Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

Pirates News

Pirates broadcaster and World Series hero Steve Blass to retire

Longtime Pirates broadcaster and 1971 World Series hero Steve Blass announced Tuesday that he will retire from the broadcast booth at the conclusion of the 2019 season, his 60th season as a member of the Pirates organization.
January 15, 2019

Longtime Pirates broadcaster and 1971 World Series hero Steve Blass announced Tuesday that he will retire from the broadcast booth at the conclusion of the 2019 season, his 60th season as a member of the Pirates organization. The 2019 season will mark Blass' 34th as a Pirates color analyst, making

Longtime Pirates broadcaster and 1971 World Series hero Steve Blass announced Tuesday that he will retire from the broadcast booth at the conclusion of the 2019 season, his 60th season as a member of the Pirates organization.

The 2019 season will mark Blass' 34th as a Pirates color analyst, making him the longest-tenured broadcaster in franchise history, surpassing long-time play-by-play announcer Lanny Frattare (33 years, 1976-2008). Moving forward, Blass will remain involved with the Pirates organization as an alumni ambassador.

"Sixty seasons with the Pirates, one organization in one city, I am so very proud of that. It ranks right up there with anything I have ever done on the baseball field. It has been a wonderful run," said Blass. "My wife, Karen, and I felt that it was time to step away from my broadcasting duties in order to have more time to spend together and with our family and friends. I have spent many years driving by the roses, but now it is time for me to stop and smell the roses. I am very much looking forward to the 2019 season, as it will be special for me in so many ways."

The Pirates will honor Blass and his many contributions to the organization throughout the 2019 season, culminating in an on-field celebration prior to the game on Saturday, September 28, against the Cincinnati Reds.

"Steve is as synonymous with Pirates baseball as anyone in the history of our organization. Steve leaping up into the air following the final out in his second complete game victory of the 1971 World Series is one of the most iconic moments in Pirates history," said Bob Nutting, Pirates Chairman. "For 60 seasons, Steve has represented the Pirates with humility, grace, pride and passion. Words cannot express how appreciative we at the Pirates organization are for his dedication or how beloved he is and always will be."

Blass' association with the Pirates goes back to June 27, 1960, when he signed his first professional contract as a pitcher and began his playing career that summer for the Kingsport Pirates of the Appalachian League. Blass made his big league debut at 22 years of age on May 10, 1964, before joining the Pirates permanently in 1966. He went on to pitch a total of 10 seasons in the big leagues, compiling a 103-76 record, 57 complete games and 16 shutouts in 282 games (231 starts). Blass still ranks seventh on the club's all-time strikeouts list (896).

Blass was one of the game's most successful pitchers over a five-year stretch from 1968-72 after going 78-44 with 50 complete games and a 3.05 ERA, which included a career-best 19 wins in 1972.

The highlight of his playing career came during the 1971 Fall Classic against Baltimore. Blass helped lift Pittsburgh to the club's fourth World Series championship after recording two complete games and finishing second in the voting for World Series MVP behind Pirates great Roberto Clemente. He still remains the last National League pitcher to throw a complete game in Game Seven of a World Series (1971).

Beginning in 1983, Blass worked with Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Bob Prince on Pirate cable telecasts. He then officially joined the Pirates radio broadcast crew in 1986.