Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Yah, Green Weenie knows most of his Gen X readers are too young to remember the 1960 World Series and the excitement it brought to the City.

First, a little context. Back then, Pittsburgh was a city with an inferiority complex, known far and wide for its muscle, not its couth, nothing at all like the cultural mecca and knowledge HQ that the City has since become. In 1960, going to the museum and looking at a dead dinosaur's bones was as good as it got; heck, the sky was dark at noon. New York was...well, New York.

As far as baseball, it had been 33 years since a World Series appearance and 35 since a title for the sad sack Buccos, who suffered through a decade of defeat in the fifties, much like the times the team is going through today. But the Pirates were the City team; the Pens didn't exist, the Steelers were as bad as the Bucs, and college sports were for alums, not general consumption.

Everyone sat on their stoop with a cold Iron City and a transistor radio listening to the Gunner and the Possum, and in 1960, Benny Benack's "Beat 'Em Bucs..." "The Bucs Are Going All The Way, All The Way, All The Way, The Bucs Are Going All The Way This Year..." got played enough to make Elvis Presley envious.

Pittsburgh in 1960 and its Pirates were a match: scrappy, roll-in-the-dirt underdogs.

And hey, the Series was up and down between baseball royalty and its ragamuffins; alternately, the Yankees got nosed out, then the Bucs got clobbered. Game Seven was Pittsburgh's turn, and they took advantage, somehow outslugging the New York nine to an improbable 10-9 win.

Green Weenie was just a breakfast link then, a ten year old walking home from St. Wendelin's school in Carrick along Spencer Avenue with a transistor radio pasted to his ear when Maz unloaded. GW got home in time to see the mob scene on the black and white RCA TV, and later piled into the family wagon and joined the bedlam. Drunks, honking cars, and shredded newspapers filled the City.

So hey, when you see the graybeards gather in Oakland, remember that we're reliving more than a moment of our youth, but also our era, before we shuffle off and join the dinosaurs at the museum. And we hope that the Pirates leave you younger fans with a moment to remember, too.

(ESPN's Dave Schoenfield's piece "The Greatest Game Ever Played.")


Anonymous said...

I wonder if you think erstwhile means something it doesn't.

Ron Ieraci said...

Anon - touche; I did think it meant "young", not "past." I fixed it up, I hope. Hey, looking for a gig as editor? I need the help, lol.