The Pittsburgh Pirates have had plenty of memorable prospect debuts in their history, but what are the top five greatest?
Last night Jameson Taillon made his long awaited debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates and he did not disappoint. He went six innings, allowed three runs on six hits and struck out three. He wasn’t great, but he showed flashes of greatness and it’s hard not to be excited for his future in the starting rotation.
Taillon’s debut got me thinking about other great prospect debuts in Pirates’ history and I decided to count down my top five best. Now when I say best, I am not talking about the performance in the game itself, but the hype around the prospect and what the debut meant for the organization since not all rookies play well in their first game.
The Pirates have had a lot of tremendous debuts in recent years, so it would be easy make a list of just the last five years or so, but I am going to try to include some classic debuts as well.
Without further delay, I present to you my top five Pittsburgh Pirates prospect debuts.
5. Barry Bonds – May 30th 1986
Following the 1979 World Series title, the Pirates fell on hard times in the 1980s. The team wasn’t very good and the cocaine trials left the organization in shambles. Willie Stargell retired following the 1982 season, Dave Parker left as a free agent in 1983 and signed with the hated Cincinnati Reds and in 1985 the Pirates lost 104 games and things looked very hopeless.
Despite all the losses in 1985, something very good happened that same season in the MLB Draft, Barry Bonds was selected with the sixth pick in the draft and just like that the Pirates had some hope again.
Barry Bonds barely spent a year in the minor leagues before his call-up and while his first game didn’t go well as he went 0-5 with a walk, it was still a sign that things were starting to change in Pittsburgh. They had easily the most talented prospect since Dave Parker in the early 70s and you just knew that the team was finally getting through the dark times.