Pittsburgh Pirates: 2014 PirateFest Set to Open Decades-Old Wounds


Oct 1, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates former pitcher Doug Drabek throws out the ceremonial first pitch before National League wild card playoff baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The year was 1992.

Sid Bream was there. Ditto for Mike LaValliere.

That’s the last time these two were seen in the same place at the same time? Probably not, but it makes this article much better if that’s true.

The 2014 PirateFest Autograph Session Schedules were announced recently, and those two are set to meet again at 2:30 PM on Sunday, December 14, 2014. Spanky will actually be part of the 1:30 PM crew that is set to include Doug Drabek and Andrew Lambo.

Bream, a.k.a. “The Guy Who Ruined My Entire 1992”, will be featured in the 2:30 PM session that includes Dave Parker, John Candelaria, and Bob Friend.

Just in case the nightmare ending of Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS isn’t permanently stamped into your memory, here it is again for your viewing pleasure:

It’s quite comical really. I picture 2:30 PM coming around, and LaValliere thanking the fans for showing up to the autograph session. He then stands, turns to stage right (1st base side, of course) and takes a few steps.  He then sees Sid Bream standing at stage left (coming down the line, if you will), obviously trying to (absurdly slowly, mind you) take LaValliere’s chair.

LaValliere sees what’s about to happen, chucks his mask to the side, and lunges back to the left for the chair. Bream slowly sits, unimpeded before LaValliere lands, and the fans over the age of 25 all start sobbing uncontrollably.

Credit Sid Bream for being brave enough to even show up at this event, let alone to reside in Pittsburgh after he single-handedly deterred the Pittsburgh Pirates from a World Series appearance in 1992.

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I also blame him for triggering the sequence of events that occurred to allow the Pirates to sink into a 20 year depression that saw no winning season during this period of time and “major” acquisitions like Derek Bell, Raul Mondesi, Jeromy Burnitz, etc… Unfair, yes, but Dave Littlefield is long gone by now and someone must pay.

Sid Bream is probably a nice enough guy and all, but I don’t care. He ruined 1992 for so many of us and I cannot believe that someone thought this was a good idea — that is, having the parties from that fateful evening reunited on a stage in front of Pirates’ fans.

In all seriousness, there are some good names on the schedule for this year. For a full listing by day, check out the Pirates website here.

Some of my favorites include Jack Wilson, John Candelaria (The Candy Man, himself), and the aforementioned Drabek and LaValliere.


– Kudos go to Wikipedia to allow me to now know that Bream has two cats named Fergus and Fleur.

– I had the honor of playing a round of golf with Steve Blass at a charity event a couple of years ago. It was one of my favorite rounds. That man told some stories. He hit the ball fairly well too. You can grab a photo with him (or Rock Wehner) on Sunday at 3:00 PM or see him hosting the Pierogie Eating Contest on Sunday.

– I don’t really hate Sid Bream.

– There is a session entitled “Ask Pirates Management” each day.  That should be fun times. Perhaps someone will ask why they haven’t signed Francisco Liriano or Edinson Volquez yet.