I’m excited to introduce a new segment to the blog!
The inspiration here is quite simple. As a Pirates fan growing up in New York it was rare that I would come across anyone who shared my love for the black and gold. The Pirates, like all MLB teams, experience a multitude of transactions throughout the year. Existing in a small market magnified this even more. The Pirates were constantly signing players to one year, minimum contract deals.
With that said, my Yankee-supporting counterparts were never aware of the frequent changes occurring a few hundred miles west. Oftentimes during friendly baseball-themed conversation, the question “He was a Pirate?” would arise. I’ve decided to honor this ever-occuring inquiry on my blog.
The posts, which will be titled just as this one is, will be sequentially numbered- each post featuring one former Pirate whom-in my opinion- had an “under the radar” stint in the Steel City. Some will be stars, some will be Joe-Schmo’s, and so on. I will, of course, have at least one card from my PC to represent each player.
In a perfect world I would post weekly, but my schedule simply doesn’t allow for such consistency. I’ve got a ton of guys/cards in mind, so keep an eye out for them!
This week’s “He was a Pirate?"
2009 Topps Series 1 #328
Doug Mientkiewicz! Come on, you remember Doug! Yes, the guy that finished 14th in MVP voting in 2001! Yeah, him!
Number of seasons with the Pirates: 1
Career stats with the Pirates:
His legacy: I'll always remember Doug as a contact hitting first baseman with a slick glove. I always enjoyed watching him get some playing time, which was limited behind the legendary Adam LaRoache (foreshadowing?). Even as a back-up, Doug managed to find himself well over 200 at bats. He did well as a back up- a role in which he had become familiar in the twilight of his career.
Unlike the prototypical first baseman, Mientkiewicz was by no means a power hitter. His career high in homers was a meager 15, and he only made it to double digit homers four times. Even with absent power, he was able to make an impact by driving in runs and slapping singles. I remember him best as the first basemen for the Twins in the early 2000's, but also as a defensive replacement with other clubs- most notably the Boston Red Sox in 2004. That's when he received the final put out of the World Series and broke the Curse of the Bambino. The moment was captured in a series of images such as the one below.
The moments after this became incredibly controversial, when Mientkiewicz ended up hanging onto the game ball. The saga of the ball is catalogued nicely in this ESPN article.
In summary, I remember Doug Mientkiewicz just like everyone else: As a member of every team but the Pirates.