Pittsburgh Pirates: Happy Birthday Bill Mazeroski!

Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Bill Mazeroski of the Pittsburgh Pirates holds up his plaque during induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, NY on 05 August, 2001. AFP PHOTO/Henny Ray ABRAMS (Photo by HENNY RAY ABRAMS / AFP) (Photo by HENNY RAY ABRAMS/AFP via Getty Images)
Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Bill Mazeroski of the Pittsburgh Pirates holds up his plaque during induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, NY on 05 August, 2001. AFP PHOTO/Henny Ray ABRAMS (Photo by HENNY RAY ABRAMS / AFP) (Photo by HENNY RAY ABRAMS/AFP via Getty Images) /
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In celebration of Bill Mazeroski or Maz’s 84th birthday I felt the need to write about the 1960 WS hero and Pittsburgh Pirates legend.

September 5th, 1936, towards the tail end of the depression, a baby was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, and his name is William Stanley Mazeroski. Bill is known as one of the best second basemen in Pittsburgh Pirates history.

Mazeroski is best known for his historic walk-off homer in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series against the New York Yankees to give the Pittsburgh Pirates their third World Series title in franchise history.

Bill, or Maz as he was lovingly known by Pirate fans, was also one of the best defensive second basemen of all-time. He currently holds the record for double plays turned at second base with 1,706, he is fifth all-time in assists at second base with 6,685 and is in the top 20 in general for assists at 6,694. One of my favorite stats with Maz, though, is his dWAR, which is at 24.0 for his career, which has him in a tie for 24th with George Davis, who was a late 1800s ballplayer.

Over Maz’s career, he had several accomplishments, including eight golden gloves, ten all-star selections, two world series rings, and one Cooperstown plaque. Over his 17 years in the pros, Maz’s 1958 campaign is one of my favorites to look upon and, in my opinion, is his best year. Let’s dive into that year, shall we?

In legendary manager Danny Murtaugh’s first year with the Pittsburgh Pirates, they saw a winning record for the first time since 1948 when they posted an 83-71 record. That year, Maz posted a .275/.308/.439 slash line marking that his second-highest line in his career. His defense was sparkling that year with 118 double plays turned, 496 assists, 344 putouts, and a TZ of 23. He also had a career-high WAR of 4.5 that year. For someone not known for the offensive abilities, Maz posted a .327 wOBA, which was seven points above league average that year.

The 5’11 183 pound West Virginia man would also power 19 homers that year. Little did those suit toting fans of Forbes Field know in two years, they would witness one of the most historic home runs in World Series history. In fact, until the 1993 World Series, Maz’s World Series-winning home run was the first and only dinger to win the World Series. Go figure the third smallest and sixth skinniest position player on the team that year would hit the walk-off homer of all walk-off homers.

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Happy 84th birthday, Maz! Here’s to many more, and I hope these Buccos can win one for you today!

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