NEW BRIGHTON (KDKA) — Many people say the late Chuck Tanner, the last Pirates manager to lead the club to a World Series, was one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet.
Tanner, 82, passed away at his home in New Castle.
Tito Francona was born in Aliquippa and lives in New Brighton. He played Major League Baseball for 15 seasons.
He and Chuck Tanner played for the Indians in 1959.
“The first time you ever meet Chuck Tanner, you think you had known him for years and years,” he said. “Very good guy. He makes you feel very comfortable.”
Francona says they played for one season together and became lifelong friends.
“You know, he could turn a negative into a positive,” he said. “You could go 0 for 10 and he would make you feel like you had nine hits that game.”
Francona’s son, Terry, is the current manager of the Boston Red Sox.
“He was such a good part of Terry’s life,” Francona said. “When he came down to talk to Terry about managing, he helped him out quite a bit.”
The public viewing for Tanner will be held Tuesday evening in New Castle. Tanner is survived by four sons. His wife died in 2006.