Andrew McCutchen issued a heartfelt goodbye to Pirates fans and the city of Pittsburgh -- a place he called "My Home" in a classy tweet -- hours after it was revealed that he had been traded to the San Francisco Giants on Monday.After nine seasons, McCutchen is moving on from
Andrew McCutchen issued a heartfelt goodbye to Pirates fans and the city of Pittsburgh -- a place he called "My Home" in a classy tweet -- hours after it was revealed that he had been traded to the San Francisco Giants on Monday.
After nine seasons, McCutchen is moving on from the team that drafted him with the 11th overall pick in 2005. In the trademark fashion that the former face of the Pirates franchise has embodied, McCutchen thanked the fans and teammates, with a picture of him tipping his helmet to the crowd. McCutchen will assuredly be included in any conversation about the all-time greatest Pirates. In his nine seasons in Pittsburgh, he blossomed into a fan favorite for his personality and his loyalty to the city.
In 2012, he signed a six-year, $51.5 million contract that bought out each of his arbitration-eligible years, with a club option that was exercised for '18. The deal was widely viewed as one of the most club-friendly in baseball, signifying McCutchen's allegiance. Over the course of that deal, McCutchen went on to win the NL MVP Award in '13, during a four-year stretch in which he was a finalist for the award three times. He also helped the club snap a 20-year postseason drought with a run of three straight playoff appearances.
Like the greatest Pirates player of all time, Roberto Clemente, McCutchen embraced his role as a community ambassador. He strove to leave an imprint on the city in a manner akin to Clemente, who was killed in a plane crash chartering relief supplies to earthquake survivors in Nicaragua on New Year's Eve in 1972. Since 1973, "baseball's most prestigious award," as Commissioner Rob Manfred has coined it, bears Clemente's name. It is presented to the player who best represents the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
McCutchen received the honor in 2015 -- joining Willie Stargell as the only Pirates to do so. McCutchen said he took more pride in receiving the Clemente Award than he did the NL MVP, which reflects his determination to define his legacy through the community.
McCutchen identifies with Pittsburgh so much that he named his son Steel as an homage to the city that groomed him into a star.
He plans to pen a formal goodbye to the city of Pittsburgh and its fans, at least as a player, through the Players' Tribune.
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.