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1960 Revisited - April 17-21   
April 17-21, 1960

Sunday, 4/17/60-The Pirates swept a doubleheader from the Reds to improve to 3-2. Friend (1-0) pitched a 4-hit shutout in game one. In the first inning, Clemente followed a Groat single with a 2-run HR off Joe Nuxhall. (Nuxhall is the pitcher who appeared in his first ML game in 1944 at age 15. His first taste of MLB was a disaster, giving up 5 runs on 5 walks and 2 hits in 2/3 innings. In a side note, the 15-year old Nuxhall was relieved by Reds pitcher Jake Eisenhart, who pitched a scoreless one third of an inning. It would be Eisenhartís only appearance in MLB.

But Nuxhall had a future in MLB. After that one game in 1944, he went back to the minors and didnít reemerge in MLB until 8 years later. He lasted another 15 years in the majors, winning 135 games.) In the third, Skinner doubled and scored on Groatís single, who took second on the throw. Groat advanced to third a groundout and scored on a Stuart sac fly. In the 8th, back-to-back triples by Clemente and Stuart finished the scoring at 5-0 Bucs. Skinner, Groat, Clemente and Hoak each had two hits. Clemente homered and Stuart drove in a pair.

Starting lineup:
Skinner LF
Groat SS
Clemente RF
Stuart 1B
Hoak 3B
Cimoli CF
Mazeroski 2B
Smith C
Friend P

Bennie Daniels started game two and gave up a run in the first. He opened the third inning with a walk and 3 singles to fall behind 3-0. Fred Green relieved and got out of the jam with a DP and fly out. Lefty Don Gross relieved Green in the 5th after a 2-out walk and gave up 2 more runs with a double and a single. George Witt pitched scoreless 6th and 7th innings in his 1960 debut, which was encouraging after his elbow injury had ruined his 1959 season. Rookie Joe Gibbon was sent in for the 8th. Trailing 5-0, it was basically mop-up duty for the rookie and a chance for him to get his feet wet in his major league debut in a non-pressure situation. The Reds threatened in the 8th against Gibbon when Billy Martin led off with a single and Eddie Kasko followed with a single to right. But Clemente got his first assist of the season when he gunned down Martin trying to take third on Kaskoís hit. Gibbon retired the next two batters to end the inning and also pitched a scoreless 9th. The Pirates trailed 5-0 in the bottom of the 9th. But Burgess, Virdon and Mazeroski hit consecutive singles after one out to make it 5-1. Hal Smith followed with a PH 3-run HR to make it 5-4. After Hoak grounded out, Groat singled and Skinner clubbed a 2-run walk off, line drive HR to right field to win it 6-5. The 6-run 9th made a winner of Gibbon (1-0), who had entered in what appeared to be a mop-up role. Virdonís start in the 2nd game of the doubleheader was his first of the season. Cimoli started the previous 4 games in CF. Skinner had the Piratesí first SB of the season.

Starting lineup:
Hoak 3B
Groat SS
Skinner LF
Stuart 1B
Clemente RF
Burgess C
Virdon CF
Mazeroski 2B
Daniels P

The American League had still not begun its games. But a blockbuster trade was made when the Indians sent 1959ís A.L. HR champion, Rocky Colavito, to the Tigers for 1959ís A.L. batting champion Harvey Kuenn.

Monday, 4/18/60-another off day. The Bucs (3-2) were in 4th place in the 8-team NL behind the Dodgers (4-1), Giants (4-1) and Braves (3-1). The Phillies (1-3) were up next at Forbes Field. The Phillies, whose manager had quit after their first game, were not a strong team despite the presence of future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts. Roberts would not face the Pirates in this series.

The Pirates had opened the season with 11 pitchers on the 28-man roster. They had three left-handers in the bullpen. Joe Gibbon, a 25-year old rookie from the University of Mississippi, had made the club by virtue of his outstanding AAA season at Columbus in 1959 when he was 16-9 with a 2.60 ERA. Fred Green, 26, was a second year player who had spent August and September with the Pirates in 1959, pitching in 17 games totaling 37 innings with a 3.13 ERA. Don Gross, 29, was the veteran lefty in the pen. Gross had pitched for the Reds from 1955 through 1957 and was traded to the Pirates for pitcher Bob Purkey after the 1957 season. He appeared in 40 games for the 1958 Pirates, going 5-7 with 7 saves and a 3.98 ERA. In 1959, he appeared in 21 games with a 3.55 ERA and 2 saves, but was limited by arm problems. Aside from 1956, when Gross put up a 1.95 ERA with the Reds, his stats were fairly ordinary. But the Pirates at least knew what they had in Gross. Gibbon and Green didnít have much of a track record.

Meanwhile, the American League began its season today with a single game as the Senators beat the Red Sox 10-1. The game featured 5 HRs including one by Ted Williams in his first AB of the season. Williams would also homer in his final at bat of the season (which would also be the final AB of his career). Camilo Pascual (1-0) went the distance. Bostonís opening day starter, Tom Sturdivant (0-1) took the loss. Following the 1960 season, the Senators would move to Minnesota and become the Twins. Washingtom would receive an expansion team, also called the Senators and Sturdivant would be selected off the Boston roster in the expansion draft. In midseason of 1961, Sturdivant would be traded to the Pirates for Tom Cheney. Sturdivant would be a key member of the Pirates bullpen in 1962.

