Longtime 'Soundtrack' of Pittsburgh Sports Falls Silent

Article excerpt

"Vince always had songs to get under the skin of opposing players," says Pens spokesman Tom McMillan, and he liked to play "Three Blind Mice" when refs took the ice. Major League Baseball didn't allow it.

Vince Lascheid performed with a whimsical sophistication for generations of Pittsburgh sports fans, whether they knew him or not.

"Vince provided for all of us that were Pirates fans the soundtracks of our summers," said Lanny Frattare, the broadcast voice of the Pirates from 1976 to 2008. "His impact was as significant as any player that wore a Pirate uniform."

Lascheid of Scott, the longtime organist for the Pirates and Penguins, died late Thursday in Family Hospice and Palliative Care in Mt. Lebanon. He was 85.

Lascheid worked for the Pirates for 38 years and still played part-time at PNC Park, according to Eric Wolff, manager of in-game entertainment. Recordings of his music will be played for years to come, the team said.

He worked for the Penguins from 1970 to 2003, said team spokesman Tom McMillan.

Mindy Lascheid-McKee of Bridgeville recalled how her father used to sit at the kitchen table at the beginning of each baseball season to compose songs for individual players.

Frattare recalled a game at Three Rivers Stadium in which Ivan DeJesus, a shortstop who played for several teams in the 1970s and '80s, grounded into a double play. Lascheid started playing "What a Friend We Have in Jesus."

At Penguins games, he would play "Hallelujah" when a referee called a penalty on an opposing player and "Let There Be Peace on Earth" during a bench-clearing brawl.

And when the referees took the ice, Lascheid was known to play "Three Blind Mice," McMillan said. He wanted to play the same tune at Pirates games during arguments between coaches and umpires, former manager Chuck Tanner said.

"But the league said, 'No way,' " Tanner said. "He was a great guy and a good friend. He probably saw more games than anyone in Pirates history. He never missed a game."

The Pirates honored Lascheid in 2005 with its Pride of the Pirates Award. …