1960 Pirates book cover

Submitted photo

The book cover for “1960: When the Pittsburgh Pirates Had Them All the Way,” by Wayne Stewart. Tuesday marks the 60th anniversary of Bill Mazeroski’s game-winning home run in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series when the Pirates stunned the New York Yankees.

At 3:36 on the afternoon of October 13, 1960, the city of Pittsburgh experienced their own version of the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” when Bill Mazeroski, with one swift, sudden blow, drilled what remains as the only Game 7 home run to end a World Series.

The book entitled, “1960: When the Pittsburgh Pirates Had Them All the Way,” by Wayne Stewart, gives new insight into that memorable game, World Series, and entire season through exclusive interviews conducted with nearly every living Pirate from that team. It is a celebration of the 60th anniversary of a magical season which provided countless western Pennsylvania sports fans with their most thrilling baseball memory ever.

The 1960 National League MVP and batting crown winner Dick Groat, pointed out there were many keys to the title run and Elroy Face was certainly one of them. “Elroy pitched every other day, or every day if he had to.” He led the league with 68 appearance in ’60.

Then there was Vern Law, the N.L. Cy Young Award winner. Without his 20 victories (he won nearly 70% of his decisions) the Pirates do not win the pennant. Likewise, Dick Stuart provided power with 23 homers and the outfield trio of Bob Skinner, Bill Virdon, and a young Roberto Clemente provided help with the bats and superb defense.

“1960: When the Pittsburgh Pirates Had Them All the Way” is available only on Amazon. That website states, “This book takes an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the wildest, most lopsided World Series ever and relates how the Pirates were put together to form a team that could stun a team straight out of the Yankee Dynasty.”

The World Series truly was wild and decidedly lopsided — the Yankees out-hit the Pirates by an incredible .338 to .256 margin, out-slugged them .528 to .355, and outscored them, more than doubling Pittsburgh’s run total, 55 runs to 27. Pirate pitchers were battered, ending the seven-game Series with a bloated ERA of 7.11, worst by a Series staff since 1932. Furthermore, when the Yanks won, they annihilated the Pirates by one-sided scores of 16-3, 10-0, and 12-0.

However, all year long the Bucs had again and again proven themselves to be a team of destiny. The Bronx Bombers had the muscle, but when it counted, Mazeroski, who had hit just 11 homers on the season, or one homer per every 54 at bats, hit two game-winning blasts in 25 World Series bats, including, of course, the one that sent Forbes Field fans into delirium, and allowed broadcaster Bob Prince to once again use one of his many catch phrases to claim, “We had ‘em all the way!”

Earlier in the year, on Easter Sunday, Cincinnati led the Pirates 5-0 going into the last half of the ninth inning. Then, stunningly, the Bucs battled back and, with two outs, won on a Skinner walk-off home run. Pirate catcher Hal Smith prophetically joked, “Hey, Bob, where do we sign up for our World Series tickets?” Overall, Pittsburgh won 23 games in their final at bat and 12 times with two outs in their last inning. They were unstoppable.

The book also delves into some lighter sides such as the time Steve Blass teased Clemente when they were teammates. “I went up to Clemente one time and said, ‘Listen, Roberto, if I ever get traded, I’m going to pitch you inside because every National League pitcher pitches you away and you hit .350 every year.’ He said, ‘Blass, I’m going to tell you one thing, you pitch me inside, I hit the ball to Harrisburg.’”

Blass also joked about Stuart’s lack of defensive skills. Having Mazeroski playing next to him helped, though. “Every time a pop fly came anywhere near them, Stuart (wanting no part of the baseball) shouted, ‘Plenty of room, Maz.’”

Law said, “This book covers it all — from the preseason through the glory of winning it all in baseball’s most dramatic World Series. It’s a must read for every baseball fan.”

Ken Griffey, Sr., a Donora High School classmate of Stewart, provided a blurb for the book’s jacket: “The book captures what the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates were all about, making this an enjoyable book that all baseball fans will like.”

Back-up catcher Bob Oldis went so far as to say the book was, “By far, the best sports book I have ever read. I couldn’t put it down. I love it and show it to everyone. It was fun and a great thrill to be with a bunch of good players and guys.

“Now, after 60 years gone by, it is still great to read about the whole year. This I will never forget. The book is all true, word for word — and the truth was, ‘We had them all the way.’”

“1960: When the Pittsburgh Pirates Had Them All the Way” is Stewart’s 35th book. For more information, or to order the book, simply go to the Amazon site and search for the book by title.

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