The Joy of 1960

Wednesday afternoon, an entire city will celebrate like its 1960 … as the moment passes and the play that won the world series that year is replayed in an audio broadcast. For the past decade plus, hundreds have gathered around what remains of Forbes Field to listen to the broadcast which began at the exact point the game began … and ends at the exact moment Bill Mazeroski hit his game-winning home run. There are cheers and celebration … even for a moment that happened so long ago.

What is about this series-ending moment that continues to capture our attention and fascination 50 years later? After all, this is a football team and since that Pirates upset of the New York Yankees, Pittsburgh has raised Lord Stanley’s Cup three times and accumulated four Vince Lombardi Trophies. Even the woeful Pirates have won a couple of fall classics since. However, no championship continues to hold our hearts quite like 1960.

 Was it the greatest World Series game ever? Sadly, no. That honor has gone to game six of the 1975 World Series between the Reds and Red Sox which ended on a dramatic home run. Another world series has ended on a game-winning blast since 1960. Joe Carter carried the Toronto Blue Jays to a series win over Philadelphia in six games. There has even been a World Series that ended in game seven’s final at-bat. Arizona knocked off the Yankees in 2001.

What cannot be denied is the drama of that moment and the game’s unlikely hero, Bill Mazeroksi. It still remains the only game seven decided on a walk-off home run. In fact, it’s the original walk-off homer, long before the term was ever coined. It still remains one of the great upsets in baseball history as David really did slay Goliath. But above all, it’s a moment that reminds that generation … and ones that follow … that baseball is truly our national game. It can provide great drama and excitement. It was pure joy on that October afternoon. A joy that continues today 50 years later …. and I trust it will still hold sway 50 years from now.

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