Wednesday, February 19, 2014

After nearly 40 years, couple love Pirate City trips

Shannon O'Mealy, grandmother Lois Barrett read ball's autographs.
Bob and Lois Barrett have forgotten more about Pittsburgh Pirates baseball than many of us could ever hope to know.
He's 86, she's 85 and have followed the ballclub forever.
Back home in Johnstown, Pa., they've got scrapbooks about the Pirates probably older than most of the team's fans who turned in force at Pirate City Tuesday.
It was the team's first full squad workout and nobody wanted to miss it.
"MVP! MVP!" some chanted as centerfield Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates star centerfield and 2013 National League MVP jogged onto one of complex's four diamonds.
The Barretts took it all in stride.
They've seen Pirates stars aplenty over the years.
The petulant Barry Bonds.
The paternal Willie Stargell.
The princely Roberto Clemente.
They've seen them at old Forbes Field and now PNC Park.
But they like seeing them up close and personal at Pirate City.
"We try to catch spring training every year," Barrett said. "The Pirates are all we know back home."
Even more than the Steelers? And Penguins?
Yes, he said.
Barrett was involved in mining more than half his life.
He started out working in them, then inspecting them and eventually was appointed assistant labor secretary of labor for mining under President Ford and continued in that capacity under President Carter.
It was during Ford's administration the Barretts began making a regular pilgrimage to Bradenton to see the Pirates.
The year was 1975 -- almost 40 years ago.
They hope there's a few more years to keep coming here, too.
Barrett has survived multiple bouts with cancer and is carrying on.
"I've got longevity in my family," he said.
One grandfather lived past 100.
An aunt recently died at 103.
So Barrett's optimistic.
"Maybe we've got a few more trips left," he said.

No comments:

Post a Comment