Steve Blass thanks Pirates, city of Pittsburgh for ’77-year party’
Steve Blass considers himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.
After a 60-year career with the Pirates as a pitcher and broadcaster, Blass, 77, is retiring this weekend.
On Friday, Mayor Bill Peduto presented Blass with a proclamation declaring Saturday “Steve Blass Day” in the city.
Peduto said Blass exemplifies the best characteristics of Pittsburgh.
“Today we recognize something that’s been very much a part of the people who call Pittsburgh home today,” Peduto said. “That is the importance that you’ve played in our lives. Sixty years you’ve given of yourself through the Pittsburgh Pirates. You did it on the field. You did it off the field. You did it on the air.”
Blass, of Mt. Washington, vowed that he and wife, Karen, would remain city residents.
“People here have been so kind,” he said. “I’m going to spend the rest of the time on this Earth, if I’m able, when I run into people in the city of Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas (thanking) them for caring about the Pittsburgh Pirates, caring about me on the mound and caring about our family. It doesn’t get any better than living in Pittsburgh for me.”
Blass pitched for the Pirates in the minor and major leagues from 1960 through 1974. He retired in 1975 with a pitching record of 103-76.
He is best known for pitching two complete games in the 1971 World Series, including the clinching seventh game over the Baltimore Orioles. He’s been a color commentator for the team since 1983.
He’s also known for an inexplicable loss of control which ended his career and became known as “Steve Blass Disease.”
“I almost consider my life to be a 77-year party,” Blass said. “My baseball record is 103 and 76, but I consider myself at age 77 to be 75 and two. I had 75 great years. I had two really rotten years. I think you learn as much or more about yourself when you’re struggling than when you’re sailing along.”
Blass appeared in Peduto’s City-County Building offices, Downtown, to receive the proclamation along with his son, Chris, fellow broadcaster Greg Brown and several Pirate representatives. He said he planned to spend time with his family and grandchildren, going to baseball games and enjoying “a ‘dog and a beer.”
He also plans to devote more time to his wife, whom he christened Saint Karen.
“I’m so proud to represent this city,” he said.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .