Johnny Blanchard had wanted the ball down. After the first pitch from Ralph Terry had been high, the Yankees' backstop had called timeout to remind his teammate one more time.
Bill Mazeroski is a high ball hitter. Keep it down.
Terry didn't. And true to Blanchard's scouting report, the Pittsburgh Pirates' light-hitting second baseman creamed the second high offering from Terry to left-center field at Forbes Field. Back. Back. New York left fielder Yogi Berra turned his back to the infield to face the ivy-covered wall, hoping for a carom. But the ball kept sailing. It cleared the wall for the one and only walk-off home run in the history of Game 7 of the World Series. With this majestic home run on a warm autumn afternoon in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, the working class Pirates had shocked Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Berra and the rest of the New York Yankees.
Mazeroski floated around the bases, arms flailing, smiling. Fans descended from the stands looking to join the celebration at home plate. And Yankees players quietly filed off the field. There is no stage in sports that allows for the sort of spontaneous exuberance and everlasting goodwill quite like Game 7 of the World Series.
Just ask Maz.
Although it may seem be hard to top the last-gasp drama of Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, each man in uniform for the Cardinals and Rangers will have a chance to join Mazeroski in World Series lore. Will marquee players like Albert Pujols or Josh Hamilton step up in the season's climactic moment? Or could it be a less heralded hero that etches his names among the game's greats?
From the first winner-take-all Game 7 in 1909 that featured Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner to Mazeroski's walk-off winner in 1960 to Luis Gonzalez's Series-clinching flare off Mariano Rivera in 2001, here are some of the most memorable moments from Game 7 of the World Series.