Thursday, July 31, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Honus Wagner Career Hits Debate

Just a few days ago, there was many announcers stating that Derek Jeter had moved into the sole possession of 7th (8th if you count the real hit king) place on the All-Time Hits list.  However in doing research, I have seen multiple sources state different numbers for Honus Wagner's career hits.  While it will often be debated who is the greatest All-Time shortstop, one thing is for certain...Honus Wagner was the greatest before Jeter came along.

It even says it on his Hall of Fame plaque.

Here's a list of the various internet resources all stating different totals for Honus' hits totals
The back of the card above states 3,420
Baseball Reference siting 3,420
ESPN siting 3,415
Baseball Almanac siting 3,430

I think it's safe to say that Jeter will pass the 3,430 mark needing only 8 hits over the next two months, but what if he hadn't gotten to that mark.  Who would you claim was higher up on the All-Time hits list?

Furthermore who do you think is the greatest Shortstop of All-Time?
Also, what do you think about my latest Honus Wagner I grabbed from 2013 Cooperstown for $1?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Seeing Red: Charlie Morton 2008 Bowman Chrome /5

I don't like doing more than 1 Seeing Red post a month, but I am so enraged with today's game that I needed to post a card that I am very happy to own.

Here's a card I've had in my possession for over 3 years, but never highlighted on the Treasure Room.  When it comes to my baseball card collection, I do not remember where I got every single piece of cardboard.  This card however is the exception and I got it for a hell of a deal.
2008 Bowman Chrome Red Parallel 5/5
I was attending a FMI conference (Food Market Institute) to represent my company and knew that this auction I had been watching would be ending while away in Dallas.  I took note of the time it would be ending and hoped that I didn't have a conference to attend during that time.  I was in luck as there was a 2 hour gap of "free time" between meetings.

Rather than go out to lunch with the rest of my coworkers I went to my hotel room and pulled up the ebay app on my phone and watched the time click away. 30 minutes. 29 minutes. 28 minutes.  I stared at it for almost 30 minutes without being distracted.  When it got to 1 minute, my then girlfriend tried calling me which I promptly hit the "F U" button for and continued staring at it until it went to the final seconds.  I entered my high bid again and BAM I had won a very low numbered 2008 Bowman Chrome Red Parallel of Ground Chuck numbered 5/5.  I then called back my then girlfriend only to find out that all she wanted to tell me was that it was a new episode of Smallville that night.  As if I really needed to be reminded of that as there was only a few episodes left...

The Pirates game just wrapped up and they now fall 2 games behind the Brewers for the NL Central Division.  Overall it was a very sloppy game played by the Pirates.  Charlie couldn't find the strikezone consistently.  The Pirates made the strangest play I have ever seen on the basepaths when they got into a double play on a walk to load the bases.  There was several errors that lead to runs.  Andrew McCutchen continued his recent struggles at the plate.  It was just an overall bad game that they deserved to lose.  Here's hoping they can take a four game series from the Diamondbacks in Arizona.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cole is coming back soon!!!!

Gerrit Cole, the #1 overall pick in the 2011 draft will begin to make his rehab starts as he recovers from the DL.  If Cole can be the dominant flame throwing future ace we saw last year down the stretch, the Bucs might just have enough pitching and hitting to win the division.  A lot of pressure will be put on the youngsters of the team (Polanco & Cole) to perform at their ceilings.
The above Prizm rookie card of Gerrit Cole was grabbed for $1 at my local mall sports card show.

Monday, July 28, 2014

McCutchen Monday: WAR what is it good for?

Andrew McCutchen is currently sitting 4th in the National League in terms of WAR.  Could Cutch repeat his MVP performance?  Well, it's very possible as he is already sitting at a career high .974 OPS entering July 24th.

My latest Cutch insert is from 2014 Topps and discusses Andrew's WAR stat from last season when Mike Trout was the only position to post a higher WAR than Cutch.

The above card was won for $1.49 delivered and gets me even closer as I continue my pursuit of 500 unique Andrew McCutchen cards. 

