WHERE WERE YOU?

I know where I was a little after three o’clock in the afternoon on October 13th, 1960. Even though I was only 12, I was smart enough to know that the school bus wasn’t going to get me home in time to see the Pirates bat in the ninth inning.

We were listening to the game on the radio and I made the decision to get off the bus at the shopping center near my house because I knew that all the businesses would have TVs tuned to the game.

I was in the Thrift Drug store and  had just bought a 5 cent vanilla phosphate and a 5 cent bag of Snyder’s potato chips when Bill Mazeroski hit the greatest homerun in baseball history and created Pittsburgh’s greatest sports moment.

I jumped off my stool, threw the chips on the ground and started jumping up and down on them. Adults were jumping up and down, screaming and hugging. I think I even got a hug from the lady behind the counter.

I can’t tell you how glad I am that I have the memory of seeing it instead of hearing it on the radio. That was a smart move that I made.

Maz was my favorite player at the time. I was a second baseman and I used to stuff 10 pieces of bubble gum into my mouth when I played so I could look like him with his huge chaw of tobacco.

What a day that was. What a time that was. Imagine the greatest World Series game ever being played in the sunshine instead of the middle of the night when most 12 year olds are in bed.

  • colt

    Well, I was 9 years old and remember it all very well. It was so exciting. By that time, Clemente was already my favorite player. I wanted to be just like him as an outfielder. But, I am so tired of hearing about the 1960 Bucs. I mean, the Pirates Org. and the local media have absolutely ruined this memory for me. It is all gone now. So much stuff about Maz and the Bucs that now, no matter what comes on the TV about that series, I turn the station. I am sick of it.

    If they would have simply talked about it and showed films of it this year, and as we came close to October, it would have been fine. But, this is too much. They have been pushing this “Maz and the ’60 Bucs” thing for so long, I can’t even remember how long ago it started. Are we done now, or is it “stay tuned, more to come”? If I never see Maz’s face again on TV, it will be too soon. For crying out loud, enough already! (Go Yankees!)

  • victor surma

    John, Just a thought…could you see Maz parading around in the dugout between innings with his hat on backwards? Just wondering.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      Don’t think so.

  • Michael

    Thanks for the great post! Thanks for sharing your great memory of Game 7. I can’t wait to get your book.

  • Mark Mohan

    I was in Jr. High School, and the principal actually broadcast the game over the school public address system. School was technically out, but everyone stayed to hear the end of the game.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      It’s hard to believe that they actually expected us kids to pay attention in class when we knew the Pirates were playing in the 7th game of the World Series. I went home for lunch with a kid (Dave Lagi–I actually remember his name) and we skipped the second half of school that day to watch one of the games.

  • Chipped Ham

    These recollections make me kinda sad actually. I really miss baseball. As I’ve said here before, my old man still talks about that game and how he was somehow screwed by not appearing in that famous photo atop the Cathedral….even though he was “there” between classes. Great stuff for a father and son to argue about…50 years later.

    Then I think about growing up (born in 1970) with a little transistor radio in my bed EVERY SINGLE NIGHT the Bucs played. My folks let me listen while I went to sleep, but I never missed the end of the game. I needed to see if the win was pulled out by Stargell, Moreno, Ott, Parker, Lacy, Robinson, Berra, Sanguillen, Teke, Jackson, Foli, etc. I think those names properly date me over a decade or so. Pirate baseball was everything to me. Even after that generation, my Dad would take my sisters and I to the park about 10x a year….one sis had a crush on Pena, another sis had a crush on Khalifa, another sis kept score in the program, and I went for the majesty of it all (even at 3 Rivers.)

    Then, it all went away. I have 3 kids of my own now, between 4 and 9, and they all play bball or softball. But I refuse to take them to PNC. I am boycotting, and it absolutely crushes me. This is an incredible bball town, but an entire generation is being robbed.

    Like my Dad will never forget 1960, and like I will never forget 1979, my kids will never forget ANYTHING about Pirate bball. Thank goodness for the Stillers and Pens and salary caps. Thanks to the NFL and NHL, my kids will always remember the triumph of Pgh teams on a level playing field.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      Great, great stuff and very sad.

