Willie Stargell

Wilver Dornel Stargell
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1988
Primary team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Primary position: Left Fielder

“Having Willie Stargell on your ball club is like having a diamond ring on your finger.” --Chuck Tanner, who managed Stargell with the Pirates from 1977-82

Willie Stargell was a feared power hitter, and a leader on the field and in the clubhouse during his 21 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, from 1962-1982. Primarily an outfielder at the beginning, he switched to first base in 1975.

In 1964, the left-handed slugger belted 21 home runs, the first of 13 consecutive seasons in which he would hit twenty or more, en route to 475 for his career. He may have hit many more if he had not played the first half of his career in Forbes Field, a spacious ballpark. One source reports that in the park’s 62 seasons hosting the Pirates, only 18 balls were hit out of the park—and Stargell notched seven of those. He rung up quite a few at Forbes, though; Sparky Anderson noted that “He’s got power enough to hit home runs in any park, including Yellowstone.”

In 1971, the Pirates inaugural full season in Three Rivers Stadium, Stargell led the NL with a career high 48 home runs, and led it again in 1973, with 44. That season, Stargell hit .295 and drove in 125 runs, leading the Pirates into the postseason, where they won the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles.

The Pirates won six division titles and two World Series during Stargell’s time with the club, but finished third in 1973, his most productive season at the plate. He hit .299 that year, leading the NL in doubles (43) home runs (44), runs batted in (119), and slugging percentage (.646).

Stargell, nicknamed “Pops” was the spiritual father of the 1979 Pirates “We Are Family” team. With Pops handing out “Stargell Stars” to players who’d made great contributions, the team returned to the World Series, and again bested the Orioles in seven games. Stargell swept the MVP awards that year, winning the LCS MVP, the World Series MVP, and sharing the regular season MVP award with Keith Hernandez.

The seven-time All-Star retired following the 1982 season, and left a legacy of winning, leadership, focus, and fun. “It’s supposed to be fun,” he noted. “The man says ‘Play ball,’ not “Work ball,’ you know.” Veteran Joe Morgan, who played against Stargell in three league championship series, said to Stargell: “Some people are only super stars statistically, but you are a .400 hitter as a person. When I grow up, I want to be just like you.”

"He’s got power enough to hit home runs in any park, including Yellowstone. "
Sparky Anderson

Career stats

Year Inducted: 1988
Primary Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position Played: Left Fielder
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Birth place: Earlsboro, Oklahoma
Birth year: 1940
Died: 2001, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Played for:
Pittsburgh Pirates (1962-1982)
At BatsAB
Home RunsHR
Stolen BasesSB
Batting AverageBA
On Base %OBP
Slugging %SLG