Pittsburgh Pirates 200 Hit Seasons

In the Pittsburgh Pirates history, they have had a player reach 200 hits in a single season 31 times. The most recent being Freddy Sanchez in 2006 and Jack Wilson in 2004. The first time it was accomplished was 1899 when third baseman Jimmy Williams had an amazing rookie season in which he collected 220 hits, walked 60 times, scored 126 runs, drove in 116 runs and led the NL with 27 triples. None of those three players ever had a second 200 hit season for the Pirates though. If you’re wondering how rare it is for a player to have multiple 200 hit seasons while with the Pirates, the answer is very rare.

While doing the “This Date” article today on Carson Bigbee, I noted that he had two 200 hit seasons for the Pirates. One would assume Honus Wagner had plenty of 200 hit seasons with his 3400+ hits and eight batting titles but he reached that plateau just twice, topping out at 201 hits in both 1900 and 1908. Shorter schedules, missed games and batting third with a decent amount of walks cost him a some hits each year, causing him to fall just short of 200 a few times.

Matty Alou is on the list of 200 hit seasons twice with his 201 in 1970 and 231 in 1969. Those 231 hits represent the third highest total in team history.

Roberto Clemente made the list four times between 1961 and 1967. He topped out at 211 in 1964, the 17th highest total in team history.

Before I get to the other multi-winners, I will list the six players who have accomplished the feat just once with the Pirates, listing them in order with the highest total first.

1925: Kiki Cuyler, 220
1977: Dave Parker, 215
1903: Ginger Beaumont, 209
1923: Pie Traynor, 208
1922: Max Carey, 207
1935: Woody Jensen, 203

That leaves twelve more times it has been accomplished and would you believe they all come from just two players from the same family. If the Pirates ever have another 200 hit season, they should hand out an award of some kind named the Waner award. Paul Waner and Lloyd Waner have twelve of the thirty-one 200 hit seasons in team history, including the top two totals ever, 237 for Paul in 1927 and 234 for Lloyd in 1929. They also have nine of the top twelve individual high totals, with only Cuyler, Williams and Alou breaking up their domination of the top-end of the category. Paul just by himself has eight 200 hit seasons, all coming from 1927 until 1937.

The list of 200 hit players is as follows (Hall of Famers denoted by asterisks):
*Paul Waner, 8
*Lloyd Waner, 4
*Roberto Clemente, 4
*Honus Wagner, 2
Carson Bigbee, 2
Matty Alou, 2
Jimmy Williams, 1
Ginger Beaumont,1
*Max Carey,1
*Pie Traynor, 1
*Kiki Cuyler, 1
Woody Jensen, 1
Dave Parker,1
Jack Wilson, 1
Freddy Sanchez, 1

Nearly half the list went on to make the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The following list shows where these players ended up on the Pirates all-time hit list:

1. Clemente, 3000
2. Wagner, 2967
3. P.Waner, 2868
4t.Carey,2416
4t. Traynor,2416
6. L.Waner, 2317
13. Parker, 1479
19. Beaumont, 1292
21. Bigbee, 1205
22. Wilson, 1158
35t. Alou, 986
57. Sanchez, 777
58. Jensen, 774
67. Cuyler, 680
145. Williams, 330

Finally, the guys who just missed:
1905: Honus Wagner, 199
1962: Dick Groat, 199
1992: Andy Van Slyke, 199

Wagner missed eight games during the 1905 season and hit .363 on the year.

Groat played every game the team played but the Pirates lost one game to a rainout. He had three hits on the last day of the season.

Van Slyke sat out eight games during the year, started all but one game and didn’t complete 17 of the games he started so he lost some AB’s throughout the year. He got his 199th hit during his second AB on the last day of the season. Andy lined out to CF his next AB and popped out his last attempt at 200.

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About John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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