This was like a slow-pitch softball game. One team just outhits another for the victory.
The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the New York Yankees in seven games in the 1960 World Series. Bill Mazeroski made the difference with his walk-off ninth-inning home run, the only time a winner-take-all World Series game ended with a walk-off homer.
The Pirates won the decisive game 10-9 on Oct. 13 at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh.
For game 7, Bob Turley, the winning pitcher in game 2, got the nod for the Yankees against the Pirates’ Vern Law, the winning pitcher in games 1 and 4.
Turley lasted only one inning plus one batter. After retiring the first two batters, Turley walked Bob Skinner, then first baseman Rocky Nelson homered, Pittsburgh’s first home run since Mazeroski’s in game 1, to give the Pirates a 2–0 lead. Turley was then pulled after giving up a single to Smoky Burgess leading off the second. Don Hoak then drew a walk against Bill Stafford, and a bunt single by Mazeroski loaded the bases. Stafford appeared to get the Yankees out of trouble after inducing Law to hit into a double play, pitcher to catcher to first. But leadoff man Bill Virdon’s single to right scored Hoak and Mazeroski and increased the Pirates’ lead to 4-0.
The Yankees got on the board in the fifth on Bill Skowron’s leadoff home run, his second of the Series. In the sixth, Bobby Richardson led off with a single and Tony Kubek drew a walk. Elroy Face relieved Law and got Roger Maris to pop out to Hoak in foul territory, but Mickey Mantle singled to score Richardson. Yogi Berra followed with a three-run shot to right that gave the Yankees their first lead, 5-4. The Yankees extended their lead to 7-4 in the eighth.
But the Pirates retook the lead with a five-run eighth inning, punctuated by Hal Smith’s three-run home run.
Bob Friend, an 18-game winner for the Pirates and their starter (and loser) in games 2 and 6, came on in the ninth to try to protect the lead. Richardson and pinch-hitter Dale Long both greeted him with singles, and Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh was forced to remove the veteran pitcher in favor of Harvey Haddix. Although he got Maris to foul out, Haddix gave up a key single to Mantle that scored Richardson and moved Long to third. Berra followed, hitting a short grounder to first, with Rocky Nelson easily getting the second out. In what, at the moment, stood as a monumental play, Mantle, seeing he had no chance to beat a play at second (and thinking the ball was caught in the air), scurried back to first and avoided Nelson’s tag (which would have been the third out) as Gil McDougald (pinch-running for Long) raced home to tie the game at 9. Had he been out on the play, the run would still have counted if it had scored before the tag (but the play happened quickly). With Mantle safe, the inning continued, but ended when Skowron hit into a force play.
Ralph Terry, who recorded the last out in the eighth, returned to the mound for the Yankees in the bottom of the ninth. The first batter to face him was Mazeroski. With a count of one ball and no strikes, the Pirates’ second baseman smashed a historic long drive over the left field wall (left fielder Berra had no chance to catch it despite following it to the wall), winning the game 10-9 and crowning the Pirates as World Series champions. As the Pirates erupted, the Yankees stood across the field in stunned disbelief. The improbable champions were outscored, out-hit, and outplayed, but somehow had managed to pull out a game 7 victory. Years later, Mantle was quoted in Ken Burns’ documentary Baseball as saying that losing the 1960 series was the only loss, amateur or professional, he cried actual tears over. For Mazeroski, by contrast, his series-clinching home run was the highlight of a Hall of Fame career otherwise notable mostly for excellent defense.
The series MVP was Bobby Richardson of the Yankees, the only time in history that the award has been given to a member of the losing team, though the rules were different at this time. Votes had to be in by the start of the eighth inning of Game 7, at which point the Yankees were in the lead, and this was the first time since the series MVP award was created in 1955 that the team leading at that point did not go on to win.
This was the Pirates’ third world championship and first since 1925.