FanPost

Pittsburgh Pirates All-Time Top 100: 51. Gus Suhr

Gus Suhr was a 6’ ballplayer from San Francisco, CA. Born on January 3rd, 1906, the left-batting, right-throwing first baseman made his first professional appearance in 1925, spending most of his season with the Quincy Red Birds in the “B” level Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League, hitting .282 over 132 contests. He joined the “AA” level Pacific Coast League’s San Francisco Seals near the end of the year, going 1-for-2 with a double.

Suhr remained with the Seals for the next four seasons, ultimately hitting .320 over 761 contests. This includes the 1929 campaign where he collected 299 total hits, batting .381 with 62 doubles and 51 home runs.

In 1930, Suhr joined the Pirates at 24 years of age. He spent his rookie season hitting .286 with an NL fifth most 80 walks to only 56 strikeouts, clubbing a career high 17 home runs and an NL sixth ranking 14 triples with 107 RBI over 151 games. Pittsburgh batted him fifth, sixth, and seventh in the order. On May 7th, he went 3-for-3 with three runs, a double, a triple, five RBI and two walks. The game brought his season average up to .397 as the Pirates defeated the New York Giants, 16-8. Pittsburgh posted a respectable 80-74 record, but finished in fifth place in the crowded NL, 12 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

1931 would see Suhr was a shell of his former self from just one season prior. In just 87 games, he hit .211 with four home runs and 32 RBI. In one of very few bright spots on the season, he went 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI double in a 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on April 16th. The Pirates batted him either third or sixth. Suhr’s lukewarm season matched that of Pittsburgh’s, as the team went 75-79, finishing in fifth and 26 games behind the pennant winning Cardinals.

Suhr recovered nicely in 1932, playing in all 154 games for Pittsburgh and increasing his average to .263. He hit 31 doubles and an NL second best 16 triples for 81 RBI. He also finished fourth in the league with 63 bases on balls. He started off the season hitting safely in 17 of his first 18 games, going 24-for-68 with 17 RBI and a .353 average. This streak includes April 23rd, when he collected a season high four RBI by clubbing a triple and a homer along with two walks in a 10-9 win over the Cardinals. He batted mostly fifth and sixth in the order for the 86-68 club, finishing the season in second just four games behind the Cubs.

In 1933, Suhr again played in all of the Pirates 154 contests. He batted .267 with 31 doubles, an NL fifth best 11 triples, 10 home runs and 75 RBI with an NL second best 72 walks. On October 1st, in the first game of a twinbill against the Cincinnati Reds, he hit two two-run doubles to help the Pirates come out on top, 7-5. At 87-67, the Pirates again finished the season in second place, this time by five games to the Giants.

1934 would see Suhr bring his batting average up to .283, his highest mark since his rookie season. He also increased most of his other offensive statistics, collecting a career high and NL seventh-leading 36 doubles, 13 triples (NL third), 13 home runs, and 103 RBI (NL fifth) with 66 walks (NL sixth). He had 44 multi hit games on the season, along with three instances of four RBI in one contest. On April 29th, he went 3-for-4 with a triple and a homer in a 9-5 win over the Reds. Later, on May 27th, he went 3-for-5 with two home runs in a 7-3 victory over the Giants. Finally, on June 13th, he went 4-for-5 with two runs in a 15-2 shellacking of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Despite his heroics, the team finished on top of the second division, 19.5 games back of the pennant winning Cardinals at 74-76.

In 1935, Suhr hit .272 with 33 doubles, 12 triples and 10 home runs. He also collected 81 RBI and 70 walks batting fourth through seventh in the order. On April 29th, he clubbed two round-trippers for five RBI against the Cubs. The Pirates were leading 9-2 going into the bottom of the eighth, but eventually lost by a final of 12-11. Pittsburgh finished the year 13.5 games behind the same Cubs for the pennant, at 86-67.

1936 would widely be considered Suhr’s career year. He appeared in an NL leading 156 games, earning career highs with a .312 batting average, an NL fifth best 111 runs, 118 RBI (NL third), and 95 walks (NL fourth). He also hit 33 doubles (NL 10th), 12 triples (NL fourth) and 11 home runs in earning his first and only all-star invitation batting fourth and fifth in the order. On September 7th in game two of a doubleheader against the Cardinals, he hit two doubles and a triple with four RBI in an eventual 14-1 victory. The Pirates finished fourth in the NL with an 84-70 record, missing out on the pennant by eight games to the Giants.

1937 would see Suhr hit .278 with an NL second most 14 triples, 83 walks (NL third), and 97 RBI (NL fourth) over 151 contests (NL seventh). The Pirates used him in either the fourth or the fifth spot in the order. He hit a double and a homer with a walk and four RBI on June 15th in a 7-5 win over the Giants. The team finished 10 games behind pennant winning New York, in third in the NL with a 86-68 record.

In 1938, Suhr hit .294 over 145 contests with an NL fifth best 35 doubles, 14 triples (NL third), 87 walks (NL fifth) and 64 RBI batting between fourth and sixth in the order. On August 30th, he racked up a season high five RBI, going 3-for-3 with a walk, a run, a double and a triple in a 7-1 win over New York. Pittsburgh closed out the season in second just two games behind the NL topping Cubs with an 86-64 record.

Suhr started out the 1939 campaign hitting .289 over 63 games for the Pirates with 31 RBI. Pittsburgh traded him to the Philadelphia Phillies for pitcher Max Butcher. Butcher went on to post a 67-60 record with the Pirates over the next seven seasons, while Suhr hit .300 for the Phillies, appearing in only 70 games over the next two seasons.

Suhr rejoined the San Francisco Seals for three seasons before calling it a day. He played in 451 more games for the club, hitting .279 with 196 RBI.

All-Time Statline: 10 seasons, 1365 games, .278/.366/.427, 1379-for-4953, 689 runs, 276 doubles, 112 triples, 79 home runs, 789 RBI, 52 stolen bases, 679 walks, 414 strikeouts, 19.0 wins above replacement.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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