1960 WS Game 7

Last night I dialed up the final game of 1960, game 7 of the World Series between the Yankees and Pirates, to watch.  A big thank you to Bing Crosby for the existence of the only complete tape of the game.  The movie star was also part owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Apparently he was going to be traveling to Europe on game day, so he arranged to have someone tape the TV feed for him.  Said tape was discovered among his affects just a few years ago.

What a pleasure it was hearing Mel Allen call a game.  So was getting to watch Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Bill Mazeroski, Roberto Clemente, et al play.  So was actually seeing a game at Forbes Field.

Just about every fan of baseball history is well aware that Mazeroski hit a walk off home run to win the WS for the Pirates as the first batter in the bottom of the 9th…but I at least did not know what all transpired to set up that sudden conclusion.  It was actually a game that would be familiar to today’s fans.  It was a 10-9 ballgame that featured 5 homers and multiple pitching changes by both teams. What wasn’t like today’s game:  it was completed in 2:36.

At first it looked like it’d be a laugher.  The Pirates scored 2 runs each in the first and second innings—a 2 run blast by Rocky Nelson in the first and a small ball rally in the second. Mazeroski had 2 hits in the games—the game ending blast…and a bunt single in the second inning rally.  In the bottom of the third, up 4-0, the Pirates had the bases loaded with no outs…and scored no runs.  Bobby Shantz induced a dribbler back to the mound that started a rare 1-2-3 double play then retired the next batter to end the threat.  The Yankees pushed one across in the 5th and took a 5-4 lead in the 6th on a Yogi Berra 3-run homer to right.  Danny Murtaugh, Pirates manager, maybe should have let Vern Law try to pitch out of a jam but instead pulled him for Elroy Face, who gave up the bomb to Berra (who played LF that day, BTW). The Yankees stretched their lead to 7-4 with two more runs in the top of the 8th—Mantle had his 3rd single and 2nd RBI of the day.  Unfortunately for them, the Pirates then scored 5 in the bottom half of the inning. Included in that was a 3-run blast by Hal Smith that Mel Allen called one of the most dramatic base huts in WS history at the bottom of the 9th just before Mazeroski’s historic homer, which immediately and permanently overshadowed Smith’s.  Of course, before then, the Yankees again rallied for two runs to tie the game up at 9-9 in the top of the 9th.  Harvey Haddix was a bit of a vulture that day—coming in to pitch the 9th, blowing the save, then getting credit for the win.

 

7 thoughts on “1960 WS Game 7

  1. One thing that stands out watching these games from decades ago is how different the players look from the current, post-steroid era players. Even the power hitters look wispy by comparison.

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    • People used to actually think weight training was bad for players—that they’d become “muscle bound,” and that it would damage their swing.

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    • Yeah players today are better fed and trained then players of the 60’s just like the players of the 60’s were probably better trained and fed then the players of the 20’s and 30’s, but I don’t recall at the time thinking that Mickey Mantle looked wispy. They were the brutes of their time. That is my memory and that memory is as important to me as my view of today.

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  2. Thanks for the recommendation. Watched it last night and, aside from it being an absorbing game, it reminded me of the many small things that have changed over the years and not always for the better. Some random observations:

    No batting gloves or obvious use of pine tar; no body armour
    No body-hugging pants or jerseys, or pant legs dragging in the dirt
    No player weighed down by the takings of a jewellery heist
    Early batting helmets made to look just like caps (Branch Rickey started this, I think)
    No muscle-bound, roided-up, 150% scale humans, just ‘regular’ size athletes including ‘little’ 5’6″ Bobby Shantz
    Stirrups! And a common shoe supplied in Henry Ford’s favorite black
    Batters looking to hit early in the count and put the ball in play rather than swing for the fences every pitch
    Bunting for a base hit (even the Yankees)
    No fielding shifts!!
    Clemente fumbling two outfield grounders. Did he always step toward third when swinging at a pitch?
    The slow walk from the bullpens by every reliever
    Casey wandering out to the mound whenever he felt like it and the home plate ump letting him have as much time as he wanted
    So many Yankees wearing single digit numbers on their backs
    No winning celebration with players bouncing around as though on a jumping castle
    Every man in the crowd wearing a tie…

    Even my wife, very much a part-time baseball fan, noticed how much nicer it was listening to Mel Allen just calling the game without any need to fill the airwaves with needless chit-chat or asides about anything other than what was happening on the field.

    All this was brought into sharp relief by the very next video that popped up in my You Tube feed, a 1976 Reds-Yankees WS game. The players (and their hair) had grown, while uniforms had shrunk. Jewellery, pine tar, more obvious consumption of chewing tobacco, sponsor signs… A different era altogether…

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