PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Sometimes things happen in life that we simply cannot explain.
Former Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitcher Steve Blass lived that life. He sat down with KDKA’s Rick Dayton to talk about his book that details how his world was turned upside down.
“I have absolute respect for other sports books,” Blass said. “They are fine, but I don’t think anybody has this particular aspect of the story.”
Blass’ book, “A Pirate for Life,” chronicles how he went from winning two games in the 1971 World Series to not being able to throw a strike.
“The bottom of the pit, the abyss as I call it in the book was just devastating because I didn’t know why this was happening,” said Blass. “I won 19 games, finished second in the Cy Young, and then I can’t find home plate. It was humiliating; it was embarrassing. There’s nothing worse for a professional major league athlete then being in the arena, and knowing you shouldn’t be there.”
Three short years later, the World Series MVP was out of the game and saying little about it.
“I thought I was protecting my family, and I also internalized it because there are a lot of people with a rougher go of it than I had. I was a baseball player that was struggling,” he said. “There are people with a lot bigger issues than that, so I wasn’t exposing it, but now this is full disclosure and with the separation of time, I am okay with that.”
Some call it “Steve Blass Disease” – athletes who go inexplicably from the top of their game to an inability to perform.
Blass tackles the subject and remembers other moments.
“Played in an All-Star Game, a World Series, played with three hall of famers – Maz, Clemente and Stargell. I mean this is fair tale stuff,” said Blass. “The Pirates, when I was 18, gave me a chance to live that dream and I’m still living it, so they have my loyalty forever.”
To this day, Blass wears his 1971 World Series ring, a reminder of a special moment and what a charmed ride it has been.
“Out of a fairy tale life, I had two very difficult years, but on each side of that it’s been absolutely terrific,” he says.