PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Pirates finally have a team Hall of Fame. The Pirates have inducted 19 members as part…
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Pirates finally have a team Hall of Fame.
The Pirates inducted 19 members as part of Saturday’s inaugural class. Of the 19, 16 were already enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
The three living members of the class attended the ceremony; Steve Blass, Bill Mazeroski and Dave Parker.
“We have 135 years of history, we have so many great moments, so many great players to officially celebrate this. I think we all thought, ‘You must have had one before,'” said Pirates owner Bob Nutting. “It was time to formalize it. It was time to celebrate. This is just one of those pieces that tell the amazing story of the Pittsburgh Pirates.”
Blass spent his entire 10-year playing career with the Pirates from 1964 to 1974 and posted a 103–76 record. He is best remembered for his complete game win in Game 7 of the 1971 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles.
Overall, Blass has spent over 60 years with the Pirates organization since signing a minor league contract in 1960 after graduating from high school. Since retiring from the game, Blass has worked for the team as a broadcaster and community ambassador.
“I didn’t think of anything like that when I signed,” Blass said. “I just wanted to play major league baseball. All I really wanted to do was graduate high school and sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“Everything seemed to work out, but when I look back, it’s almost like a fairy tale. Everyone has a dream, but not everyone is lucky enough to live it. I was lucky enough to live my dream and I’m still living it.”
Mazeroski also spent his entire career with the Pirates, playing 17 seasons at second base from 1956–1972. He hit the winning homer in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 1960 World Series against the New York Yankees.
Mazeroski played in 10 All-Star Games, won eight Gold Gloves, and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001.
Parker spent the first 11 seasons of his 19-year career from 1973 to 1983 in Pittsburgh. He replaced Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente as the Pirates’ right fielder after Clemente’s death in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972.
Parker was the National League MVP in 1978. He was the All-Star Game MVP a game year later, when the Pirates also made their final appearance in the World Series, defeating the Orioles.
The Pirates also introduced Negro League stars Oscar Charleston, Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard. They played for either the Pittsburgh Crawfords or the Homestead Grays. All three were also signed with pirate honor contracts.
“The Negro Leagues were such an important part of baseball history,” Nutting said. “I think it’s our responsibility to celebrate that legacy. They were also some of the greatest players of all time and of any league. They were fantastic, incredible athletes and deserve to be celebrated alongside our players.”
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