The Pirates' new play
Nor are refinements in this most meaningful of all baseball plays about to end. It is one of the wonders of the game that just when it seems a play could hardly be performed better or differently somebody finds a dashing new way. One day last season the Pittsburgh Pirates were in trouble in the seventh inning of a 2-2 game with St. Louis. There were Cardinal runners on first and second and none out. Joe Cunningham was the batter, and the Pirates suspected he would bunt. He did. Don Hoak dashed in from third and Dick Stuart from first as the pitch was thrown. Hoak fielded the ball and threw to Shortstop Dick Groat who, instead of covering second as he usually would, had made the long run over to cover third base. One out. Groat then relayed across the diamond to Second Baseman Bill Mazeroski, who was covering first base. Double play. It stopped a possible rally, and Pittsburgh went on to win the game 3-2 in the 11th inning. The Pirates had practiced this play extensively and were convinced it would work in a game, in spite of the risks in having their whole infield break with the pitch, thus leaving huge areas uncovered. The result: two quick outs, an eventual 3-2 victory and a step toward a pennant—all thanks to a surprising innovation in one of baseball's oldest plays.