Keep your eyes on this blog as I approach that magic number because there will be a contest. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Black is the New Black: Reese McGuire Auto

One of my silly 2014 collecting goals was to obtain Bowman Gold rookies of the Pirates top prospects.  After realizing how much I really don't like the designs on some Bowman products and the absurd prices that most of them were going for, I quickly killed that goal and changed it to the Bowman Black line that Bowman puts out each year.  I prefer silver sharpie autos on black and also like the horizontal design of the Bowman Black card line.

I've acquired quite a handful already and still have a few more that I want to grab.  One player that I won't be grabbing the Bowman Black card from is Blake Taylor, who was traded for Ike Davis earlier this year.
2013 Bowman Black AUTO 18/25
My latest addition is the second of the Pirates two 2013 draft picks, catcher Reese McGuire.
It will fit in nicely with my 3 Tyler Glasnow autographsGregory Polanco, Jameson TaillonGerrit Cole, and Starling Marte Bowman Black autos. 

McGuire has had a decent year at the plate in A ball as a 19 year old backstop hitting .257 with 26 RBI in 66 games.  The power numbers aren't there yet as he's only slugging .302 with 1 HR, but he's also hitting at a level he is nearly two and a half years younger than the competition.  When McGuire was drafted, there was no doubt about his advanced defensive abilities and he has shown that at a tremendous rate this year gunning down 43% of potential baserunners (33 Caught stealing compared to 43 stolen bases allowed).  Could he be a future gold glove Yadier Molina type catcher in the Pirates organization?  Only time will tell.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Here's my dilemma....

When I come across Jason Bay autographs on ebay for only 99 cents, how can I pass them up even when I have 50 unique certified autographs of the former Pirates rookie of the year winner?

Quite simply, for whatever reason...I can't.  I needed to get that 51st unique autograph of the recently retired left fielder. Is that crazy?????

Friday, July 25, 2014

Couldn't pass up a golden opportunity

Being a supercollector of a non superstar player is great.  It allows me to attempt to collect 100% of all cards of a favorite player of mine without having to eat ramen noodles every night and live in a cardboard box.  Charlie Morton, while a very good pitcher, is not labeled as an ace or one of the game's top pitchers.  This allows me the opportunity to add numbered parallels of his very very cheap.
2013 Topps Update Gold Parallel (515/2013)

Such was the case for the above 2013 Topps Update gold parallel you see above.  It cost me a winning bid of 10 cents with a respectable 49 cents shipping.  I just couldn't pass up the golden opportunity to add this card to my collection for 59 cents especially since I somehow had previously not added it to my collection.

The Bucs are in Colorado this weekend and are only a few games out of first place.  Let's hope Charlie can keep the ball low and get a lot of weakly hit groundball outs and the offense continues to roll like it has the fast few nights.  Let's Go Bucs!!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Like Father, UNlike Son

Ask your average sports fan who Yogi Berra is and you're likely to get a response describing the Hall of Fame catcher or any of his funny quotes.

Ask your average sports fan who Dale Berra is and you're likely not going to get a response at all.  Dale actually had a decent playing career (11 years), but failed to come close to his father's numbers.  One of the things that Berra is known for is the Pittsburgh drug trials in the early 80s.

Despite being the son of one of the most famous catcher's of all time, Dale Berra never put on the catcher's gear in a game.  However, Fleer used an image of the mustached 1979 World Series Champion for their 1985 release sporting a catcher's mitt throwing the ball.  According to his Baseball-reference page, Berra was used 591 games at shortstop, 247 at 3rd base, and 25 at 2nd base.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Trade Deadline Blockbuster!!!

As the trade deadline nears closer, more and more teams are in search for that player that can help elevate them to the next level and win a World Series Championship.  We've already seen the Yankees aggressive on the trade market by acquiring Chase Headley yesterday and previously trading for Brandon McCarthy.

