"Joe Brown gave me a compliment as fine as I've ever gotten,'' Smith said, referring to the late general manager who assembled that '60 team. "He said my home run was the biggest thrill of his life.
"I said, 'What about Maz?' And he said, 'After you hit that home run, I knew we were going to win.' ''
Back then, the Yankees almost always won. They won the World Series in 1956, 1958, 1961 - when Roger Maris hit 61 homers and Mantle hit 54 - and 1962.
They came into that '60 Series riding a 15-game winning streak and, after losing Game 1 by 6-4 on - yes - Mazeroski's two-run homer, they overpowered the Pirates 16-3 and 10-0.
Outside of Law, Harvey Haddix and mop-up reliever George Witt, no Pirate pitcher had a Series ERA below 4.50, and six had ERAs of 5.23 or above.
The Pirates had last played in the World Series in 1927, when they meekly were swept by the Yankees following a Game 1 batting practice barrage of home runs by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
The '60 Pirates were threatening to be embarrassed again until they rallied to win 3-2 behind Law in Game 4 and 5-2 behind Haddix in Game 5, both at Yankee Stadium.
"We won a game against Cincinnati in April when we were trailing 5-0 in the ninth, and we never stopped believing after that,'' Groat said.
The Yankees couldn't believe what soon-to-be-fired Manager Casey Stengel was doing.
For inexplicable reasons, he passed over staff ace Whitey Ford in Game 1 to start Art Ditmar, who didn't make it out of the second inning in either the opener or Game 5. While Ford was 12-9 during his worst year of a 13-season stretch in which he averaged 17 wins, he went 25-4 a year later to Ditmar's 2-8.
"That was the only time I was mad at Stengel in my life,'' said Ford, who pitched shutouts in Game 3 and Game 6 during one of three World Series in which he had a 2-0 record.
Stengel also yanked reliever Bobby Shantz, a premier fielder, in the eighth inning of Game 7, a move that proved pivotal when Coates was late covering first on Roberto Clemente's infield single that preceded Smith's homer.
At times, Stengel yelled for pinch-hitters who were no longer on the team. And he brought in Ralph Terry, gassed from warming up five times in the bullpen, rather than a well-rested Ryne Duren or Luis Arroyo at the end of Game 7.
Two pitches by Terry to Mazeroski, and it was over. The Yankees outscored the Pirates 55-27, outhit them .338 to .256, outhomered them 10-4, yet lost. For the only time in his Major League career, Mantle cried afterward.
"We made too many wrong mistakes,'' Berra said later, as only he could.
"The Pirates should never beat our club,'' Maris said. "I think if we played this team all season, we'd beat them real bad. They were real lucky. I think it is impossible to get any more breaks than they had in this series.''
Of course, impossible was a word the Pirates heard all season. A year later, they tumbled to sixth place in the National League.
Mazeroski never sought fame - "I always said I got too much credit,'' he said - and Smith doesn't begrudge him for getting it. Asked if he'd have a statue outside PNC Park, rather than Mazeroski, if his homer stood as the game-winner, Smith said, "No-o-o-o-o. Maz made the Hall of Fame, not me.''
Smith hit only 15 more homers, three in 1961 and 12 as an expansion-team catcher for the Houston Colt .45s in 1962. Today, his former teammates wish that history remembered that Smith's home run, as much as Mazeroski's, was responsible for felling the mighty Yankees.
"If it wasn't for his home run, Maz's wouldn't have meant nothing,'' Face said.