May 12, 2009 - Eastern League (EL) - Altoona Curve
ALTOONA, Pa - The Altoona Curve are pleased to announce that two former World Series heroes from the Pittsburgh Pirates\' last two championship teams will be on hand at Blair County Ballpark over Memorial Day weekend.
On Friday, May 22, John Candelaria, member of 1979 World Champion Pirates, will be on hand to make an appearance at the Curve\'s 7:05 p.m. game against the Reading Phillies (AA - Philadelphia). On Saturday, May 23 during the 5:05 doubleheader, 1971 World Series hero and current Pirates broadcaster Steve Blass will make an appearance at the park as the Curve will also wear Pittsburgh Pirates uniforms that night.
Candelaria will meet with fans and sign autographs for two hours on May 22 when he visits BCB as the Curve celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Pittsburgh Pirates winning the 1979 World Series. "The Candy Man," who tossed a 1976 no-hitter with the Bucs will also throw out the night\'s ceremonial first pitch and participate in the Curve GameDay show on the team\'s radio network.
Candelaria pitched for the Pirates from 1975-85 and then finished his career with the Bucs in 1993. Along with a career record of 177-122, Candelaria sported an ERA of 3.33. His best year with the Bucs came at the age of 23, when he went a remarkable 20-5 with a 2.84 ERA in 1977 and was selected as a National League All Star. During the Pirates\' World Series season of \'79, Candelaria went 14-9 with a 3.22 earned run average.
Blass will be at the team\'s 5:05 p.m. doubleheader on May 23 as the team continues their series against Reading. A popular figure among Pirates fans as both a player and broadcaster, Blass is in his 50th year of service with the team. In 2002, he was honored with the annual Pride of the Pirates award, which is given annually to a member of the Pirates\' family who embodies the qualities of sportsmanship, dedication and outstanding character during a lifetime of service.
Best known for his two complete games in the 1971 World Series against Baltimore and his jubilant leap into teammate Bob Robertson\'s arms after the final out was secured, Blass had 10-year career record of 103-76. His best season came in 1972 when he was selected as a National League All Star, and posted a career-best 19 wins.
Blass retired following the 1975 season and then joined legendary Pirates broadcaster Bob Prince broadcasting cable TV games in 1983, before joining the team\'s announcing crew full-time 1986 where he has remained ever since. Blass ranks third on the team\'s list of most years of service in a broadcast booth, behind Lanny Frattare (33 years) and Prince (28 years).
On that Saturday, the Curve will also wear Pittsburgh Pirates uniforms for the second game of the twinbill while the Pirate Parrot, the Pirates\' official team mascot will be on hand to entertain fans.
"With Candy and Steve coming to BCB on back-to-back days this should be one of the most memorable Memorial Day weekends we\'ve ever had," said Curve General Manager Rob Egan. "This will be a great way for our fans - which are largely Pirates fans -- to celebrate the last two World Championships in team history with two players who played a key role in their success. Combine that with an appearance by the Pirate Parrot and the Curve wearing Pirates uniforms, it will be a black and gold weekend our fans won\'t soon forget."
Fans can reserve their seats to be part of the celebration of both the Pirates 1971 and 1979 World Championships by calling 877-99-CURVE, logging on to AltoonaCurve.com or stopping by in person to the Blair County Ballpark ticket windows during normal business hours.