William Stanley Mazeroski
Born: Sept. 5, 1936 in Wheeling, W. Va.
Debut: 1956 | Pos: 2B
H: 5'11.5" | W: 183 | B: R | T: R
>> Visit the Bill Mazeroski biography on Baseball Almanac for complete statistics.
For many baseball fans, the Veterans Committee's vote on March 6, 2001, to put Bill Mazeroski in the Hall of Fame was a signal that all things were finally right in the game of baseball.
The fact that Mazeroski was not in the Hall of Fame was a sticking point for many. Considered to be the greatest second baseman in Pittsburgh history, many also feel that Mazeroski is the game's greatest defensive second baseman of all time.
"When you say Hall of Fame, it means something," Mazeroski said. "It means you have accomplished something."
With all he accomplished on the field during his career, Pittsburgh fans hold Mazeroski at hero status for his shining moment in the 1960 World Series. In a seven-game battle with the New York Yankees, Mazeroski and his Yankees' counterpart at second, Bobby Richardson, put on an epic battle. Richardson collected 11 hits in the series and drove in 12 runs. Mazeroski delivered a two-run homer in the series opener and an epic game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of the seventh game to give Pittsburgh the World Championship for the first time since 1925. He captured The Sporting News' Major League Player of the Year Award. He hit .273 with 11 home runs and 64 runs batted in that season.
Born in West Virginia, Mazeroski was signed out of high school in Ohio. By 1956, he had made his way to the Pirates major league team. Mazeroski joined Dick Groat to anchor the Pirates at second base. By 1969, he was suffering from leg injuries and turned over second base duties to Dave Cash.
Mazeroski was one of the greatest offensive producers at second base during his playing time, but he made his name as a defensive star. He was an eight-time Gold Glove winner and set Major League records with 1,706 career double plays and an amazing 161 double plays in a single season. Among his other records, Mazeroski set a National League record of five seasons with more than 500 assists.
Others in baseball greeted the news of Mazeroski's vote to join the Hall's elite as welcome news.
"I'm glad we elected him. He belongs there," said Yogi Berra, Hall of Famer and Veterans Committee member, in a MLB.com article. "But, you know, we did have the lead in that game and (Mazeroski) wouldn't have come up if we have made some plays. But he did and he beat us."