Pirates Give Rare Honor to Savran, Smizik

Long-time media members added to wall of fame

Josh Rowntree
May 31, 2018 - 8:20 pm
Stan Savran and Bob Smizik added to Pirates media wall of fame

Josh Rowntree

Categories: 

On Thursday evening at PNC Park the Pirates added two local sports media icons to the wall of fame located in the press box. 

Stan Savran and Bob Smizik are the first to receive the distinction since 1993. 

Savran, who began working in Pittsburgh in 1976, has held a variety of occupations in media. Currently, he serves as a pregame and postgame host at AT&T SportsNet and as a radio host at 970-ESPN. He has also worked for various other radio stations, as well as WTAE-TV and other ventures. 

Smizik is most remembered as a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, covering a variety of local sports teams. He has been involved in Pittsburgh sports media since 1969.

“Pittsburghers are extraordinarily passionate about their sports, about their sports teams and their sports personalities,” said Pirates President Frank Coonelly. "It is crucial that we have members of the media that cover these teams, cover the personalities and cover what is happening in Pittsburgh sports because our community needs to know.”

Savran was introduced by close friend and long-time radio partner Guy Junker. 

"He takes that God-given ability and he multiplies it by work ethic,” said Junker. "He’s got the work ethic of a mule. The guy never, ever mails it in.”

Full of wit and occasionally emotional, Savran detailed his time working in Pittsburgh and the bonds he built with other media members. He was also grateful to the Pirates.

“They’re honoring their understanding of what our job is,” he said. “And, hopefully, they’re using us to honor what it is we do, because maybe we did it well.”

Smizik, known for his direct and sometimes harsh criticisms of the Pirates and other teams, was introduced by Post-Gazette columnist Gene Collier. 

“We live in a very hostile media climate right now,” said Collier. "Journalists are being bullied, heckled and degraded and all kinds of terrible things. I just think, in that climate, it’s a great thing for the Pirates to do something like this, by honoring two of their most vociferous critics over the years.”

Smizik strolled down memory lane, discussing his love of the Pirates as a child and the progression of his career. 

“It is a great honor,” he said. "I’ve never dreamt of it. In fact, I remember being in the press box all those many years and looking at the wall of fame and saying ‘who are they going to put up there next, I know it’s not going to be me.’ Well, lo and behold, it was.” 

Savran and Smizik are the ninth and tenth media members to be added to the wall of fame. 

“They were always tough but fair, honest and fair,” Coonelly said. "And that keeps all of us tough and fair and honest.”