The Pittsburgh Pirates announced their 2023 Hall of Fame class. They have inducted pitchers Bob Friend, Elroy Face and Kent Tekulve, along with shortstop Dick Groat. This is their second Hall of Fame class. The first year included 19 players total.
The Pirates released this great video of Steve Blass personally telling everyone that they have been inducted into the team Hall of Fame. Bob Friend passed away in 2019, so Blass gave the great news to his wife.
“Welcome to the club.”
Pirates Hall of Famer Steve Blass personally welcomes the newest members to our Hall of Fame. pic.twitter.com/dxAfivHfoG
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) April 20, 2023
Groat, Friend and Face were all members of the 1960 World Series champs, while Tekulve was on the mound for the final out of the 1979 series.
Tekulve was actually traded by the Pirates to the Philadelphia Phillies 38 years ago today, so that’s an interesting coincidence with the announcement.
He pitched for the Pirates from 1974 through 1985, finishing his time in Pittsburgh with a 70-61, 2.68 record in 1,017.1 innings over 722 games. He picked up 158 saves for the Pirates, including a career high of 31 during the 1978 and 1979 seasons.
In team history, he ranks second in both games and saves. He’s ninth in ERA.
He ranks tied for first in single-season appearances with 94 in 1979. He also ranks third, tied for fourth and tied for ninth in that category. He’s tied with himself for tenth place on the single-season saves list. It was a record he held from 1978 until 1988.
Tekulve ranks second in those two major career categories to Elroy Face, who holds the records with 802 games played and 186 saves. Some sources will credit Tekulve with the saves lead, since saves weren’t officially kept until 1969.
Face pitched for the Pirates in 1953, then again from 1955 through 1968. Besides his games and saves total, he went 100-93, 3.46 in 1,314.2 innings for the Pirates. He was an All-Star during the 1959-61 seasons, back when they played two All-Star games. He received MVP votes during the 1958-60 seasons.
Both Face and Tekulve picked up three saves each during their World Series winning years.
Bob Friend owns numerous Pirates team records. Due to his longevity and playing for some really bad teams in the 1950s, he also holds some records that he didn’t want.
He went 191-218, 3.55 in 3,480.1 innings for the Pirates from 1951 through 1965. He holds the team records in innings, starts (477), strikeouts (1,682), as well as losses, hits, home runs, earned runs and walks. He faced over 1,500 more batters than anyone else in team history.
Friends ranks four in team history in wins, though he finished just 11 behind the leader. He’s third with 568 games, third with 35 shutouts and third for pitchers in WAR with 47.6, trailing Wilbur Cooper and Babe Adams.
Groat was the 1960 National League MVP, as he helped the Pirates to their World Series win. He won the batting title with a .325 mark that season.
Groat was an All-Star during the 1959, 1960 and 1962 seasons, playing in a total of six All-Star games. He debuted with the Pirates in 1952, then missed the next two seasons in military service, before playing for the 1955-62 Pirates.
He was a .290 hitter over 1,258 games for the Pirates, finishing with 554 runs, 226 doubles, 40 triples, 30 homers and 454 RBIs.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
Ran into Blass at the end of Tuesdays game, an absolutely class act, and I’m not sure there is a better story teller on the planet. And thanks to Mrs. Blass who has the patience to share her husband with all his adoring fans. My favorite broadcaster since Bob Prince.
And on that note, I listened to Jim Trdinich explain the HOF selections process yesterday, and while I get it, a Pirate HOF without Bob Prince borders on ridiculous. Steve Blass was very deserving in the inaugural class, but the Gunner is on the Pirates Mount Rushmore for me.
And FYI, though my handle is Gunner’s Grandson, we are not actually related, hahah.
Does anyone know what game they will be inducted?
would have been right to add Law at the same moment
Well deserved for all and Blass was class as usual, lol.
Great video. First class performance by Mr. Blass.