Last year, I highlighted a a group of 9 players that the Pirates have traded away since 2000 that have hurt the Pirates franchise.  It was fun and I have to say that the Hanrahan/Holt trade to Boston last year looked very favorable to the Pirates getting the clear win of that trade, but with the way that Holt has played this year, it's not entirely possible that the trade could come back to hurt the Pirates in the future.
2012 Topps Update Blockbuster Relics 4/50

One trade, I hated! absolutely hated!!!! was when the Pirates traded away Jose Bautista for a PTBNL.  That player happened to be a minor league catcher Robinzon Diaz.  Diaz was terrible!!!!
Joey Bats, well he kinda blossomed into one of the most feared power hitters in the game.  Joey Bats is one of my favorite players to root for in the game.  Earlier this year when the Phillies were hosting the Blue Jays, I got a chance to be seen on TV when he went to the plate in the 1st inning.  I wear #19 for softball because of him.  I try (and mostly fail) to emulate his high kick swing at the plate.  The dude is just flat out a stud ball player.

I won the above blue jersey swatch numbered to 50 a long time ago for around a 5 spot if I remember correctly.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Pirate Parrot PC

On Sunday, I showed off my Pierogies Race insert from 2014 Opening Day.

I added another card of the Pirate Parrot to my collection last month when I added this 2014 Opening Day Between the Innings insert, "Prank the Opponent "

The Dodgers are facing off the Pirates again today. Hopefully we can run out a better lineup that doesn't include Michael Martinez.

Monday, July 21, 2014

McCutchen Monday: Slabbed, signed, delivered...

When I finally got this in my hands, the first thing I thought of was that Stevie Wonder song.
Slabbed, signed, delivered...Baby it's mine!!!

While this doesn't equal the greatness of the Holy Grail Printing Plate 1/1 Rookie Auto of Cutch...this slabbed autographed rookie is a close second.

This is the 3rd autographed slabbed card I have of Cutch.

Happy Monday folks!  Go Bucs!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Funday: Pierogie Races

The Pirates have been winning since the All-Star break and have had a sold out crowd for the past two nights.  The Bucs are wrapping up their series with the Rockies this afternoon and I'm thinking about heading to the shore for some relaxation before I start my new job in a week.

Because I'm feeling a little whimsical, here's a fun card that was part of the 2014 Opening Day insert "Between the Innings" which highlighted Pittsburgh's home game Pierogie Races.

After the 5th inning of every Pirates home game, 4 different pierogies race the outfield warning track to determine a winner.  Fans cheer on their favorite pierogie.  Last year Chester Cheese was the season winner with 21 victories compared to Sauerkraut Saul, Oliver Onion, and the female Jalapeno Hannah who each had 20 victories during the season.

I got this insert for .50 at my mall's sports card show earlier in the year.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Did I really need another of these? Smooth As Silk Edition

One of my 2013 Collecting Goals was to acquire 5 Charlie Morton silk cards.  I did that.  Even though it's not one of my collecting goals for 2014, I am still always on the hunt for 2011 Topps Update Charlie Morton silk cards numbered to 50.

Well, I can cross off another from the list.  This little numbered silk ran me under $3 and is numbered 37/50 (Morton's Pirates jersey number prior to 2011 so it's an ebay 1/1).  It brings me to 6 total for the 50 card print run.  Only 44 more to go....

Charlie is on the mound tonight for the Bucs. Let's Go Bucs!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Katy Perry presents The Letter H

Nothing grabs my attention better than a big set of tits in a tiny Elmo shirt.

They look like Ds but we're going to show off the letter H today
2007 By the Letter "H" Jason Bay AUTO 18/25

It's just another of those Jason Bay by the Letters autographs I've been in search for to complete PITTSBURGH.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Bill Almon TTM/IP Auto

A long long long time ago I made a trade with Troll!  It was just a bunch of random relics and autos of Rays for a collection of IP/TTM autos of ex Pirates.  As I continue to organize my entire collection, I continue to come across little pieces of cardboard like what you see below.

This on card ballpoint pen auto is of the one time utility player Bill Almon who played for the Pirates from 1985-1987.  Almon spent most of his 15 year career as a utility infielder that could play 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, and all outfield positions.  While playing for some American League teams like the WhiteSox and A's he was also used as a DH.  He has no significant statistics except leading the National League in sacrifice hits in 1977 while a member of the San Diego Padres.

Almon went on to post a career batting average of .254 while playing for the Padres, Expos, White Sox, A's, Pirates, Phillies, and twice with the Mets.

