PITTSBURGH -- After 40 years, members of the 1971 Pirates team that defeated the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series have had a good amount of time to polish their stories. Tuesday evening, they talked about the old days while sitting in the dugout that belongs to the current roster of Bucs.
First baseman Bob Robertson leaned on a railing, discussing the final out of the Series and how winning pitcher Steve Blass, "the kangaroo," famously jumped into his arms. Catcher Manny Sanguillen sat on the bench, relating a time when the great Roberto Clemente gave a generous tip and four game tickets to a cab driver. Bill Mazeroski stood in the far corner, just glad the team had won.
"When you win together, I don't know, something binds together and you stay together," Mazeroski said. "They don't have these kinds of things for losers. It's nice to be here, because it's for winners. '71 was a great, great year."
It had been a long few days of travel and interviews that would culminate in a short ceremony before Tuesday's game between the Pirates and Orioles plus an evening of catching up with former teammates.
"The last five days I have said probably the same thing 20 times, reminiscing about the championship year," Blass said. "But it's been fun doing it. ... It's like a high school reunion times 10."
The players lined up between second and third base at PNC Park before the game, in 1971-style jerseys and gold caps. The current teams wore throwback uniforms as well.
The recognition began with a video from Oct. 17, 1971, of shortstop Jackie Hernandez throwing to Robertson for the Series' final out and the celebration that followed at first base.
"I threw my arms up in the air when Jackie Hernandez went out there in center field actually," Robertson said. "I knew we had him. I just threw my arms up and said, 'World champs.'"
The Pirates who couldn't make it to Pittsburgh and those who are deceased were honored next. Several family members lined up with the team. Tim Murtaugh represented his father, manager Danny Murtaugh; Ginger Briles and Margaret Stargell stood in for their husbands, Nelson Briles and Willie "Pops" Stargell.
Vera Clemente and her son, Roberto Jr., drew an emotional standing ovation from the crowd.
"Everybody said, 'We want to follow this guy,'" Sanguillen said. "'We want to be like him. ... We want to be like Clemente.'"
Each player in attendance was then introduced with a video clip from the 1971 season and received a round of applause.
"Pittsburgh fans do not forget you," outfielder Al Oliver said. "And that's one thing I've always liked. I enjoy coming back to Pittsburgh. You can get your self-esteem built up if you need it. We all like that."
Blass finished the occasion when he threw the ceremonial first pitch to Sanguillen, then ran home with his arms up, in the same fashion he had run to first years before. He did not jump, but the fans appreciated the action nonetheless.
"[The fans] treat you like royalty forever," Mazeroski said.
Laura Myers is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.