PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Legendary Pittsburgh Pirates skipper Jim Leyland and one of the best players from that era gave fans lots to cheer about in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
This weekend, Leyland and Barry Bonds were back together again in Pittsburgh.
“I considered it a huge honor when he was in Pittsburgh and then to go on to do the great things he did. There is no question he is one of the greatest players to ever play and some people make the case he was the best player to ever play,” Leyland said.
The men were in town for the Josh Gibson Gala, where Bonds was given the Josh Gibson Lifetime Legacy Award.
“It is given to a player for what they have done off the field as well as on the field. You know Josh Gibson has been involved in education as well as baseball — and all the things that Barry has done in his career emulates what Josh Gibson believes in and what he has done,” Gibson’s grandson, Sean, said.
Bonds chose not to speak with the media after the event.
Leyland’s relationship with baseball’s all-time home run king received a lot of attention in the spring of 1991 when he publically chewed out the Buccos’ best player during a workout.
Now, 24 years later, the former skipper thinks the Gibson honor is quite fitting.
“I am old, but I never saw Josh Gibson play, but he is supposedly one of the greatest players to ever play the game. And I think it’s great because tonight, we are going to present that award to without question one of the greatest players to play this game. So, I think it is really apropos,” Leyland said.
Just because Leyland is no longer the man in charge doesn’t mean he no longer follows the Pirates.
“I don’t think they are going to catch the Cardinals for the division, but I think what they have to be concerned about right now is to hold off the Cubs and get that one-game playoff at home at PNC,” Leyland said.