I have been a Pittsburgh Pirate fan since 1967. I have seen them win two World Series in 1971 and 1979. They have won 9 division titles in those years. Of course the past 20 seasons have all been losing ones but there were good times. If I were to have a Mount Rushmore of most crushing sports defeats this one would rank #1 even more than the 1992 Sid Slides Braves Fiasco. One of the reasons why is- the 1972 Pittsburgh Pirates were probably the best team the Pirates ever had. That was a great team but they didn’t even get to the World Series. That happens sometimes. Game 5, the deciding game of the NCLS the Pirates went into the bottom of the 9th with a lead. Their ace reliever Dave Giusti gave up a game tying home run to Johnny Bench. Then with George Foster on third base pitcher Bob Moose uncorks a wild pitch. Foster scores and the Pirate season ends. I remember I was watching the game at my grandparents house. After the wild pitch/end of game I got on my bike, rode it through town a mile or so to my house, went to my room and cried and cried and cried. I was heartbroken. At age 11 it was the first loss that really broke my heart.
A couple months later something even worse would happen. I would wake up on New Years Day 1973 to learn that the great Pirate Roberto Clemente had died in a plane crash.