I wish I had more to say about the #1 overall selection in the 1974 MLB draft, but besides having one of his only starting shortstop roles with the White Sox in 1981, a year that he finished 19th for MVP voting I'm short on words.

Evidently Topps was too based on the back of his cardboard from 1985 Topps Traded.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

This is what happens when you don't sign projectable pitchers

The deadline to sign MLB draft picks is just a day away and I thought it would be a good time to show off an autograph of a former Pirates draft that didn't sign and is off to a great professional career.

Austin Kubitza was a 7th round pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of Colleyville, Texas highschool in 2010.  That same draft class also produced Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie, Mel Rojas Jr.,  Nick Kingham, and Brandon Cumpton.  Taillon and Kingham are currently in the top 50 prospects in all baseball and Cumpton has done a very solid job of being a spot starter during injuries in the past 2 seasons.  Rojas looks like he will be a servicable 4th outfielder or a possible trade chip at this year's deadline.  The Pirates weren't able to sign Kubitza along wtih Dace Kim (6th rounder) and both projectable pitchers went off to college.  Kubitza was taken in the 4th round of the 2013 draft and has been incredible for the Tigers organization since being drafted.

In 115 innings pitched, he has 116 strikeouts to go with a 1.174 WHIP and 2.90 ERA.  He looks like he will likely be in the majors at some point during the 2016 season and if he continues this trend could be one of the top pitching prospects in the minors next year.

The above Austin Kubitza autograph was won for $1.79 delivered and is numbered 33/600.  Not a bad price to pay for an on card auto of a future big leaguer.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tony Tuesday: Cyan Printing Plate 1/1

My latest Tony Sanchez is another 1 of 1 printing plate from 2011 Bowman.  It marks my 4th printing plate of the former first rounder.

Monday, July 14, 2014

McCutchen Monday: Home Run Derby Tonight

For the first time in 2 years, the Pirates will NOT have a player participate in the HR Derby contest.  Andrew McCutchen took his cuts for the Kansas City fences in 2012 and El Toro was swinging away in Citi Field last year.  For those watching, enjoy the festivities.  I'm having a few beers with my brother tonight.

Today's card is numbered to 2012 and hails from 2012 Topps Update when Cutch participated in the HomeRun derby.  I don't even know how many unique Cutch cards I have anymore.  I need to update the database again.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Future is Now!!!

Wow! Yesterday's game was intense.
The Pirates had a top 5 farm system in the MLB heading into the 2014 with many analysts having them either 1st or 2nd.  The emergence of Gregory Polanco to the big leagues proves the efforts that the Pirates have put into scouting in the past 5 years.  Polanco was highly regarded as a top 15 prospect in all of baseball and a top 3 outfield prospect behind only Byron Buxton and Oscar Taveras. Polanco is a true 5 tool talent and his arm last night preserved a Buccos win.

One player that is having a breakout season and will be on display in today's All-Star Futures Game is switch hitting outfielder Josh Bell.  As many of you know, Josh Bell is one of the main reasons why their is a signing bonus cap in the Amateur Draft now.  After sending out letters to teams asking them not to draft him, the Pirates rolled the dice and drafted Bell, a consensus top 15 prospect entering the draft.  He signed with the Bucs for a record high $5 million and began his pro career.  In 82 games in A ball, Bell is hitting a .328/.375/.492 line with 9 HR and 51 RBI.  He looks every bit like the player as advertised when drafted.

Another player that is having a very good season is switch hitting shortstop Alen Hanson.  Hanson will need to continue to improve defensively at shortstop, but is hitting very well in AA as a 21 year old.  His 8 HR, 17 SB, and .274 batting average really don't provide realistic viewpoints on what he is able to do.  I've seen close to half a dozen games of Hanson in AA this year and when he makes contact with the ball, it is a quick short stroke and the ball just jumps off the bat.

