William Stanley Mazeroski was born on Sept. 5, 1936 in Wheeling, West Virginia. His father was a coal miner. Bill grew up in an area on the banks of the Ohio River near Rush Run known as Skunk Hollow. The family lived in a one-room house without electricity or running water. He would read by a kerosene lamp at night and listen to his battery-operated radio. His father taught him how to play baseball. In order to get his first baseball glove, he dug an outhouse hole for his uncle Og. Bill went to Warren Consolidated High School in Tiltonsville, Ohio, where he was a pitcher and shortstop on the baseball team. He was also an All-State basketball player for two years.
After graduation, Bill signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played on their minor league teams until 1956 when he moved up to the major leagues. He was nicknamed "Maz" and also called "The Glove." He played for the Pirates from1956-1972. Maz was an All-Star 10 times. He had a career batting average of .260, with 2,016 hits, 294 doubles, 138 home runs, and 853 runs batted in. In 17 seasons Maz only made 204 fielding errors in 11,863 chances, which gave him a .983 fielding average, among the best for a second baseman. Maz won eight Gold Gloves. and holds the Major League Baseball record for second basemen for most double plays in a season (161), most double plays in a career (1,706), most years leading a league in double plays (eight) and most seasons leading in assists (nine).
Maz, however, is most remembered for what he did in game seven of the 1960 World Series. The score was tied 9-9 and he led off the bottom of the ninth inning against New York Yankees pitcher Ralph Terry with a historic home run that barely cleared the ivy-covered left field wall at Forbes Field. It was the first World Series to end with a walk-off home run. Yogi Berra said "It grazed the vines as it went over the fence." The Pirates won their first world championship in 35 years with a score of 10-9.
Bill had dreamed about winning a World Series with a home run when he was growing up. He told an interviewer, "But it was with a broomstick and a bucket of stones. I wore out a lot of broomsticks (pretending) I'm Babe Ruth and I'm hitting a home run to win the Series." He was given the Babe Ruth Award as the outstanding player of the 1960 World Series.
Maz was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001. The Pittsburgh Pirates retired his number 9 in 2009, and they placed a statue of Maz outside PNC Park. It shows him running with both arms extended, ball cap in his right hand as he had done after that famous home run.
Since retiring, Maz has been an infield instructor for the Pirates in spring training. He hosts the Bill Mazeroski Baseball Scholarship Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament. Funds are used for a baseball scholarship that is given each year to a graduating senior from Buckeye Local High School – the district that includes his old high school. Maz also likes to play golf and fish for striped bass.