No dissrespect to Bobby Thompson, but the Giants won the pennant.
In 1960 Bill Mazeroski led the Pirates to win the World Series.
One minute later the Pittsburgh sports scene would be changed forever.
Mazeroski’s swing of the bat lifted the ball over Yogi Berra’s head sent the crowd into a frenzy.
Seeing Maz fly around the bases, swinging his helmet around in elation is truly a sight to be hold.
A Wheeling, West Virginia native (another reason why I love him so much) Mazeroski came from humble beginnings along the Ohio River. He said he played the game with the same attitude as he did growing up.
How can you not love that attitude?
As he was flying around the bases Mazeroski is quoted as saying he never felt his feet touch the ground. He was mobbed at homeplate by teammates and fans alike in one of the greatest moments in all of sports.
Whats more remarkable is the Pirates and Yankees were in a David vs. Goalith type battle back then. Much like today, New York was favored to take the series with its star studded lineup that included the likes of Berra, Mickey Mantle, Roger Marris and eventual MVP of the series Bobby Richardson.
Mazeroski was never known as a power hitter. He rarely hit double digit home runs in a season. He was known for his glove with eight Gold Glove awards and still owns the highest fielding percentage among second basemen.
Although Pittsburgh is in the midst of 18 straight losing seasons, the Steel City has not forgotten its icons. Across the town Mazeroski’s memory lives on, particularly in the Oakland section of town.
Oakland is home to the University of Pittsburgh, which I despise. The campus does offer one of the most beuatiful sections in all of Western, Pennsylvania, though.
Portions of the outfield wall still stand where Forbes Field was located.
This summer, I toured the old stomping grounds of the Bucs with my good friend Erin, who happens to be a Pitt student. I don’t hate her too much.
She loves the Pirates just as much as I do and we share memories that I have never before been able to extend to others. They just wouldn’t appreciate it.
She showed me the wall and other historic artifacts.
Forbes Field wall
Plaque commemorating that spot at which Mazeroski’s homerun cleared the wall.
Forbes Field home plate in its exact location, well almost. It is in the hallway of a Pitt campus building, moved there from just three feet away. If it was in its rightful spot it would be in the women’s restroom. A tourist spot to some maybe? But, the plate deserves to be seen by all
One of the most famous Pittsburgh photos this captures the celebratory moment when Maz was rounding the bases. Shot from the roof of Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning it provided a stunning view of the field and still today, downtown Pittsburgh.
Walking through the WVU student unio I sat down to eat lunch in front of the TV that shows ESPN. Bob Ley of Outside the Lines interviewed a Yankees historian, Steve Blass and Tim Kurkjian regarding the legacy Mazeroski possessed. Highlights of the game were shown and Mazeroski himself spoke.
The guy sitting next to me eventually moved as I was tearing up.
I wasn’t the only one.
Thousands of fan convene on that spot this day every year to relieve the precious memories Mazeroski left behind for us. They play the radio broadcast of Game 7 and embrace each other with thoughts of yesteryear.
Game 7 drew national a couple weeks ago as the tape was found in who else, but Bing Crosby’s wince cellar. Who woulda thunk it?
This was a game that will forever be etched in the minds of baseball fans everywhere.
It is all thanks to the best man in all of sports, Bill Mazeroski.
Sitting in my Economics class I was antsy. I couldn’t listen to the lecture about unemployment, I just wanted to watch my Bucs. As soon as we got out I rushed to my buddy’s girlfriend’s apartment where MLB Network would be on the HD TV. I do not get it at my apartment so I really thank Alyssa for allowing me to crash at her place for a few hours and enjoy a real live baseball game.
After that it was rather uneventful.
The Pirates only totaled three hits in the contest.
Now this wasn’t a game against Javier Vazquez, CC Sabathia or AJ Burnett. Rather it was Chad Gaudin, Sergio Mitre and Alfredo Acceves. Now those are guys with major league time, but I would hope some of our young Bucs could sneak some hits in.
The Pirates used a pitcher an inning for nine frames. It was a unique move that made the YES network announcers ponder using that tactic in a regular season game. The unanimous decision, it couldn’t work.
The announcers brought up a good point also. It has to deal with the numbers of baseball.
The picture on the right is McCutchen from a 2008 Spring Training game. Notice the astronomical number. 76? Andrew McCutch aint no 76! But players like him, back in 2008, are just marginal prospects with a long shot of making the MLB roster. Being handed a number that high may be a downgrade, but in his case I think it was just a motive to work harder. The TV announcers said anyone wearing over 60 in ST will not make the big leagues that year. No Wayne Gretzkys (99) here is how they put it. It’ll be an interesting stat to look back on come April.
Anyway, back to the game. The nine Pirate pitchers did not do a bad job containing the Yanks. Steven Jackson and Virgil Vazquez were the only ones giving up multiple hits and runs. I was never a big fan of this tandem and found more reason to not support them today.
The game was toed 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth until powerhouse Colin Curtis stepped to the plate.
Curtis ripped the pitch to right field over the head of Jose Tabata and into the stands. A 3-run bomb by the former 4th round pick in the 2006 draft. Curtis was the hero for the day much like Bill Mazeroski was back in October of 1960. Maz’s walk off home run to beat the Yankees is still fondly remembered by baseball fans around the world today, it is doubtful Curtis’s homer will even be though of at the end of March. However, his wikipedia page already remembers the event.
“He hit a 3 run walk off homerun in the Yankees first 2010 spring training game against the Pirates.”
Maybe it will be forever etched in Yankeess lore. I doubt it.
The Braves are up next!
photo credit: mlb.com, buccobits.mlblogs.com, flickr.com, baseballprospectus.com