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DonRocks

The 1960 World Series: The Pittsburgh Pirates vs. The New York Yankees

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As a prerequisite to this thread, please read the first post in The World Series thread. I would recommend not reading any further until you do.

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Assuming you've read that post, I'd now like to make a case for the *wrong* Second Baseman having been given the 1960 World Series MVP Award.

The award was given to Bobby Richardson of the New York Yankees. The MVP Award didn't exist until 1955, and every year before 1960, it had been given to a pitcher; this was the first year (and the only year in history) it would go to a second baseman - the question is: *Which* second baseman?

There is no doubt that Richardson had a tremendous World Series, batting .367, with 12 RBIs and a Grand Slam in the seven-game series.

However, Richardson is the only player from a losing team ever to win the award, and I would argue that he was only the *second*-most-valuable second baseman playing in this series: Bill Mazeroski deserved the award.

Mazeroski wasn't some little-known player like Rick Dempsey (in 1983) who had a fantastic World Series (no disrespect meant towards Dempsey, who was a better-than-average major leaguer); no, Mazeroski was a 10-time all-star (in 7 different seasons), an 8-time Gold Glove winner, and is in the Hall of Fame, primarily for his defense. 

All baseball fans know about "the most famous home run ever hit" - along with the 1993 shot by Joe Carter, the only walk-off home run ever to end an entire *season* (and still the only one in Game 7), giving the Pirates their first World Series championship since 1925!

But what the average fan doesn't know is that Mazeroski batted .320 that series, and in Game 1, hit *another* game-winning home run: This one wasn't a walk-off home run; in fact, it happened in the 4th inning, but it provided the winning run in the game - that makes 2-out-of-4 games that Mazeroski won for the Pirates with home runs.

The three games the Yankees won were blow-outs, by scores of 16-3, 10-0, and 12-0. They didn't *need* Richardson's RBIs; the Pirates, on the other hand, couldn't have won the series without Mazeroski - their four wins happened by scores of 6-4, 3-2, 5-2, and in the deciding game, 10-9: Both of Mazeroski's homers were indispensable, and Pittsburgh would have lost without them.

I guess the New York publicity machine won the award for Richardson, but the real MVP of the 1960 World Series was Bill Mazeroski.

If there's any doubt remaining, Richardson's OPS was 1.054 for the series; Mazeroski's was .960 - yes, Richardson's was stronger, but it wasn't *that* much stronger (Mazeroski got hits in 6 out of the 7 games). More importantly: Richardson committed errors in each of the first two games; Mazeroski didn't commit an error the entire series.

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I didn't bother reading the reference.  When you are from the NY area and my age, and thought Mickey Mantle was a gift from God and the Yankees were indestructible you remember, Mazeroski, the little freak that "stole" the WS from the all is good and wondrous Yanks in 1960 with a walk off home run in the 7th game of a series in which the Yanks bombarded Pittsburgh, winning 3 games by enormous amounts while losing 3 others by close scores.  Only to lose the last game by a pretty much "weak" hitter.

Oh the despair in my little kid world.

Well Mazeroski made it to the HOF, and clearly must have been a great player.  But dammit.  How the hell did he ever hit that shot????

As to the MVP.  Well who cares, or even remembers.  What I recall is that there was a lot of despair in Mudville (NY metro area) after that Mazeroski shot.

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At nine yrs old I couldn't be bothered by strategy.  Still recall the pain associated w/ a totally unexpected loss by some dastardly unknown villain named Mazeroski. It burst a bubble that naive nine year olds tend to have.

At nine yrs old I can safely say I didn't believe in Santa or the tooth fairy, but cripes losing to Pittsburgh and some guy named Mazeroski was the lesson that real life is tough and cruel

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Just to be a bit more specific about this "Mazoroski thing".  

Autumn, 1960:  Bill Mazoroski hit a home run in the bottom the ninth inning in the 7th and final game of the 1960 World Series with the game tied 9-9.  Pirates win.  Yankees lose.  I was an elementary school student in the NYC metro region.  The game was on a school day.  A day game.  We got to watch it in school.  It was that big. 

The Yanks!!!   Baseballs greatest team with decades of dominance.  The early Yanks of legendary Ruth and Gehrig.  Later teams highlighting Gehrig, the Joe Dimaggio teams that dominated...and the dominance from the late 40's through the 50's.  Certainly not only baseball's extraordinary dynasty but that of all sports. 

In fact in 1960, what are major league sports now: football, basketball, hockey, were simply not that prominent.  Individual sports such as golf and tennis--not that prominent. 

Baseball was king!!!  The Yankees had Mickey Mantle.  Mantle was  mythological.  The greatest swing in the sport.  On TV.  You could watch it in all its power, coordination, and majesty.  A sporting thing of beauty.  There was nothing like it in the entire world of athletics.

1960:  Who were these Pittsburghs?  These Pirates?   They were taking on the most majestic dynasty in all of sportsdom.  At the tender age of 9 or so and in 1960 the legendary Dodgers and Giants had abandoned NY.  I heard about it all the time from older relatives in the NY outer boroughs.  In the NY area the Yankees were bigger than everything...at least in the eyes of one impressionable sports nuts kid.

