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Showing 1-10 of 48 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 57 reviews
on May 14, 2013
A Pirate for Life, by Steve Blass with Erik Sherman, is a very interesting sports autobiography. Steve Blass made it to Major League Baseball in 1964 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and had an outstanding pitching career with them. In the 1971 World Series, Blass won game three and game seven to help the Pirates become the World Champions. I was attending the University of Pittsburgh during that time and, although I could not attend any of those WS games, I certainly participated in the celebration after the Bucs won game seven. Unfortunately, during the 1973 season, Blass suddenly lost his ability to throw strikes, and he had to give up what he had dreamed of doing since he was a youngster. Since then, Steve Blass Disease has become the name of the condition when other pitchers have suddenly lost their control. Although Steve Blass was forced to quit playing baseball in 1974, he has managed to maintain a lifelong relationship with the Pirates organization and team. He has been working as a sportscaster for Pirates games since 1983, and I enjoy seeing (and hearing) him when I watch their games on TV. For me, a lifelong Pirates fan, this was a fantastic book because Blass writes about his relationships and experiences with many of the Pirates' players and managers during and after he was player. It was a wonderful experience for me to read about the players' backgrounds, careers, and personalities. It was even better to read Blass' personal reminiscences about players, including Roberto Clemente, Dick Groat, Bill Mazeroski, Bill Virdon, Gene Alley, Richie Hebner, Doc Ellis, Manny Sanguillen, Al Oliver, Willie Stargell, Bob Moose, and many more. Likewise, it was great to learn more about Pirates' managers Danny Murtaugh, Harry Walker, and Jim Leyland and about the longtime Pirates' radio and TV sportscaster, Bob Prince (The gunner). It was also great to read about the Pirates organization and to learn more about the current broadcast cadre, whose work I enjoy very much. Of course, this is an autobiography and Blass is very candid about the ups and downs of his life. However, overall he communicates to the reader that he realizes how lucky he has been and how grateful he is for the life he has lived. If you have been a longtime fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, you must read this book. If you are a fan of baseball, you ought to read this book. If you enjoy reading well-written autobiographies by people (especially sports people) who reveal their struggles and successes through an informative and positive narrative, you ought to read this one. I thought it was great!
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on August 5, 2013
It usually takes me at least a month to read a book; reading 8-10 pages a night before bed. But I read this book in less than a week it was that good. Baseball stories seem to be the best in all sports, and the stories that Blass tells are priceless and hilarious. The book is well organized, starting with the thing that most of us wonder about the most his downfall from "the disease". Then going back to his youth, eventually signing with the Pirates and his life after pitching.
I've been a Pirate fan since I was a boy, but didnt follow baseball seriously til 1975 so my memories of the early 70s Pirates is a little vague and this book filled in a lot of that for me. I vaguely remember Blass going down to AAA Charleston where I now live. He and Bob Walk are my favorite Pirate announcers and I've always kinda wanted to go back in time and root for him to defeat "the thing".
We all struggle with some issues as humans in this world. Though it sounds cliche, its a fact that in the long run they can make us a better, stronger person. Steve Blass does a great job of putting his personal story in writing for the world. And a great suprise near the end of the book to find out that he actually did defeat "the thing" just a few years ago.
Any Pirate fan or just any baseball fan would enjoy this book. Its now time for the Pirates to defeat their franchise's demons from the last 20 years. LETS GO BUCS!!
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on October 22, 2015
Well written and funny. Best part might be where Steve dissects game 7 of the 71 series pitch by pitch, sharing with us the thoughts he went through as he faced each batter and how he adjusted his pitching based on the results he was getting. Truly remarkable, I don't think I've ever seen anything like it before. Consider that this book was written before the Pirates' twenty year losing streak ended, and you will appreciate even more the undying spirit of a man whose career was cut short in a truly cruel way. Very few would get this much joy out of covering a team that at the time, gave fans very little to cheer for. Keep up the good work, Steve!
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on August 22, 2013
This book is more than just the highlights and lowlights of a famous baseball pitcher. It is an inspiration to overcoming some of life's adversities. I was in 10th grade when Steve(I'd call him Mr. Blass but after reading the book it sounds to formal) pitched in the 1971 World Series. We couldn't get tickets for the World Series but we had the pleasure of being there for that last playoff win against the Giants. Even though Steve struggled that day it was still a great feeling to have been there and experienced baseball history. I have a son who is 23 yrs. old and loves baseball, I hope he gets that type of experience. Meanwhile, about the book, it has the many high points of his life and who played a part in it and also who was there during the low points. There are words of encouragement that helped him through both and he shares them with the reader. I plan on re-reading the book just to draw out those words. There are many moments that are comical both as a pitcher and then as a broadcaster. By the way he overcomes the Steve Blass Disease(buy the book and find out how). Thanks to Erik Sherman who was a co-writer for a good read and Thanks to Steve Blass for his many talents and insight.
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on January 28, 2013
I grew up in Pittsburgh in the late 60's / early 70's. Those Pirate teams at that time were always in contention. It's a shame that Steve Blass is primarily known for "Steve Blass disease". His accomplishments prior to his loss of control are the kinds of achievements that today's pitchers can only dream of (two complete game victories in the 1971 World Series - a Game 3 victory when the Pirates had been down 0-2 in the series and a Game 7 four-hitter for the ages). In addition to his post-season accolades, he was an all-star pitcher that even made the cover of SI at one time. He also had four seasons where he won 15 or more games (finishing in the double digits in complete games every one of those years!!). He had 16 career shoutouts (including two seasons with over 5 per season). His look at life and baseball with his classic sense-of-humor is a "must read" for every Pittsburgh sports fan. I had the pleasure of meeting Steve decades ago when I dropped my brother off at his baseball camp. He is as genuine as they come. A great read!!!
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on May 22, 2012
I received this book on Monday -- cracked it open late that night, and picked it up again this morning -- as this is written I have about twenty pages to go. I will be sad when I finish, because it has been such a joy to readh.

