Who was the catcher for the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates?

Answered by Willie Powers

The catcher for the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates was Manny Sanguillen. Sanguillen was a key player on the team during their championship-winning season. He had been with the Pirates since 1967 and was known for his strong defensive skills and ability to handle the pitching staff.

Sanguillen was born on March 21, 1944, in Colon, Panama. He was signed by the Pirates as an amateur free agent in 1964 and quickly rose through the ranks of their minor league system. He made his major league debut in 1967 and quickly established himself as a reliable and respected catcher.

In the 1979 season, Sanguillen played in 104 games for the Pirates, starting in 97 of them. He had a batting average of .296 with 3 home runs and 38 RBIs. While his offensive numbers may not have been the most impressive, his contributions behind the plate were invaluable to the team’s success.

Sanguillen was known for his strong arm and ability to control the running game. He was a favorite among the Pirates’ pitchers, who relied on his pitch-calling and ability to frame pitches effectively. His defensive prowess was a major factor in the team’s success that season.

Off the field, Sanguillen was known for his infectious personality and positive attitude. He was a key part of the team’s camaraderie and helped foster a sense of unity and togetherness among the players. This was exemplified by the team’s adoption of Sister Sledge’s hit anthem “We Are Family” as their theme song.

Sanguillen’s experience and leadership were also valuable to the team. He had been a member of the Pirates’ 1971 World Series-winning team and was one of the few players remaining from that squad in 1979. His presence provided a sense of continuity and a link to the team’s past success.

In addition to his contributions on the field, Sanguillen was also well-liked by fans and was a beloved figure in Pittsburgh. He was known for his interactions with fans and his willingness to sign autographs and engage with the community. His popularity only added to the team’s success and created a strong bond between the players and the city.

Manny Sanguillen was a key player and leader for the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates. His defensive skills, leadership, and positive attitude were instrumental in the team’s championship season. He will always be remembered as an integral part of one of the greatest teams in Pirates history.