SI Vault
Roy Terrell
October 24, 1960
And so did Pittsburgh's Pirates when Bill Mazeroski swung his bat and hit the ball (arrow) over Forbes Field's distant left field wall. Yankee hopes were dead, the seventh game was over and the Pirates had won their first World Series in 35 years.
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October 24, 1960

It Went All The Way!

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Not the seventh-day Yankees. Richardson singled, a little looper into left. Dale Long, batting for Kubek's replacement, Joe DeMaestri, singled hard into right, and Murtaugh took Friend out. Harvey Haddix got Maris to pop out, but then Mickey Mantle came through with a single into left center field which drove in Richardson and sent Long around to third. Stengel sent in McDougald to run for Long. It was then that the curious 1960 Series produced its most curious play.

Berra swung and hit a hard ground ball down the first base line. Nelson was there; he gloved it, picked it up and stepped on first base for the out. Then he straightened up, drew back his arm to throw down to second to complete the double play—and suddenly realized there was no reason to throw, for Mantle was standing within a few feet of him. Nelson is a good ballplayer, but Mantle is younger and his reflexes are quicker. He dived safely back into first base, eluding Nelson's frantic stab, and McDougald scored. The Yankees had tied up the game—and Pittsburgh, unable to believe that such a thing could happen, was stunned. Had Nelson tagged Mantle for the double play, the Series would have been over. Break or brilliance? Both.

When Bill Skowron ended the Yankee half of the ninth by grounding to Groat, Fate truly intervened. Fate's particular Pirate, Bill Mazeroski, came to bat. He had produced the deciding margin in two earlier Pirate victories, with a two-run homer in the first game, which Pittsburgh won 6-4, and a two-run double in the fifth game, which Pittsburgh won 5-2. He let one of Ralph Terry's fast balls go by. Then he hit the next one over the left field fence.

There was noise in Forbes Field then, too, and it went on for more than an hour. Mazeroski took off his cap and swung it around his head as he went leaping and frolicking around the bases. The fans spilled out of their seats and mobbed the Pirates, especially Mazeroski, who had to fight his way to home plate. A man ran out with a spade and dug up home plate, which may be hanging over some mantel in Pittsburgh right now.

Anyway, the pennant is in Pittsburgh, and the World Championship, too. It was fitting that the Pirates should win in the ninth and that they should come from behind. The only irony is that the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the New York Yankees with home runs, for the home run is a Yankee weapon, not theirs. But Pittsburgh is a good baseball team, and it makes use of what it has—pitching, defense, line drives to the opposite field. A bit more courage than most, a little more hunger. So why not home runs, too? The important thing is to save them for when they count. The Pirates had been saving those last three for 35 years.

A KEY MOMENT OF THE BIG GAME came in the Pirate eighth when Bill Virdon hit a hard ground ball to shortstop. It hopped off a spike cut in the infield (not a pebble) and struck Tony Kubek a wicked blow in the throat. Kubek went down, the ball bounced away and both Virdon and Gino Cimoli, the Pirate runner on first base, were safe. Down 7-4, the Pirates went on to score five runs in the inning on singles by Dick Groat and Roberto Clemente and the tremendous clutch home run by Hal Smith.

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