Pittsburgh honors Bill Mazeroski

Sept. 6, 2010 at 1:14 PM
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PITTSBURGH, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- The Pittsburgh Pirates have dedicated a statue celebrating Bill Mazeroski's famous 1960 World-Series-winning home run.

In the 50 years since Mazeroski sent a belt-high slider over Yankee outfielder Yogi Berra's head and into the stands at Forbes Field, he's been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and had a street named for him. On Sunday, the Pirates dedicated the statue, and the Heinz center was to dedicate a figure of him Monday, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

Mazeroski, 74, who lives in Westmoreland County, says he is overwhelmed by all the attention.

"Geez, how could anybody ever dream of something like this?" he said. "All I wanted to be was a ballplayer. I didn't need all of this."

Mazeroski was born in Wheeling, W.Va., growing up in a one-room house in Ohio with his mother and sister.

He was signed by the Pirates in 1954 at age 17 and spent his whole career with the Pirates organization.

"Maz is a sort of personification of Pittsburgh, even though he's not from here. He's the son of a coal miner ... and somebody who let his acts speak more than his words," University of Pittsburgh sports historian Rob Ruck said.

Part of Mazeroski's appeal, Ruck said, is that like football player Franco Harris, hockey star Mario Lemieux and other sports heroes he joined a Pittsburgh team and made his permanent home in the area.

"Once they come here, they don't leave. They became part of the fabric of the city," Ruck said. "That's special. Look at Franco, living on the North Side. Look at Art Rooney and then Dan Rooney (of the family that owns the Pittsburgh Steelers) never leaving the North Side. I think Maz, he's got that Pittsburgh personality."

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