And this Mazeroski guy, somehow, some way, hit a game ending, series ending world series winning unbelievable home run to beat the Yanks.  This wasn't a legend such as Mantle, or a new hero such as Roger Maris, or a much loved star such as Berra, or a player with an extraordinarily apt sporting name:  Moose (Skowren).  It was some guy named Mazeroski.

It was like a dagger to the heart.  More despair than I could stand.

The sports experts describe it as being much bigger than what a 9 year old can describe.  Sports Illustrated calls it the 8th most momentous moment in sports history.   Might have been the 8th momentous moment to SI.  To me it was the worst.

Mazeroski.  To this day I curse that name.

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18 minutes ago, DaveO said:

Just to be a bit more specific about this "Mazeroski thing".  
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The sports experts describe it as being much bigger than what a 9 year old can describe.  Sports Illustrated calls it the 8th most momentous moment in sports history.   Might have been the 8th momentous moment to SI.  To me it was the worst.

Just to be clear on my end, you're talking about the beginning of the 1960s; but don't forget the end of the 1960s, when a young eight-year-old from Silver Spring had his heart broken as he watched the mighty Orioles lose in five games to a team full of nobodies - a team that was commonly considered inferior at every single *position*.

I can analyze it now, and see how great the Mets' pitchers would become, but back then, all I thought about was how long the winter was going to be: This may have been when I first picked up a tennis racket.

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12 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Just to be clear on my end, you're talking about the beginning of the 1960s; but don't forget the end of the 1960s, when a young eight-year-old from Silver Spring had his heart broken as he watched the mighty Orioles lose in five games to a team full of nobodies - a team that was commonly considered inferior at every single *position*.

I can analyze it now, and see how great the Mets' pitchers would become, but back then, all I thought about was how long the winter was going to be: This may have been when I first picked up a tennis racket.

And I agree.  The Mets beating the O's was astounding and an extraordinary upset.  My allegiances were a bit torn. I was living in Baltimore. I knew how great that Orioles team was. I already felt strong allegiances to "charm city".  I knew they were the dynasty of the day.  I would imagine an impressionable 8 year old in Silver Spring would have been every bit as hurt as a 9 year old in '60 in the NY area.

BTW:  The early 60's Yankees had Cletis (Clete)  Boyer as a 3rd basemen.  Great diver/thrower, excellent defensive 3rd basemen.  Brother to the better overall player Ken Boyer.

I was lucky in watching 3rd basemen.  I got to see Clete Boyer in the earlier 60's and then the even greater Brooks Robinson in the latter 60's/early 70's.  Brooksie was something else.  He had amazing flexibility, better reactions, soft hands, and an accurate if not cannon like arm.  Today Machado's arm is more rocket like.  Brooksie's arm always got the job done.

Still that name:  Mazoroski.  When I see or hear that name its like a curse or a bad memory, or painful indigestion about to rear its ugly head!!!!

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1 hour ago, DaveO said:

Still that name:  Mazoroski.  When I see or hear that name its like a curse or a bad memory, or painful indigestion about to rear its ugly head!!!!

If you ever mention the name "Jeffrey Maier" around me, make sure you're wearing Nutshellz and eye protection. :)

DaveO: This thread will make you feel better.

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When I was born, in 1961, the Berlin Wall did not exist; that night, construction began on it.

When I was born, in 1961, the single-season home-run king was Babe Ruth, with 60.

When I was born, in 1961, the reigning AL and NL MVPs were Roger Maris and Pittsburgh Shortstop Dick Groat, who had won the batting title in 1960.

The 1960 MVP results: 1) Maris (61 HRs) 2) Mantle (54 HRs) 3) Brooks Robinson in the AL - Brooks insists they were pretty-much neck-and-neck with the Yankees right up to the end of the season, and Groat in the NL.

The first players to receive AL and NL MVPs after I was born, in the 1961 season, were Roger Maris (his 2nd in a row) and Frank Robinson for the Reds.

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When I was born, in 1961, the Berlin Wall did not exist; the evening I was born, construction began on it.

When I was born, in 1961, Babe Ruth was the reigning single-season home-run king with 60.

When I was born, in 1961, the reigning AL and NL MVPs were Roger Maris and Pittsburgh Shortstop Dick Groat, who had won the batting title in 1960.

When I was born, in 1961, Brooks Robinson was the reigning Gold Glove winner - his first, in 1960; he wouldn't lose it again until I was in high school. He finished 3rd in the MVP race to Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle in 1960, and says the Orioles were neck-and-neck with the Yankees all-season long.

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After I was born, the first players to receive the AL and NL MVPs, in the 1961 season (the season of the famed M&M Boys), were Roger Maris (the new home-run king with 61, and his 2nd-consecutive award) and Frank Robinson for the Reds.

What a beautiful time to be alive, and not even have a clue what was going on around me.

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