Champagne drops off the head of Bill Mazeroski in the dressing room.
By Ray Kienzl Post-Gazette Staff Writer
"I was too happy to think. I was really happy. I don't know what I thought."
Those were the words Bill Mazeroski uttered when asked what he thought when he connected with the pitch that sank the Yankees in the World Series finale yesterday.
"I thought it would go over ... I was hoping it would. But I was too happy to think. Yes, it was the same kind of pitch I hit in the first game."
Only a few short, happy minutes before, the Pirates 24-year-old second baseman hit a home run over the left field wall to give the Bucs a 10-9 victory and their first World Series championship in 35 years.
"We kept telling each other we could do it," said Mazeroski. "All year we've been a fighting, come-from-behind ball club. We always felt we could pull it out -- even after the Yankees tied it up in the ninth -- but I didn't think I'd be the guy to do it."
Even Kiki Cuyler's double in the rain in the eighth inning at Forbes Field in 1925 probably didn't touch off such celebrating among players and fans alike.
After the game, the exuberant Pirates, whooping and hollering, trotted into their clubhouse, there to start a celebration which was to continue for hours.
Mazeroski, son of a coal miner, who died a year and a half ago, had reached the greatest heights in sportdom. Backed against his locker, he answered questions as best he could, but his most audible reply was:
"I was just too happy to think."
Hal Smith, whose three-run sock in the eighth put the Pirates ahead, 9-7, didn't figure he was a hero after Mazeroski came through. There will be many who will disagree with him.
"I finally had a chance to be a hero and then I didn't make it," he said.
Smith was a Yankee farm hand and was due to make the parent team in 1954 until glandular fever ruined his opportunity in spring training.
Knew It Was Gone
"I knew it was gone as soon as I hit it," he said, referring to his clout off Jim Coates. "It was a fast ball, low."
"I was just hoping he'd hit one," said Smoky Burgess, who left the game for a pinch runner in the seventh, thereby giving Smith the chance to perform his dramatics. "It didn't matter whether it was him or me."
"It's some kind of happiness," Dick Schofield uttered, picking up Bob Oldis' refrain.