This Week in 1960s Baseball …
(October 13, 1960) – Today at Forbes Field, Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski‘s dramatic bottom of the ninth inning home run off Yankee hurler Ralph Terry broke up a 9-9 tie and ended one of the most exciting seven-game World Series ever played.
The National League’s best second baseman, Bill Mazeroski, traded his magical glove for a home run bat in hitting the long ball that beat the Yankees 10-9.
It had been a World Series of improbabilities, played out as no one could have expected or predicted.
On the one hand you had the New York Yankees, the perennial October players, back in the World Series (their tenth appearance in the last 12 years) after a one-year absence. The Yankees earned their World Series berth by sprinting ahead of the rest of the American League in September, winning their last 15 games.
For the Pirates, it was their first World Series appearance since 1927.
In the first six games of the 1960 World Series, the Yankees were clearly the dominant team (outscoring the Pirates 46-17), but had only three victories to show for it. Whitey Ford pitched shutouts for the Yankees in Game Three and Game Six. Vern Law, the Pirates’ 20-game winner and the eventual Cy Young Award recipient that year, claimed two of the Pirates’ wins, while veteran left-hander Harvey Haddix posted one victory and a save.
Game Seven turned out to be one of the most exciting in World Series history.
Mazeroski’s dramatic home run off Yankees pitcher Ralph Terry (left) sent the Yankees home and sent Casey Stengel to the National League … as the New York Mets’ first field manager.
Law retired the Yankees in order in the first two innings, while the Pirates scored 2 runs in each of the first two frames. The Yankees finally scored off Law in the fifth inning as Bill Skowron led off the inning with a solo home run to the right field seats. The Yankees scored four more runs in the sixth inning, off the Pirates’ ace reliever Roy Face, who gave up an RBI single to Mickey Mantle and then surrendered Yogi Berra’s three-run homer.
The game stayed 5-4 in favor of the Yankees until the top of the eighth inning, when back-to-back RBI hits by John Blanchard and Clete Boyer raised the Yankees’ lead to 7-4. But in the bottom of the eighth, the Pirates rallied for five runs – on singles by Dick Groat and Roberto Clemente and a three-run homer by Hal Smith – to take a 9-7 lead into the ninth inning.
Bob Friend, an 18-game winner during the regular season, came in to close out the ninth. But he gave up back-to-back singles to Bobby Richardson and Dale Long. So Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh brought in Haddix to pitch to Roger Maris, the American League MVP of 1960. Haddix got Maris to foul out, and then gave up an RBI single to Mantle. Berra grounded out to Rocky Nelson at first, scoring Gil McDougald (pinch running for Long). Skowron grounded out to end the inning with the score tied at nine.
In the bottom of the ninth, Mazeroski led off for the Pirates. On deck was Dick Stuart, the team’s leading home run hitter.
Harvey Haddix got the last out in the top of the ninth inning, and was the pitcher of record when Mazeroski homered … his second victory of the 1960 World Series.
The Yankees’ pitcher was right-hander Terry, a 10-game winner for New York during the regular season. Terry had recorded the last out of the eighth inning, inducing third baseman Don Hoak to fly out. Hoak would be the last Pirate to make an out in the Series. Mazeroski took a strike on Terry’s first pitch, and sent the second one over the left field wall at Forbes Field for a 10-9 Pirate victory.
Mazeroski scores, Pittsburgh erupts.
It ended the 1960 World Series, and Casey Stengel’s career as New York Yankees manager.
It was the first walk-off home run in World Series history.
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