Son gets his hands on Pirate treasure like father in 1960

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This is not a story about my attending the seventh game of the 1960 World Series and seeing Bill Mazeroski's historic, series-winning, walk-off home run.

No, this is a story about fatherhood, and the cherished continuity from one generation to the next.

It's true, my story does begin on Oct. 13, 1960. My dad was quite clear that day in forbidding me from going to Forbes Field. My absence from school was not excused.

But I did the only thing that a 10th-grader who always obeyed his father could do -- I went.

Using a ticket given to me by my friend Nelson, I sat in the first row in right field in a seat above Roberto Clemente.

At 3:36 p.m., when Maz's shot sailed over Yogi Berra's head and out of the park and Forbes Field erupted in a glorious frenzy, I reached over the railing and engaged in a tug-of-war with another fan. We were battling over the red-white-and-blue bunting tied to the wall in front of me.

In an uncharacteristic feat of strength, I yanked the cloth from his hands. (Even under hypnosis, then or now, I could never recognize or identify this other individual.)

I won. I claimed it. I hugged it. It was mine.

That World Series treasure laid neatly folded in a drawer in my bedroom until the mid-1980s.

At my request, Pirates broadcaster Jim Rooker, who was a friend of mine, then took it to Pirates Fantasy Camp in Bradenton, Fla. His mission was to get Maz to sign it.

Jim came back a couple weeks later, the bunting in hand. It was signed: "To Larry Rubin, I won the game, you won the fight -- Bill Mazeroski."

That prize from 1960 became a symbol of my hope that another day would come when 15-year-olds could celebrate unrestrained and unafraid with 36,000 like-minded and crazed adults and kids. (And my dad forgave me for my truancy, to boot.)

Over the years, it moved into my son's bedroom.

Which brings us to Oct. 1, 2013, 53 years after I secured that souvenir. The Pirates had just ended the longest streak of losing seasons in the history of professional sports.

They hosted the Cincinnati Reds in a wild-card elimination game, in which the winner would advance in the playoffs. My son bought a standing room-only ticket.

He was 30 years old by then and didn't need my permission.

But if he had needed it and was denied, he would have attended anyway. (There's something to that one about the apple not falling far from the tree.)

He ended up standing four rows deep in left field, about 10 feet away from where the first of Russell Martin's two home runs landed to propel our Bucs to the biggest win in PNC Park's history.

He was delirious, along with the rest of the crowd of 40,000-plus. A happy mob partied afterward on the Clemente Bridge, the city once again overwhelmed with excitement and glory.

The next night, he stopped at my home and asked me to come out to the car. He said he had something for me to see.

Honestly, I thought it was just his family's laundry, since we do it for him at least twice a week.

But on this night, he handed me something else: the red-white-and-blue bunting that had been hanging over PNC Park's left field wall four rows in front of him. It was a gift to me.

"I had to get it, Dad," he said. "I wasn't leaving the park without it."

Now all it's missing is Russell Martin's signature.

Larry Rubin of Squirrel Hill, a long-term care insurance specialist and life coach form


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