Bill Mazeroski starred at second base for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1956 to 1972 and, in the process, established himself as perhaps the greatest defensive player in history at his position. Despite modest offensive statistics, Mazeroski finished his career with an impressive .983 fielding percentage, prompting noted baseball analyst to declare that "Bill Mazeroski's defensive statistics are probably the most impressive of any player at any position."
The moment Mazeroski is most widely remembered for is his World Series-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth inning during Game 7 of the 1960 Fall Classic. This homer broke a 9-9 tie with the Yankees and was the first home run ever hit that won a World Series for a team.
Mazeroski was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001 by the Veterans Committee.
I completed this sketch card in October 2012.
10 random facts about Bill Mazeroski:
- A 10-time National League All-Star, Mazeroski led the league in assists 9 times, fielding percentage 3 times and double plays 8 times.
- During his peak (1957–68), he drove in more runs than any other middle infielder of that time period.
- He holds the Major League career record for double plays by a second baseman.
- Although Joe Carter would also hit a World Series-winning homer for the Blue Jays in Game 6 of the 1993 Fall Classic, Mazeroski remains the only person whose homer decided a World Series Game 7.
- In a role originally intended for Roberto Clemente, Mazeroski had a cameo appearance in the 1968 film The Odd Couple, in which he hit into a game-ending triple play.
- In his career, Mazeroski hit over twice as many home runs on the road as he did in his home park – 45 home runs at home versus 93 on the road.
- In 1987, Mazeroski unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic nomination for County Commissioner in his home of Westmoreland County, PA.
- A statue depicting Mazeroski running the bases during his famous home run was unveiled on September 5, 2010 outside PNC Park, current home of the Pirates.
- In 2004, the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference saluted Mazeroski by electing him among the inaugural members of their Hall of Fame, alongside Boston Celtic great John Havlicek and former Olympic wrestler Bobby Douglas.
- Mazeroski hosts an annual golf tournament, The Bill Mazeroski Golf Tournament.