  • Dr. Phibes

    Game 7 of the World Series being played in the afternoon is pretty outrageous. Even moreso was that it took place on the 13th of October and not the beginning of November.

    Sports seasons run too long.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      You know there’s something wrong when they’re playing for the hockey championship in June and the baseball championship in November.

  • The Dean

    I was only 7 at the time and all I remember is my mother kissing me and handing me a quarter. I had it made for a month on that quarter! My 18 year old has never seen a winning team. I use to feel bad for the Cubs and some of the other lousy teams of the 70s and wondered how it felt not to be in contention. Now unfortunately I know!

  • victor surma

    It was especially nice that it happened in the afternoon & we could celebrate all night. Day baseball was wonderful. All World Series games should be played in the afternoon. I just checked the sked for the LCS’s & the games don’t start till 8:00 PM. How the hell can they get any kids interested in watching that late? No wonder the sport is dying. It’s become an elitist event in the home cities. Like going to the opera.

    • Richard

      While I get very angry at the Pirates exploiting their history, this deserves to be remembered. It is the only WS to end on a walk off. It was a huge upset.

      If it were the other way around, and Mickey Mantle hit a walk off homer to win the WS in 1960 (impossible since the 7th game was in Pittsburgh, but follow me anyway) we’d never hear the end of it in the national media. I am always surprised and saddened when I see lists of the greatest baseball moments and this is not number one. I can’t imagine anything more magical.

      • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

        It’s a home run to end the seventh game of the World Series. It can only be tied. Never surpassed.

  • John

    Where was I? About 25 years from being born. My grandma has told me all about it though. By the way, what is a vanilla phosphate, and how small was the cup (or bowl?) for a nickle.

    Just kidding of course. While I was 25 years from being born, I still like hearing stories about the series and look forward to getting a chance to see the ‘lost’ footage.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      A vanilla phosphate was soda water from the fountain with vanilla syrup. You could also get Cherry, Lemon and chocolate. Same size as a regular drink at McDonalds.

      • http://www.patrickfbruce.com Goose

        St Bernard School, in the locker room under the church (if any of your readers played football for St Bernard’s they know the place.

        Our coaches were in their office listening to the game on the radio and relaying to us what was going on. . .

        “Yanks tied the game. . .” I remember feeling “scared” – (wasn’t it great when you were such a Pirate fan that you would be “scared” if they lost.

        The coaches told us to hurry up and get dressed, and I’m standing at my locker when I heard everyone screaming and hollering – We won, We won! Maz just hit a homer. . .”

        A day that will live forever.

        • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

          If the Pirates ever win another World Series kids will be in bed when they do. What more do you need to know?

          • David McGwire

            It may not be as bad as you think. Being 27, I was around 9 years old when Sid slid….and as any as any kid will tell you one of the best treats in life can be…. being allowed to stay up past your bedtime.

            I remember sitting on the edge of my parent’s bed in my PJ’s and just crying my eyes out when they lost.

            I’m sure if the Pirates were ever in a world series again, kids would revel in the fact that they could watch the game “past their bedtime.”

  • dcg1952

    I was in 4th grade—got off the bus and hurried home to watch the end of the game. When Maz hit the home run my mother went absolutely crazy—jumping up and down and screaming in the living room and picking me up , hugging and dancing with me! I have seen other World Series wins and Super Bowls and Stanley Cups here in the ‘Burgh. But nothing even compares to 1960. I remember watching the people in the office buildings downtown throwing papers and typewriters out of the windows. No broken windows, assaults, fires, cars tipped over——just pure unadulterated joy. God, I miss those days.

  • http://Jim Jim

    You might be interested in this link to some pretty good magazine articles. Not all about sports but a couple of good ones on Ted Williams. http://www.kk.org/cooltools/the-best-magazi.php

  • Ochotexto

    Anyone who hasn’t picked up a Post-Gazette yet today hurry up and grab one (Wed., Oct 13th). Outstanding commemorative edition on the Maz HR. Greatest single moment in sports history., and it happened right here.

