Willie Stargell '8 on 8' Campaign Encourages Letter Writing
Fans asked to write eight letters to eight friends and family members
PITTSBURGH, Aug. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pirates retired his number 8 jersey in 1982, but Willie Stargell's legacy continues in full-swing following the issuance of a Forever Stamp bearing his image. To continue the celebration, the Postal Service and Pirates have designated August 8, to kickoff the "8 on 8" campaign that encourages fans to mail eight letters to their friends and family using Stargell's stamp.
"Willie would be so humbled by this timeless recognition," said Stargell's wife Margaret Stargell. "Both he and my father Fritz Weller, who was a letter carrier for the Postal Service, would be thrilled to know that people will reach out to their family and friends with a letter of love in his honor on 8/8."
"Willie's amazing ability and appeal connected people with baseball in Pittsburgh and the nation throughout his Hall of Fame career," said Pittsburgh Postmaster Joe Meimann. "Now his image can once again connect people together by sending his stamp on a letter to friends and loved ones."
Although Stargell was not involved in selecting number 8 for his jersey, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on 8/8/88, and his car's license plates read "HOF. 8.8.88."
Information on special collectibles can be viewed at this link. Fans can purchase the stamps and individual stamp sheets depicting each player along with unique collectibles at www.usps.com/play-ball. The Major League Baseball All-Star Forever stamp collectibles can also be purchased by calling 800-STAMP24 or by visiting select Post Offices.
Willie Stargell commemorative postal items available at select Pittsburgh-area branch offices: McKnight, Monroeville, Pleasant Hills, Montour, Allegheny, Pittsburgh Main (California Ave) and Grant Street.
Stargell was one of four icons immortalized as part of the Major League Baseball All-Star Forever stamps. He is joined by Joe DiMaggio, Larry Doby and Ted Williams. Responding to customer demand, in addition to the sheet of 20 stamps depicting all four players limited quantities of individual stamp sheets honoring each player are available in select Post Offices.
The July 20 official first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony for the Major League Baseball All-Stars Forever stamps took place at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY, as the first of five ceremonies that took place in the cities where the legends built their careers. The Pittsburgh July 21 event took place at PNC Park.
Fans can view the July 20 dedication ceremony at this link that includes a tribute from Hall of Famer "Mr. Padre" Tony Gwynn. A video tribute to Stargell and the others honored as part of the set is available at this link.
Willie Stargell (1940-2001) is perhaps best remembered for powering the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates to a World Series title. Standing 6-foot 2-inches and weighing some 225 pounds late in his career, Stargell twice led the National League in home runs (48 in 1971 and 44 in 1973), and was famous for smashing baseballs out of stadiums. At one point, he held the record for hitting the longest homers in half the National League ballparks. The left-handed slugger wound up his career with 475 home runs.
Stargell was born in Earlsboro, OK. During his teens, he lived in a housing project in Alameda, CA, where he began playing organized baseball. In the late 1950s, he overcame racial intimidation while playing on some of the Pirates' minor league farm teams in the South. Called up to the majors in 1962, he played 21 seasons, all for Pittsburgh.
During the 1970s, the Pirates won six of 10 divisional titles. After Roberto Clemente died in a plane crash in 1972, Stargell became the team leader. He handed out "Stargell Stars" to teammates for outstanding play and promoted team harmony, showing special talent for bridging gaps between white, black and Latino players. Nicknamed "Pops," he instigated the adoption of the Sister Sledge disco hit "We Are Family" as the unofficial anthem for the '79 Pirates team. That season he tied for National League Most Valuable Player, then garnered MVP honors in both the National League Championship Series and the Pirates' upset win over the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series.
Stargell received many honors after his playing days ended. In 1983, he was asked to recite the words of Martin Luther King Jr. in a performance at Carnegie Hall by the Eastman Philharmonia. In 1988, in his first year of eligibility, the seven-time National League All-Star was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, earning the respect and admiration of his peers. Hall of Famer Joe Morgan remembered, "When I played, there were 600 baseball players and 599 of them loved Willie Stargell. He's the only guy I could have said that about."
Stargell coached for the Pirates in the 1980s and returned in 1997 as an assistant to Pittsburgh's general manager, a position he held until his death in 2001. The Pirates built a 12-foot tall statue of Stargell outside the new PNC baseball park, which opened for a new season the day he died.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
A self-supporting government enterprise, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation — 151 million residences, businesses and Post Office™ Boxes. The Postal Service™ receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. With 32,000 retail locations and the most frequently visited website in the federal government, usps.com®, the Postal Service has annual revenue of more than $65 billion and delivers nearly 40 percent of the world's mail. If it were a private sector company, the U.S. Postal Service would rank 35th in the 2011 Fortune 500. In 2011, Oxford Strategic Consulting ranked the U.S. Postal Service number one in overall service performance of the posts in the top 20 wealthiest nations in the world. Black Enterprise and Hispanic Business magazines ranked the Postal Service as a leader in workforce diversity. The Postal Service has been named the Most Trusted Government Agency for six years and the sixth Most Trusted Business in the nation by the Ponemon Institute.
SOURCE U.S. Postal Service
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