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Pirates 2021 Top Moments: Max Kranick’s perfect debut

One of many notable debuts in 2021.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 Pittsburgh Pirates will not go down in the record books as one of the most recognizable and memorable teams in franchise history, more likely the opposite, but still delivered numerous significant moments.

Every season is unique in its own way and shines a few positive lights into even a dark year for players and organizations.

Before the 2022 season begins and a new CBA agreement is reached, Bucs Dugout looks back on the 2021 campaign and the top moments throughout the year.

For the next several weeks, we will look back on the season that was with eight of the best moments of the season — bracket-style!

For the next four days, we will look back on two of the season’s top moments and at the end of the second moment, fans will vote on their favorite.

The moments that win out this week will be featured in the semifinals next week. The moments that win in the semifinals will move on to the finals to determine what the fans believe is the 2021 season’s top moment!

June 27th, 2021 - Kranick’s perfect debut

After just seven combined starts with Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis to start the season, Max Kranick was promoted to the Major Leagues to make his long-awaited debut against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Kranick, the No. 26 prospect at the time, was among the first of many young prospects in the Pirates’ new development process and did not disappoint in his first game.

Kranick made history before even throwing a pitch, as the Bucs’ offense batted around the order and gave him his first Major League plate appearance in the first inning. With this, he became the second pitcher in franchise history to hit before throwing a pitch in his debut.

Paul Maholm was the first to notch this achievement, doing so on Aug. 30, 2005 against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Finally getting a chance to pitch in the bottom of the first, Kranick retired the first three hitters in the Cardinals lineup.

The following innings, he would notch his first Major League strikeout after getting left fielder Tyler O’Neill to whiff on a fastball that clocked in at 95 mph.

If that wasn’t good enough, Kranick forced the next batter – Yadier Molina – to groundout to third, resulting in one of the team’s plays of the year.

Kranick would add two more strikeouts to his line over the next few innings, but was pulled from the game after a rain delay that lasted a little over an hour.

If that wasn’t impressive enough,’s Jake Crouse reported that eight of the 15 batters Kranick faced were fly outs.

The Pirates won the game, 7-2, which gave Kranick his first win.


Time to pick a winner!

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Stallings walkoff vs. Mets
    (46 votes)
  • 82%
    Kranick debut
    (221 votes)
267 votes total Vote Now