Will show design, believed based on home run, to fans at PirateFest
January 27, 2010 10:00 AM
James G. Klingensmith/Post-Gazette
The Pirates will unveil a statue of former second baseman Bill Mazeroski this season.
By Dejan Kovacevic Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Bill Mazeroski, already immortalized for hitting baseball's greatest home run, soon will be immortalized all over again.
The Pirates will unveil plans for a new PNC Park statue honoring Mazeroski as part of this weekend's PirateFest at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, according to multiple sources. It likely will come during the Friday session, 5-9 p.m., for season-ticket holders. Mazeroski will be in attendance -- and signing autographs -- that night and Saturday.
The building of the statue has not yet begun, but it is expected to be complete by June 18-19, when the Pirates will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their 1960 World Series championship during a weekend series against the visiting Cleveland Indians. Mazeroski's ninth-inning home run ended Game 7 at old Forbes Field, bringing a 10-9 victory against the heavily favored New York Yankees.
A design for the statue has been chosen, and it is believed to be based on the home run, though that could not be confirmed. A location also could not be confirmed, but the entrance at the turnaround end of Mazeroski Way -- on the side of PNC Park that faces Heinz Field -- is the likely choice.
Team officials will not comment on the statue until this weekend.
Mazeroski could not be reached.
The statue will be PNC Park's fourth, along with those honoring Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Honus Wagner. The statues for Clemente and Wagner moved to PNC from the Pirates' previous homes. Inside PNC, there is a Ralph Kiner memorial showing his hands gripping a bat, as well as several smaller monuments to players from Pittsburgh's Negro Leagues teams.
Among the city's other professional sports teams, the Steelers have only a statue of former owner Art Rooney Sr. at Heinz Field, and the Penguins have none at Mellon Arena. The Penguins are highly likely to erect one of Mario Lemieux after the new Consol Energy Center opens.
Mazeroski, 73, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001 largely because of superlative defense, as he won eight Gold Gloves at second base. He batted .260 with 138 home runs over 17 seasons -- all with the Pirates -- and won two World Series, including 1971.
He remains involved with the Pirates, notably as an instructor in spring training, where he still dons his full uniform.