Remembering Chuck

tanner.jpgI’ve never been one to blame the manager for a team’s short comings.

It’s the job of the team with its skills and talents to live up to the true potential.

However, behind every great team is an even greater coach. Chuck Tanner was the epitome of that kind of great coach.

He was heralded as the ultimate “player’s manager” with not only his knowledge of the game but interpersonal relationships with the members of his team.

Those “Beyond Baseball” commercials seen on TV truly define what Tanner saw through the national past time.

In a statement, Pirates President Frank Coonelly said  “Chuck was a class act who always carried himself with grace, humility and integrity. While no one had a sharper baseball mind, Chuck was loved by his players and the city of Pittsburgh because he was always positive, enthusiastic and optimistic about his Bucs and life in general.”

Even though the city of Pittsburgh is far removed from having a heartbeat for baseball the outpouring of support has been overwhelming. People who haven’t seen, or cared about, a baseball game for ages cared about Tanner and remembered a time long ago when baseball was the living and dying point of the Steel City. Tanner brought attention to the game and even though it took his death to garner the necessary support, there has been a wonderful display of emotion to Tanner, himself, his family and the Pirates.

A nationwide audience has bestowed best wishes to the club and Tanner. Being a feature on Sports Center, ESPN’s bottom line, MLB Netowork and even the nightly national news, Tanner was a perfect ambassador to baseball and was adored for generations. For a time on Twitter, his name was even trending along the likes of Justin Bieber and Egypt.


family.jpgMoving forward, the centerpiece of teh “We-Are- Fam-a-lee” Bucs of 1979, Tanner’s legacy will never be duplicated. He wasn’t the winningest manager of his time or in Pittsburgh, but he still has the distinction of being the last skipper to lead the Pirates to the World Series.

He will surely be missed. His spirit has never wilted from the organization as even up to his dying days he was an advisor to the General Manager in the Pirates front office. Tanner will always be a part of the Pittsburgh Pirates, his attitude forever etched inside of all ballplayers that set foot in PNC Park. He did his job, now it would be nice for the Pirates to give back. As I’m sure will be the case, Tanner needs to be honored in the 2011 season. A patch on the jersey would be great but a memorial within the walls of PNC Park would be a great tip-of-the cap to a Western Pennsylvania native and true believer in the black and gold.

photo credits:,



  1. raysrenegade

    Some people called ex- Pittsburgh legend Willie Stargell the “Papa” of the “We Are Family” crew. If that is true, then Chuck Tanner was the wise grandfather figure who everyone listened to when he spoke.
    Not out of simply respect, but the man knew the game of baseball with a keen eye for the small things that became big in the clutch.
    I hope that the Pirates do a patch or some form of honorable remembrance for the clubhouse guru who truly kept the beat for the family vibe.

    Rays Renegade

  2. TheSmiler

    Will miss Tanner. It’s not often managers get traded. Only the good ones. I need a ’79 Pirates striped ‘Dictator’ cap, Matt. Not a fake one. Something genuine. Where or where?

  3. bklyntrolleyblogger

    I have a lot of memories of Chuck and the Pirates coming to Shea in the 70’s. He was most definitely a class act; sorry for your Pirates’ Family loss.
    I just changed the oil on the ‘ol blog site and I’m ready for another season. Good luck this year Matt.

  4. blithescribe

    “He wasn’t the winningest manager of his time” but his leadership and enthusiasm for the game shaped a lot of ballplayers and made quite an impact on the Pirates and on the game. A memorial would definitely be fitting.
    Did you know that as a player, Tanner was one of the original Angels? And he was a Milwaukee Brave. Quite a history really.

  5. behindblueyes

    I too loved that ’79 team. My Dodgers had won the NL pennant in ’77 and ’78, but sucked in ’79. So when the Pirates, with a lot of players I liked, represented the NL (and I rationalized, I would probably root for almost anyone but Philly), it was easy to root for them. And when they fell behind in the World Series, it was easy to believe they’d come back with the spirit they showed. That era is when I developed a soft spot in my heart for the Pirates. They are one of the few other teams that I really enjoyed seeing win it all.

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