After finishing a disappointing third in the American League the previous year with a record of only 79-75, the New York Yankees took a major step towards returning to the top of the league standings in 1960 by acquiring slugging outfielder Roger Maris from the Kansas City Athletics prior to the start of the campaign. The seven-player trade New York pulled off with Kansas City proved to be a steal for the Yankees, especially since the only player of consequence they surrendered in the deal was outfielder Norm Siebern. Meanwhile, Maris gave the Yankees everything they wanted, and more. In addition to providing them with a perfect complement to Mickey Mantle in the middle of their batting order, Maris brought with him to New York a burning desire to win and an aggressive approach to the game that rubbed off on many of his new teammates.
With Maris and Mantle leading the way, the Yankees cruised to the American League pennant, finishing the regular season with a record of 97-57, eight games ahead of the second-place Baltimore Orioles. The Chicago White Sox were the only other team that finished within shouting distance of the Yankees, coming in 10 games off the pace. New York’s rejuvenated offense finished first in the league with 746 runs scored and 193 home runs. Mantle batted .275, knocked in 94 runs, topped the circuit with 40 homers, 119 runs scored, and 294 total bases, and placed among the league leaders with a .402 on-base percentage and a .558 slugging percentage. Maris batted .283, led the league with 112 runs batted in and a .581 slugging percentage, and finished second to Mantle with 39 homers, 98 runs scored, and 290 total bases. The members of the BBWAA awarded Maris A.L. MVP honors. Mantle finished a close second in the balloting.
More than just a two-man team, the Yankees also received solid efforts on offense from first baseman Bill Skowron and shortstop Tony Kubek. Skowron rebounded from an injury-marred 1959 campaign to hit 26 home runs, drive in 91 runs, and lead the team with a .309 batting average. Kubek batted .273, scored 77 runs, and established career highs by hitting 14 home runs and knocking in 62 runs.
New York also had a strong pitching staff that led the American League with a team ERA of 3.52. Although no Yankee hurler won more than 15 games, each member of the starting rotation contributed significantly to the success of the team. Art Ditmar led the staff with 15 victories and a 3.06 ERA. Jim Coates posted an exceptional 13-3 record. Whitey Ford experienced something of an off-year, winning only 12 games. Nevertheless, he remained the team’s most reliable pitcher, leading the staff with eight complete games and placing among the league leaders with a 3.08 ERA. Meanwhile, Bobby Shantz did a fine job coming out of the bullpen, saving 11 games, winning five others, and compiling a 2.79 ERA.
The Yankees subsequently faced the Pittsburgh Pirates in what turned out to be one of the most unusual World Series in history. The Yankees outscored the Pirates 55-27 during the Fall Classic, winning the three games they won by a combined margin of 38-3. New York second baseman Bobby Richardson, who hit just one home run and drove in only 26 runs during the regular season, hit a homer, tripled twice, knocked in 12 runs, and batted .367, en route to becoming the only losing player ever to be named Series MVP. Pittsburgh finally prevailed in a wild Game Seven when Bill Mazeroski led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a walk-off home run against New York’s Ralph Terry. The Pirates won the contest by a score of 10-9, thereby claiming their first world championship in 35 years. Yankee ownership subsequently fired manager Casey Stengel and general manager George Weiss. Both men later resurfaced in the National League with the expansion New York Mets.
Other notable events from around the league and players who distinguished themselves over the course of the season included:
• February 4 - For the second straight election, the BBWAA voters failed to elect a new member to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
• June 17 - Ted Williams hit the 500th home run of his career.
• August 10 - Ted Williams hit a pair of home runs and a double to pace the Red Sox to a 6–1 win over the Cleveland Indians. Williams’ first blast gave him 512 homers for his career, moving him past Mel Ott into third place on the all-time list. After the game, Williams announced he planned to retire at the end of the season.
• August 10 - Detroit traded manager Jimmie Dykes for Cleveland manager Joe Gordon.
• September 10 - In Detroit, Mickey Mantle hit a mammoth home run in the sixth inning that cleared the right field roof and landed in the Brooks Lumber Yard across Trumbull Avenue. In June 1985, Mantle's blow was retroactively measured at 643 feet. It was subsequently listed in the Guinness Book of World Records at that distance.
• September 28 – At Fenway Park, Ted Williams homered in his final major league at-bat, giving him 521 round-trippers for his career. Although the Fenway faithful subsequently gave him a thunderous ovation, Williams remained in the dugout, refusing to tip his cap to the hometown fans, with whom he feuded throughout most of his playing days.
• October 20 – Two days after firing Casey Stengel as manager, the Yankees named coach Ralph Houk his successor.
• Baltimore’s Brooks Robinson won the first of his many Gold Gloves for his outstanding defensive work at third base.
• For the first time in major league history, both batting leaders failed to post a mark in excess of .330.
• On April 17, on the eve of the season's first game, Cleveland traded Rocky Colavito to Detroit for Harvey Kuenn. The deal marked the only time in major league history a defending home-run champ (Colavito) was traded for a defending batting champion (Kuenn).
• Branch Rickey's proposed rival major league, the Continental League, forced the majors to expand for first time since 1901.
• White Sox owner Bill Veeck instituted the practice of putting names on his team's uniforms.
• Veeck also unveiled the first exploding scoreboard.
• Baltimore's Ron Hansen earned A.L. Rookie of the Year honors.
• The American League approved the transfer of the Washington franchise to Minneapolis-St. Paul.
• The American League granted expansion franchises for the 1961 season to Washington and Los Angeles.
• Kansas City Athletics owner Arnold Johnson died. Charley Finley subsequently purchased the A's from his heirs.
• In one of the worst trades in Cleveland Indians history, the Indians dealt Norm Cash to the Detroit Tigers for Steve Demeter.
• Boston’s Pete Runnels led the American League with a .320 batting average.
• Chicago’s Luis Aparicio led the American League with 51 steals.
• Baltimore’s Chuck Estrada and Cleveland’s Jim Perry tied for the league lead with 18 victories.
• Chicago’s Frank Baumann led all A.L. hurlers with a 2.68 ERA.
• Detroit’s Jim Bunning led the American League with 201 strikeouts.
- 1960 World Series, Al Kaline, American League, Arnold Johnson, Art Ditmar, Bill Mazeroski, Bill Skowron, Bill Veeck, Bobby Richardson, Bobby Shantz, Branch Rickey, Brooks Robinson, Casey Stengel, Charles Finley, Chuck Estrada, Frank Baumann, George Weiss, Harvey Kuenn, Jim Bunning, Jim Coates, Jim Perry, Jimmie Dykes, Joe Gordon, Luis Aparicio, Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees, Norm Cash, Norm Siebern, Pete Runnels, Pittsburgh Pirates, Ralph Houk, Ralph Terry, Rocky Colavito, Roger Maris, Ron Hansen, Steve Demeter, Ted Williams, Tony Kubek, Whitey Ford