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05/07/10 3:20 PM ET

Girl finds, returns '60 World Series ring

Former Pirates employee had lost it at hockey rink

The lives of an unrelated fifth-grade girl and an 82-year-old man intertwined recently over a hockey rink, baseball and good moral values.

When former assistant scouting director Merrill Hess realized he lost his 1960 Pirates World Series championship ring at a hockey game in February, he figured it was lost forever.

"I was heartbroken," he was quoted as saying in a Friday story by The Newark Star-Ledger.

But 11-year-old Kate Drury found it and returned it to its rightful owner, despite the ring's value, several outlets recently reported.

"It has really restored my faith that people want to do the right thing," Arlan Hess, the daughter of Merrill and an English professor at Washington & Jefferson College near Pittsburgh, was quoted as saying by the Star-Ledger.

The ring -- gold with a diamond-embedded model of the Pirates' old ballpark, Forbes Field -- represented Pittsburgh's thrilling seven-game Fall Classic victory over the heavily favored Yankees, capped by Bill Mazeroski's famous ninth-inning homer in Game 7 -- the first walk-off home run in World Series history.

Merrill, now a New Jersey resident, was given a ring similar to the one the players got because he worked for the team. But when he attended a high school hockey game at the Twin Oaks Ice Rink in Morristown, N.J., he misplaced it, according to reports.

Then, one Saturday night in February, Drury found the ring at the Twin Oaks snack bar but couldn't fully make out the name because Hess' inscription had worn down over time.

"I was watching my brother play hockey and I saw a ring under a table," Drury told the Star-Ledger.

Merrill realized the ring was missing two days later and looked all over for it, until Arlan went on Google to try and find it, then found a posting of a lost 1960 World Series ring on Yahoo! Answers that belonged to a "Merrill Mess" and immediately knew it was her father's, the Star-Ledger wrote.

The next day, Drury and her parents made the six-mile trip from Chatham, N.J., to Merrill's home in Morristown, N.J., and gave the ring back. Drury got a check, a gift certificate and an autographed photo from the '60 Series for her honesty, according to reports.

"That ring could have paid for her freshman year in college," Arlan told the Star-Ledger. "This was a little girl doing the right thing. That says a lot about her parents and the world they want her to live in."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.