Well tomorrow I head off to Waynesburg University to begin my college education. Now if you thought the Pittsburgh Pirates could never have any influence on what school I was choosing, you are wrong.
You all know that Pirates’ announcer Lanny Frattare retired from broadcasting after last season, what many of you may not know is what he’s doing now. Lanny is now a professor at Waynesburg University in the communications field. I had already been leaning towards choosing Waynesburg, but when I heard Lanny was there I took that as my sign that I was supposed to be there.
Growing up I was always a huge Pirates’ fan, I would watch every game in my basement at the young age of 4. I became really attached to Lanny Frattare’s voice and catch phrase “There was nooooooo doubt about it”. My life dream has always been to have Lanny’s former job and be the play-by-play announcer for the Pirates. At one point when I was in 7th grade I e-mailed the booth and told them of my desire and they read my e-mail on the air. That was a sparkling moment in my middle school career.
When you look into what Lanny did in his career, you see that he is quite an amazing person. Let’s look closer.
Lanny was born on March 23, 1948 in Rochester, New York. Before he was hired by the Pirates (a job which he stayed in for 33 years), Lanny attended Ithaca College and graduated in 1970. Lanny started his broadcasting career in hockey, being a color announcer for the AHL Rochester Americans. Frattare was hired by the Pirates and started in the minor leagues, being the announcer for the AAA Charleston Charlies in 1974 and 1975. Bob Prince helped Lanny by mentoring him and putting in good words with the management. In 1976 Lanny made his debut with the Pirates, although he normally only announced for 2 innings a game. Lanny’s role began to increase after the 1979 season when Milo Hamilton left the booth. Lanny announced over 5,000 Pirate games in his career and is the longest tenured announcer in the history of the organization.
A bright part of Lanny’s career came in February of 1985. I’m sure every one of you has seen the highlight of Bob Knight throwing a chair across the floor after a huge argument with the referees. This is one of the most played and extreme highlights in sports history. What almost nobody knows is that Lanny Frattare was announcing that game live for ESPN (he was the lead announcer). Just think about that for a minute. That’s nuts.
Sadly, Lanny’s career ended on a sad note. He became very run down and tired of his life and began to abuse alcohol. It was a dark time in Lanny’s life, he had to to take a leave from the Pirates in 2008 while fighting the battle with depression. Thankfully, Frattare would find his way out of it. However, all of the happenings forced him to have leave baseball and search for another way to support his family. Lanny credits his faith in God for getting him out of the rut he was in. His family was always incredibly supportive as well and he is now full of joy in his new job at Waynesburg. It’s a great ending to the fantastic story of Lanny Frattare.
Look at those orange socks. Classy.
Now, as I head to Waynesburg tomorrow, one of my main goals for my 4 years of school is to befriend my lifelong role model. I have a minor in communications, so I am thinking there is a good chance I will have him as a professor some day. Either way, I have every intention on introducing myself and expressing my thankfulness for his 33 years of service to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He’s a great guy and we can all learn a great lesson from him. I will keep you all posted on my progress with Lanny. Who knows, maybe I’ll hit the jackpot and he’ll hook me with a friend who can get me a job with the Pittsburgh Pirates.