Fifty-eight years ago, on October 13, 1960, my father, a music teacher in the Neville Island school district, took a day off and took me out of my first-grade class.
From Neville Island we journeyed to Forbes Field in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood.
There we watched the Pittsburgh Pirates take on the New York Yankees in Game 7 of that year’s World Series (an interesting name now, but even more so at that time when all the teams vying for the title were located in the United States).
The heavily favored Yankees had won 10 pennants in 12 years. They won three games in this series: 16-3, 10-0, and 12-0. The Pirates won the other three games by much closer scores: 6-4, 3-2, and 5-2.
Game 7 proved a classic. The Pirates took the lead. The Yankees came back and went ahead. The Pirates regained the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Yankees tied it in the ninth.
Bill Mazeroski led off the bottom of the ninth inning for the Pirates. He took the first pitch for a ball. Then he drove the second pitch over the left-field wall. And the Pirates were the champions.
How much do I remember because I saw the game in person? How much do I remember because I have seen the pictures and the film and heard the stories? I will never know.
On the anniversary of the game, Pirates fans gather in Pittsburgh to relieve, remember, and recreate.
In 2009, a kinescope of the telecast was discovered in Bing Crosby’s wine cellar. Crosby owned a portion of the Pirates. A DVD appeared with the game. Tricia gave me a copy as a gift. Tonight, after the football games ended, I celebrated the past in the present as I watched the game.
“There’s a drive into deep left field, look out now… that ball is going, going gone! And the World Series is over! Mazeroski… hits it over the left field fence, and the Pirates win it 10–9 and win the World Series!” Mel Allen on NBC TV
And as it happens every time I watch the video or see a clip of Mazeroski pumping his batting helmet as he rounds the bases, I remembered my father. And my spirit warmed. And the smile has not left my face or my heart.
See you along the Trail.