Yesterday I had the privilege of bringing the Franktuary truck to Oakland and serving to a crowd of people celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Pittsburgh Pirates 1960 World Series triumph. That would be the World Series where the Yankees outscored the Pirates by an aggregate total of 55 to 27, yet the Buccos won the title after Bill Mazeroski hit a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning of game 7.
I may have been born in 1981, but I know the storyline of the 1960 World Series well. You see, I have a father who was born in the Bronx and I’ve counted the Yankees as my favorite team since the early years of Don Mattingly. In fact, my earliest baseball memories consist of traveling to Yankee Stadium to watch the faltering Bronx Bomber teams of the late 1980s and early 1990s. I also recall visiting Shea Stadium with a Mets-fan-friend and watching a dominant Pirates club pummel the home team. Clearly, I grew up in a strange era, where baseball history, 1960 not withstanding, was turned on its head.
Anyway, on many occasions I’ve heard my dad recount how he rushed home from school to watch that fateful final frame 50 Octobers ago, only to be crushed as he watched victory, with a single Mazeroski swing, land on the wrong side of the fence. But, things have a way of working out for fans of the Pinstripes. After 1960, the Yankees regrouped and went on to win the World Series in 1961, 1962, and seven more times after that, bringing their Major League Baseball leading total to 27. And my father, who had his adolescent heart broken so long ago, now finds satisfaction in the fact that 50 years after a painful Pirates pilfering his son’s business directly benefits as a result.
That’s all fine and good, but what of all those long-suffering Pirates fans? After all, 1960 is so celebrated because winning baseball in Pittsburgh has become unimaginable. Will baseball excitement ever arrive at PNC Park, freeing Pirates fans from the need to regenerate fleeting moments of greatness at the former site of Forbes Field?? Let’s hope the answer is a resounding yes and that the Pirates lose to the Yankees in many World Series to come!