Saturday, February 12, 2011

RIP Chuck Tanner


Since spring training is just around the corner, it's appropriate to give a hat tip to Chuck Tanner, former manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who died yesterday.

Beyond the obvious, why should you care?
> Tanner took a Pirates team into the World Series in 1979 and promptly fell behind 3 games to 1. Remember, in baseball, the World Series is the best of 7. So they're 1 loss away from elimination.
> Tanner refused to fold and, more importantly, refused to let his team fold.
> With a line-up including Willie Stargell, Dave Parker and Bert Blyleven, the miracle Pirates fought back to win. And Tanner did it despite his mother dying during the World Series.
> Chuck Tanner was old school. His policy of never giving in was infectious and help will his players to win.
> p.s. Remember the Sister Sledge song, "We Are Family"? That became the theme song of the Pirates. Yes, it was played ad nauseum but, in the end, it was true.

G'night Chuck. Your entire family will miss you.


Unknown said...

I remember the "We Are Family" season well. Tanner had taken the Pirates to the final weekend in '78 in contention. The big trade for Bill Madlock pushed the Buccos over the top in '79. A sweep of the Reds in the NLCS with Blyleven going the distance in the clincher. Then it was a 3-1 hole in the WS. I was at the Steelers/Bengals game on the afternoon of game five. As the Steelers got blitzed by the Bengals, the fans serenaded us Steeler fans with jokes about Pittsburgh. Of course, we had the last laugh as the mighty Family came back and swept the final three games and the Steelers went on to defeat the Rams in the Super Bowl to give the city the title of "City of Champions." It has been downhill for the Pirates since then. After a dismal eighties, culminating the the Pittsburgh Drug Trials, the Pirates regained respectability with three division championships but since then they have not finished above .500, setting the professional sports record. With things not looking better anytime soon, Tanner was one of the important links to the last Pirates World Champions. He was working as a scout for the Pirates for the last few years. He will be missed but also remembered as the lead of the Family.

mity quinn said...

Couldn't agree more!