Baseball Digest

when MISTER ROGERS Visited the pirates NEIGHBORHOOD It Really Was a Beautiful Day

“This won’t be a slam dunk,” I was told by Fred Rogers’ representative when I called to invite the iconic children’s TV show host to throw out the first pitch at the Pittsburgh Pirates’ home opener.

It was February of 1988 and the voice on the other end of the phone belonged to David Newell from WQED, Pittsburgh’s public television station and the home of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Newell, who had been with Rogers since the show debuted in 1968 and fielded all of the countless requests for the host’s appearances and interviews, was concerned that Rogers—his boss, mentor and friend—would be somewhat overwhelmed by the task.

“At the time, Fred was a swimmer, but he probably hadn’t

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