On Wednesday, the city of Pittsburgh honored the Pirates' 1960 World Series team on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Bill Mazeroski's walk-off homer in Game 7. A new plaque honoring the Pirates was dedicated in Oakland, with Mazeroski and many of his teammates attended:
The plaque, dedicated by the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy on the sidewalk on Roberto Clemente Drive near the intersection with Schenley Drive, shows an image of Mazeroski hitting third base and going for home in the course of the historic home run, the only one ever to end a Game 7 of a World Series.
In addition to Mazeroski, teammates Dick Groat, Bill Virdon, Bob Friend, Vernon Law, Hal Smith, Joe Christopher, George Witt, Joe Gibbon, Bob Oldis and ElRoy Face were present. Vera Clemente, widow of Roberto, and their son Luis also attended.
Of course, we'll see if Pirates president Frank Coonelly ends up stealing the show on this one, as his comments at the dedication were pretty interesting:
"One reason that these men are so special to you is because in 1960, there hadn't been a Championship in Pittsburgh in 35 years. The Pirates hadn't won the World Series since 1925. When 1960 came around, this city was hungry for a Championship organization and a Championship team again. These gentlemen brought it to you and they really started the great legacy of the Pittsburgh Pirates that continued on to the 1970s.
"I mention that 35 years for a reason. Last year, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Championship, our last Championship. Now we're 31 and we're counting. I don't intend for this young team that we're building in Pittsburgh today to hit 35. I intend to beat that record of 35, and we're going to get there before we hit the 35th anniversary.
"In that regard, quite a few members of the media are here and this will be a popular comment that I just made on the fly. I've been through that a few times already."
Apparently Coonelly didn't learn anything from being through this before. I'm a much bigger fan of the Pirates' front office than most, and even I have to shake my head about him making such an absurd statement in the middle of what should be an unambiguously good day for the Pirates.