Bill Virdon took over managing the team in 1972 from Danny Murtaugh. Murtaugh ended up coming back when the Pirates were disenchanted with Virdon. Virdon went on to become the first manager fired by George Steinbrenner, but he was amazing with the Astros in 1980. The Pirates had 3 future Hall of Famers on this team (Willie Stargell, Roberto Clemente and Bill Mazeroski). Clemente was the only Gold Glove winner. Stargell started the All-Star Game in left field and the Pirates were also represented by Clemente, Steve Blass, Manny Sanguillen and Al Oliver. The Pirates won the NL East by 11 games over the Cubs and met the Reds in the NLCS. They were 3 outs away from a second consecutive World Series, but that belonged to the Reds.
There were a few teams from 1972 that I would play when I'd get in the vacant lot next door. The Cardinals were my favorite team, so they always played. The Reds played a lot as did the A's and Orioles. The Pirates were usually in the mix. I saw those teams play a lot on the Game of the Week and knew their lineups forwards and backwards.
As we go through this blog, we'll visit some of these events in detail and a few more.