The 1960 World Series was significant in many ways. For example, it was the only year in which the World Series Most Valuable Player came from the losing team – Bobby Richardson, of the New York Yankees. But the series is best known for the greatest home run in baseball history.
The date was October 13, 1960. The place was Forbes Field, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates were tied, 9-9. It was the bottom of the 9th inning. The Pirates were at bat. The pitcher was Ralph Terry. And the hitter was Bill Mazeroski.
Mazeroski was not a power hitter. In his 17 Major League seasons, he hit just 138 home runs. Maz was known as a defensive player, turning more double plays than any second baseman in history, making 10 All-Star appearances in the process.
But this day would be different. The light-hitting second baseman stepped to the plate with the world watching. And then he hit a fastball 430 feet, over the head of left fielder Yogi Berra, over the 406-foot sign, and over the fence and out of the park.
As a side note, a 14-year-old boy named Andy Jerpe recovered the ball, had Mazeroski sign it for him, and then lost the ball while playing in a park six months later.
But the lesson of “the home run” is this. We are defined by single moments. Bill Mazeroski played 17 seasons, set fielding records that still stand today, and made it into baseball’s coveted Hall-of-Fame – as a defensive genius. But he is known for one swing of the bat – producing the only walk-off ninth inning, game 7 home run in World Series history.
For good or bad, people will remember you for your defining moments. Here’s the good news. No matter your past, no matter your failures, your best days are still ahead. And here’s the even better news. God gets the last at-bat.