Former Pirate and Pine-Richland star Neil Walker retires


dbking on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop), CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Shown here with the Pirates on June 8, 2010, second baseman Neil Walker retires.

Matthew Szymanowski, Staff Writer

Being a lifelong Pirates fan, a little part of my childhood passed away when the news broke that “The Pittsburgh Kid” decided to hang up his cleats.

“The Real Deal” Neil Walker made the announcement recently to go into retirement after a twelve-year playing career with the Pirates, Mets, Brewers, Yankees, Marlins and Phillies.

Walker was born and raised just outside of Pittsburgh in Pine-Richland. He was a dominant athlete for them, winning Post Gazette Male Athlete of the Year twice while playing baseball, basketball, and football.

Eventually, he decided to go with baseball as his career route and was drafted straight out of high school in the first round of the 2004 MLB Draft by his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates.

Walker was initially a catcher, but transitioned to second base in his time in the minor leagues. He was called up late in the 2009 season and finished in the top 5 for Rookie of the Year voting the following season.

Over his seven-year tenure in Pittsburgh, Walker hit .272 with 93 home runs, 418 RBI, and 833 hits. He won the Silver Slugger award for second basemen in 2014 and helped lead the Pirates to three consecutive playoff appearances.

He was traded to the after the 2015 season and bounced around the league until his last game in September of 2020.

His most memorable moments came with the Pirates when he hit a grand slam on Opening Day in 2011 and when he hit a walk-off home run on Opening Day in 2014.

The switch-hitting second baseman from Pittsburgh is one of the best second basemen in Pirates franchise history.

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