1960 Revisited - April 22-May 1

Tuesday, June 29 2010 @ 02:56 pm UTC

Contributed by: Bobster

By Bobster

April 22-May 1, 1960.

Friday, 4/22/60-The Pirates improved to 6-3 when Friend (2-0) went the distance for a 6-2 win over the Braves at Forbes Field. The Bucs jumped on Braves starter Juan Pizarro for 2 in the first inning on singles by Skinner and Clemente, a walk to Stuart, Hoak’s sac fly, a walk to Hal Smith and a bases loaded walk to centerfielder Cimoli.

Hank Aaron tied it 2-2 in the 3rd with a HR over the center field wall but the Bucs retook the lead 3-2 in the 3rd on a triple by Smith after Hoak was hit by a pitch. Clemente hit a 2-run HR in the fourth after a Groat double. After the Clemente HR, Stuart and Skinner singled and Smith doubled to make it 6-2. Friend gave up 7 hits, walked 1 and struck out 8.

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

Saturday, 4/23/60-The Pirates (7-3) won their 4th straight with a 5-4 win over the Braves. Starter Bennie Daniels gave up a run in the first on a single by Bill Bruton, a ground out by Red Schoendienst and a double by Eddie Mathews. But the Bucs took a 2-1 lead in the second on singles by Burgess, Virdon and Daniels and an error by Hank Aaron on Daniels’ hit. The lead was stretched to 3-1 in the third on Stuart, Clemente and Burgess. A Mathews HR in the fourth off Daniels made it 3-2. The Braves took a 4-3 lead against Daniels in the sixth on a walk to Mathews, an RBI double by Aaron, and a single by Joe Adcoch. After two wild pitches and a walk, Daniels was replaced by Giel, who ended the inning with no further damage. Burgess hit his first HR of the season in the sixth to tie the game at 4-4. Joe Gibbon took the mound in the seventh after fourth-string catcher Danny Kravitz batted for Giel in the sixth. Stuart drove in the winning run with a 7th inning single after Hoak reached on an error and Groat sacrificed him to second. The game featured 3 hits by Burgess and 3 hits and a SB by Virdon. Gibbon (2-0) got the win with 3 scoreless innings of relief.

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

Sunday, 4/24/60-The Pirates (8-3) swept the Braves by a score of 7-3 for their 5th win in a row. Burgess gave the Bucs a 1-0 lead in the second inning with a solo HR. Skinner hit a 2-run HR in the fifth, when the Pirates scored 3 times to take a 4-0 lead. The Bucs added 1 in the sixth and 2 in the eighth to take a 7-0 lead. Haddix (1-1) had a shutout going into the 9th before giving up 3 runs and giving way to Elroy Face with one out. Face proceeded to strike out pinch hitter Charley Lau and get Red Schoendienst to ground out to end the game. Clemente and Mazeroski had 3 hits apiece.

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

Monday, 4/25/60-The Pirates were off as they traveled to Philadelphia. The Phillies had won 3 of their last 4 and were in fourth place at 5-6. Meanwhile, the Giants defeated the Cardinals 9-8 to forge a first place tie with the Pirates at 8-3. That game featured 6 HRs (SF-Davenport and McCovey. St.L.-Sawatski, Boyer, Spencer, Musial. The game included a number of players who were or would become notable in MLB including 5 future Hall of Famers: Willie Mays (HOF), Willie McCovey (HOF), Orlando Cepeda (HOF), Felipe Alou, Dale Long (8 HRs in 8 straight games), Mike McCormick (Cy Young-1967), Bill White, Ken Boyer, Stan Musial (HOF), Bob Gibson (HOF), Curt Flood, Leon “Daddy Wags” Wagner, Ernie Broglio (who would win 21 games in 1960 and be traded to the Cubs 4 years later for Lou Brock), and the Cardinals’ starter--Vinegar Bend Mizell.

Tuesday, 4/26/60-After a 10-game home stand, the Pirates took to the road for a 7-city, 3-week road trip. The Bucs would go to Philadelphia, Cincinnati, St.Louis, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Milwaukee. But the first game of the road trip was rained out in Philadelphia. The Phillies were not a good team in 1960. But they had a few players of interest. Pitcher Robin Roberts, 33, was a 6-time 20 game winner, including his 28-7 season in 1952. Pitcher Gene Conley, 29, had won championships in MLB (with the Braves in 1957) and the NBA (with the Celtics in 1959). In 1960, Conley was also still a member of the Celtics. Future Giants’ manager Alvin Dark, 38, was in the last year of his playing career as the Phillies’ thirdbaseman. Johnny Callison had not yet established himself as one of the NL’s best hitters. And centerfielder Bobby Del Greco was a Pittsburgh native and a former Pirate.

The Pirates had traded Del Greco to the Cardinals in 1956 for Bill Virdon. After winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 1955 when he hit .281 with 17 HRs, Virdon struggled early in 1956. Cardinals GM Frank “Trader” Lane (so nicknamed because of his penchant for making deals) felt that Virdon’s eyesight was deteriorating. And Lane had become enamored of Pirates centerfielder Del Greco when he saw Del Greco hit 2 HRs against Philadelphia’s Harvey Haddix in a game on May 13, 1956. The trade went down 4 days later with the Bucs also parting with veteran pitcher Dick Littlefield. Virdon was hitting .211 for St.L at the time of the trade. Lane’s theory about Virdon’s eyesight was not supported, as Virdon hit .334 the rest of the season for the Pirates and finished second to Hank Aaron for the NL batting title with an overall average of .317.

