The Norman Transcript

Opinion

August 16, 2012

Pirates of earlier era received stamp of approval

NORMAN — After a seemingly endless drought, the Pittsburgh Pirates are poised to have a winning season.

It’s been a long time coming, and this summer has been one more reminder of how fortunate I was growing up.

That was an era when the Buccos were perennial contenders, producing a constant crop of hitters who terrorized opposing pitchers.

There wasn’t anything fancy about the Pirates recruited by Joe L. Brown and managed by Danny Murtaugh. They swung at just about anything that came in their direction — and usually hit it. There was no need to manufacture runs; the Pirates were poised to attack the baseball.

Great teams produce great memories, and one that’s seared permanently in my brain is Roberto Clemente, standing atop second base at Three Rivers Stadium, doffing his cap to the crowd after attaining his 3,000th career hit.

That was late in the 1972 season. And while they had another outstanding year, the world champion Pirates lost to Cincinnati in the playoffs. But even worse, a few months later they lost Clemente. The Great One died in an airplane crash New Year’s Eve while on a mercy mission to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua.

Clemente’s death resonated far beyond his fan base in Pittsburgh. His exploits as an athlete on the field and a humanitarian off were the stuff of legend. The accolades poured in, and one came from the U.S. Postal Service, which in 1984 placed his image on a stamp.

Recently, another Pirate from that era was similarly honored. Willie Stargell, the great slugger, is depicted on his stamp staring ahead with bat poised to strike.

It’s one of the most fearsome images a pitcher of that era could face. Stargell, looming over the plate, his bat spinning like an airplane propeller. It was as if he were preparing to send the ball on a cross-country journey.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Call up National Guard

    We’re not sure it will help, but you have to hand it to Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He deployed up to 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure his state’s border with Mexico this week....

    July 23, 2014

  • It’s only getting worse

    Conditions for children in Oklahoma were starting to look up for a few years, according to the annual Kids Count reports. Now we know it wasn’t getting better. The recession was impacting the rest of the country, dropping their scores....

    July 23, 2014

  • Noting a life well lived

    James Garner never intended to be a movie and television star. He just kind of lucked into it, he would tell those who asked. If you have the itch to act, get a good-paying job and spend your free time at your local community theater, he ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Recount that really matters

    Americans have been hearing a lot about Congressional elections, but there’s another one halfway around the globe that will matter far more....

    July 22, 2014

  • Runoffs get no respect

    The Aug. 26 Republican runoff election for the Cleveland County District 3 commissioner post is one of only 18 races on ballots around the state. Only two races are statewide — the Democrat contests for U.S. Senator nominee and state ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Change some lines

    Editor, The Transcript: Looking at how our elected Republican friends are reacting to the refugee children crossing the border and now being housed in Lawton, I have a suggestion. Let’s edit the Christian Bible in several places to reflect ...

    July 21, 2014

  • New health care system demonized

    To the Editor: In October 2013, soon after we were asked to take over management responsibilities at our family business, we were visited by the company’s health insurance agent. She explained that a decision needed to be made regarding ...

    July 21, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • The longer the wait, the higher the cost

    Editor, The Transcript: Thanks for the great article of July 3 on the Norman chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby group that recently went to D.C. as citizen lobbyists, working to get a revenue-neutral carbon pollution fee, refunded in ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014