I won the above card a few months back and even though it's a triple sticker auto card, I have to say that this is one of my favorite cards in my collection because of the 3 top prospects on it. The low numbering to 10 copies helps.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cross off another 1/1 from the list

Charlie Morton is pitching today, you know what that means...
2014 Topps Yellow Printing Plate
It's time for another Morton update

I've had this Charlie Morton 2014 Topps Printing Plate for awhile.  I grabbed it when Series 1 was released and have been sitting on posting it for awhile.  Charlie will be taking the hill against the Reds tonight.  Charlie has historically struggled against the redlegs, but in 2011 threw two complete games against them so it should be interesting to see how things turn out at Great American Ballpark.

With Votto, Philips, and likely Chapman all out for tonight's game, I think the Bucs got a great shot at tying up the series 1-1 which brings us back to this 1/1 Morton.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Seeing Red: BayDay!!! BayDay!!!!

I try not to show off two Jason Bay cards in a row, but since the Bucs will be taking on the Reds today I figured I would have a Seeing Red post.  So here is July's entry for Seeing Red.

This 2005 Fleer America's Pasttime Red Parallel numbered to 150 copies ran me just over a $1 which isn't a bad price to pay for a new Jason Bay card for the collection.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Clemente, Parker, and Bay ON ONE CARD???

I really don't have a lot to say about this card because fellow Pirates blogger, BobWalkThePlank, has already shown it on his blog back in May.  I wish I had more Clemente relics in my collection, but when this card was offered for around $40, I had to pounce on it.

The timeline of the different uniforms and cool stiching on Bay's uniform piece were the main reasons I decided to get it.  Oh and it has Clemente.  That probably had more to do with it than anything else actually.
2008 Upper Deck Premier Teams Clemente, Parker, Bay 11/50

I hope you guys are enjoying these Throwback Thursdays where I highlight Pirates players of yesteryear.  I will try to keep things interesting going forward and focus on more obscure players if possible.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

So remember when...

I posted about doing another reverse box for Topps Tribute back in May?

I'm still not sure if I'm going to go ahead and do a reverse box, but went ahead and added another Topps Tribute autograph because the price was right.  At $19 delivered, I was able to add this emerald on card auto numbered 23/25.  Starling has been struggling at the plate again, which seems to be an ongoing trend for this team's offense.  Very few of the team's players are all clicking together which is causing a lot of runners to be left on the basepaths.  Hopefully the Pirates can take the next 2 from St Louis to split the series.

Update: Starling Marte was put on the bereavement list today and will likely rejoin the Pirates after the All-Star break. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Best 1/1 in my Supercollection????

As many (if not all) of you know, I own most likely the largest Charlie Morton baseball card collection on the planet.  I have nearly 1 copy of every card produced of the veteran right hander and have been adding multiple copies of the rarer low print runs to my collection on an ongoing basis.  Getting a chance to meet him back in 2010 when he was one of the worse (statistically) pitchers in franchise history to where he is now, makes me very proud of the hard work he has put in to reinventing himself as a true pitcher and not just a guy that throws hard.

Last night, the Pirates lost a tough pitching duel between Adam Wainwright and Charlie Morton.  Wainwright, for as good as he was and all his accomplishments just wasn't as good as Charlie.  In 7 shutout innings, Morton used only 84 pitches to surrender only 1 hit and 2 walks while striking out 5.  Wainwright on the other hand, used 112 pitches to sprinkle 7 hits and 3 walks over 7 innings.  The Pirates left 12 men on base during the game.

Despite not being able to add another win to the back of Charlie's baseball card, I am still on the hunt for his cardboard and besides the 2008 Superfractor I added last December, I can't think of a card I am more happy to add to my collection than this.

The grading on it is subpar, yes....but it's a 1/1 2012 Topps Gold Embedded piece of cardboard of Ground Chuck!!!!  To my understanding, the Topps Golden Embedded 1/1 cards fell 1:20,000 codes which were distributed 1 in every 6 hobby packs.  That means that to get a code like this that there were 120,000 hobby packs opened to get 1 of these kinds of cards.  Now multiply that by the 661 card base set and you can see how elusive this card is.

It marks the 10th 1/1 I have shown off on the PTR.

