Pittsburgh Pirates Introduces Inaugural Class Of 19 For Team Hall Of Fame

Pittsburgh Pirates Introduces Inaugural Class Of 19 For Team Hall Of Fame

Pittsburgh Pirates Introduces Inaugural Class Of 19 For Team Hall Of Fame

PITTSBURGH — The Pirates finally have a team hall of fame, with 19 members as part of Saturday’s inaugural class.

Of the 19, 16 had already been inducted into 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 celebrate formally. I think we all thought, ‘They must have had one already,'” 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 (1964-74) with the Pirates and compiled a record of 103-76. He is best remembered for his complete win in Game 7 of the 1971 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles.

In total, Blass has spent more than 60 years in the Pirates organization since he signed a minor league contract in 1960 after graduating from high school. Since his playing career ended, 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. Basically, I just wanted to graduate from high school and sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“Everything seemed to be going well, but looking back on it, it’s almost like a fairy tale. Everyone has a dream, but not everyone is lucky enough to be able to make it come true. I’ve been lucky enough to live my dream, and I’m living still looking at it.”

Mazeroski also spent his entire career with the Pirates, playing second base for 17 seasons (1956-72). He hit the winning home run in the bottom of the ninth 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 with Pittsburgh from 1973 to 1983. He replaced Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente as the Pirates’ rightfielder after Clemente’s death in a New Year’s Eve plane crash in 1972.

Parker was the National League MVP in 1978. He was the MVP of the All-Star Game a year later, when the Pirates also last appeared in the World Series, defeating the Orioles.

The Pirates have also inaugurated Negro League stars Oscar Charleston, Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard. They played for either the Pittsburgh Crawfords or Homestead Grays. All three were also signed to honor contracts with Pirates.

“The Negro Leagues were such an important part of baseball history,” Nutting said. “I think it’s our responsibility to celebrate that legacy. Those were also some of the best players of every era and every competition. They were fantastic, incredible athletes and they deserve to be celebrated with our players.”

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