Who Wore It Best? #2

39 Pirates have worn #2.

First to wear it: Ed Leip- 1940.

Most recent to wear it: Michael Chavis- 2022.

Notable players to wear #2: Joe Garagiola- 1951- 1952; legendary baseball broadcaster. Jackie Hernandez 1971-1973; starting SS for all 7 games of the ’71 World Series. Bernie Carbo- 1980; Red Sox legend. Brock Holt- 2012; the only player in MLB history to hit for the cycle in the post-season. He won a ring with the Red Sox in 2018. Nate McLouth- 2012; more on him at #13. Marlon Byrd- 2013; during the 2013 wild card game his homerun was the first post-season shot for the Bucs in 21 years.

Deep dive on a player with a connection to late antiquity: Orestes Destarde- 1988; the Cuban born player carries the first name of the father of Romulus Augustulus (pictured), who was the "last emperor of the Western Roman Empire". I have problems with that term, but the name got me interested in checking out his career. After failing to establish himself with the Bucs, Destrade played in Japan from 1989 to 1992. During these 4 seasons he hit 156(!) homers before returning to the states. In 1993 he became the starting 1st basemen for the Marlins during their inaugural season. He hit 20 homeruns with 87 RBI’s, but his .720 OPS was only good for an OPS+ of 92, and the Marlins moved on from Orestes after struggled in 1994. In 1995 Orestes returned to Japan for his season last of professional baseball. During his 15 seasons of professional baseball he hit 321 homeruns.

Contender for the best to wear #2: Jim Morrison- 1982-1987. He was a good player during the decline and rebuild of the 80’s. Morrison was drafted by the Pirates in the 1st round of the 1972, but he chose to return to college at Georgia Southern. He was drafted again in 1975 by the Phils, but this time in the 5th round. Philadelphia is where he would first play MLB in 1977. In 1979 he was traded to the White Sox, before landing with the Pirates in 1982 (traded for Eddie Solomon). During his time with the Bucs Morrison was good for 8.2 WAR, 57 homeruns and a .764 OPS (108 OPS+). His best season was 1986 in which he hit 23 homers, had 87 RBI’s, had an OPS .816 (121 OPS+) and a 3.1 WAR. The next season he was traded at the deadline to Detroit (for Darnell Coles) where he went 2 for 5 in Detroit’s ALCS loss to the Twins. Morrison played one last season with Atlanta in 1988 before closing out his career.

The best Pirate to wear #2: Jack Wilson- 2003-2009. Jumpin’ Jack Flash was one of the Pirates best, and most beloved, players during some of their darkest season during The Streak (1993-2012). Known for his flash/ effective defense, Wilson had a 2 nice years with the stick in ’04 and ’07. His best season was 2004 when he was an all-star, won the Silver Slugger in 2004 (it’s a crime he never won a gold glove), had 201 hits, a career high 4.8 WAR and he led the league in triples with 12. His career high OPS in 2004 was .794, which (during the steroid era) was only 4% better than league average! Jack was having another stellar season in 2009 when he was traded to Seattle along with Ian Snell. As crap as the Pirates were during his tenure (the never won more than 72 games during his time), Wilson was sad to leave the team. He accumulated a WAR of 21.3 during his career with the Bucs which ranks 34th all-time amongst position players. His defensive WAR of 18.3 ranks 3rd all time, and a good argument can be made that he’s the greatest defender in Bucs’ history. His 1158 hits rank him 23rd in team history.

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