Here's a recap of the others.
2008 Superfractor
2011 Topps Printing Plate
2012 Topps Wood
2012 Topps Mini Printing Plate
2012 Leaf A Sign of History Cut Auto
2013 Printing Plate
2013 Topps Blank Back
2014 Topps Blank Back
2014 Topps Heritage Blank Back

Monday, July 7, 2014

McCutchen Monday: 2014 Topps Gold

Of all the Topps inserts in recent years, the 2014 Topps Gold is my favorite.  I love 90s inserts and early 90s Fleer Ultra and that's what this card reminds me of.  I know it's based on those late 90s Gold Class cards that Topps put out, but the metal frames, great photography, and bio make this card what I loved about collecting in the 90s.

Add to the fact that the card is limited to only 99 copies, it becomes one of my favorite cards from 2014.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Remembering Ralph Kiner

It's been six months since Ralph Kiner passed away and I am still disappointed that I never made the trip to a Cooperstown signing that he so often attended.  Kiner was one of the greatest sluggers of his time and during his 10 year career he hit 369 homeruns.  After his playing career ended, Kiner went on to be an announcer for the New York Mets.  Both the Mets and Pirates are wearing commemorative patches to honor Kiner this year.  The above card was purchased for $15 back in January and is my 15th certified autograph of the Hall of Famer.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Black is the New Black: Tyler Glasnow Bowman Black Auto AGAIN

This is my 3rd copy of the 2013 Bowman Black auto numbered to 25.  This copy is numbered 2/25.

I didn't get it for a steal, but it was the cheapest of the bunch that I have grabbed.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July

My latest Andrew McCutchen manupatch hails from 2010 Topps and is numbered 56/99
2010 Topps Cap Logo Patch 56/99

It features a cap logo patch to celebrate 4th of July.  I grabbed it last year for under $10 delivered.

I originally had plans to head to Pittsburgh for the 3 game series against the Phillies, but with the engine on my car needing to be replaced, I decided it was more financially sound to stay in NJ.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Sluggers Supreme 1958 Topps

It's hard trying to find a vintage Topps card of one of the greatest hitters of all time on it, but I managed to do it when I added this Ted Williams and Ted Kluszewski 1958 Topps Slugger Supreme to my collection.  I grabbed this nice piece of cardboard for only $7 delivered.

It's not known if the Big Klu is truly a Pirate in this card, but since he played the 1958 season for the Bucs, I added it to my ongoing attempt to collect every flagship Topps Pirates card.  Klu didn't play long in the Steel City as he was only in 160 games over a season and half.  During that time he batted .284 with only 6 HomeRuns, but did maintain a very good strikeout to walk rate (30:31)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


It took awhile to finally show, but
as promised

It's another 1/1 sketch card

I've previously shown off sketches of
Starling Marte
Andrew McCutchen

I'm hoping to make arrangements for some other Bucs

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pirates Rookie Cup Lineup Analysis: Every blogger should try to do this....

2005 Topps Rookie Cup Yellow 195/299
It struck me while I was putting away my latest Jason Bay card seen above that the Pirates haven't had too many Topps Rookie Cup winners over the years despite having a top 10 draft pick for nearly two decades.  Off the top of my head, in recent memory Cutch and Walker stood out to me.  So with that being said, I went through my binders from 1987 (my first year collecting baseball cards) and decided I would show off every Pittsburgh Pirate to have the Topps Rookie Cup.  As I was going through the 12 players selected to Topps Rookie teams, I noticed that essentially every position was filled.

Here's the lineup I came up with for the position players
Jason Kendall - C (R)
Andrew McCutchen - CF (R)
Neil Walker - 3B (S)
Jason Bay - LF (R)
Craig Wilson - 1B (R)
Warren Morris - 2B (L)
Jose Guillen - RF (R)
Al Pedrique - SS (R)
Bench Bat- Carlos Garcia (R)

First, some minor details...I put Walker at 3B because he played 6 games at the position in 2010 (which qualifies in fantasy baseball) and the Pirates don't have any Rookie Cup 3B winners, but have 3 that qualified as 2B (Morris, Walker, Garcia).  I think that Walker had the best statistical season as a rookie second baseman, BUT after putting him at 3rd, it came down to the side of the plate Garcia and Morris hit.  My lineup is already loaded with right handed bats so I went with Morris over Garcia.

