Pittsburgh Pirates

Best Stadium in Baseball

It was a bone chilling January afternoon when Kevin McClatchy climbed to the top of Three Rivers Stadium in 1996. McClatchy, the new owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, posed for some magazine photographs with the cavernous soup-bowl-shaped stadium that within two years would become rubble. He smiled frequently, shivering in the cold wind as he …

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Ageless Wisdom: Dick Groat, 87

Dick Groat, 87, shares his path to becoming a professional athlete, golf course operator and broadcaster. My family made me whatever I might be. I had great parents and two sisters that were school teachers and two brothers who were athletes at Pitt. I was a very fortunate person to have grown up, as the …

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22nd Annual Steelers Alumni Golf Classic Raises More than $150,000 for BVRS

Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services (BVRS) of Pittsburgh held its 22nd annual Steelers Alumni Golf Classic at Diamond Run Golf Club on Monday, July 23. One of the many highlights of the event is that each foursome was captained by a former Pittsburgh Steeler, Pirate, Penguin or other Pittsburgh celebrity. The day drew more than …

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Pittsburgh’s Hardest Working Angel

Enter the warehouse and, if you aren’t bewildered by the seeming randomness of it all, you get a sense of the urgency. Mobile hospital beds. Crutches. Respirators. IV poles guarding bedpans. Hundreds of boxes of pharmaceuticals. Medical equipment bound for Nigeria, Uganda, Guyana. And for some reason, dozens of suitcases, many of them more than …

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“The Slide” chronicles the tough years of the Pittsburgh Pirates

For some locals, October 17, 1979 was the date parents all over southwestern PA let their kids stay up late. That night baseball fans young and old got to witness Willie “Pops” Stargell homering against the Baltimore Orioles, propelling the Pittsburgh Pirates to their most-recent World Series title. The sound of pots and pans being …

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Clint Hurdle, Baseball Impresario

I believe that all people inherently have at least one passion. And if that passion can be turned into a livelihood, life becomes special. I’ve had a passion for the game of baseball since I was 5 years old. And now, at the age of 58, instead of running to my backyard to play the …

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Remembering the Great One

Walking into The Clemente Museum at Engine House No. 25 in Lawrenceville, one word comes to mind: passion. The athletic passion of one of baseball’s greatest players, his passion for helping the less fortunate and making the world better for his and all children, and the passion of the man who created this moving monument …

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The Beauty of Commitment

Bob Coward, dog-eared scorebook in hand, hurries through the turnstile at PNC Park for what will be his 2,600th-and-something Pittsburgh Pirates home game. A compact man who once worked as a prison guard at Western Penitentiary (now SCI Pittsburgh) on the city’s North Side, Coward darts through the thickening crowd, greeting ushers and vendors as …

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The Payoff Pitch

Nellie King is lying on a hospital bed, his once-sinewy muscles flaccid, his face ashen. The man who once hurled sinking fastballs past Frank Robinson and Ernie Banks is so weak from pneumonia that he can barely draw a breath. He has this terrifying sensation of his skin separating from his skeleton. His youngest daughter, Amy, …

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Eye on the Ball: Centerfielder McCutchen

Tuesday night, Aug. 25, 2009. There are 17,049 paying customers in PNC Park. If they are baseball fans, they are getting their money’s worth. True, the Pirates are out of pennant contention. They are the sole resident of last place in the National League Central Division, as they have been for much of the past …

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From the catbird seat

In mid-November, when daylight dwindles, the sky turns flannel gray and a cold drizzle waterboards Pittsburgh, I flap my old, arthritic wings and fly south to Florida—God’s waiting room. Upon arrival, I encounter nice people who inquire where I am from and, upon learning the answer, chirp brightly, “You must be a Steelers fan!” Good …

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Semple, Burns, Ellis, Simon, Phillips

Dock Ellis, 63 One of baseball’s most colorful, controversial and bizarre figures, Ellis was a Pittsburgh Pirates star, who once pitched a no-hitter on LSD. In an era of social upheaval, Ellis was branded a militant by the media because of his vocal advocacy for racial equality. His 1970 no-hitter came about after he had …

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Pittsburgh’s Three Seasons

Forget about winter, spring, summer and fall. For Pittsburgh’s most faithful sports fans, there are only three seasons: hockey, baseball, and football. They tattoo their bodies with the names of their favorite teams and paint their cars and homes black and gold. They plan their vacations to accommodate a trip to Steelers training camp, and …

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Now Batting: Roberto Clemente

Among the baseball bats, telegrams and uniforms displayed in Lawrenceville’s Engine House No. 25 is a 1960 photo some say predicted Roberto Clemente’s legacy. The former Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder is leaping up to catch a ball, the cumulus clouds behind him forming what looks like angel’s wings. Twelve years after the picture was taken, Clemente, …

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Pittsburgh Roars & the Pirates

On a pedestal: Pittsburgh roars ahead Western Pennsylvania has never been a place where marketing held much sway.  The companies that supplied the oil, steel, glass, aluminum and money for America’s expansion didn’t need to market. America called on them. Marketing may even have been somewhat distasteful in Pittsburgh, where understatement is a virtue. Times …

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The Tracy Method

On the afternoon of Sept. 21, 1980, a rookie outfielder for the Chicago Cubs cracked his first major league home run over the centerfield wall at Wrigley Field. Four days later, he hit his second homer, and two days after that, a third. “I was on pace,” said Jim Tracy, laughing the knowing baseball laugh …

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Pittsburgh’s Claim to Fame

In honor of the midsummer classic’s July reappearance in Pittsburgh, I pulled out some interviews I did years ago with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Dan Fitzpatrick got many new ones of great National Leaguers of the past and their recollections of the Pirates and Pittsburgh. Many remember the eccentricities of old Forbes Field. Some recall …

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