Michael McKean on his viral baseball photo

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The photo had made the rounds on the internet for months, popularized by the famous retro-sports Twitter account “Super 70s Sports.” But it wasn’t until recently that actor Michael McKean shed some light on the photo of himself and David Lander — at their “Laverne and Shirley” peak — flanking the Pittsburgh Pirates’ mascot, a green parrot.

“Dodger fan here,” McKean wrote on his Twitter account. “DL was the Pirate guy. This was a great day, though.”

McKean’s active social media presence is a blessing for those who crave occasional celebrity trivia nuggets like this. The more interesting back story belongs to Lander, whose interloping with baseball transcends one moment in the 1970s — and even his acting career.

Both McKean and Lander studied at Carnegie Mellon University (hence the Pittsburgh connection) before moving on to fame in “Laverne and Shirley.” While most of the world knew Lander for the character known as “Squiggy,” the baseball world knew him as … well, a lot of things. Here’s more from his obituary on MLB.com:

He went on to become a minority owner of the Portland Beavers in 1980, when they were the Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate.
Lander was also an early reader of renowned sabermetrician Bill James’ Baseball Abstract, back when it was still self-published by James. James gave Lander a tribute Saturday on Twitter, noting that he was one of the first 100 readers of the “Abstract” and would write letters to James in the late 1970s.
He also scouted for the Angels and Mariners, briefly owned a Minor League team and had a role as a broadcaster in the 1992 baseball film “A League of Their Own.”