After finishing fourth in the National League the previous year, just two games over .500, the Pittsburgh Pirates captured their first league championship in 33 years in 1960, compiling a regular-season record of 95-59. The Milwaukee Braves finished second in the senior circuit, seven games behind the pennant-winners, while the St. Louis Cardinals came in third, nine games off the pace.
The surprising Pirates proved to be the National League’s most well-balanced team over the course of the regular season. They led the league with 734 runs scored and finished third in the circuit with a team ERA of 3.49. Vern Law anchored Pittsburgh’s starting rotation, capturing Cy Young honors by posting 20 victories, a 3.08 ERA, and a league-leading 18 complete games. Bob Friend placed among the league leaders with 18 wins, 16 complete games, and 276 innings pitched. Meanwhile, Elroy Face excelled out of the bullpen, winning 10 games and finishing second in the league with 24 saves.
On offense, Dick Stuart hit 23 home runs and drove in 83 runs. Don Hoak batted .282, hit 16 homers, knocked in 79 runs, and led the team with 97 runs scored. Roberto Clemente had his breakout season, batting .314, hitting 16 homers, scoring 89 runs, and leading the club with 94 runs batted in. Despite hitting only two home runs and driving in just 50 runs, shortstop Dick Groat was named N.L. MVP by the members of the BBWAA for leading the league with a .325 batting average and providing a considerable amount of on-field leadership to his young Pirates teammates.
In spite of their outstanding performance during the regular season, the Pirates entered the World Series against the New York Yankees as heavy underdogs. The Yankees totally outplayed the Pirates over the first six contests, outscoring them by a combined margin of 46-17. Nevertheless, the two teams entered Game Seven all tied at three games apiece. Vern Law pitched Pittsburgh to victory in Games One and Four, although he needed relief help from Elroy Face both times. Harvey Haddix gave the Pirates their third win in Game Five. Meanwhile, the Yankees posted lopsided victories in the other three contests, with Whitey Ford tossing shutouts in Games Three and Six.
Game Seven turned out to be a classic. The Pirates blew an early 4-0 lead as the Yankees went up by a score of 7-4. Reserve catcher Hal Smith highlighted Pittsburgh’s five-run eighth inning with a three-run homer that put his team in the lead by two runs. However, the explosive Yankee offense responded by tying the game at nine with two runs in the top of the ninth inning.
Pittsburgh second baseman Bill Mazeroski then led off the bottom of the frame by hitting Ralph Terry’s second pitch over Yogi Berra's head and the left-field fence for the Series-clinching 10-9 win. The victory gave the Pirates their first world championship in 35 years.
Although the Pirates won the World Series and Dick Groat captured N.L. MVP honors, most of the senior circuit’s best players performed for other teams. St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Ken Boyer hit 32 homers, drove in 97 runs, scored 95 others, and batted .304. Reigning N.L. MVP Ernie Banks knocked in 117 runs and topped the circuit with 41 home runs. Willie Mays hit 29 homers, drove in 103 runs, scored 107 others, batted .319, stole 25 bases, and led the league with 190 hits. Eddie Mathews and Hank Aaron both had huge years for the second-place Braves. Mathews finished third in the league with 39 home runs and a .397 on-base percentage, and he also placed second with 124 runs batted in and 108 runs scored. Aaron batted .292, hit 40 homers, scored 102 runs, and topped the circuit with 126 runs batted in and 334 total bases.
Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:
• February 23 - Demolition of Ebbets Field began. Lucy Monroe sang the National Anthem, and Roy Campanella was given an urn of dirt from behind home plate.
• April 12 - With 42,269 fans in attendance, the San Francisco Giants defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 3–1, in the first game ever played at San Francisco's Candlestick Park. Sam Jones pitched a three-hitter, and Cardinals outfielder Leon Wagner hit the first home run in the $15 million stadium.
• April 29 - The St. Louis Cardinals crushed the Chicago Cubs, 16–6. Stan Musial played his 1,000th game at first base, making him the first major league player ever to appear in as many as 1,000 games at two positions (1,513 games in the outfield). Ernie Banks hit two home runs for the Cubs, breaking Gabby Hartnett’s club record of 231 homers in the process.
• July 18 - The National League voted to expand to 10 clubs.
• September 16 - At the age of 39, Warren Spahn notched his 11th 20-win season with a 4–0 no-hitter against the Phillies. Spahn also set a Milwaukee club record with 15 strikeouts.
• October 17 - The National League voted to admit Houston and New York teams to the league in 1962, the first structural change since 1900.
• Lindy McDaniel of the Cardinals established a new National League record by compiling 26 saves.
• The National League won the first of two All-Star Games, 5-3 at KC.
• The National League won the second All-Star Game two days later, 6-0 at Yankee Stadium.
• Dodger Frank Howard (23 home runs) earned N.L. Rookie of the Year honors.
• San Francisco's Juan Marichal made his major league debut on July 19 by throwing a one-hit shutout against the Phillies.
• Cincinnati Reds second baseman Billy Martin punched Cubs pitcher Jim Brewer in an on-the-field fight, breaking his cheekbone.
• Milwaukee's Lew Burdette no-hit the Phillies on August 18.
• Don Cardwell of the Cubs no-hit the Cardinals on May 15.
• Warren Spahn and Cardinal Ernie Broglio tied for the league lead with 21 wins apiece.
• Cardinal Bill White won the first of his seven straight Gold Gloves as National League first baseman.
• Chicago's Richie Ashburn led the National League with 116 walks and a .416 on-base percentage.
• The Dodgers' Don Drysdale led the league with 246 strikeouts.
• Cardinal Larry Jackson led the league with 282 innings pitched.
• Mike McCormick of the Giants led all N.L. hurlers with a 2.70 ERA.
More From Around the Web
On August 22, 1989, Nolan Ryan of the Texas Rangers becomes ...
On August 22, 1978, Ron LeFlore of the Detroit Tigers establ ...
On August 22, 1974, minor league outfielder Alfredo Edmead o ...
- 1960 World Series, Bill Mazeroski, Bill White, Billy Martin, Bob Friend, Bob Skinner, Candlestick Park, Dick Groat, Dick Stuart, Don Cardwell, Don Drysdale, Don Hoak, Ebbets Field, Eddie Mathews, Elroy Face, Ernie Banks, Ernie Broglio, Frank Howard, Hal Smith, Hank Aaron, Harvey Haddix, Jim Brewer, Juan Marichal, Ken Boyer, Larry Jackson, Leon Wagner, Lew Burdette, Lindy Mcdaniel, Mike McCormick, Pittsburgh Pirates, Ralph Terry, Richie Ashburn, Roberto Clemente, Roy Campanella, Sam Jones, Stan Musial, Vern Law, Warren Spahn, Whitey Ford, Willie Mays