They are two images frozen in time.
The first, immortalized in the iconic photo shot by Rusty Kennedy, shows 1971 World Series hero Steve Blass leap-frogging in a state of pure elation while Manny Sanguillen, arms held high above his head with his patented 1,000-watt gap-toothed smile in all its glory, racing toward the celebration at first base at the precise moment the last out of Game 7 was made.
The other is that of 1979 World Series MVP Willie Stargell grinning ear to ear, jumping as high as his oversized body allowed, arms and legs stretched as far wide as possible for the big man he was, trudging toward the championship celebration surrounding pitcher Kent Tekulve.
Those two Pittsburgh greats, Blass and Stargell, will have their glorious stories told in Cooperstown on Tuesday in a Pirates-themed author lecture series at the Baseball Hall of Fame's Bullpen Theater by their biographers.
"It is an absolute honor to have my name mentioned in Cooperstown," Blass said. "Since I was an 8-year-old kid, just barely old enough to realize what the Hall of Fame was, what it represented and what it meant to baseball, I've always believed it to be the top level of anything you can conceive of and become. I never would dare to think about being inducted there, but I just have unbelievable respect and admiration for every one of those plaques and everyone who's mentioned in the Hall of Fame. It is hallowed ground. It is a sacred part of our great game. And to have my name just mentioned in Cooperstown, it's not a thrill, it's an honor."
Willie Stargell, of course, left us too soon, passing away in 2001 at age 61. But his legacy is alive and well thanks to several books written about the Hall of Famer. "Willie's wife is touched that people are still remembering and writing about Willie," wrote Michelle Hackman on the Willie Stargell Foundation's Facebook page.
Stargell's life was most recently captured in "Pops: The Willie Stargell Story," a biography written by Pete Peterson and released earlier this year.
"I can think of no greater honor as a Pirates fan than to be invited to speak about Willie Stargell at Cooperstown on the 25th anniversary of his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame," Peterson said.
There has never before been a Pirates-themed event of any kind in Cooperstown. With the Pirates appearing to be a lock for their first postseason appearance in over two decades, the irony is not lost on the organization.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said the timing of the event could be viewed by some as just another mystical sign of how the team has re-energized its fan base over the past three seasons.
"I'm proud of the way we've gone about our business and humbled by the response of the fans," he said. "We're in the right lane and heading in the right direction. We have much distance to travel."
Aside from the lectures, Q&A session, and book signing that begins at 1 p.m., the Hall of Fame and Museum, as usual, will be filled with Pirates archives, as the club boasts 43 enshrined players and executives who at one time during their careers were associated with the organization. Thirteen of them recognize the Pirates as their primary team, including Honus Wagner, who was in the very first induction class of 1939.
This summer also marks the 40th anniversary of Roberto Clemente's induction. The Hall of Fame is rich with Clemente items, including the still-debated bat that he used to get his 3,000th hit. Some believe the actual lumber he used is elsewhere. It's one of the great mysteries of the Hall, but fans can view the video of the famous hit and decide for themselves.
There also are items preserved from Forbes Field, including the Pirates' on-deck circle. If you look extremely close, you will find the faded signature of Steve Blass on it.
With serious October baseball little more than a month away, perhaps another iconic Pirates moment like those of Blass and Stargell are just over the horizon. And only time will tell if this current group of Pirates will produce its own Hall of Famers in keeping up with the team's identity as one of the truly fabled franchises in all of sports.
Erik Sherman is the co-author of three baseball autobiographies including Steve Blass' "A Pirate for Life," Glenn Burke's "Out At Home" and Mookie Wilson's soon-to-be-released "Mookie: Life, Baseball, and the '86 Mets." He blogs regularly at www.ErikShermanBaseball.com.