Monday, October 21, 2013

Bill Mazeroski (#210)

I led off last week’s 1968 Bob Gibson post with some comments on various superstars that I managed to overlook so far on my blogs. Since then, I was checking each blog for the number of posts per team. 

It looks like time for some team-balancing. On this blog alone, there are only 3 posts each for the Cardinals, Pirates, and Twins, while the Angels (!?!) have 10 posts. The 1968 blog: 10 Red Sox, but only 2 Braves and 3 Dodgers. On the 1969 blog, five teams don’t have any posts, while the Braves and White Sox only have 1 each. 

So, across my 1966-69 blogs, in addition to working in the stars like Hank Aaron and Johnny Bench, I’m going to catch up on the forgotten teams, and place an embargo on Phillies :(, Mets, Red Sox, Astros, and some other teams for a while. (I've also added who's "on deck" to my sidebars.) 

Bill Mazeroski was signed by the Pirates in 1954, and made his major-league debut on 7/7/1956 at age 19. He was handed the starting 2nd base job that day, and started 81 of the final 86 games that season.

Bill was a defensive wizard, winning 8 Gold Gloves between 1958 and 1967, and making 7 all-star appearances during those same 10 years. “Maz” started 138 or more games every season from 1957 to 1968 (except for 1959 (129) and 1965 (125) ), and topped 160 starts three times.

During the ’68 and ’69 seasons, the Pirates were working Freddie Patek in at shortstop, so incumbent shortstop Gene Alley made several dozen starts at 2nd base in those seasons. In September 1969, rookie Dave Cash was called up and started most of the remaining games at 2nd.

Mazeroski and Cash shared the 2nd base job 70/30 during the 1970 season, and the following season Cash took over the starting job, leaving only 3 dozen starts each for Maz and rookie Rennie Stennett.

In Bill’s final season (1972), he was relegated to a bench role, playing in only 34 games (12 starts at 2nd base).

Maz is best known for his exploits in the 1960 World Series vs. the Yankees. He hit .320 with 2 homers and 5 RBI, including a walk-off home run off of Ralph Terry with no out and nobody on in the bottom of the 9th inning of game 7. He was also a limited participant in the ’70, ’71, and ‘72 post-seasons.

Mazeroski was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 2001.

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