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Chuck Tanner, Former Pirates Manager, Dies at 82

Feb 11, 2011 – 3:04 PM
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FanHouse Staff

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Chuck TannerChuck Tanner, who led the Pittsburgh Pirates to a World Series championship in 1979 and served as manager of three other major league teams, has died.

The New Castle (Pa.) News first reported Tanner's death. Born in New Castle on July 4, 1928, he was 82 years old.

"Chuck was a class act and an integral and loved member of the Pirates family," said Pirates president Frank Coonelly. "No one had a sharper baseball mind."

Tanner played parts of eight seasons in the majors and also managed the White Sox, Athletics and Braves, but he'll always be most strongly tied to the Pirates. He was Pittsburgh's manager from 1977-85, and his one trip to the playoffs was memorable. Tanner guided the "We Are Family" Pirates to a 98-64 record in 1979, followed by a sweep of the Reds in the NLCS and a taut seven-game victory over the Orioles in the World Series.

That was the only time he reached the playoffs in parts of 19 seasons as a manager, which began in 1970 with the White Sox. He led Chicago through 1975, then spent the following season in Oakland before heading back home to Pittsburgh. After the Pirates bottomed out at 57-104 in 1985, Tanner joined the Braves the following year. He was fired 39 games into the 1988 season and didn't manage again.

Tanner was an outfielder during his playing days, breaking into the majors with the Milwaukee Braves in 1955. He also played for the Cubs, Indians and Angels before wrapping up his playing career in 1962.
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