  • http://Jim Jim

    John, This is off topic, but I was wondering if you have an opinion on Brett Favre and Penis-Gate? His not commenting (or denying) to me says a lot. I know there are two sides to every story and there is probably much we don’t know, but what would your opinion be if he is proven guilty. And should the Ben situation and punishment have any bearing on the Favre case?
    On topic I will say that baseball used to be an incredible sport as evidenced by the excitement a film of a game played in 1960 still generates. Too bad the sport as it was then has ceased to exist. Makes me sick to think that my son will never grow to realize the excitement of following baseball played in a fair system.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      You couldn’t be more right about baseball. I don’t think Favre’s issue–assuming it’s true–rises to the level of what Ben did. That was a private correspondence….as sick as it may have been. Doesn’t compare to a 20 yr old college student telling the cops that Ben raped her. That’s not to say that Favre shouldn’t be suspended, but he can’t be suspended for cheating on his wife. Or trying to.

      • http://Jim Jim

        Well I’m hoping my son takes to hockey which was what immediately made me end my baseball career. Just way more fun to play and practice. Expensive – but my friends, brothers and I would do anything to make it work. Our first shin pads were carpet padding covered by a piece of plastic cut from the bottom of a sled. Worked pretty well.
        I was born in 1968 so I only knew the pirates of the 70s-90s. Other than the drug era teams it was always a great sport to follow. When they ripped the team apart in the early 90s I realized how things were going to be. I was done. Man those early 90s games were fun to watch.
        Yeah, I’m thinking there were a lot of behind the scenes behavioral issues weighed in to Ben’s suspension. Favre probably doesn’t have much of that going against him. Unless we end up finding out he was another Tiger. Even so – being a pervert, at least to a certain extent, isn’t illegal. I still say he cast a bad light on the sport. Which was the rationale for Ben’s suspension of one quarter of a season. Favre should get a game or two.

        • http://justwatchthegame.com Bobzilla

          Being a “pervert” is illegal. The crime is sexual harassment, which is a BIG DEAL…
          As for Farvre getting suspended: I think the league would be doing him a favor. Watching him rubbing his elbow Monday night brought back sad memories of Terry Bradshaw’s final days. Favre looks to be genuinely hurt, and I don’t think he’s going to beat this injury. He’s done.

          • http://Jim Jim

            I did say being a pervert “at least to a certain extent” is not illegal. Sexting – or whatever they call it, is not illegal between two adults. Porn is not illegal. Sex shops, kinky sex, strip clubs…etc are not illegal. But in some peoples opinions the people who partake in these activities are perverts. Exercizing their legal right to be perverts. It’s all realative to an opinion yet not against the law. I’m not condoning what Favre did, My reference to him possibly being another Tiger would maybe make him perverted – yet he may have broken no laws. His allegedly sending indecent pictures via his cell phone may have been a crime. If it is then there should be no need for the victims concent or cooperation to file charges. We shall see how it plays out.
            And he knew what his physical condition was prior to signing. He’s a big boy and he made the decision to take the money. I’d imagine some ego was involved. For the money he took while being well aware of his physical condition – he should play until his arm falls off.

          • David McGwire

            You know what hasn’t been said about Brett Favre….Whether or not these advances worked.

            Would you be shocked if she sent him back raunchy photos and voicemails…and like a normal person, he deleted them to cover his tracks? I mean, who keeps voicemails over a year? This story would have an entire different meaning if it was a x-rated corrospondance instead of one sided advances. All we’re seeing is what he sent her. In my personal history, I’ve noticed that sending pics and messages have almost always been a back-and-forth kind of situation. Why would a guy send more than one x-rated pic to a girl unless she was sending equally x-rated pics back?

            I wouldn’t be surprised it she’s staying quiet for the reason that if the entire truth of the story came out, she would look just as bad as him.

          • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

            Not an outrageous theory.

