Former Pirates manager Tanner dies

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 6:11 PM ET

PITTSBURGH -- Chuck Tanner, who served as a major league manager from 1970-88 and was best remembered for his tenure with the Pittsburgh Pirates, died Friday at the age of 81.

"Chuck was a class act who always carried himself with grace, humility and integrity. While no one had a sharper baseball mind, Chuck was loved by his players and the city of Pittsburgh because he was always positive, enthusiastic and optimistic about his Bucs and life in general," said Pirates president Frank Coonelly.

Tanner endeared himself to the Pirates faithful by building on the groundwork laid by previous skipper Danny Murtaugh, keeping the club in the upper echelon of the National League for most of his time as manager.

The Pirates won the NL East in 1979 and took home their second World Series of the decade in a seven-game triumph over Baltimore, and also finished second in the division on three occasions (1977-78, 1983) to the rival Philadelphia Phillies.

"My early memories of the Pirates organization are of Chuck's teams, the way they played the game and the genuine affection they seemed to have for each other," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "This made an impression on me and never did I imagine that I would have a chance to work with Chuck himself."

Tanner's initial managerial position came with the White Sox from 1970-75. He then spent 1976 as the bench boss for the Oakland Athletics, and managed the Atlanta Braves for two-plus seasons from 1986-88. All told, Tanner had a 1,352-1,381 record.

A native of the Pittsburgh suburb of New Castle, Tanner signed with the Boston Braves as a free agent in 1946, and spent eight years (1955-62) in the big leagues as an outfielder with the Braves, Angels, Indians and Cubs.


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