Tuesday, 4/19/60-The Pirates dropped to 3-3 in a 4-3 home loss to the Phillies. All runs were scored in the 3rd inning. Haddix (0-1) gave up 4 runs and 7 hits to the Phillies as he didnít last through the third inning. Skinnerís 3-run HR in the bottom of the third after Hoak reached on an error and Groat singled made it 4-3 but there was no more scoring in the game. Paul Giel was outstanding in relief, pitching 4.1 innings of 1-hit, scoreless relief and Face added 2 more scoreless innings. It was an encouraging outing for Giel, who was still trying to make it in MLB after a great collegiate career in football. Giel had been a star halfback for the University of Minnesota and finished 2nd in the Heisman voting in 1953. Phillies starter Jim Owens (1-0) went the distance giving up just 3 hits to pick up the win. Yet, Owens would finish the 1960 season only 4-14 with a 5.04 ERA. Clemente picked up his 2nd assist of the year and second in 2 games when he threw out Bobby Del Greco trying to go from first to third on a single in the eighth inning.

Starting lineup:
Hoak 3B
Groat SS
Skinner LF
Stuart 1B
Clemente RF
Burgess C
Virdon CF
Mazeroski 2B
Haddix P

Meanwhile, the A.L. got into gear with a full schedule of games.

Wednesday, 4/20/60-Vern Law improved to 2-0 with another CG, beating the Phillies 4-3. The Bucs staked Law to a 1-0 lead in the first on a Hoak single and Skinner double off Phillies starter Don Cardwell (1-1). Hoakís 2-run HR off the RF foul pole following a single and stolen base by Mazeroski gave the Pirates (4-3) a 3-0 lead. Law gave up 2 runs in the 7th but the Bucs got one right back when Virdon walked, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a Mazeroski sac fly.

Approximately 3 weeks later, the Phillies would trade Cardwell and first baseman Ed Bouchee to the Cubs in exchange for second baseman Tony Taylor and catcher Cal Neeman. Two days after that trade, in his first appearance for the Cubs, Cardwell would no-hit the Cardinals. In 1962, the Phillies would sell Neeman to the Pirates to serve as a back-up catcher. And after the 1962 season, the Cubs would trade Cardwell to the Cardinals, who then traded him to the Pirates for Dick Groat.

Starting lineup:
Hoak 3B
Groat SS
Skinner LF
Stuart 1B
Clemente RF
Burgess C
Virdon CF
Mazeroski 2B
Law P

Thursday, 4/21/60-The Bucs (5-3) took the rubber game from the Phillies with a 11-5 win. Starter Jim Umbricht was wild as he began the game with back to back walks followed by a run-scoring wild pitch. The Pirates took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first with a walk to Skinner, a triple by Groat, an infield single by Clemente and a single by Stuart and a walk to Hoak to lead the bases. Phillies starter Curt Simmons didnít make it through the first inning. He was relieved by Humberto Robinson after giving up 3 hits and 2 walks to the first 5 batters he faced. Robinson avoided further damage by getting Smith, Mazeroski and Virdon to hit consecutive infield pop-ups. Umbricht walked two more in the second but the inning ended when left fielder Skinner threw out a runner at home on a single by Phillies reliever Robinson. The Bucs took a 3-1 lead in the second on singles by Umbricht, Skinner and Groat. But Umbricht was replaced by Fred Green in the third inning with the game tied 3-3 after a walk, single and triple. The Pirates took a 6-3 lead in the fourth on a 3-run HR by Hal Smith following singles by Clemente and Stuart. The Bucs broke it open with 4 in the fourth on a single by Green, an inside-the-park 2-run HR by Skinner, a walk to Groat, singles by Clemente and Stuart, a walk to Hoak and a sac fly by Smith. Green surrendered a solo HR to Phillies catcher Jim Coker in the sixth to make it 10-4. But Green got the run right back by leading off the bottom of the sixth with a HR of his own. The Phillies closed out the scoring with a run off Green in the seventh on a single, two walks and a ground out (after Face relieved Green). Green (1-0) pitched 3.2 innings of relief to get the win. Clemente and Stuart had 3 hits apiece. Virdon stole his 2nd base and had his 4th consecutive start in CF after Cimoli opened the season going 2 for 14.

Starting lineup:
Skinner LF
Groat SS
Clemente RF
Stuart 1B
Hoak 3B
Smith C
Mazeroski 2B
Virdon CF
Umbricht P

This was the last start for Curt Simmons in a Phillies uniform. The almost 31-year old lefty had been with them for 12 years but was sent to the bullpen following his early exit against the Pirates and was released on May 17, 1960. Three days later, he signed with the Cardinals and was a starter for them for the next 6 years, including going 15-9 in 1963 and 18-9 in 1964. Maybe the Phillies gave up on him a little too soon.

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