Posts Tagged ‘Pete Mazar’

Buff Biographies: Pete Mazar

June 22, 2013
Excerpt from "Your 1948 Houston Buffs, Dixie Champions: Brief Biographies By Morris Frank and Adie Marks (1948).

Excerpt from “Your 1948 Houston Buffs, Dixie Champions: Brief Biographies By Morris Frank and Adie Marks (1948).

Lefty Pete Mazar Columbus Redbirds 1951

Lefty Pete Mazar
Columbus Redbirds
1951

“Lefty Pete” or “Little Pete” Mazar (BR/TL)) (5’9″, 152 lbs.) of the Houston Buffs came by his two nickname references in the most honest baseball ways. – Besides having some talent for pitching a baseball, he simply was both of those things: a little guy who threw left-handed. Hence, the obvious identifications. Baseball people like to express the straight line obvious whenever possible.

As noted in the 1948 cartoon sketch, Pete Mazar was born in Annandale, New Jersey on February 9, 1921. ┬áBaseball Reference shows Pete Mazar as still living at age 92, but we knew that couldn’t be true from more recent contacts with his now deceased widow, Mrs. Eleanor Mazar. A search by independent researcher Darrell Pittman now confirms that baseball’s Pete Mazar passed away at age 62 on April 1, 1983 in High Bridge, New Jersey, a small town located only a few miles from his place of birth.

http://www.death-record.com/l/105431381/Peter-Mazar

Confirmation also has been obtained that Pete’s widow Eleanor subsequently passed away at age 83 while living near two of their four surviving daughters in LaPorte at Pasadena in the Houston area on January 20, 2006. The other two Mazar girls live away from the State of Texas.

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=53420404

As for baseball, we have to chalk up Pete Mazar as another of those talented farm hands from the reserve clause era that never got to throw a single major league pitch because of the piled-up talent glut and the shortage of big league opportunities for making it with only 16 MLB teams and each of them reducing a player’s choices to virtually zero on an every season basis. Being “good” was no guarantee of a major league career; and never playing in the big leagues did not mean that a player wasn’t any good. Pete Mazar was another of those good players who simply never got a big league shot.

Over the course of his 12-season minor league career (1941, 1944-54), Lefty Pete Mazar racked up a pitching record of 100-105 with an ERA of 4.o3. In 5 seasons with the Houston Buffs (1947-51), Pete registered his best season as a pitcher for the 1948 Buffs club, posting a record of 15-10 and an ERA of 2.53.

I remember Mazar as a battler, a guy who would grind it out as long as his manager allowed him to go, and one pitcher who almost seemed to enjoy getting into situations that he then had to escape. The joy in his body language upon an avoided bad inning was as apparent as his obvious dejection in times things did not end well.

Pete Mazar also owns the distinction of being Buff President Allen Russell’s first “baseball crooner” in a line of players that later included such memorable Buffs as outfielders Larry Miggins and Danny Gardella. Russell just loved having talented singing ball players who could do The National Anthem or other music on special occasions. He couldn’t miss with “Frank Sinatra Jersey Boy Mazar”, a guy who could take singing way beyond simply carrying a tune.

Mazar got to do The National Anthem more than once at Buff Stadium, but it’s too bad that Russell wasn’t quite ready to expand these player/crooner concerts to cover subjects like his aversion to rain outs and rain checks. Pete Mazar could have done a great job on “Singing in the Rain”, or even better: “Rain! Rain! Go Away! – Come Again Some Other Day!”

The last time I saw Pete Mazar pitch was in that preseason game the Buffs played against the New York Yankees in early April 1951. He soon after went 2-1 with the ’51 Buffs and earned a move up to AAA Columbus, ┬ánever again returning to Houston as a player, though making his home here for several years.

That 1951 Buffs-Yankees game was a signature day for Lefty Pete. The Buffs took an early lead over the Yankees, but Pete got himself into one of those trouble spots. It was not a good time for it. The Yankees had guys named Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra in the lineup, plus an 18-year old kid rookie right fielder named Mickey Mantle coming up to bat.

The merciful version is that Pete Mazar got blasted by the 1951 New York Yankees. The heart version is the whole story. – Pete Mazar fought them as hard as he could, for as long as he was allowed, giving it all that he had, – and he still left the game obviously dejected that he had not pitched out of a jam against one of the greatest baseball teams of the mid-20th century.

Thanks for the memories, Pete. And thanks for all the heart and talent that made you the man you were.