Series Highlight: Bill Mazeroski's Game 7 Series-Winning Walk-Off Home Run
The 1960 World Series pitted the heavily favored American League Champion New York Yankees, who won seven of the previous eleven World Series, against the National League Champion Pittsburgh Pirates, who were making their first appearance in the Fall Classic since 1927. Pittsburgh led the National League in team batting (.276) and tied for the league leading fielding percentage (.979) with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds. Their first pennant in 33 years came with four games left in the season as they paced the National League and beat the second placed Milwaukee Braves by seven games. The Yankees, however, were back in the fall Classic once again, the eighth time in the last ten years. New York still employed future Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford as well as newcomer and eventual home run champion Roger Maris. Ironically, at the 1959 Winter Meetings, Pirates general manager Joe L. Brown was offered Roger Maris from the newly relocated Kansas City Athletics for veteran and captain Dick Groat. Manager Danny Murtaugh nixed the trade because he did not wish to lose Groat from his lineup. Groat hit .325 with two dingers while Maris batted .283 with 39 home runs during the regular season. (Maris was named the 1960 American League MVP, was an All-Star and won the Gold Glove.)
In each of the Pirates’ wins against the Bronx Bombers during the series were hard fought battles with the Buccos winning 6-4 in Game 1, 3-2 in Game 4 and 5-2 in Game 5. On the other hand, New York obliterated Pittsburgh in each of their victories, outscoring them by 38-3 in Game 2 (16-3), Game 3 (10-0) and Game 6 (12-0). The Yankees outplayed the Pirates for the first six games and ace pitcher Whitey Ford threw two shutouts in Games 3 and 6. Even more amazing is that the Bronx Bombers outhit the Buccos 78-49, had eight home runs to the Pirates 1 (off the bat of Mazeroski in Game 1) and scored 46 runs to Pittsburgh’s 17. Game 7 was played in Pittsburgh and Forbes Field became the site of one of the "greatest baseball games ever played."
Behind ace pitcher Vern Law, the Pirates jumped out to an early 4-0 lead scoring two in each of the first two innings. Law, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, was injured in the previous series’ postseason celebration, but he was still able to go five innings before turning the ball over to Mr. Bullpen Elroy Face. The Yankees took a 5-4 lead on a three-run homer by Yogi Berra. In the eighth inning, the Yankees added two more to increase their lead to 7-4, but the Bucs pummeled Yankee pitchers for five runs, reclaiming a 9-7 lead on a three-run homer by Hal Smith. Once again the Yankees tied the game 9-9 in the top of the ninth. Pirates’ second baseman Bill Mazeroski led off the bottom of the ninth against the Yankees fifth pitcher of the day Ralph Terry, who was seldom used in relief. Maz then blasted Terry’s 1-2 pitch over the left field wall to win the game 10-9 and the series 4 games to 3. Mazeroski jubilantly rounded the bases, leaping and cheering, and "when I hit second base, I don’t think I touch the ground till I touched home." After his historic hit, the only thing going through Mazeroski’s mind was "We beat ‘em. We beat ‘em. We beat the great Yankees." Bill Mazeroski fulfilled every boy’s dream when he hit that home run and it remains the only walk-off home run in Game 7 to win a World Series. It was also the only World Series game in history that neither team recorded a single strikeout. And after batting .367 with 12 RBI, Bobby Richardson became the only player from a losing team to win the World Series MVP award.