50th Anniversary of the real shot heard ’round the world
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.