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Pittsburgh Pirates All-Time ERA Leaders

Updated on April 29, 2010

Vic Willis

Nick Maddox

The Pittsburgh Pirates are a storied franchise and have been around since 1882 when they were the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, and they became the Pirates in 1891.  The Pirates have won 5 championships, but none since 1979.  They have put some great pitchers on the field either way, and here is a short list of the Pirates’ all-time leaders in earned run average (ERA):

Vic Willis (2.08)—Vic Willis pitched for the Pirates from 1906 to 1910 and ranks first in the team’s history with a 2.08 ERA.  Willis was a steady pitcher who won 20 or more games eight times.  His best season was with the Pirates in 1906.  That year, Willis went 23-13 with a career best 1.73 ERA, and 124 strikeouts.

Nick Maddox (2.29)—Nick Maddox only pitched in the majors from 1907 to 1910, all with Pittsburgh, and he ranks second in franchise history with a 2.29 earned run average.  Maddox had a career best 0.83 ERA in 1907, but that was only in six games.  His best overall full season was 1908, when he went 23-8 with a 2.28 ERA and 70 strikeouts.  He is best known for throwing a no-hitter in his rookie season. 

Lefty Leifield (2.38)—Lefty Leifeld played for the Pirates from 1905 to 1912 and ranks third in the team’s history with a 2.38 ERA.  Leifeld had arguably his best season in 1906.  That year, he went 18-13 with a career best 1.87 ERA and 111 strikeouts.

Sam Leever (2.47)—Sam Leever pitched for Pittsburgh his entire career, from 1898 to 1910, and he ranks fourth in Pirates’ history with a 2.47 earned run average.  Leever had a career best 1.66 ERA in 1907, but his best overall season was probably 1903.  That year, Leever went 25-7 (career high in wins) with a 2.06 ERA and 90 strikeouts.

Deacon Phillippe (2.50)—Deacon Phillippe pitched for the Pirates most of his career, from 1900 to 1911.  He ranks fifth in franchise history with a 2.50 ERA, and Phillippe’s best season may have been 1902.  That year, he went 20-9 with a career best 2.05 ERA and 122 strikeouts.


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