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Shelton thrilled to have this Bucs legend in camp

@adamdberry
February 21, 2020

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Bill Mazeroski is soon moving to the Philadelphia area to be closer to his family, but he has a special trip to Pittsburgh planned for this summer. The Pirates will honor their 1960 World Series championship team on June 16 at PNC Park, and Mazeroski -- the

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Bill Mazeroski is soon moving to the Philadelphia area to be closer to his family, but he has a special trip to Pittsburgh planned for this summer.

The Pirates will honor their 1960 World Series championship team on June 16 at PNC Park, and Mazeroski -- the Hall of Fame second baseman who owns the singular accomplishment of hitting a walk-off home run in Game 7 of the World Series against the Yankees -- figures to be right in the middle of the 60th anniversary celebration.

Yes, Mazeroski checked the schedule to see who the Pirates are playing that night. And wouldn’t you know it…

“That’ll be when the Yankees are in town,” Mazeroski said, smiling. “Yeah, that’s got to work.”

For now, the man known simply as “Maz” is back in Spring Training. He arrived at the Pirate City complex on Friday morning and made the rounds speaking to players, coaches and staff. New manager Derek Shelton, looking to connect the current players with their celebrated alumni, invited Mazeroski to attend Pirates camp.

“It’s unbelievable. I just sat down with him and thanked him for probably the 100th time for showing up,” said Shelton, who added that he gets “goosebumps” thinking about Mazeroski’s walk-off homer. “I don’t know if I begged him or not, but the fact that he’s here is awesome. It’s really cool that he decided to be part of our camp, and I feel very fortunate.”

After all the organizational change that took place over the offseason, there are some new names to learn and new faces for Mazeroski to familiarize himself with. But he nonetheless appreciated the invitation and the opportunity to be around the Pirates.

“I’ve always enjoyed coming down here,” said Mazeroski, who turned 83 last Sept. 5. “It’s my favorite two or three weeks of the year, just coming to Spring Training -- not having to do anything, but just come and be here and watch. It’s fun. I enjoy it.”

Mazeroski, arguably the greatest defensive second baseman of all time, said his “special reason for being here” is talking to the Pirates’ current infielders. He said he feels proud when they ask him for advice, the same way he sought out his elders when he was an up-and-coming player.

“Anytime you can have an alumni guy in camp, it’s special,” Shelton said. “But when you have a Hall of Famer that’s hit a home run in Game 7 of the World Series and is also one of the greatest defenders of all time, if he rubs off on anybody in our camp, we’re very fortunate.”

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.