Tuesday, October 13, 2015

October 13, 1960; The Game Seven Story

The Pirates had a chance to put the series to bed in Game Six at Pittsburgh, but a 12-0 thumpin' pushed the set to a do-or-die game seven at Forbes Field. And it was one that'll go down in baseball history; some called it "the greatest game ever played."

Bob Turley and Vern Law got the starting nods. The Bucs ran away to a quick 4-0 lead thanks to a two-run homer in the first by Rocky Nelson and a single by The Quail, Bill Virdon, that drove in two more in the second.

It sat that way until the fifth when the Yanks got a run back on Moose Skowron's long ball and then exploded for four more tallies in the sixth, keyed by Yogi Berra's three run homer, to go up 5-4.

The seventh inning went quietly, but the eighth was to prove a memorable frame of playoff baseball

The Yankees added a pair off Roy Face thanks to back-to-back knocks by Johnny Blanchard & Clete Boyer to make the score 7-4, setting the 36,683 fans squirming. But the Bucs had an answer. Gino Cimoli singled, and Virdon's DP ball took a Bucco bounce and smacked Tony Kubek in the throat.

Kubek went down, and the Bucs went up (photo Sports Illustrated)
Dick Groat's rap plated Cimoli. A bunt moved the runners up, but a short fly froze the pair. Then Roberto Clemente bled one on the right side; Yankee hurler Jim Coates ran the ball down but couldn't run down the Great One, who legged out an RBI single. It proved huge when Hal Smith, in the game because starting catcher Smoky Burgess had been pulled for a pinch-runner, drilled a homer to left, turning a 7-6 deficit into a 9-7 lead, putting Pittsburgh  just three outs away from the title.

Dick Groat & Roberto Clemente greet Hal Smith (photo Associated Press)
But the Yankees were a great club, and they weren't done yet. Bob Friend came on for the save, but was chased after giving up consecutive singles to open the ninth. Harvey Haddix took the ball and after an out, Mickey Mantle lined a knock to bring the Bronx Bombers within a run. It looked like The Kitten had the game wrapped up when Berra hit a hard shot to Nelson, who stepped on first and turned to second to catch the Mickster for the game-ending out. But it wasn't to be; a heads-up Mantle put on the brakes after Rocky touched first, and with the force off, dove back in under a lunging tag, allowing the tying run to score.

But we know how it ends. Ralph Terry's second pitch to Bill Mazeroski - Maz thought it was a high fastball - was launched into Schenley Plaza over the giant green scoreboard as Berra watched, and the most dramatic finish to a world series had its boffo finish with the Bucs on top 10-9.

Touch 'em all, Maz (photo by Jimmy Klingensmith/Pgh Post Gazette)
This is how Pittsburgh felt about Maz after the game, and still do today:

Been worse choices...(photo Life Magazine)

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