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Mucho, Mostly, Pittsburgh Pirates’ World Series Notes

April 11, 2020

The Pittsburgh Pirates overcame a (2-0) World Series deficit in 1971, taking the crown from the defending champion Baltimore Orioles, a team that had its third straight 100 plus wins season.

In winning the last 5 games, Pirate’s pitchers, who took a back seat in most pre Series talk to the 4 Orioles starting pitchers, who won 20 or more games that season, allowed but 8 runs and 21 hits.

That is less than 2 runs per game and just over 4 hits per game. Steve Blass won 2 of those games, including #7.

The World Series MVP was the great Roberto Clemente and as I viewed him going into the dressing room after the triumph, he is approached by NBC’s Tony Kubek for a post-game interview.

Kubek played on 3 New York Yankees’ title teams (’58, ’61 and ’62), but was denied by another Clemente Pirates’ W.S. winner in 1960.

Certainly a key play in the epic 7th game of that 1960 World Series, was when a ball hit by Bill Virdon with Gino Cimoli on first, (none out, bottom 8, with the Yankees leading 7-4), took an unexpected hop and hit Kubek in the throat.

Instead of 4 outs to go, up 3 runs, the Yankees faced 2 on with none out. Of course the odds were still in their favor and credit the Pirates for scoring 5 runs in that inning, to take a (9-7) lead.

Credit the vaunted Yankees for tying the game, with 2 runs in the top of the 9th.

Next Bill Mazeroski hit a home run leading off the bottom of the 9th to give Pittsburgh their first crown in 35 (Manny Sanguillen, who played on the next two and to this point, last Pirates’ title teams wore #35) years.

Sanguillen was a catcher and unlike so many, I do not forget and always cite catcher Hal Smith, who recently died at age 89, hitting a 3 run home run to cap that extraordinary Pirates’ 8th inning, in what was arguably baseball’s greatest game.

Click below to view Hal Smith’s 3 run home run in game 7 of the 1960 World Series. Mel Allen is the television announcer, while Chuck Thompson working with Jack Quinlan, made an extraordinary radio call of the home run.

I gave an audio tape of that game to Bob Costas at Runyon’s ( The radio program”Costas Coast To Coast” was broadcast from there) in New York City over 30 years ago. In a subsequent conversation, Bob a great broadcaster himself, marveled at Jack Quinlan’s work.

In those better days of rare, if any words from analysts, who now talk, seemingly, after every pitch, Quinlan invoked “Chuck I do not know why you called on me,” after Smith’s home run.

 

Smith is greeted by #24, Dick Groat and Mr. Clemente (#21). I do not know who that is pictured at the far right. 

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