Bill Mazeroski jersey buyer is part owner of Steelers


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When Bill Mazeroski decided to auction his memorabilia from the 1960 World Series, the two most valuable items passed from one member of the Pittsburgh sports scene to another.

Thomas Tull, a Hollywood movie producer and part of the Steelers' ownership group, purchased Mr. Mazeroski's jersey and bat from Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. Mr. Mazeroski wore the jersey and used the bat when he hit a ninth-inning walk-off home run at Forbes Field, giving the Pirates a victory against the New York Yankees and a World Series championship.

"If you're a collector, this type of thing happens from time to time," Mr. Tull said Monday. "I think that it's one of the most important moments in baseball history. When something like that becomes available, it's rare, and so I was a little bit surprised."

Mr. Tull bought the jersey for $632,500 and the bat for $322,000 on Saturday through Hunt Auctions at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. The buyer was identified then only as someone with strong ties to Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette learned of the identity of the buyer through a source. A spokesman for Mr. Tull confirmed that he purchased the items.

The jersey and bat joined Mr. Tull's extensive memorabilia collection. He said he will likely make them available to be displayed in public in Pittsburgh at some point.

"I love the city of Pittsburgh," Mr. Tull said. "I haven't had the pleasure of meeting Bill Mazeroski, but everybody tells me what a class act he is."

Mr. Mazeroksi auctioned more than 200 items, which netted about $1.7 million. In addition to the jersey and bat, the cleats he wore when he rounded the bases after his walk-off home run were auctioned as were his Gold Glove awards and a Babe Ruth award.

Mr. Mazeroski, 77, played for the Pirates for 17 seasons from 1956-72 and was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 2001.

Mr. Tull also owns a 1912 Honus Wagner game-used jersey, a Wagner T206 baseball card, a jersey from Roberto Clemente in 1966 -- the year Mr. Clemente won the Most Valuable Player award -- and a Willie Stargell rookie uniform.

Growing up in central New York state, Mr. Tull's family was full of Yankees fans. They also rooted for a National League team, though, and Mr. Tull latched onto the Pirates, who then featured Stargell and Dave Parker.

"Now, certainly, that I've been here in the city, I've spent a lot of time here over the past six or seven years, I've come to love the Pirates," said Mr. Tull, who last year purchased a $2.7 million condominium in Downtown's Three PNC Plaza. "Had a great time this year. The game [against] Cincinnati, in particular, one of the best baseball games I've ever seen."

Mr. Tull was referring to the wild-card playoff game, the first postseason game at PNC Park, when the Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds to advance to the National League Division Series.

While Mr. Tull's twin sons are baseball fans, always watching and playing the game, they are only 4, so they don't yet understand the significance of what their father acquired. It seems they soon will.

"They're actually in the other room wearing Pirates hats right now," he said.

Mr. Tull invested in the Steelers in 2009 when the franchise restructured its ownership group. He is the chairman, founder and CEO of Legendary Pictures, a film production company. In conjunction with Warner Bros., Legendary has produced dozens of movies, including "42," which chronicles Jackie Robinson's rise to the majors; "The Hangover" trilogy; and the newest Batman trilogy. That includes "The Dark Knight Rises," a good portion of which was filmed in Pittsburgh with help from Mr. Tull.

Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com and Twitter @BrinkPG.


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