Wilver Stargell made his big league debut in 1962 and quickly became one of the most respected and feared sluggers in the National League. For 21 seasons as an outfielder and first baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates he intimidated pitchers with his windmill stance in the batter’s box and his long tape measure shots. He led the NL in homers in 1971 and 1973, totaled 475 in his career, and along with a .282 BA, 2232 hits and 1540 RBIs. He helped the Pirates to 6 NL East titles, 2 NL pennants, and 2 World Championships. He was a 13 time All-Star and 1979 NL Co-MVP. He was a fan favorite, and after the death of Roberto Clemente he became the team’s inspirational leader. In 1979, he became the only player to be named National League, NLCS and World Series MVP in the same season and “Pops,” as he was now known, rallied the famous “We Are Family” Pirates to a 3 games to 1 come-from-behind World Series victory over the Baltimore Orioles. His #8 was retired by the Pirates in 1982 and in 2001, a statue was unveiled to honor him outside of PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
August 17, 2013