After 21-Year Dry Streak, Pirates Make The Playoffs

Sep 24, 2013

The Pittsburgh Pirates finally snapped out of their 21-year losing streak and have clinched a spot in the playoffs.

In their game against the Chicago Cubs on Monday, the Pirates won 2-1, allowing them to advance to the playoffs, something the team hasn’t done since 1992.

Lanny Frattare experienced that day all those years ago. Frattare was the play-by-play announcer for the Pirates for 33 years.

“It was extremely heartwarming for me as a former Pirates broadcaster, and I’m so thrilled for the people of Pittsburgh,” Frattare told Here & Now. “Pittsburgh deserves the opportunity now to celebrate in a big way and hopefully it will be able to extend its season well into October.”


  • Lanny Frattare, former play-by-play announcer for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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Well, last night the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Chicago Cubs 2-1 on this play.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It's a fly ball deep to left field. Did he? Clear the deck, cannonball, come in, let's have a Marte party at Wrigley.


YOUNG: A Marte party as Starling Marte hit that tie-breaking homer in the ninth inning at Wrigley Field. The Pirates threw out a runner at the plate for the final out. And then the Washington Nationals lost to the St. Louis Cardinals, which means that the Pittsburgh Pirates clinched at least a National League wildcard and are heading to the playoffs for the first time since 1992.

Joining us now is someone who witnessed those playoffs in 1992. In fact he brought them to many people, former Pirates announcer Lanny Frattare. Lanny, what was that like to see that win last night?

LANNY FRATTARE, BYLINE: It was extremely heartwarming for me as a former Pirate broadcaster, and I'm so thrilled for the people of Pittsburgh, the Pirates fans of Pittsburgh. I love that call, my former partner, Greg Brown, a real creative and talented broadcaster. So Pittsburgh deserves the opportunity now to celebrate in a big way and hopefully will be able to extend its season well into October.

YOUNG: Well, there are a few other teams playing, but we're going to focus on Pittsburgh today just because it's been so long. What does this mean to the people of Pittsburgh?

FRATTARE: Well, it means a great deal. For a long time there have been those people across the country that never believed that Pittsburg was a great baseball town. You know, it was always the attention was focused on the Steelers and the Penguins, rightfully so in terms of the success that they had enjoyed. But Pittsburgh's a great baseball town. We have a tremendous ballpark in Pittsburgh, and it's so great that the leadership of Frank Coonelly, the president, and Neal Huntington, general manager, and Clint Hurdle, the manager, and so many people that waited so long for this day. Let's hope this goes on for a number of weeks, into October.

YOUNG: Yeah. Well, as a former announcer, we heard the Marte party. What are some of yours that come to mind now, especially now as the team is going forward?

FRATTARE: Well, I had a couple signature phrases. Number one, at the end of all Pirate wins I used to say there was no doubt about it, and if there was some doubt about it, I would extend the no. Of course my former partner, Greg Brown, now has come up with a great end-of-game slogan, raise the Jolly Roger. And the flag companies in Pittsburgh are selling a lot of Jolly Roger flags this year.

And I also had a homerun call, go ball, get out of here. Bob French(ph) was the longtime voice of the Pirates, and Bob had for years told me you need to develop a homerun call, and I finally did. So the signature phrases are a part of just about every Major League Baseball announcer's resume.

YOUNG: Well, Lanny, as we say goodbye, could you just leave us with just a taste of what it used to sound like?

FRATTARE: Happy to. It's the bottom of ninth inning, Jay Bell(ph) steps in for the Buckos. The Pirates trailing by one run. Here's the one-two pitch to Bell. He swings in a drive. Deep left center field. Go ball, get out of here, and it is gone. Bell hits a game-winning homerun. The Pirates defeat the Dodgers, and there was no doubt about it.


YOUNG: Lanny Frattare, former announcer for the Pittsburgh Pirates, now a professor at Waynesburg College, teaching a new generation. Lanny, I hope you enjoy watching.

FRATTARE: Thanks, Robin, for having me on. I appreciate it.


GREG BROWN: The Pirates raise the Jolly Roger for the 90th time in an absolutely incredible finish.

YOUNG: And that's Pittsburgh Pirates announcer Greg Brown telling fans last night to raise the Jolly Roger. Sounds like we are all going to have to just get used to it. Latest news is next, HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.