A look back at Pirates' recent five-tool players
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Who was the Pirates' most recent five-tool player?
Through the franchise's ongoing 18-year losing streak, Brian Giles and Jason Bay have been the best overall performers, but neither had much of the arm tool. Bay's arm was notoriously weak, actually.
Many saw Barry Bonds as having all five tools, but the arm could disqualify him, too. It was not as weak as most Pittsburghers likely recall from having failed to throw out Sid Bream that fateful night at Atlanta, in the National League Championship Series in 1992, but neither did it rate as high as average in some evaluators' eyes.
Andy Van Slyke had four of the five tools, for certain, but he topped 17 home runs only twice.
That would take the discussion back to Dave Parker.
"The Cobra," a National League MVP in 1978, had a .290 career average, 339 home runs, 154 steals, and his cannon of an arm became the stuff of legend with his unforgettable throw to nail a runner at the plate in the 1979 All-Star Game in Seattle. Parker was not always especially graceful in right field, but he won three consecutive Gold Gloves in 1977-79.
Manny Sanguillen, the Pirates catcher for two World Series championships in the 1970s and a fixture in the organization since then, chose Parker.
"Bonds could run faster than Parker, but Parker's arm was much, much better," Sanguillen said.
And the five-tool player before Parker?
"Roberto Clemente," Sanguillen replied without hesitation, enunciating each syllable of the name in his Panamanian accent. "He could do everything."