Sept. 7, 1982: We were a bit depressed after yet another losing Pirates season, so we dug into our files and found this image, which made us feel much better. It was taken during “Willie Stargell Day” at Three Rivers Stadium, which was packed with more 38,000 fans — the largest crowd since opening day of 1981. “One of the greatest days in Pittsburgh history,” declared manager Chuck Tanner. President Ronald Reagan placed a call to the stadium and praised Stargell’s “decency and courage” and his “compassion and humanity.”
Of course, Pittsburghers already knew these things about Stargell. We called him “Pops.” He spent his entire 21-year playing career with the Pirates, hit 475 homers and helped the Bucs win World Series titles in 1971 and ‘79. Stargell was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988. On April 9, 2001 — the day of the first game at PNC Park — we said goodbye to Pops. He died after suffering a stroke in Wilmington, North Carolina.
(Photo by Darrell Sapp, Post-Gazette)