• Ken

    Quite honestly, his managing style used to drive me crazy. He was one of the first situational managers, lots of platooning, constant pitching changes. He was almost the prototype for the modern manager.

    But he sure was a great guy. You couldn’t help but smile listening to Tanner talk about the game. Just seemed like a hell of a nice man.

    • TaxMan

      Chuck was the architect of the “modern” approach to using the bullpen & of running game that was prevalent in the ’70’s & ’80’s. But it’s not accurate when it’s said that this was the only way he could manage. He managed according to the team that he had.

      When he first got to Pgh. in ’77, he had Gossage, Tekulve, Jackson, & Forster in the bullpen. In ’78-79, he had Tekulve, Jackson, & Romo, & for the ’79 postseason, Don Robinson. Who would hesitate to go to the bullpen with such top-quality relievers available? He stayed with his starters longer when the bullpen wasn’t as good. In Chicago, Wilbur Wood pitched all 9 innings every 3rd game. In Atlanta, Chuck got in trouble with the front office for leaving Glavine & Smoltz in games with high pitch counts.

      He platooned when he had a good platoon combination. In ’79 he got 40 HR’s from the LF position, between Milner (16) & Bill Robinson (24).

      He could adapt to & use a number of offensive strategies. The only time in Pgh. that his team had trouble scoring runs was in ’84-85, when he was saddled with a team devoid of speed & power.

      • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

        He started Wilbur Wood (a knuckleballer) in both games of a doubleheader.

        • Ken

          Wood was just shy of 400 innings one year.

          I agree that Chuck did a great job with the ’79 Pirates staff. For all his whining about being yanked from games, and I often thought that in ’78 Tanner did pull him too quickly, in 1979, Bert Blyleven did not pitch that well and deserved to be pulled. Candelaria was never good for much more than 6 or 7 innings. Rooker was washed up. Don Robinson had been great as a teenage rookie in 1978 but had terrible control and was out of the rotation in ’79. They really had a patched up rotation where the best starters by the end of the year were Kison and Bibby – who were in the pen early in the season. Their bullpen did a great job that year.

          • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

            Candelaria was in terrible shape. Robinson was also fat. After 79, they got fatter and Madlock and Stargell also porked up. I always felt that Candelaria had as much talent as Steve Carlton. The difference was Carlton was a fitness fanatic and Candelaria was a slob. Think back to 1978 when people were marveling at Stargell still going at 38. They were calling him Pops and he sat in a rocking chair in front of his locker. He was at least 25 pounds overweight. Clemente was still the best outfielder in the league when he was the same age. It’s scary to think what Stargell would have done with good conditionin, steroids and HGH.

          • Ken

            Bad back or not, Candelaria always looked like he never game a damn about himself.

            Stargell is my all-time favorite, but he was overweight much of his career. I always wondered what he could have done if he had taken better care of himself and didn’t hit the buffet so hard. He could still hit at the end; if he had dropped some weight he might have been more than a pinch hitter in 1981-82.

            I was never in the Pirates locker room, but I was in the Penguin’s once. There were no fat guys there.

          • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

            There are no fat hockey players.

  • Sean

    I never met Chuck Tanner, but being that he lived in the same town as I do, I heard nothing but the best about him from the locals. So I would like to lead all of the New Castle people out there in saying RIP Chuck. You will be missed.

  • franji1

    I was an APBA guy :-D

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      I played a lot of NEGAMCO. It was a great baseball game using charts and a spinner. They also made a good football game.

  • TaxMan

    That’s a great story. I would have loved to have played Tanner in Strat-O-Matic. You story mirrors how he managed. He generally saved his bench & bullpen for late in the game. Then it looked like he was playing with a 30-man roster while his opponent had the standard 25-man roster.

    I met him a couple times & found him to be a very nice man. He loved talking to fans & actually listened to what you were saying like he was hearing the most interesting thing in the world.

    Every decision he made in ’79 sure turned to gold, whether it was the John Milner grand slam vs. the Phillies, Teke catching the ball in LF in Candlestick Park, or starting 4-game winner Jim Rooker against the eventual AL Cy Young winner in game 5 of the World Series.

    RIP, Chuck.