Bill Mazeroski

William Stanley Mazeroski
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 2001
Primary team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Primary position: 2nd Baseman

Hall of Famer George Sisler said of Bill Mazeroski, “He is one of the greatest second baseman I’ve ever seen. He has all the tools and he has the desire.”

Signed by the legendary Branch Rickey as a 17-year-old shortstop in 1954, Mazeroski was moved over to the other side of the second base bag after only one season of pro ball, and by his 20th birthday he was the Pittsburgh Pirates’ regular second baseman.

Bill Mazeroski is widely regarded as one of the best fielders the game has ever seen, at any position. Not only could he make the routine plays, but he could make plays no one else could and could make them look routine. Teammate Vern Law said, “Maz would constantly come up with balls we thought were base hits. You’re running over to back up a base and here Maz has got the ball and he’s throwing that hitter out.” Bill Virdon recalled what it was like playing behind him in center field. “The impressive thing about Maz was that he did everything at second base. I backed him up for six years and never got a ball,” Virdon said.

Although Mazeroski was never tremendous with the bat, he did enough, and his spectacular defense led him to eight Gold Glove Awards and 10 All-Star Game appearances in seven years. Teammate Bob Friend recalled, “He was one of a kind out there. Maz did so many things that never showed up in a box score.”

Even though he wasn’t a big run producer, Mazeroski’s glove saved his team a lot of runs. As Maz put it, “Over 17 years, saving thousands of runs is like driving in thousands of runs. It’s the same thing. So, what’s the difference?”

For someone known for his glove, it was with his bat that Maz left perhaps his most indelible mark on the game. It was the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, a series in which the Pirates had been outscored in the first six games 46-17. Mazeroski led off the ninth inning of a 9-9 tie and took a 1-0 pitch from Ralph Terry over the left-field wall. That home run won the Pirates their first World Series in 35 years and was the first walk-off series-ending home run in World Series history. Mazeroski recalled years later, “Hell, I thought it would be just another hit to win a ballgame … It’s bigger now, I think.”

"It's an honor just to be put in Maz's class. I don't mean to sound corny. For years, I've watched Maz make the tough play look easy. The way he makes the double play is a thing of beauty. "
Glenn Beckert

Career stats

ESSENTIAL STATS
Year Inducted: 2001
Primary Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position Played: 2nd Baseman
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Birth place: Wheeling, West Virginia
Birth year: 1936
Played for:
Pittsburgh Pirates (1956-1972)
CAREER AT A GLANCE
GamesG
2163
At BatsAB
7755
RunsR
769
HitsH
2016
Doubles2B
294
Triples3B
62
Home RunsHR
138
RBIRBI
853
Stolen BasesSB
27
WalksBB
447
Batting AverageBA
.260
OPSOPS
.667
On Base %OBP
.299
Slugging %SLG
.367