Today, we’ll check out the second in a series of 100 articles that I’ve started to write to archive the 100 best Pittsburgh Pirates of all-time. I determined this list based on the"wins above replacement" statistic found at www.baseball-reference.com. I favor this statistic because I believe it lends equal weight to each of the two principals in each plate appearance, for every plate appearance throughout each player's career. I think it allows us to measure up our (relative) contemporaries against historical figures, dating back to before youtube, before tv, and even before radio (for some players). I looked at each of the 1,837 players who ever appeared for the franchise, dating back to 1882.
Walter Maranville was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on November 11, 1891. A shortstop, he picked up the nickname "Rabbit" in allusion to his size and speed. He made his Major League debut in 1912 with the National League Boston Braves, a team that he played with through his first nine seasons in the Majors. He hit .251 with 347 RBIs and 157 stolen bases in 1,047 games. The Braves traded him to the Pirates prior to the 1921 season for Walter Barbare, Fred Nicholson, Billy Southworth and $15,000.
In 1921, Maranville played in 153 games for the Bucks, batting mostly third in the lineup. He posted a then-career best .294 with 70 RBIs and 25 stolen bases. The Pirates finished four games out of first, at 90-63. He had 51 multi-hit games, including a 5-for-5, three run performance in a 12-5 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on June 13th.
1922 would see Maranville finish with a career high .295 batting average and an NL leading 672 at bats. He scored 115 runs and knocked in 63, stealing 24 bases. The Pirates missed out on the postseason by eight games, with an 85-69 record. Rabbit hit primarily from the leadoff position. On September 5th, he posted another 5-for-5 effort with a walk and three runs in an 11-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
In 1923, Maranville continued to lead off for the Pirates, sometimes filling in at the six spot. He hit .277 in 141 games, scoring 78 runs, stealing 14 bases and collecting 41 RBIs. At 87-67, Pittsburgh finished in third, eight and a half games behind the New York Giants. He collected three or more hits on 13 occasions through the season.
1924 would see Maranville would move to second base for the Pirates. He hit .266 with 71 RBIs and finished seventh in the NL MVP voting race. He hit mostly from the sixth spot, sometimes starting in the seven hole and sometimes leading off. The 90-63 Pirates missed the pennant by three games, finishing third behind the Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers. After the season, he was traded with Wilbur Cooper and Charlie Grimm to the Chicago Cubs for Vic Aldridge, George Grantham and Al Niehaus.
Maranville played one season for the Cubs, followed by one with the Dodgers, two with the St. Louis Cardinals, and six more with the Braves. He retired after playing 23 games with Boston in 1935, a veteran of 23 major league seasons. It was a record until equaled by Pete Rose, 51 years later.
Maranville was inducted in the Baseball Hall-of-Fame just months after his death with the Class of 1954.
All-Time Statline: Four seasons, 601 games, .283/.335/.376, 697-for-2459, 345 runs, 103 doubles, 56 triples, 4 home runs, 245 RBIs, 81 stolen bases, 185 walks, 168 strikeouts, 11 wins above replacement.