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Good luck, Pally

July 10, 2009 - John Mehno

Charley Feeney came to town from New York to cover the Pirates for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1966.

He's going back to New York this weekend.

Charley, who calls everyone "Pally" and answers to that nickname himself, retired from the paper in 1987. He was honored with the Baseball Hall of Fame's Spink award in 1996. He's lived in the Pittsburgh area since his retirement, in the same apartment he took when he moved here in 1966. One of his neighbors was Pirates relief pitcher ElRoy Face, and they became friends over the years.

The last few years have been tough for Charley. His wife, Bea, died, and he's had some major health problems. He's moving to an assisted living facility back in New York now.

I came on the Pirates beat in 1974, and Feeney had no reason to take notice of me. I was working for a small weekly. But he was kind and helpful, which wasn't always the case with a lot of writers from that era. As long as someone showed a wilingness to work and learn, Charley was willing to help. He extended that courtesy to a lot of people.

Charley was never the fanciest writer, and he knew that. His strength was his work as a reporter. He asked the right questions, and he was dogged in his pursuit of the story. Long before "mission statements" became popular, Charley Feeney was all about getting the news in the paper.

It has to be tough to uproot and leave after so many years in one place. He'll miss his buddy ElRoy. But he has friends in New York, too, so maybe that will make things easier. This is a chance for me to say thanks to a real pro and wish him all the best.

Good luck, Pally.

(This picture was taken at a going away party last week. L to R are ElRoy Face, Charley Feeney, Ron Cook, Bob Smizik and Ed Bouchette.

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