PITTSBURGH — The Pirates and the City of Pittsburgh celebrated the Fam-A-Lee Saturday night at PNC Park, marking the 40th anniversary season of the 1979 World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates.
A large number of the Pirates from that team were on hand for the ceremony, and for a chance to get together and relive the memories from the 1979 team that captivated the city.
Phil Garner told Channel 11, “Getting back together talking about old times, I was having lunch with Jim Rooker and Don Robinson today. We got to telling funny old stories. One story begets another story then jogs your memory, and we had a good time. We had a lot of fun playing baseball. It's fun getting back together and renewing old friendships.”
The Pirates had nothing but love for each other, and to their teammates who are no longer with us, most notably the Captain, Willie Stargell. Dave Parker shared a story with Channel 11 about Pops from the 1979 World Series: “Willie was going to the plate for the 2nd time and I was in the on deck circle and Willie said he (Scott McGregor) threw the first pitch and he missed. He said if he throws it again I'm gonna take him deep, and McGregor threw it again and Willie hit a home run.”
Parker has been battling Parkinson’s disease, and at times had a rocky relationship with the Pittsburgh fans. But at the celebration for the 40 year anniversary of the team, Parker received a standing ovation from the PNC Park crowd, a true reflection of the memories he and the team share.
Phil Garner summed up how the team felt looking back on 40 years: “I think probably most players would agree that was a defining moment in all of our careers and it probably defined our lives.”
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