1960 WS: Maz 9th inning walk off HR wins it - why so big?

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1960 WS: Maz 9th inning walk off HR wins it - why so big?

Post by TheRiddler on Sat Oct 18, 2008 3:20 pm

Just like Hartnett's Homer in the Glomin, The Shot Heard Round the World, the Catch, and other revered momements of baseball history; Maz's dramatic, totally unexpected, game winner is shallow when viewed out of context.

Beating the Yankees was always big for the NL team.
The Pirates were cellar dwellers throughout most of the 50s.
This was a hard fought series up until Maz's blast. Standing at 3-3.
The final game was a see-saw affair with back up catcher Hal Smith hitting a pinch hit 3-run HR in the 8th to re-take the lead and put the Bucs up 9-7. The Yanks came back in the 9th with two to tie it, which then set the stage.

But it clearly was not Maz alone, it was also the Pirates coming from a perennial last place in the 50s to winning it all to start the 60s. And Clemente led them from the days of Bob Skinner to those of Willie Stargell.
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Re: 1960 WS: Maz 9th inning walk off HR wins it - why so big?

Post by fisherboy7 on Sat Oct 18, 2008 3:34 pm

My old man always tells me how memorable that HR was for him, watching on TV in 1960. From the way he describes it, it truly was the "ultimate baseball moment". That, and Bobby Thompson's "Shot heard 'round the world".

Here was a related article I came across last week that I enjoyed reading.

Maz's shot and other great home runs
By David Schoenfield
ESPN.com

Baseball memories revolve around that instantaneous moment of suspense and surprise: Carlton Fisk's home run, Mookie Wilson's groundball, Willie Mays' catch.

And the ultimate baseball moment? Wouldn't that be hitting the home run that wins Game 7 of the World Series?

It's happened only once. Bill Mazeroski, one of the inductees in the Hall of Fame this year, did it 1960 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, belting his dramatic shot off Ralph Terry to beat the New York Yankees, 10-9.

I've always wondered why Maz's homer seems to get less attention than other dramatic home runs. Bobby Thomson's Shot Heard 'Round the World is usually rated the greatest moment in baseball history. Conveniently forgotten is the fact that Thomson's Giants went on to lose the World Series to the Yankees. Fisk's home run gets more air time than re-runs of "Seinfeld," yet it's rarely pointed out that Fisk and the Red Sox, lost the next day, Game 7 to the Reds.

Of course, Thomson played in New York and Fisk played in Boston. Mazeroski's home run came in Forbes Field in Pittsburgh and doesn't come equipped with a classic home-run call on the highlight tape or a dance to wave the ball fair.

But I rate Mazeroski's blast the greatest home run of all time. Here are some other great ones:

Most dramatic
Kirk Gibson off Dennis Eckersley, Game 1, 1988 World Series
The backdrop makes Gibson's two-out, two-run game-winning blast all the more memorable. Hobbled, barely able to stand, let alone hit, he somehow pokes Eck's slider over the right-field fence, inducing Jack Buck's classic call -- "This is gonna be ... a home run! I don't believe what I just saw!" -- and giving the Dodgers a 5-4 win.

Most overrated

Reggie Jackson, 1971 All-Star Game
OK, start sending in those emails now. Yes, it was a monumental blast off the light tower on the roof at Tiger Stadium. But it was an All-Star Game. And there have been other home runs that long at Tiger Stadium. And it wasn't even the most dramatic in All-Star Game history (that would be Ted Williams' game-winning, three-run homer in 1941).

Most underrated

Kirby Puckett, Game 6, 1991 World Series
Now, let's compare this to Fisk's homer in Game 6 in 1975. Both came in extra innings. Both won the game for the home team. Both had great images for television -- Fisk's wave and Puckett's fist-pumping and primal yell as he rounded the bases. Of course, only one of the teams won Game 7.

Most unexpected

Ozzie Smith, Game 5, 1985 NLCS
Other than the one (and only career) homer that Duane Kuiper hit in 1977, only Smith's game-winning homer off the Dodgers' Tom Niedenfuer came as a bigger shock. Ozzie had never hit a home run left-handed in eight years in the majors. And don't remind Niedenfuer of Jack Clark's blast in Game 6.

Most controversial
Derek Jeter and Jeffrey Maier, Game 1, 1996 ALCS
The Orioles led the Yankees 4-3 in the eighth inning when Tony Tarasco camped under Jeter's long fly to right field -- only to have 12-year-old Maier lean over the wall and steal the ball. Ump Rich Garcia blew the call, the Yankees went on to win the game in 11 innings and eventually took the series. Would history be different if Garcia makes the correct call?

Most almost-legendary
Dave Henderson, Game 6, 1986 World Series
Henderson, who had hit the dramatic homer in the ALCS off the Angels' Donnie Moore with the Red Sox one strike from elimination, led off the 10th inning with a shot to left field off the Mets' Rick Aguilera. It appeared the Sox would finally win it all ...

Most forgotten regular-season blast

Dick Sisler wins pennant for 1950 Phillies
The Dodgers trailed the Phillies by one game entering the final game of the 1950 season as the two teams squared off at Ebbets Field. Philadelphia's Richie Ashburn preserved a tie in the ninth by throwing out Cal Abrams at the plate and then Sisler won the game with a three-run homer in the 10th off Don Newcombe, for the Phillies' first pennant in 35 years.

Most memorable with an asterisk
Mark McGwire, No. 62, 1998
No, not Roger Maris' 61. Yes, McGwire broke Maris' record when he hit No. 62 off the Cubs' Steve Trachsel, but what many people forget is that Sammy Sosa actually took a 66-65 lead on the season's final Friday, but McGwire hit one later that night and then two more on Saturday and two on Sunday to finish with 70.

Most mythical

Babe Ruth's called shot, 1932 World Series
Yes, he did.

Most dramatic George Brett homer

Three-way tie, all hit at Yankee Stadium (interestingly enough) ...

1. Game-tying three-run homer in eighth inning of 1976 ALCS off Grant Jackson.
2. Three-run blast off Goose Gossage into the upper deck in 1980 ALCS. As somebody once said of Brett's 1980 season, when hit .390: "He didn't miss a fastball all season long."
3. Pine-tar homer off Gossage, 1983. Ruled an out at the time, but eventually overturned.

Most impressive home-run day

Mark Whiten, Cardinals, 1993
The unheralded Whiten, who would hit 25 homers all season, cracked four titanic homers in the second game of a doubleheader at Cincinnati. He also tied Jim Bottomley's record of 12 RBI in one game.

Most impressive home-run inning
Fernando Tatis, Cardinals, 1999
Hitting two home runs in one inning has been accomplished many times, but Tatis put a little twist to hit: both of his were grand slams, both hit off Chan Ho Park.

Most memorable homer off someone wearing No. 99

Joe Carter off Mitch Williams, Game 6, 1993 World Series
Carter's one-out, three-run, bottom-of-the-ninth inning blast off Williams gave the Blue Jays an 8-6 victory to win the Series and gave us Carter's joyous romp around the bases.

Most thankful home run

Harold Baines, White Sox, 1984
Baines' homer beat the Brewers 7-6. Nothing special there, except it came in the 25th inning, ending the longest game in American League history.

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