Pirates honor golf legend Palmer

Updated: September 8, 2009, 8:15 PM ET
Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- Arnold Palmer was honored by the Pittsburgh Pirates in celebration of his 80th birthday before the team's game against the Chicago Cubs Tuesday night.

Palmer is from Latrobe, about an hour east of Pittsburgh, and turns 80 on Thursday. While being interviewed on field by broadcaster Jim Nantz, Palmer spoke of being at Forbes Field in 1960 when Bill Mazeroski hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 of the World Series against the New York Yankees.

Dressed in a No. 80 Pirates jersey and flanked by members of his family and Pirates president Frank Coonelly and owner Bob Nutting, Palmer received at least two long ovations upon introduction and a video tribute.

Pirates pitcher Paul Maholm, team broadcaster and former pitcher Steve Blass and professional golfer Peter Jacobsen took part in a "closest to the pin" contest on the field while players from both teams watched from the dugouts.

Jacobsen was the only participant to hit the "pin" -- really team mascot the Pirate Parrot -- in center field on a shot from near home plate, earning money for charity.

PNC Bank's gift to Palmer was making a $1 million donation to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh in the name of Palmer and his family, and fans sang "Happy Birthday" during the first inning break.

The original 7:05 start of the game was delayed 11 minutes due to the ceremony.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press