Now that it is over and we never have to talk about the futility of the Pittsburgh Pirates again, it’s time to take a look back and give a hat tip to the guys who tried, and I mean really tried, to accomplish what the 2013 Pirates did by putting an end to the streak.
Things didn’t always go well for the following guys, but their accomplishments shouldn’t be forgotten.
With that being said, I put together a 25-man roster that I have dubbed the All-Streak Team.
There’s really only one requirement to be considered for the honor: a player can only be eligible to make the team if he hasn’t played a major role in a Pirates winning season before.
That means the likes of Jay Bell, Jeff King and Andy Van Slyke, who were around for the beginning of the streak are ineligible. As are the likes of Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and A.J. Burnett, who eventually put an end to it.
With that being said, let’s start naming the team with an easy choice behind the plate.
Catcher: Jason Kendall
Kendall was one of the easiest choices to assemble this 25-man roster, which believe me, wasn’t easy.
Even though he was signed to a horrible contract that stayed on the Pirates books way too long, Kendall remains one of the best to put on a Pirates’ uniform during the past two decades.
He spent nine years in Pittsburgh (1996-2004) where he combined to hit .306 with 67 homers and 471 RBI; he hit over .300 in six of his nine seasons as a Bucco. Kendall also showed the rare ability to run as a catcher, stockpiling 140 steals during his time as a Pirate.
The gruesome ankle injury he suffered July 4, 1999 is something that still sticks with me. Kendall was never quite the same after that. He never really had much talent around him but gave it his all in a time where the Bucs combined to go 649-806.
They also haven’t been able to replace Kendall until this season with Russell Martin. Because we have seen names like Ryan Doumit, Humberto Cota, J.R. House, Keith Osik, Ronny Paulino, Benito Santiago, Rod Barajas and others fail miserably; this team is carrying only one catcher.