Former MLB manager Chuck Tanner died yesterday after a long illness at the age of 82.
Tanner ranks 27th all-time among managers in wins with 1352. Unfortunately, he has 1381 losses just barely giving him a losing record for his career. Of course, his crowning jewel was his World Series victory in 1979 with the Pirates.
He was described as “upbeat” by the media and that was collaborated by my friend, Todd the Ump, who is a die-hard Pirates fan.
When I got home my son was watching the Pens post game show and they started showing clips of the 1979 Pirates and Chuck Tanner. My son said, "Oh yeah, he died." I didn’t believe it. Chuck Tanner is not supposed to die. He is the eternal optimist who said "You must never ever ever ever quit." Other than the normal happiest days of my life (i.e. kids being born, day I got married – yes I actually do love my wife) the day I met Chuck Tanner and had my picture taken with him at PNC ranks right up there.
You couldn’t help but like Chuck Tanner. He never said a bad word about any player and you never heard a player say a bad word about him. Looking back it’s hard to believe that when he skippered the Buccos to the ’79 Championship that he was only a few years older than I am now. Yet when I met him a few years back he didn’t seem to be any older than he was in 1979.
I hope the Pirates do the right thing and retire his number 7 this coming season. After all, he quite possibly will be the last man to lead them to a World Series title.
I don’t think anyone could have said it better.