There were four games Monday, which is the last time this year — barring a rainout – there will be more games than a doubleader in the same day. And there was more offense than a regular season Sunday in July. Four games produced 61 runs, 21 home runs, five lead changes, a four-run lead blown late and a three-run lead blown early.
It was a great day to watch baseball, if not to thrown one homeward.
We’re guaranteed two Game 5s and might get two more. Who will advance seems less certain than this: the winner of the World Series looks more and more as if it will be whoever wins the NLCS.
And that loud sound from Pittsburgh today at 3:36 p.m.? Don’t be alarmed. It’s just Pirates fans celebrating Bill Mazeroski’s 1960 home run — one more time.
Nine things to note on the 55th anniversary of the most famous, or second-most famous, home run ever (depending how close you grew up to Pittsburgh and the Polo Grounds):
1. The Yankees leftfielder going back to the wall was the late Yogi Berra.
2. The pitcher was Ralph Terry, who lost Games 4 and 7 of the Series. Terry lost the only game the Reds won in the 1961 World Series, and then Game 2 of the 1962 Series, 2-0, to the Giants and Jack Sanford. Having lost his first four Series decisions, Terry won Game 5 in ’62 on a complete-game eight-hitter, 5-3, and then shut out the Giants — their 3-4-5 hitters were Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda — on four hits to win Game 7, 1-0. Terry, who pitched 25 innings in the ’62 Series with a 1.80 ERA, was its MVP after a regular season in which he won 23 games and pitched 298.2 innings.
3. Mazeroski’s homer was no cheapie. It cleared the 406-foot sign in left-center.
4. Maz hit 11 homers in the 1960 season, and 138 in his 17-year career.
5. It was Mazeroski’s second home run of the series. His first, a two-run blow in the fourth, delivered the eventual game-winning run in a 6-4 Game 1 win. Maz hit half of the Pirates’ home runs in the ’60 Series.
6. The 1960 World Series was one of the weirdest ever. The Yankees scored more than twice as many runs (55-27), hit more than twice as many homers (10-4), had a team ERA less than half the Pirates’ (3.54 to 7.11). The Yankees won games by 10-0, 12-0 and 16-3; the Pirates by 6-4, 3-2, 5-2 and 10-9.
7. The winning pitcher of Game 7 was Harvey Haddix, who entered in the top of the ninth in relief of Bob Friend with a 9-7 lead, two on and two out. He got a blown save, but he set up one of baseball’s greatest moments.
8. Mazeroski never hit another postseason home run. He had eight more postseason at-bats (two hits) from 1970-72, but by the end of 1970 he had mostly lost his job to Dave Cash. Maz started Game 3 of the 1970 NLCS, which the Pirates lost to the Reds in three, and went 0-2 with two walks.
9. It took just two hours and 36 minutes to play Game 7. These days it would take that long to play five innings of a 10-9 game. And a 1 p.m. start would mean 1:10, given commercials and pregame nonsense. The attendance was 36,683, not all of whom were at home plate awaiting Mazeroski.
Trivia: Maz’s No. 9 is one of nine uniform numbers retired by the Pirates. Name the other eight. Answer below.
Back to 2015:
The Pirates have retired Nos. 1 (manager Bill Meyer), 4 (Ralph Kiner), 8 (Willie Stargell), 9 (Mazeroski), 11 (Paul Waner), 20 (Pie Traynor), 21 (Roberto Clemente), 33 (Honus Wagner) and 40 (manager Danny Murtaugh).