Former Pirates manager Chuck Tanner died today at the age of 82. Many baseball fans outside of Western Pennsylvania may not be that familiar with Tanner, but I had the privilege of graduating from the same high school as him at Shenango in New Castle, Pa and knew plenty about him.

Tanner managed four ML teams from 1970-1988, including the Pirates from ’77-85. He led the Buccos to their last World Series title as the manager of the 1979 “We Are Family” Bucs. I pray that his World Series is not the last one in Pittsburgh Baseball Club history.

I had the fortunate opportunity to not only meet Tanner during my internship with the Pirates in 2005, but sit down and just talk baseball with him and listen to some great stories from his heyday. He attended almost every home Pirates game that year and would tell stories in the press dining room. When he entered the room, everyone came up to him to shake his hand, see his smiling face and talk shop with him. He always had time for everyone and loved talking baseball in general. Jim Leyland, who was scouting the area at the time, and Tanner would sit together at a table for the hour leading up to the game almost every home game. What a conversation those two could have.

Tanner was a class act and one of the warmest people you’ll meet anywhere. I’m glad I was lucky enough to have met him and always have those memories during that 2005 season. He will be missed in the Pirates family and throughout MLB.

Today, baseball lost one of the good guys.

“I’ve had the greatest life in the world. How many guys can say they won a World Series in their back yard? How can that happen to a kid from Shenango?” – Chuck Tanner

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