I'm a Baby Boomer, who came of cognitive age when Steve was making his way up the ladder from Kingsport to Dubuque, an on through Batavia, Asheville and Columbus, Ohio to the Pirates. All the stories are so clear to me -- and mostly hilarious with a bit of ribaldry mixed in!

A baseball fan needs to read this, to get the inside story from the clubhouse, and the soul of the man who was one of the Pirates' heroes of the 1971 World Championship club -- who quickly ran into a problem that could only be called "Steve Blass Disease." You will learn that it took him years to shake it, but ultimately he did!
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on July 17, 2012
If you're a baseball fan, or know someone who is (and who doesn't?), then this is a must-buy. An incredibly engaging and well-structured autobiography, in which Steve lifts the veil on "his" disease and how he dealt with it bravely and good-naturedly. More importantly, Steve doesn't dwell on his maddening malady, but rather devotes the bulk of the book to his wonderful career. Peppered with hilarious anecdotes and fascinating insights into his coaches and teammates (most notably, the great Roberto Clemente), along with an utterly immersive account of Game 7 of the 1971 World Series, Steve doesn't hold back on the many personal and professional triumphs and tribulations, of a truly unique career. Steve and Erik have given us a delightful history of one of baseball's most colorful characters, from arguably it's most colorful era.
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on October 14, 2015
I really enjoyed the book. Listening to Steve Blass on TV & the Radio, the words in the book, make you feel like Steve is talking to you personally.
He is my favorite broadcaster doing Pirate games and I like listening to him, because he tells interesting and humorous stories on the air. Other broadcasters (I won't name names) bore you with stats and blogs.
I was a little surprised with some of the language in the book, but I'm sure that's how it is in the locker room.
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on June 28, 2013
For anyone who remembers Steve Blass, this will be quite a read. Steve bares his soul throughout this book through the good times, the rough times and everything in between. I was always a fan of Steve's because he seemed so normal and self-deprecating despite the fact that, for a short time, he became one of the best pitchers in all of MLB. Then it all went away so quickly but Steve does his best to explain what it was like to live through that period of pain, self-doubt, and misery in a very matter of fact way. He finally came out the other end of that miserable time with a great appreciation of life and what he could do to make life better for those less fortunate. Kudos to Steve Blass for writing such a wonderful autobiography.
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on August 14, 2012
A Pirate for life is a wonderful recollection of the way baseball used to be, through the eyes of Mr. Steve Blass. Coming through the minors in the 1960s to his spot with the Pirates later that decade, he tells dozens of little stories about the experiences of Steve and his fellow players, teaches us all a little (or a lot) about baseball, and covers in painful detail what it feels like, when at the prime of his career, loses his control and simple can't find the plate.

This is the kind of book you read over and over because it's so packed with stories, that you'll miss some of them the first time through.

Thank you Steve for a great read.

Jeff Kruzic
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