Family matters aside, it was the Pirates' ability to hang loose when the situation seemed so desperate that enabled them to become only the fourth team to win the Series after losing three of the first four games. Manager Chuck Tanner, a resolutely cheerful man, may be principally responsible for this attitude. Despite the win, it had not been an enjoyable week for him. His mother had died the morning of the fifth game, and he would return to Pittsburgh for her funeral after the seventh game. But he did not lose his composure, nor did his team.
"Every club he has ever managed has been like this," said Roland Hemond, a Chicago White Sox vice-president who is a friend of Tanner's, as well as a former employer. Hemond had come into the Pirates' relatively subdued clubhouse to offer congratulations to the winning manager even though he represented the other league. He found it hard to stint in his praise. "Some clubs are happy only after they win," he said. "Chuck's are happy on dog days or whatever. And running? He can make a slow club look fast. I tell you, he's revolutionized the game without anybody really knowing it."
They're getting the message.