Well, not quite. On this date in 1903, the Pittsburgh Pirates played the Boston Americans in the first ever World Series game. This game occurred 110 years ago today. Is it more than coincidence that today also marks the Pirates’ return to the playoffs after a twenty-one year absence? Think of it for a moment: more than two decades wandering in MLB’s wilderness of losing and mediocrity. Now the Bucs are back, and win or lose today, this season represents a monumental step forward for a team long left for dead by the national media and all but the most loyal fans. So on this day I think it fitting that we at Eleventh Stack celebrate the Bucs with a few of our favorite baseball related titles. Hey, it’s what we do here, right?
Twin Killing: The Bill Mazeroski Story by John T. Bird. You won’t find a bigger Pittsburgh sports folk hero than Bill Mazeroski. He hit the home run against the dreaded Yankees that won the Bucs the 1960 World Series in dramatic fashion at Forbes Field. I would argue that this feat represents the greatest walk-off hit in baseball history.
Maz And The ’60 Bucs: When Pittsburgh And Its Pirates Went All The Way by Jim O’Brien. While Mr. Bird’s book serves as more of a true biography, legendary Pittsburgh writer Jim O’Brien’s book focuses more on the 1960 season and that immortal moment when Maz wins it all. Mr. O’Brien knows Pittsburgh and its sports icons, and reading this book will transport you back to that magical time.
21 by Wilfred Santiago. A lot of talented folks have written about the late, great Roberto Clemente, but Wilfred Santiago’s graphic novel treatment of the Latin superstar’s early life in his native Puerto Rico, his career highlights, and his dedication to humanitarian causes feels special. Folks who might not normally read comics or graphic novels should really check this one out, and that’s why I am placing it here.
Clemente: The Passion And Grace Of Baseball’s Last Hero by David Maraniss. Mr. Maraniss focuses a lot of his book on Roberto Clemente’s amazing humanitarian work, including the fateful 1972, New Year’s Eve flight to Nicaragua that claimed his life when the plane he was in went down carrying supplies to victims of a recent earthquake.
Forbes Field: Essays And Memories Of The Pirates’ Historic Ballpark, 1909 – 1971. This amazing collection celebrates the memory of Forbes Field, a park where legends played and baseball history was made. Babe Ruth played and hit his final home run there. Along with Maz and Clemente, so many other classic Pirates also made their baseball lives there.
Tales From The Pittsburgh Pirates Dugout : A Collection Of The Greatest Pirates Stories Ever Told by John McCollister. This amazing collection of tidbits and trivia provides a wealth of Pirates’ history in one volume.
Feel free to share your favorite Pirates titles and memories in the comments section, and let’s go Bucs!
A day of baseball history, a day of giving. Click here to learn how you can support the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh on October 3rd.