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1960 World Series

From Academic Kids

The 1960 World Series was played between the Pittsburgh Pirates (NL) and New York Yankees (AL). It is most notable for the Game 7, 9th-inning home run hit by Bill Mazeroski, winning the game for the Pirates 10-9, and also winning them their third Championship, their first since 1925. Bobby Richardson was named MVP of the Series, the only time that someone from the defeated team has been so honored.

Umpires: Dusty Boggess (NL), Johnny Stevens (AL), Bill Jackowski (NL), Nestor Chylak (AL), Stan Landes (NL: outfield only), Jim Honochick (AL: outfield only)

This was the first trip to the Fall Classic for the Pirates in 33 years. They were up against the New York Yankees, who had appeared in eight out of the last ten Series, and were the heavy favorites to win their eighth title in twelve years. However, it was the Pirates who struck first, winning Game One 6-4 at Forbes Field, but any hopes they may have had about an easy Series were crushed, and so were the Pirates, as the Yankees won Game Two by a score of 16-3 and Game Three 10-0.

Determined not to lose any more momentum than had already been lost, the Pirates came into Game Four ready to fight their way back to a tie. Pirates pitcher Vern Law and reliever Roy Face allowed the Yankees to only 2 runs on 8 hits, as the Bucs won by a score of 3-2. With the series now tied at two apiece, Yankee manager Casey Stengel was desperate to avoid a comeback by the underdog Pirates. In a controversial move, he started Art Ditmar on the mound for Game Five, who had also started Game One, but only lasted 1/3 of an inning. He had hoped that Pittsburgh would underestimate Ditmar, but was dead wrong, as Ditmar only lasted an inning, and the Pirates won 5-2.

Just as the Pirates had been for Game Four, the Yankees came into Game Six determined not to lose. And just as the Pirates had done in Game Four, the Yankees won Game Six, but by a much larger margin of 12-0. Now, to Pirates fans, it seemed that the series was all but over. Game Seven would erase all of those thoughts.

Early in the game, it looked like the Pirates had it won, dominating New York for a 4-1 lead that lasted until the top of the 6th inning, where the Yankees suddenly found new life and scored 4, turning the Pittsburgh lead into a 1-run deficit. They continued their lead on into the 8th, with the score 7-4, and reliever Bobby Shantz at the top of his game. Fortunately for Pittsburgh, this game was far from done.

After Gino Cimoli and Bill Virdon both singled, Dick Groat followed with another one which cut the New York lead to 7-5. Next up was Roberto Clemente, who followed suit and the Yankee lead was again slashed, with the score now 7-6. The Pirates now had two runners on base and Hal Smith on the plate. Smith did what every Bucs fan was hoping for and hit one over the wall, and the Pirates took a 9-7 lead.

Bob Friend, an eighteen-game-winner for the Pirates and the Bucs' starter in Games 2 and 6, came on in the ninth to try to protect the 9-7 lead. The Yankees Bobby Richardson and pinch-hitter Dale Long both greeted Friend with singles, and Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh was forced to lift the veteran pitcher in favor of Harvey Haddix. Although he forced Roger Maris to foul out, Haddix gave up a key single to Mickey Mantle that scored Richardson and moved Long to third. Yogi Berra followed suit hitting a short grounder to first, with Rocky Nelson stepping on the base for the second out. In what, at the time, stood as a monumental play, Mantle, seeing he had no chance to beat a play at second, scurried back to first and avoided Nelson's tag (which would have been the third out) as Gil McDougald raced home to tie the score, 9-9. The Yankees were still alive.

Ralph Terry, who had gotten the final out in the Pirates' eighth, returned to the mound in the bottom of the ninth to finish the job. The first man he faced was Bill Mazeroski. With a count of one ball and no strikes, the Pirates' second baseman smashed a historical long drive over the wall in left ending the contest and crowning the National League as champions. As the Pirates erupted in a wild celebration, the Yankees stood in disbelief knowing that they had clearly dominated the series, but were unable to finish the task. The improbable champions were outscored, 55-27, and out-hit, 91-60, but in the end the home team prevailed. Years later, Mickey Mantle was quoted as saying that losing the 1960 series was the biggest disappointment of his career. For Bill Mazeroski, it was the highlight.

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