PITTSBURGH - Growing up in Springfield, Ill., Jayson Werth lived next door to his grandfather, Dick Schofield. As most kids would if they'd grown up with grandparents that close, Werth spent plenty of time next door, talking and playing baseball. There was one piece of memorabilia in that house, though, that Werth wasn't allowed to touch.
Dick "Ducky" Schofield was a 25-year-old infielder with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960, when they defeated the New York Yankees in the World Series, despite losing three games by more than 10 runs. Schofield had a replica of the 1960 World Series trophy in his house, and as a boy, all Werth was able to do was look at it and dream.
"It's on this pedestal," Werth said. "I was forbidden to ever come close to it or touch it. So I'd just marvel at it, stare at it and dream about one day having my own."
Werth got his own chance to touch the Commissioner's Trophy in 2008, when he won a World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies. "I went to buy a replica trophy, and then I found out it was like $35,000," Werth said. "I didn't end up getting my own. My grandfather's is still the most important piece of baseball memorabilia in the family. It still means a lot."
Talking to reporters in Pittsburgh on Saturday about the series, the Nationals outfielder gave a rare glimpse into his personal life. He sat in the visitors' dugout at PNC Park, his eyes still behind sunglasses but with stories at the ready about his unique baseball upbringing.
Werth is part of one of only five three-generation baseball families (Nationals infielder Jerry Hairston Jr. and assistant general manager Bob Boone belong to two of the other four). His uncle, Dick Schofield, played 14 seasons with the Angels, Mets and Dodgers, crossing through the Angels' organization at the same time as a young infielder named Mike Rizzo, whose father Phil had signed Schofield to his first contract.
But it was Werth's grandfather, in his own 19-year career, who laid the foundation for the family's baseball success - and whose own World Series memory came through one of the most famous home runs in baseball history.
"You see that clip a lot on TV, of Maz's (Bill Mazeroski's walk-off) homer (in Game 7), when he's coming around home," Werth said. "Every time I see it, there's No. 11 (Schofield), jumping around the pile. It's definitely a special moment in my family's history and Pittsburgh sports history."
Schofield got just 121 plate appearances that season, and spent most of his career in the majors as a light-hitting, slick-fielding shortstop. But when Pirates shortstop Dick Groat got hurt in September, Schofield hit .397 in 22 games down the stretch, helping Pittsburgh win the National League pennant by seven games over the Milwaukee Braves.
Even now, Werth said he's met by people every time he's in Pittsburgh who tell him what his grandfather meant to that team.
"It's pretty special for me to know he meant so much to a team when he played," Werth said. "It's gratifying to hear people say things like that."
Werth said he hasn't seen the complete tape of Game 7 of the 1960 Series, unearthed last fall in Bing Crosby's wine cellar, and added he's "probably forgotten most of what (my grandfather) told me" about that series. But it's from his grandfather's way of playing the game, passed down through his uncle's own career, that Werth learned the work ethic which took him from a underperforming first-round pick to a star known for his gritty style.
"I've got two sons; hopefully, they'll be fourth-generation ballplayers," Werth said. "It's a big part of my life. I grew up talking about baseball, hearing about baseball. Baseball's always been a big part of my family, and will remain that way. From an early age, that's all I wanted to do is be a baseball player."