Cutch and The Bucks
PNC Park should disclaim batters not to get starry-eyed looking at the Pittsburgh cityscape while in the batter’s box. With the golden Roberto Clemente Bridge beaming across the Allegheny River, just a stone’s throw beyond PNC’s bleachers, home run hitters have plenty to aim for.
The National League’s Pittsburgh Pirates (or “Bucs” according to the locals) have been calling PNC Park home since 2001, as the club’s fifth home field in its 130-year history. Originally nicknamed the “Pittsburgh Alleghenys,” the club changed their moniker to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1891 after they were accused of commandeering an opposing team’s player in a “piratical” manner. Oh, the Wild West of late 19th century professional baseball.
Legends to don the golden “P” include all-time hits leader Honus Wagner, who played 18 seasons for Pittsburgh during the early 20th century. Add Willie Stargell, Roberto Clemente, Barry Bonds, and current All-Star Andrew McCutchen, and the Pirates are as classic a ballclub as any in the majors.
Willie Stargell’s 475 career home runs for the Pirates are an entire career away from the next closest (Rob Kiner’s 301 homers) on Pittsburgh’s all-time list. Roberto Clemente – well what can you say about a guy who posthumously and metaphorically delivers the people of Pittsburgh from one bank of the Allegheny to the other? Clemente spent his entire career (18 seasons) with the Pirates, compiling 3,000 hits, 1,305 RBIs, and 240 home runs.
Perennial NL All-Star Andrew McCutchen is the Pirates active home run leader with 175 career long balls. In less than half as many seasons played as Clemente, McCutchen has already matched the Hall of Famer’s career hits total. To tie things together, the Pirates star slugger was the 2015 recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award for exemplary contributions both on and off the field.
PNC Park, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh, PA
PNC Park is considered one of the least favorable parks for hitters in the majors, but fence dimensions aren’t insurmountable, with center field resting less than 400 feet from home plate. For lefties, a 25-foot fence rests in deep right at 320 feet. Left field ends at 325 feet. Last season’s PNC Park deep shots belong to former Pirate Sean Rodríguez (450 feet) and current outfielder Gregory Polanco (449 feet).
For all the Pittsburgh faithful seeking home run ball glory, the heaviest helping of long balls hit to left have historically landed in sections 134, 135, 136, 136, 137, and 138. So, you’ve got options if you can’t decide on your left field seat selection. If you’re partial to sitting in center, PNC offers spacious seating … in your kayak on the Allegheny River? There are no seats in center field of PNC Park. Bring your ball glove to right field in sections 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, or 145.
Will Andrew “Cutch” McCutchen power the Pirates and PNC Park back into the playoffs? Tune in and see. If you’re wearing a Honus Wagner Pirates jersey, take it off right now. It’s probably worth millions. Maybe it’s time to check out Fanatics.com for fresh, new McCutchen gear to upgrade your home run catching wardrobe.