Fans relive joy of Pirates' 1960 World Series win
Fans celebrate Bill Mazeroski's 1960 World Series-winning home run at the Forbes Field wall in Oakland in Oct. 2006. Fans gather every year to celebrate one of the greatest moments in Pittsburgh sports history.
Share with others:
The Game 7 Gang will be at the Forbes Field wall Monday in Oakland, just as they have been every Oct. 13 for at least 20 years. And they're expecting a lot of company.
Since 1985, when Saul Finkelstein showed up alone to listen to a cassette tape of Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, Pirates fans have been making an annual pilgrimage to this small stretch of red brick with the number 457 painted on it.
Some were there that sunny Friday afternoon when Bill Mazeroski's ninth-inning home run cleared the wall and defeated the New York Yankees for the championship. Others were glued to their radios or televisions. And some weren't even born but come to experience what was recently chosen as the greatest moment in Pittsburgh sports history.
- What: A celebration of the Pirates' 1960 World Series championship.
- When: 12:30 p.m. Monday.
- Where: The Forbes Field wall in Oakland.
About 200 people show up each Oct. 13 to listen to a recording of NBC broadcasters Chuck Thompson and Jack Quinlan call every ball and strike of Game 7. This year, in honor of Pittsburgh's 250th anniversary, the gang is inviting anyone looking to relive a little of the joy an entire region felt when the Pirates triumphed.
Starting at 12:30 p.m. Monday, employees of the University of Pittsburgh's Katz Graduate School of Business will serve free hot dogs and other ballpark food. At the flagpole by the wall, members of the Game 7 Gang and Forbes Field Wall Working Group will raise a new 12-by-6 Forbes Field pennant paid for by an anonymous donor. They'll acknowledge former Pirate players in attendance and explain how this grass-roots celebration started. Then they'll begin to play the recording at the wall and across the street in the tent at Schenley Plaza.
Under the tent, Pirates and Forbes Field memorabilia will be on display, including enlargements of more than a dozen Game 7 wire service photos collected by gang member George Skornickel of Fawn.
Post-Gazette photos of Mazeroski's homer also will be displayed along with an old Forbes Field ticket box, a scale model of the ballpark and items associated with the Homestead Grays, who played there in the 1930s and '40s.
The display and celebration are sponsored by the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, City of Pittsburgh, Katz, the Game 7 Gang and the working group.
Despite all the extras, the centerpiece of the celebration remains the radio broadcast, which is timed to end as near as possible to 3:36 p.m., the moment that the ball sailed over the ivy-covered wall at a spot now marked by a plaque in the middle of Roberto Clemente Drive.
Gang leader Herb Soltman of Scott, who had a banner made that reads: "Mazeroski 10-13-60 3:36 p.m.," says listening to the broadcast gives a feeling that the game is unfolding right now.
"You sit there and listen to it and you're still not sure they're going to win," he said.
Maybe that's why there's such a cheer every year when they hear Mazeroski's bat send the ball into history.
First Published October 10, 2008 12:00 am