Steve Blass, the Laudromat and the Golf Course

Around Pittsburgh, Steve Blass is beloved. Blass pitched two complete games for the Pirates in the 1971 World Series win over the Baltimore Orioles.  His second win shut the O’s down in thefinal seventh game, 2-1.

The Pirates signed Blass in 1960 straight out of his Connecticut high school. Blass was a Cleveland Indians fan, Herb Score his hero. But when the Pirates offered more money than the Indians, Blass didn’t hesitate. Blass has worked for the Pirates—and the Pirates alone—ever since. Only Tommy Lasorda has worked longer consecutively for a single team; Lasorda is now in his sixth decade with the Dodgers.

Blass does the color broadcasts at Pirates’ home games and does spot appearances promoting the Pirates on the local television channel. And it was during one of those spots that Blass told my favorite baseball off the field story.

After the Pirates signed Blass, he was sent to Kingsport, Tennessee in the Class D Appalachian League. Blass had never been away from home before and experienced all the readjustment problems young rookies do.

By the end of his first week, Blass was out of clean clothes. So he went to the laundromat where he found himself somewhat confused as to the proper procedure. The first thing Blass did in preparation was to inventory his dirty clothes: five t-shirts, five pairs of drawers and five pairs of socks.

Blass figured that 15 items would require 15 individual boxes of soap. So he loaded his laundry into the washer, added the soap (all 15 boxes) and put his quarter in. In virtually no time, as Blass recalled, the entire laundromat filled with bubbles and he was beating a hasty retreat before any of the other patrons could link him to the incident. From then on, Blass sent his laundry home each week where Steve’s mother dutifully washed and folded his clothes before sending them back to Tennessee.

As much as Steve enjoys telling his laudromat story, he has another that he likes even more—and it’s not even indirectly related to baseball.

In 2009, Steve recorded two holes in one during a single round of golf. According to his broadcast booth buddies Bob Walk, Greg Brown and Tim Navarrette, everyone Steve knows learned about his incredible feat within minutes after the second ball fell into the hole.

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