Monday, November 27, 2017

From My Collection: Bill Mazeroski

I have two Topps cards of longtime Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski, known as a defensive wizard, and famous for his home run to end the 1960 World Series.
1967 Topps Bill Mazeroski.
Mazeroski eventually made the Hall of Fame, and people had been discussing his candidacy for years, asking whether defensive skill was enough to get someone into the Hall of Fame.  I think that's a canard, though -- I think it's clear that the one home run is the real reason he's in the Hall of Fame.  I love the Pirates and I love how they won the 1960 World Series.  But without that home run, there's no amount of defensive skill in the world that will get you to Cooperstown.
1971 Topps Bill Mazeroski.
Mazeroski stayed around long enough to be part of the 1971 Pirates championship team as well.  In 1971, in the regular season, he played in 70 games with 213 at bats, hitting .254. 

I also have this Hygrade All-Time Greats card of Mazeroski.
Hygrade Bill Mazeroski.
He retired after the 1972 season, ending with career offensive numbers of 853 RBI and a .260 average, with 2016 hits.
Statue outside PNC Park.
Plaque outside PNC park.
My family took a vacation this past summer which included a couple of days in Pittsburgh.  The Pirates weren't in town, but we stayed near PNC Park, and took a walk around.  There are statues of Mazeroski, Honus Wagner, Willie Stargell, and Roberto Clemente.  The lighting isn't good, but you can see here that the statue of Mazeroski is of him rounding the bases after hitting that legendary home run.  The old home plate of Forbes Field is inside an academic building at University of Pittsburgh, and there is a bit of the old outfield wall outside.  Years ago, there was also a marker in the parking lot outside the building to show where the famous home run landed.  That parking lot is no more, though -- it's now a park instead.  I've looked just a little but haven't found a current marker for where the home run landed.

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