Pirates fans gather in Oakland to relive Game 7 of the 1960 World Series
Good luck shined on Bill Tingle before Game 7 of the 1960 World Series.
Tingle, 102, of Lower Burrell said a co-worker had tickets to the game at Forbes Field in Oakland, but was so disappointed at the Pirates performance during the first six games that he didn’t want to go.
Tingle got the tickets.
“He saw the first three (home) games and was so disgusted with the scores of the games that he gave the tickets to his boy,” said Tingle, who went to the game with his late wife, Annetta. “His boy couldn’t get off work, so he gave me the tickets. That’s how I got the tickets to the game, right over first base. It was quite a game.”
Bill Mazeroski smacked a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the heavily favored New York Yankees, 10-9.
It’s arguably the most dramatic play in Pittsburgh sports history.
Pirates fans gather each year on the Oct. 13 anniversary at what remains of the Forbes Field outfield wall to hear a taped radio broadcast of the game and relive the dramatic moment. The tradition began in 1985 when the late Saul Finkelstein of Squirrel Hill showed up alone and listened to it at the old stadium flag pole next to the red brick wall.
More and more people showed up each year as word spread.
A group calling themselves the Game 7 Gang, have kept the tradition going since 2007.
George Skornickel of Fawn, Steve Neumeyer of Shaler, Dan Schultz of Washington, Pa., Joe Landolina of Squirrel Hill, John Urso of McCandless and Gang Leader Herb Soltman of Scott said they had been attending the annual gathering since the 1990s.
“Our group was founded in 2007,” Soltman said. “We would see each other at the wall, but we didn’t really know each other. We started talking, and we decided we had to get this thing organized.”
They’ve been organizing it ever since with help from the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. The event includes actually red, white and blue bunting that was displayed at Forbes Field during the game. Tingle had the bunting and gave it to the gang several years ago, Soltman said.
On Sunday, dozens of fans turned out with autographed 1960 Pirates memorabilia to rehash 59-year-old memories.
Soltman said he attended the game with his parents and brother and ran onto the field with other fans to greet Mazeroski as he crossed home plate.
“I was on the field with the crazy crowd at home,” he said. “I have the pictures to prove it.”
John Leichliter of Maple Heights, Ohio, said he grew up in Donora and would walk home each day from school for lunch. He talked his mother into letting him take off school that afternoon to watch the game.
“I watched it on our old black-and-white Zenith television and like everybody else went crazy,” he said, sitting next to an array of baseball cards, bats, photographs and other Pirates mementos lined up against the wall.
Bob Carlson, a Pittsburgh native living in Baltimore, said he’s attended the event the past two years. He lived in Oakland’s Schenley Farms section as a child and would walk to Forbes Field for ball games.
“This is actually my second year, and it won’t be my last,” he said. “Next year is going to be the big year.”
The Game 7 Gang is planning a “60 Since ‘60” celebration next year on the 60th anniversary and hopes the public will turn out in droves. “Go Like ‘60” was a rallying cry for those 1960 Pirates.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .