Former Pittsburgh Pirate relief pitcher Kent Tekulve has been selected to receive of the 2013 Chuck Tanner “Life-Time Achievement Award.” Tekulve’s selection is part of the seventh annual Chuck Tanner Baseball Manager of the Year Awards, named in honor of the former Pirate manager and favorite son of western Pennsylvania. Tekulve and this year’s Major League Baseball Manager of the Year, who will be named in early October, will be feted at a gala fundraising banquet in November.
Proceeds from the event assist global humanitarian relief efforts, such as polio inoculation in third-world countries and shoes for children in poverty-stricken regions. Proceeds also help to fund an annual high school ethics symposium (attended annually by more than 400 students), as well as Rotary youth post-high school scholarships.
Past recipients at the event have included Jim Leyland, Steve Blass and Pittsburgh area native Sean Casey. Tekulve was selected based on his stellar baseball career, both on and off the field. He enjoyed a very successful professional baseball career that has continued into a lifetime of involvement in Major League Baseball. The Cincinnati native and 1969 graduate of Marietta (OH) College signed that year as a free agent with the Pirates and remained with that organization for 11 years. He made his major league debut in 1974.
His best seasons came in 1978 and 1979, in both of which he saved 31 games and posted earned run averages of 2.33 and 2.75, respectively. He saved three games in the 1979 World Series, including the winning game, as the Pirates defeated the Baltimore Orioles. He was selected as an All-Star in 1980.
Tekulve continued to be an effective reliever into his 40’s. Early in the 1985 season, Tekulve was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. He then signed with the Cincinnati Reds, before the 1989 season and pitched in 37 games before retiring in July of that year.
Tekulve led the major leagues in games pitched four times. He appeared in 90 or more games a year in three different seasons, becoming one of only two pitchers in baseball history to do so. Tekulve’s three saves in the 1979 World Series tied the single-series mark set by Roy Face in the 1960 World Series. Tekulve also holds the National League record for career innings pitched in relief (1,436⅔), and he formerly held the major league record for career relief appearances. His 1,050 career games, all in relief, ranked second in major league history to Hoyt Wilhelm’s 1,070. Kent Tekulve owns the career record for most appearances and innings pitched without making a single start. In 1986 he broke Roy Face’s NL record of 846 career games pitched, and he held the record, until John Franco passed him in 2004. In August of 1987, he pitched in a record nine consecutive games.
Tekulve was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies television broadcast team from 1991 to 1997. After several years involvement with the Washington, PA Wild Things of the independent Frontier League, The all-time leading closer of the Pirates once again joined his former professional ball club, when he took a job as the Pirates’ advance scout in 2006.
Tekulve currently works for Root Sports Pittsburgh and provides analysis after each Pittsburgh Pirates game.
Tekulve will receive his award at the 2013 Chuck Tanner Awards Banquet held on Saturday November 16th at the Rivers Club in downtown Pittsburgh. For more information about the banquet and for tickets to attend this year’s event, visit www.chucktannerbanquet.com or call (412) 471-6210.
KeepScore Baseball/Softball Scorebooks is a contributor on the Chuck Tanner Banquet committee.