Wednesday, 4/27/60-Vern Law improved to 3-0 with a complete game 3-2 win in Philadelphia. The Bucs took a 1-0 lead in the third against Phillies starter Jack Meyer on singles by Hoak and Groat and a sac fly by Skinner. Former Pirate Bobby Del Greco homered in the fourth for the Phillies to tie it at 1-1. The Pirates retook the lead at 2-1 in the fourth on singles by Clemente and Burgess and a sac fly by Virdon. In the fifth, a double by Groat and a single by Skinner made it 3-1. John Callison homered off Law in the eighth to close the scoring at 3-2. Groat had 3 hits. Clemente, Burgess and Skinner had 2 hits apiece. Skinner added 2 RBIs and a SB. The win gave the Pirates a 9-3 record.

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

Thursday, 4/28/60-Bob Friend (3-0) pitched a 4-hit complete game shutout with 11 strikeouts as the Pirates beat the Phillies for their 7th straight win by a 3-0 score. In the second inning, a triple by Stuart, a single by Clemente, a wild pitch, a walk and a ground out by Mazeroski gave the Bucs a 2-0 lead against Phillies RH starter John Buzhardt (0-2). In the fifth, singles by Hoak and Groat and a ground out by Skinner made it 3-0. Stuart, Smith and Clemente had 2 hits each. Smith added a steal. Clemente was batting .396. The Bucs improved to 10-3. Catcher Hal Smith’s stolen base was his only one of the season and would be one of seven in his 10-year ML career.
Starting lineup:
Hoak 3B
Groat SS
Skinner LF
Stuart 1B
Clemente RF
Smith C
Virdon CF
Mazeroski 2B
Friend P

Friday, 4/29/60-Again, the first game of a series was rained out as April showers in Cincinnati wiped out the opener of the Pirates-Reds series. The Bucs were alone atop the NL at 10-3. The Reds were off to a poor start at 4-9 and had lost 6 of their last 7 games. One of the 1960 Pirates who had yet to appear in a game was outfielder Roman Mejias. Mejias, 29, had been the 4th outfielder on the 1958 and 1959 Pirates, hitting .268 and .236, respectively. He was the starting rightfielder the night Harvey Haddix pitched a perfect game into the 13th inning against the Braves in 1959 and made a fine shoestring catch that night. (Joe Christopher took over RF in the 10th inning that night.) Mejias, from Cuba, was one of only five black players on the Pirates to open the 1960 season along with Bennie Daniels, Joe Christopher, Gene Baker and Roberto Clemente. Mejias had been with the Pirates for all or parts of 4 seasons, but after his .236 season in 1959 the Bucs had soured on him as the 4th outfielder and traded for Gino Cimoli. And now, 2 weeks into the season, Mejias had not appeared in any games. Mejias would eventually have his day in the sun in 1962, after being selected by the Houston Colt 45s in the expansion draft. It was his only season as an everyday player. Mejias, the Houston rightfielder, led his team with 566 ABs, 82 runs, 162 hits, 24 HRs, 76 RBIs, 12 stolen bases and a .286 average that year. But in 1960, Mejias was finding it difficult just to get off the bench.

Saturday, 4/30/60-The Pirates (11-3) scored 10 times in the 2nd inning in Cincinnati to beat the Reds 12-7 for their 8th straight win. Mazeroski had 4 hits and Groat, Stuart, Smith and Virdon had 2 apiece. Stuart, Clemente and Mazeroski had 3 RBIs apiece. Clemente and Mazeroski homered. But starter Bennie Daniels (1-0) was not sharp. He was touched up for 6 runs, 8 hits and 3 walks in 5 innings. Giel went 2.1 innings in relief, giving up 1 run and walking 3, and Face closed out the game with 1.2 innings of shutout relief.

The Reds took a short-lived 1-0 lead in the first on a walk to Vada Pinson and a triple by Frank Robinson. The 10-run Pirates’ second inning started with a one-out double by Smith, an RBI single by Virdon, a single by Mazeroski, an RBI single by Daniels, a balk, an error, a ground out, a walk to Skinner, a 2-run single by Stuart, a 3-run HR by Clemente, a single by Smith, a walk to Virdon and a 2-run double by Mazeroski. Daniels gave up another run in the second on a walk, a SB and a double. The Bucs went up 11-2 in the third on a double by Groat and a single by Stuart. Mazeroski’s fourth inning HR made it 12-2. In the bottom of the fourth, a Roy McMillan HR and 3 singles made it 12-4. A 2-run HR by Ed Bailey in the fifth made it 12-6. Giel replaced Daniels to begin the bottom of the sixth. He got into trouble with a pair of one-out walks in the eighth and was relieved by Face, who gave up a single to Jerry Lynch to end the scoring at 12-7. Cal McLish (0-2) took the loss for Cincinnati.

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

Sunday, May 1, 1960-The Pirates (12-3) won their 9th straight with a 13-2 rout of the Reds. Vern Law (4-0) pitched his 4th CG. Clemente and Mazeroski both drove in 4 runs. Clemente set the pace with a grand slam in the first inning. The Reds made it 4-1 with a pair of doubles in the home half of the first. But the Reds’ first inning rally was cut short when Clemente got his third assist of the season by throwing out Gus Bell, who had doubled, at the plate when Bell tried to score on a single by Ed Bailey. A walk and a double in the third for the Reds made it 4-2. In the fifth, Stuart doubled following a Groat single and a walk to Skinner to make it 6-2. That ended the day for Reds’ starter Don Newcombe, the former 3-time 20-game winner for the Dodgers. Mazeroski hit a 3-run HR in the 8th to take a 9-2 lead. In the ninth, Hoak reached on an error, Skinner singled and Clemente walked to load the bases with one out. Singles by Burgess, Virdon and Mazeroski made it 13-2. Burgess had 3 hits. Groat and Mazeroski had 2 hits each.

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


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