Rabu, 10 Agustus 2011

Another Look: Lanny Frattare

By Bob Barrickman
Beaver County Times
August 9, 2011

Pirates play-by-play man Lanny Frattare (right) shares the booth in 2003 with color commentator and former Pirates pitcher Steve Blass.(Tribune-Review file)

Three years after stepping aside as the voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Lanny Frattare is ready to begin his second year calling high school sports for the MSA Sports Network.

"I just love broadcasting high school sports," Frattare, 63, said.

Frattare recalled a conversation he had two years ago with Don Rebel, the operations manager for MSA Sports, an internet outlet that primarily broadcasts sports in the WPIAL.

"Don asked me if I'd be interested in working for MSA. I said, yes," Frattare said. "He asked me the same question months later because I wasn't sure if he thought I was serious. I told Don I really was and I started doing games last year. When I broadcasted a (WPIAL football) playoff game last November, it was the first playoff game of any kind that I did since Sid Bream touched home plate."

That was in 1992 when Frattare saw Bream score the winning run for the Atlanta Braves against the Pirates in Game 7 of the NLCS. Shortly after Frattare left the Pirates booth, he became the assistant professor of communications at Waynesburg University. He teaches four courses in sports announcing and public speaking and also serves as faculty advisor for the campus radio station.

A native of Rochester, N.Y., Frattare broadcasted games for the Pirates AAA affiliate in Charleston, W. Va., in the early 1970's. When the legendary Bob Prince and broadcast partner Nellie King were let go after the 1975 season, Frattare and Milo Hamilton (pictured below) were hired to replace them calling Pirates broadcasts.

The Bucs won the World Series in 1979 but since the Pirates didn't control the local broadcast rights at the time, Frattare and Hamilton were shut out of calling the Series that year. Hamilton left after '79 and a couple years later, Frattare, having called the basketball game in 1985 on ESPN when Indiana coach Bobby Knight threw a chair across the court, assumed the lead role on Pirate broadcasts.

Frattare announced more than 5,000 Pirate games in 33 years, both being highest in the history of team broadcasters. There were two games in 1990 that stood out above all for Frattare.

"When Doug Drabek came within one out of a perfect game against the Phillies was probably the best call of a game I ever did," he said. "The other game was when the Pirates clinched the NL East title in St. Louis. I was so happy for (manager) Jim Leyland."

With the local broadcast rights changed, Frattare came within an out of calling his first World Series. But, the Bucs couldn't hold a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 7 as Bream's run gave Atlanta a 3-2 victory.

"I wasn't so disappointed for myself as I was for Jim Leyland," said Frattare, twice divorced and now living in Collier Township. He has a son, David, 37 and a daughter, Megan, 29. Frattare's catch phrase was "No doubt about it" following a Pirate win. Frattare didn't get to say that phrase too often in his final 16 years.

"I should have left the booth three years before I did," he said. "I lost my zeal and enthusiasm and I wasn't doing a good job. I would never use the play of the team as a cop out."

Frattare said it was solely his decision to leave the booth after discussions with Pirate president Frank Coonelly. He hasn't been to a Pirate game since he left the booth.

"I don't watch or listen," he said. "I want the ball club to do well, but my father once told me that you have to know when it's time to move on. I want to care about something else."


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The Education of Lanny Frattare -

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