Pirates tab Tanner, Blass for Draft
Ex-manager, pitcher-turned-broadcaster to be in Orlando
Chuck Tanner has long been one of the faces of the Pirates franchise, while Steve Blass is currently one of the voices for it. Now, both will pair to be the club's representatives at the 2008 First-Year Player Draft in a few weeks.
With the Draft being televised live for the second straight year, each club has been asked to send at least one team ambassador to Orlando, Fla., to be the face of the organization. When the Pirates make their first-round pick on June 5, those two faces will be Tanner and Blass. Pittsburgh has the No. 2 overall selection.
MLB.com will carry every pick of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, which takes place June 5-6 at The Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Fla. Day 1 coverage on BaseballChannel.TV begins at 1 p.m. ET with a special ceremonial draft of former Negro Leaguers who will be on hand at The Milk House. The First-Year Player Draft follows at 2 p.m. with a simulcast of ESPN2's broadcast of the first round and compensation picks. The remaining rounds on Day 1 will be shown exclusively on BaseballChannel.TV, with live analysis on site from MLB.com Draft guru Jonathan Mayo and David Rawnsley of Perfect Game USA.
Several of the top amateur prospects are expected to be in attendance in Orlando for Day 1 of the Draft, and each of the 30 Major League clubs will be represented by front office executives and baseball luminaries. Fans are welcome to attend Day 1 of the Draft, and admission to The Milk House is free with seating limited to a first-come, first-served basis.
Day 2 will get under way at 11:30 a.m. ET and continue through Round 50, if necessary. Every pick on Day 2 can be heard live at MLB.com.
This is the second consecutive year in which Blass has been asked to represent the Pirates at the Draft. He has been a part of this organization for 48 years now, the past 23 as a member of the Pirates' broadcast team. He became a permanent fixture as a color analyst for the Pirates in 1986.
Before Blass' voice was heard across the airwaves, he made his mark in Pittsburgh on the mound. Blass won 78 games for the Pirates from 1968-1972, was a member of the '72 All-Star team and notched two complete-game victories in the Bucs' 1971 World Series championship.
Blass will be seated next to the now 78-year-old Tanner, who returned to the organization over the offseason when general manager Neal Huntington hired the former Pirates manager as a senior advisor.
Tanner, who remains one of the most beloved living Pirates alumni, spent nine of his 19 years as a Major League manager in Pittsburgh, where he led the Pirates to their last World Series title, in 1979.
Tanner, an outfielder, also spent eight seasons playing in the Majors, splitting time between the Milwaukee Braves, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Angels.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.