Jason Kendall leading off and catcher was kind of a no brainer to me.  It was a place in the lineup that he was often used and he posted a ridiculous 35 walks to 30 strikeouts during his 1996 rookie season.  He would almost certainly put the ball in play and get on base for the guys behind him.

Cutch finished his rookie season with 22 stolen bases, 54 RBI, 74 Runs, and a .286/.365/.471 line.  He often hit in the leadoff spot during his rookie season so that the Pirates could utilize his speed at the top of the lineup.  Personally I think Kendall is a better leadoff guy though.

This is where I started to experiment with the lineup a bit.  Neil Walker might not seem like a typical #3 hitter on most clubs, but during his rookie season he batted .296/.349/.462 with 66 RBI.  After the 2010 All-Star Break, Neil was one of the top 5 NL players in RBI during that span.  He hit really well with runners in scoring position during the 2010 season.  I put Walker in the 3 hole also because of his ability to switch hit.

Jason Bay is the only Pirate to ever be a unanimous decision when it came to Topps Rookie Cup players.  He is also the only rookie to ever win the Rookie of the Year (hopefully Gregory Polanco wins it this year).  He posted a 2.2 WAR during his rookie season while playing in 120 games batting a .282/.358/.550 line with 26 Home Runs, 82 RBI and  61 Runs.  Having him in the cleanup spot makes the most sense.

Craig Wilson's 2001 rookie campaign got him acknowledged as the best rookie first basemen ahead of Albert Pujols (who was listed as a 3B).  Wilson was a slugger who played multiple positions for the Bucs including Catcher, 1B, and both corner outfield positions.  In 88 games he posted an obsurd .589 slugging percentage to couple his .390 OBP.

Because of the pop that both Bay and Wilson brought, I didn't want a high strikeout guy batting behind them so I went with the left handed hitting second baseman Warren Morris instead.  Morris had a great line for a secondbaseman while batting .288 and having only 88 strikeouts in 147 games.

Jose Guillen had a cannon for an arm in right field, but could also handle the stick during his rookie season.  He hit at a below average with a high strikeout rate, but did collect 14 HR and 70 RBI enroute to his rookei season.

Al Pedrique looked like he could be a future All-Star shortstop in his rookie season in 1987, but wound up being a below average player for the rest of this career and will often be remembered as the manager that intentionally walked Barry Bonds 12 times during 3 days when Barry was sitting at 699 career HomeRuns.  His 1987 season saw him have a 1.4 WAR season which included a .301/.354/.362 line.  He did collect his only career homerun during that 1987 season.

My bench bat is Carlos Garcia, a current manager for the Pirates AA affiliation Altoona Curve.  Garcia posted a 1.4 WAR with 12 HR and 18 SB during his rookie campaign.  As a former infield coach, he is my utility player and bench bat.

For the pitching side, I was fortunate in the 27 years of collecting baseball cards that the Pirates have had a right handed and left handed starting pitcher along with a relief pitcher.

I'll start with the most recent of the bunch, Mike Gonzalez.  Gonzo's rookie season in 2004 had him as one of the best relief pitchers in baseball that season.  In 47 games and 41 innings, Gonzo posted a 9:1 strikout per walk rate.  Reread that if you need to cause that is just crazy numbers.  He struck out 55 batters while walking 6 and posted a 0.877 WHIP and 1.25 ERA.  With Oliver Perez looking like a Cy Young candidate, Jason Bay winning the Rookie of the Year, and Gonzo shutting everyone down in middle relief, it's amazing the Pirates finished so poorly with a 72-89 record.  I guess it's a good thing though because they were able to use that poor record in the 2005 draft and selected Andrew McCutchen.

Steve Cooke, the 1993 rookie LHP winner went 10-10 for the start of the Pirates two decade long losing streak.  Nothing really stands out for Cooke as his ERA, strikeouts, and walks were all average or below average, but the competion that year was very limited.

Mike Dunne, was a pitch to contact pitcher who in his 1987 rookie campaign went 13-6 to lead all qualifying pitchers with a .684 winning percentage.  He completed 5 games and pitched 163 innings despite making only 23 starts.  That means that he pitched on average almost 7 1/3 innings per start during his rookie season.