Bucs broke ground with first all-minority lineup
Led by a man called “Pops,” the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates danced to the disco hit “We Are Family” all the way to a World Series championship. But that Pirates squad’s family tree had its roots in the team’s history-making predecessors of 1971.
Although Willie Stargell led both the 1971 and ’79 Pirates in home runs — knocking 48 and 32, respectively — he wouldn’t become the team’s spiritual leader until after Roberto Clemente’s untimely death in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972.
“The ‘Family’ originated in the early ’70s, we just didn’t have a song,” said former All-Star Al Oliver, who played with the Pirates from 1968-77. “But ‘family’ is something we always talked about, starting with our general manager Joe Brown.