He retired as a manager in 1988 and served most recently as a senior advisor to the Pirates, where he managed from 1977-85.
After his mother died before Game 5 of the '79 World Series, Tanner told his players: "She knows we're in trouble, so she went upstairs to get some help."
The Pirates, down three games to one to the Baltimore Orioles, rebounded to win the next three games and take the World Series championship.
"While no-one had a sharper baseball mind, Chuck was loved by his players and the city of Pittsburgh because he was always positive, enthusiastic and optimistic about his Bucs and life in general," Pirates president Frank Coonelly said in a statement.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; editing by Rex Gowar)