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Stamp featuring Pirates' Stargell top seller among baseball legends

| Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, 11:52 a.m.
The Willie Stargell stamp became available for purchase at post offices beginning Friday, July 20, 2012.
Congratulations to the Giants for taking the World Series. Willie Stargell fans can also celebrate their own victory. They stepped up to the plate in the Stamps Batted In (SBI) pennant race to position the Pittsburgh Pirate icon as the Most Popular Player (MPP) among four icons immortalized on the Major League Baseball All-Stars Forever stamps last summer. Prior to the stamps July 20 issuance, the Postal Service started a friendly pre-order stamp competition in late May among fans of Stargell and other players commemorated on the stamps — Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees, Larry Doby of the Cleveland Indians and Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox. Williams took the lead at the beginning with DiMaggio nudging ahead a week prior to the First-Day-of-Issuance ceremony only to have Williams take it back. “Fan support of their favorite players was so strong that we decided to continue this friendly competition through the end of the World Series,” said Stamp Services Manager Stephen Kearney referring to the 2.29 million stamps pre-ordered. “I encourage fans to continue supporting their favorite player while the stamps are still available.” To-date, more than 32 million stamps have been sold. Three million stamps on sheets of 20 were printed for each individual player in addition to the 80 million stamps on sheets of 20 honoring all four players.

A commemorative stamp featuring former Pirates slugger Willie Stargell finished as the top seller in a four-way race featuring some of the most iconic players in baseball history, the Postal Service said.

The Postal Service said it sold more than 8.2 million Stargell stamps since May — 11,320 more than one featuring former Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams, the last player to hit at least .400 in a season.

A stamp with Joe DiMaggio, the former New York Yankees outfielder who once hit safely in a record 56 straight games, finished third with sales of almost 8.1 million. Customers bought 7.8 million stamps featuring former Cleveland Indians outfielder Larry Doby, the first black player in the American League.

Stargell, nicknamed “Pops,” hit 475 home runs and led the Pirates to two World Series titles in his Hall of Fame career from 1962-1982. Stargell died in 2001.

The Postal Service's Stamps Batted In race began in earnest July 20 and concluded with the end of the World Series on Oct. 28.

Tad Kelly, a Postal Service spokesman in Pittsburgh, said Stargell came from behind to win. Williams and DiMaggio were far ahead of the pack from late May through July 20, when customers could order the Major League Baseball All-Stars Forever stamps before they went on sale to the general public.

“It's another feather in the cap for Pittsburgh. It shows the way we support our sports teams and revere our sports legends,” Kelly said.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or tfontaine@tribweb.com.

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