Vince Lascheid, well-known organist, dies

Vince Lascheid, long-time organist for the Pittsburgh Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium and PNC Park and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena, died overnight.

'Take Me Out to the Ballgame'

Listen to organist Vince Lascheid play "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" (audio courtesy of Pittsburgh Pirates).


Mr. Lascheid also played organ at Steelers games at Three Rivers Stadium and at Penguins games from 1970-2003. He is a member of the team's Hall of Fame. There will be a pregame tribute tonight before the Penguins play Los Angeles at Mellon Arena.

Visitation for Mr. Lascheid, 85, will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Laughlin Memorial Chapel, 222 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon.

His family requests donations to the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, 300 East Swissvale Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15218.

The Pirates are planning a special tribute to Mr. Lascheid, possibly during the home opener April 13, according to the funeral home.

In a statement today, Pirates president Frank Coonelly offered his condolences to the Lascheid family.

"All of us at the Pittsburgh Pirates are deeply saddened by the passing of a long-time member of our Pirates family, Vince Lascheid. Since beginning his career with the Pirates with the opening of Three Rivers Stadium, Vince and his music have been a part of Pirates tradition for more than 38 years.

"Those that knew him well speak to his strong character, unwavering professionalism as well as his passion for life and for Pittsburgh sports. He was not only an extremely talented musician, but a wonderful father, grandfather, friend and true definition of the word gentleman. This is not only a huge loss for his family and the Pittsburgh Pirates, but also for the city of Pittsburgh."

Mr. Coonelly said the Pirates will continue to honor Mr. Lascheid and his music in a special manner.

"We are proud to say that even though he is gone, Vince will continue to be the Pirates organist through digital recordings. When our fans hear organ music at PNC Park it will continue to be Vince Lascheid for years to come. We can think of no better tribute than carrying on the tradition of playing Vince's music at Pirates games."

Reaction to his death came quickly from former and current Pirates.

Said former pitcher Kent Tekulve: "Not only was he the sound of Three Rivers Stadium, he was the pioneer of playing individual songs as the batters came up to the plate. He really enjoyed what he did and never cared for the limelight. That's what made him such a special part of the organization for a long a time."

From current shortstop Jack Wilson: "As players, we always tried to figure out what he was playing for each batter. It was unique and always kept us guessing. He will be missed."

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

First Published March 20, 2009 1:15 PM


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