Shoulda Been a Hero

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Hal Smith

When Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski blasted the first walk-off home run in World Series history in 1960, his lead-off solo home run in the bottom of the ninth was possible because of what happened in the eighth inning … thanks to a reserve catcher named Hal Smith. Continue reading

The Hunt Is On

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Ron Hunt

Ron Hunt was one of the first legitimate “stars” to play for the New York Mets. He was the first Mets player to start an All-Star game (as the National League’s second baseman in 1964), and he was runner-up to Pete Rose for Rookie of the Year honors in 1963. Continue reading

Easy to Take a Shine To

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Wally Moon

Wally Moon burst onto the National League in 1954, ready-made as one of the league’s most accomplished hitters. While his subsequent 12-season career did not quite live up to the promise of his rookie season, Moon was a solid hitter who knew the strike zone and could drive the ball with power to all fields. Continue reading

Koufax Turns W’s and K’s into MVP

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(October 30, 1963) Sandy Koufax, who unanimously won the Cy Young Award six days earlier, today also was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player. The Dodger legend out pointed Pittsburgh Pirates’ shortstop Dick Groat, 237-190, who had been the National League MVP in 1960. Continue reading

Too Good to Double Up

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Don Buford

Don Buford combined speed and bat control to end his 10-year major league career as the player least likely to hit into a double play – among all players in major league history. In 4,553 official at-bats, Buford grounded into double plays only 34 times in his career. He averaged 1 GDP for every 138 at-bats. Continue reading

Casting for Wins

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Norm Bass

In the early 1960s, when it was sometimes difficult to determine whether the Kansas City Athletics were actually a major league or AAA team, hope for the future resided in a string of strong-armed pitchers who came to Kansas City, made their marks for a season or two, and then faded off into other opportunities for glory. No pitcher better exemplifies that transition than Norm Bass. Continue reading