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UA alum Darcy in close race for Tucson's top seat

By Ty Young
Arizona Summer Wildcat
August 9, 1999
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Karen Tully
Arizona Summer Wildcat

UA Alum Pat Darcy is running for mayor of Tucson on the Democratic party's ticket against four candidates. A family man, Darcy was a former major league baseball player and wants to rejuvinate the downtown area.

Arizona Summer Wildcat

UA graduate Pat Darcy, a former major league pitcher and political rookie, said he is ready to make some important changes in Tucson.

While Darcy's mayoral campaign platform covers issues ranging from economic development to water conservation, his lifetime passion for sports lives on in his political philosophy.

Darcy has been a Tucson resident since the age of three. His family moved from Ohio because of his sister's asthma. A father of three, he shares his parents' dedication for a strong and involved family structure.

"I'm involved in both little league and soccer. It keeps me busy, but it is certainly worth it," Darcy said.

Many of his campaign ideas center upon the creation and improvement of Tucson parks and recreation sites.

"I would like to create more facilities for children to play at. It's very inconvenient to drive my family all over town just to play a little league or soccer game," Darcy said.

After graduating from Rincon High School in 1968, he enrolled at Mesa Community College on a baseball scholarship. He was coached by a future legend, former Arizona State University coach Jim Brock.

After one year, he signed a professional contract with the Houston Astros in 1969. His pitching career included time with Houston, the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals.

While his most famous pitch was the one Carlton Fisk barely knocked out of Fenway Park in the 1975 World Series, his Reds eventually went on to win the championship.

When asked about giving up one of the most famous home runs in baseball history, Darcy smiled and said, "It was a great hit. I don't mind talking about it at all."

In fact, much of Darcy's life has revolved around baseball in some way or another. From his days as the star of his high school team to his appointment to Tuscon's Baseball Task Force, Darcy has taken a great interest in the potential community and economic gains provided by the game.

Although he was instrumental in landing spring training contracts with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Chicago White Sox and the Colorado Rockies, he was disappointed that the newly built baseball complex -- which also houses the AAA Tucson Sidewinders -- was not built closer to the downtown area.

"Downtown is dead. We need to rejuvenate," Darcy said. "Just look at what is happening in Phoenix. It (Bank One Ballpark) isn't the only reason for downtown Phoenix's revival, but it has played a big role. Downtown Tucson really missed out."

When his baseball career ended, Darcy enrolled at the University of Arizona. In 1984, after just three years, he graduated with a degree in political science and a minor in general business.

"I was already married when I started classes," he said. "My life as a student was much different than most."

Despite the unusual circumstances, Darcy has strong connections to the university. He often attends UA baseball and basketball games, when his busy schedule permits.

During his time at the UA, Darcy helped organize group ticket sales for university sporting events. He also coached UA and junior college baseball players in summer leagues and participated in intramural sports.

Darcy said he is concerned with campus involvement in UA sports. While he understands the university's need for season ticket holders, Darcy would like to see more seats allotted to students.

Darcy also mentioned the massive construction project that has taken over parts of the UA campus.

"It may be inconvenient now, but if the school is getting bigger, it makes sense to improve the campus" Darcy said.

While detailing his campaign ideas, Darcy expressed a great interest in incorporating the UA in Tuscon's economic plan.

"We need to work closer with the U of A," he said. "We should encourage businesses to work with the U of A science and technology center."

Darcy said the science and technology resources at the UA -- especially the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium -- will help draw outside businesses into the Tucson area.

Many of his campaign ideas would potentially affect university students. Along with a stronger connection to the UA in economic terms, Darcy hopes to improve the Tucson transportation system.

"I'd like to see more busses on the road, covered seating at all bus pickups, and more right hand turn lanes" Darcy said.

This could help students who live off campus, he said.

He also detailed a plan to improve the much-debated water situation in Tucson. He said he hopes to appoint a regional water authority that would oversee the various water-related issues affecting Tucsonans.

All of Darcy's ideas center upon one theme -- improving Tucson's economic infrastructure while instilling a strong sense of pride in the city itself.

He said that by improving the face of the downtown community while refining the transportation and water situation, the city can enhance its economic resources In addition, the renovations would give Tucson residents something to take pride in.

The always sports-minded Darcy related this action to student athlete recruitment.

If the UA wants to recruit the best athletes, it must offer something that no other schools can. He said that Tucson must do the same. In order to improve the city's economic situation, new and modernized policies must be enacted.

Although he has limited experience in the realm of governmental administration, Darcy feels that hard work and pride in the city are his most important traits as a candidate.