'Maz' to auction bat, jersey, cleats from Pirates '60 Series Game 7 win

Pirates legend Bill Mazeroski has kept his 1960 World Series jersey hidden away for more than 50 years.

In November, he will auction off the jersey, along with the bat that clobbered his historic Game 7 homer, and the cleats, now bronzed, that he wore to round the bases to win that championship over the New York Yankees.

"I lived all these moments for 50-something years," Mr. Mazeroski said at a news conference Wednesday at PNC Park. "Tell you the truth, I had that jersey and uniform in a safe place and I saw it once in 53 years.

Mazeroski's memorabilia from '60 World Series up for auction

Bill Mazeroski's bat, jersey and cleats from the Pirates' 1960 seventh game win over the Yankees will be put up for auction in November. (Video by Nate Guidry; 9/18/2013)

"Nobody was seeing it. That should be out there for somebody to see. I'm keeping a lot of stuff, too. I won't sell my rings or anything like that. It's just something that should be around and should be seen."

Mr. Mazeroski, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001, said he had never even thought of selling the prized possessions until a conversation about a month and a half ago.

The timing seemed right, he said, with the current Pirates having brought meaningful September baseball back to the city.

"I watch just about every game on TV. I even stay up later than I usually do when they're on the [west] coast or the Midwest somewhere," said Mr. Mazeroski, 77. "It's fun, it really is. It's really exciting to hear people talking about the Pittsburgh Pirates again. Everybody. Grocery store, bar. They're talking about the Pirates. I hope they can keep it up, get an extra base hit now and again. It would be wonderful."

Exactly what could the historic treasures fetch?

Hunt Auctions will offer the items, along with several other of Mr. Mazeroski's mementos, at a live public auction Nov. 9 at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory in Louisville, Ky. Mr. Mazeroski said he will donate a portion of the proceeds to Pirates Charities.

The president of the company, David Hunt, said he expects the value of the jersey alone to reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It still has a champagne stain from the 1960 Game 7 celebration.

"It's certainly a significant dollar value," Mr. Hunt said. "That's one of the fun parts about this, is finding out how much it will bring and who will pursue it. Our hope certainly is that it will be somebody -- and I feel strongly this will happen -- somebody who cares very strongly about Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh baseball. And ultimately in some way, shape or form it will displayed out here in this region."

Its value is a bit of a mystery, though, considering the rarity of the items coupled with their place in history, said Ann Madarasz, director of the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Heinz History Center.

"It's an unknown collectible associated with one of the greatest moments certainly in Pittsburgh history, but maybe all of baseball history," Ms. Madarasz said. "When you see them talk about greatest sports moments of all times, this is one of them. To have the actual bat and jersey he was wearing is a holy grail object, elevated far beyond sports."

And like beauty, the value of memorabilia is in the eye of the beholder, said John Taylor, a baseball appraiser with TNT Collectibles in Monroeville.

"You never know. That's a one of a kind. Not only one of a kind, but it's a special one of a kind. It's not like there's precedence," Mr. Taylor said. "Somebody who's a huge Mazeroski 1960 World Series fan, they might offer a million dollars. The problem with memorabilia and collectibles -- it's only worth what someone is willing to pay for."

Until the auction in November, the pieces will be on display in the left field rotunda at PNC Park for fans to see and, perhaps, relive the moment.

Mr. Mazeroski described the moment before the moment.

"I forget I was even up. I was on deck, got wrapped up in trying to get three outs. I come and sit on the bench with my head down and said, 'How in the world did they tie this thing up?' " Mr. Mazeroski said. "Somebody came in and woke me up, said 'You're up, Maz.' Walking to the plate I had no ideas of trying to hit a home run or anything. Just hit the ball hard somewhere and I did. Luckily it went out."

And long before they were called walk-offs, the young ballplayer took a 1-0 slider off Ralph Terry deep over the left field wall at Forbes Field in the bottom of the ninth.

It sailed over the head of Yogi Berra, as Mr. Mazeroski took his place in the annals of baseball.

The moment was described by Mel Allen on NBC:

"There's a drive into deep left field, look out now... that ball is going, going gone! And the World Series is over! Mazeroski ... hits it over the left field fence, and the Pirates win it 10-9 and win the World Series!"

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Jenn Menendez: jmenendez@post-gazette.com and Twitter: @JennMenendez First Published September 18, 2013 7:30 PM


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