National League All-Star in 1980, and nine home runs as an All-Star in 1981.
5) Barry Bonds
The leftfielder from Riverside, California hit 176 home runs with the Pirates from 1986 to 1992. He hit 33 home runs with the Pirates as National League MVP and All-Star in 1990, and 34 home runs as National League MVP and All-Star in 1992. Bonds’s 16 home runs with the Pirates in 1986 led all National League rookies.
4) Andrew McCutchen
The centerfielder from Fort Meade, Florida has 215 home runs with the Pirates from 2009 to 2017 and again in 2023. The five-time All-Star had a career-high 31 home runs in 2012. When McCutchen was a National League MVP in 2013, he hit 21 home runs. On August 1, 2009, McCutchen became the first Pirates rookie player ever to hit three home runs in a game in an 11-6 Pirates win over the Washington Nationals.
3) Roberto Clemente
The Hall of Fame right fielder from Carolina, Puerto Rico had 240 home runs with the Pirates from 1955 to 1972. The 15-time All-Star hit a career-high 29 home runs in 1966, the year Clemente was named National League MVP. When the Pirates won the 1971 World Series, Clemente hit a home run in the seventh and deciding game in a 2-1 Pirates win over the Baltimore Orioles. Clemente was named the 1971 World Series MVP. Clemente’s most dramatic regular season home run came on July 25, 1956 in a 9-8 Pirates win over the Chicago Cubs. Clemente became the first Major League Baseball player ever to hit a walk-off inside the park grand slam.
2) Ralph Kiner
The Hall of Fame outfielder from Santa Rita, New Mexico had 301 home runs with the Pirates from 1946 to 1953. The five-time All-Star with the Pirates from 1948 to 1952, led the National League in home runs for seven straight seasons. Kiner had 23 home runs in 1946, 51 home runs in 1947, 40 home runs in 1948, 54 home runs in 1949, 47 home runs in 1950, 42 home runs in 1951, and 37 home runs in 1952. For six straight seasons from 1947 to 1952, Kiner led the Major Leagues in home runs, which was a Major League record. The 54 home runs Kiner hit in 1949, is a Pirates’a franchise record.
1) Willie Stargell
The Hall of Fame outfielder and first baseman from Earlsboro, Oklahoma had 475 home runs with the Pirates from 1963 to 1982. He led the Major Leagues with 48 home runs in 1971 and 44 home runs in 1973. As the National League MVP in 1979, Stargell hit 32 home runs. When the Pirates won the 1979 World Series, Stargell was the NLCS MVP and the World Series MVP. He hit two home runs in the 1979 NLCS three game sweep over the Cincinnati Reds (in game one, a 5-2 Pirates win, and in game three, a 7-1 Pirates win). Stargell added three more home runs in the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles. The third home run was the most meaningful, as it came in game seven, a 4-1 Pirates win. Stargell’s 296 home runs in the 1970s, led the decade.