      • Naper

        Geeze, here we go again. You just can’t let go. What part of no evidence of a rape do you not understand? Your wishful interpretation of a questionable witness in a state of mental discombobulation has run its course. Can’t wait until Sunday to hear the cheers.

        • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

          I let it go a long time ago. Trust me.

        • http://justwatchthegame.com Bobzilla

          Those “cheering” will be the same idiots who insisted months ago that the Steelers couldn’t — and wouldn’t — win without him. I bet it really rankles all the Roethlisberger Obsessives, especially those in the local sports media, that the Steelers are 3-1.
          Now, if the Steelers can just go “2-and-2” the next four games, they might have a chance…

  • VinceL

    It’d be great to be 12 again wouldn’t it?I wasn’t on the scene in 1960.I am looking forward to the just discovered broadcast.Baseball has done a lousy job in documenting its legacy in comparison to the NFL.All we have are grainy films or videotaped highlights of past World Series.NFL Films,with John Facenda and stirring music, could show a training camp scrimmage and make it look like the most epic event in history.

  • Joe Bunda

    John, this is not a knock on your article, just an observation of the whole 1960 Pirates hype…….

    I love to look back at good memories as much as anybody. I do however find it pathetic that a baseball team from 1960 gets so much attention around here. (This seems to happen on a yearly basis.) There have been countless stories in the news over the past week or so regarding this subject. I’m sure some of this is due to the fact that the Pirates have sucked for so long that folks need something positive to look back on because there certainly isn’t anything positive coming in the foreseeable future. Remembering the past is one thing and it can be great, but living in the past is another story.

    Pittsburgh is a great place to live and I love it here, but we do have issues with resisting forward movement. Time to face facts folks, we no longer have a professional baseball team in this city and we probably won’t for the foreseeable future. Looking back 50 years won’t fix that. Boycott the team. When the lousy owners can no longer soak the fans for a profit, they will sell it, hopefully to somebody who cares about winning as much as they care about profit.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      50 years is a big anniversary. Othewise I agree with what you’re saying. If the Pirates had won four World Series in a row, a bifg deal would still be made about the 50th anniversary of the greatest moment in Pgh. sports history.

      • http://justwatchthegame.com Bobzilla

        What makes that home run worth remember is that it came against the storied New York Yankees. It also was the first and, thus far, only home run to end a seventh game of a World Series. A hundred more World Series titles wouldn’t make that home run less meaningful.
        Once again, jealousy has reared its ugly head… in the form of those who are too young and too dumb: Too young to have witnessed it, and too dumb to realize its importance.

  • mark

    well John, kids spending 5 cents on chips in the sunshine won’t pay the million dollar salaries.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      Exactly. And kids don’t watch the World Series. That’s why baseball is a dying sport.

  • EAST

    How much longer are we going to have to deal with the Pirates bragging about past achievements? I understand its history (great history), but how often do you hear the Penguins or Steelers publicize about their past achievements? Its almost like they are sucking the 1960 team dry, trying to draw interest for the current regime. Maybe its because the Pirates only achievement lately is losing 18 years in a row.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      As long as they can get away with it. The 50th anniversary of Maz’s homerun deserves to be commemorated.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com Bobzilla

      In 2007, the Steelers celebrated their 75th season doing business. As I recall, there was a lot of (well-deserved) hoopla over that 75th Anniversary. I can remember seeing a lot of former great players and coaches roaming around. I don’t think the Pirates have cornered the market on celebrating the past.
      Maz’s series-winning home run has stood the test of time. Quite frankly, I don’t actually believe it’s the Pirates who insist upon celebrating that a-MAZ-ing moment. It’s celebrated by the masses. That precious moment belongs to the people, not to the Pirates.

      • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

        Bingo.

  • Tom

    Great Memory to have, John! I was only 6 months old at that time but I remember where I was during the 71 and 79 World Series Championships. We might never get another in our lifetime. Sad.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      I remember what a big deal it was that it had been 33 years since the Pirates went to the World Series. My dad was 40 and was only seven the last time the Pirates won a pennant. We’ll be going for 33 again in 2012.