Members of the 1979 world championship Pirates together with the World Series trophy before Saturday night’s game. From left to right, top row, Omar Moreno, Bruce Kison, partially blocked by Chuck Tanner, Kent Tekulve, Bill Madlock, wife of the late slugger Willie Stargell, Margaret Stargell, Don Robinson, and Rennie Stennett,, Bottom row right to left are Dale Berra , Mike Easler, Grant Jackson, Steve Nicosia and Phil Garner.
Often, when the Pirates have some commemorative event for a championship team, then win the game later the same day, all kinds of intangible, inspirational connections get made.
To be sure, plenty of those were heard after the 12-2 rout of the Cincinnati Reds last night before 32,570 at PNC Park: It brought a season-best five-game winning streak, and it followed a moving ceremony to honor 22 members of the 1979 Family, highlighted by Chuck Tanner, 80 years old and recovering from heart surgery, getting warmly embraced as all huddled around their World Series trophy.
It was, as pitcher Zach Duke would describe it, “A great moment, for us and for the city.”
For Ryan Doumit, it was more.
And not just because he busted out of a 4-for-34 funk with a home run, double, single and three RBIs.
Flash back to a few minutes before 7 p.m., as Doumit, Duke and pitching coach Joe Kerrigan came up the tunnel steps on the way to Duke’s warmup. Near the bat rack was Tanner, who is more than just an acquaintance to Doumit, having once pleaded his case to management that Doumit should be the everyday catcher by pounding his fist on a meeting-room table during spring training of 2008.
This time, Tanner grabbed Doumit by the elbow, caught his full attention and gave him an old-fashioned earful.
As always with Tanner, it was all positive.
How cool to see all those wonderful faces together again, holding that magic trophy.
One more time, sing it Sister:
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