WILLIAM STANLEY MAZEROSKI---nicknames: Maz, "No Hands"
BORN: September 5, 1936, Wheeling, WV
HEIGHT: 5' 11.5"
WEIGHT: 183 lbs
THREW & BATTED: Right
CAREER WITH PITTSBURGH PIRATES: 1956-1972
CAREER MLB RECORD, DOUBLE PLAYS-SECOND BASEMAN: 1,706
NL LEADER, ASSISTS: 9 Years
NL LEADER, DOUBLE PLAYS: 8 Years
MLB RECORD, MOST DOUBLE PLAYS, SEASON: 166 in 1966
WON GOLDEN GLOVE: 8 Years
NL ALL-STAR: 7 Years
CAREER FIELDING PERCENTAGE: .983
PIRATES RETIRED HIS NUMBER (9): 1987
"No one appreciated Bill Mazeroski more than I do...no one did it any better. He set the standard."--Hall of Fame member Brooks Robinson
"As an 8 year-old Yankee fan in 1960, I liteally wept when Bill Mazeroski's home run cleared the ivy-covered wall of Forbes Field. thirty five years later, I believe I have come to terms with it, and can see Mazeroski for what he really was: one of baseball's all-time great players."--Bob Costas, NBC Sports
"The exclusion of Mazeroski from Cooperstown is a case of simple discrimination against defensive skills."--George Will
Bill Mazeroski has already earned his ticket to the Baseball Hall of Fame, with his superior defensive play. Now, its just a matter of waiting for the Veteran's Committee to give Maz a call. He was the game's best fielder ever, combining the hands of a magician, with the range of Magellan. He lead the National League 5 times in putouts, 9 times in assists, 8 times in total chances and his career fielding average of .983 is just slightly lower than the major league record.
His specialty was the double play. While other second baseman caught the toss from shortstop and then threw to first---Mazeroski seemed to move it along without even touching the ball. The ball just seemed to ricochet, like a bullet to first base. That's how he earned the nickname, "No Hands". Maz set several major league records for double plays: in one season(166), in a career (1706) and years leading the league (8). Put Mazeroski on the same team with any other second baseman and the other guy would end up playing left field.
To be honest, Mazeroski's offensive statistics do not match up with other second baseman already in the Hall of Fame. That is why Maz will have to enter the hall strictly on his defense. Mazeroski however, was by no means a weak hitter. He had 2,016 career hits and hit as many as 19 home runs in a season and drove in as many as 82 runs in a season. Looking back again to the 1960 World Series; Maz not only won game 7 with a home run, he also won the first game with a homer.
None the less, Mazeroski must rely on his defense to get into the Hall of Fame. This leads to the question...does the Hall have a place for a player whose claim for entrance is his outstanding defensive ability? I am sure it does. If the Hall of Fame is a place to honor players that did one thing better than anyone else, then Bill Mazeroski certainly belongs in Cooperstown! There is one thing that Maz did better than anyone else in major league history and that was to play second base.
In conclusion, I believe that the greatest fielder in the history of baseball, who was a decent, but not great hitter, deserves, and will have, his place in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. He has earned his spot with the greatest glove the game has ever seen.