Sunday, April 04, 2010
Robert Dvorchak, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Row 1: Gene Baker, Roberto Clemente, batboy Bob Recker, Joe Christopher, Tom Cheney, Roy Face, Rocky Nelson, Bill Mazeroski, Bob Oldis. Row 2: Manager Danny Murtaugh, coach Frank Oceak, coach Sam Narron, coach Bill Burwell, coach Lenny Levy, Smoky Burgess, Dick Schofield, Gino Cimoli, Bob Skinner, Hal Smith, Bill Virdon, Don Hoak. Row 3: Traveling secretary Bob Rice, Harvey Haddix, Bob Friend, coach Mickey Vernon, Dick Groat, Joe Gibbon, Dick Stuart, Earl Francis, George Witt, Vernon Law, Fred Green, Wilmer Mizell, coach George Sisler, trainer Danny Whealan. The team photo was taken earlier in the season; not all those pictured were part of the World Series roster.
GENE BAKER, INF
A former Negro League player, he became the first black man to pilot an affiliated team when the Pirates tabbed him as player/manager of their Batavia, N.Y., farm club in 1961. He was also player-coach of their Columbus farm team before serving on the Pirates coaching staff in 1963, making him the second black coach in the major leagues. In fact, he was an interim manager for two games when Danny Murtaugh was suspended. He later served as a Pirate scout for 23 years. Died in 1999.
SMOKY BURGESS, C
The man who caught the Harvey Haddix game in 1959, he last played for the White Sox in 1967 as a pinch-hitting specialist and is still considered one of the greatest pinch-hitters of all time. He ran a car dealership and was a longtime scout and minor league batting coach in the Atlanta Braves system. He was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1978. Died in 1991.
TOM CHENEY, RHP
While with the Washington Senators in 1962, he set a major league record with 21 strikeouts in a 16-inning game against the Orioles, throwing 228 pitches. After an elbow injury cut short his career, he managed the Cordelle Propane Gas Co. in Albany, Ga. Died in 2001.
JOE CHRISTOPHER, OF
One of the first citizens of the U.S. Virgin Islands to play in the major leagues, he was an original member of the New York Mets and finished his eight-season career with the Red Sox in 1966. He worked on Wall Street and lived for a time in Puerto Rico. Now 74 and living in Baltimore, he has found a new passion in pre-Columbian art.
GINO CIMOLI, OF
His 10-year major league career ended in 1964 with the Angels. Later, as a driver for United Parcel Service, he was honored for driving 21 years without an accident and became known as the Lou Gehrig of UPS. Mr. Cimoli, 80, lives in San Francisco.
ROBERTO CLEMENTE, OF
In 1973, he became the first Latino elected to the Hall of Fame just months after he perished attempting to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He won a second World Series title with the Pirates in 1971, earning MVP honors. A 12-time All-Star who won 12 Gold Gloves, he was the NL MVP in 1966 and won four batting titles. A statue of him sits outside PNC Park just off a bridge that bears his name. Died Dec. 31, 1972.
ROY FACE, RHP
After saving three of the four Series wins, the Baron of the Bullpen continued to define the role of a closer. He won Fireman of the Year with 28 saves in 1962 and appeared in 802 games before he was traded to Detroit in 1968. At the age of 41, he ended his career in Montreal in 1969. A member of the carpenter's union from the time he came to the major leagues, he was the carpentry foreman at the former Mayview State Hospital before retiring. A resident of North Versailles, Mr. Face, 82, still holds the major league record for winning percentage in a season and wins by a relief pitcher in a season, both the result of his 18-1 record in 1959.
BOB FRIEND, RHP
His 16-year career ended with the Yankees and Mets in 1966. He never spent a single day on a disabled list, and he still holds Pirates records for innings pitched and strikeouts. Pete Rose got his first career hit off him in 1963. A three-time delegate to the Republican National Convention, Mr. Friend served as Allegheny County controller from 1967 to 1975 and was an insurance broker. His son, Bob, is a professional golfer. Mr. Friend, 74, lives in Pittsburgh and plays golf at Oakmont Country Club.
JOE GIBBON, LHP
The last of his 13 seasons in the majors was in 1972 with the Houston Astros. A former basketball player at the University of Mississippi, he became the baseball coach of the Clarke College Crusaders in Newton, Miss., where he lives in retirement. He's 74.
FRED GREEN, LHP
He pitched for parts of five seasons with the Pirates and Washington Senators. After leaving the game in 1964, he was a manager with the Leaseway Transportation Co. of Chicago. Died in 1996 in Titusville, N.J. His son, Gary, was a major league shortstop for the Padres, Rangers and Reds.
DICK GROAT, SS
The NL MVP, batting champion and team captain in 1960, he also won a World Series ring with the Cardinals in 1964. He was a five-time All-Star in his 14-year career, which ended with the Giants in 1967. In basketball, he was a two-time All-American at Duke University, which retired his number 10. He also played one season in the NBA with the Fort Wayne Pistons. He was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007 in the same class as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Owner and manager of Champion Lakes Golf Course in Ligonier, he has done color commentary for Pitt basketball from 1979 to the present. Mr. Groat, 79, lives in Pittsburgh.
HARVEY HADDIX, LHP
The winning pitcher of Game 7 in the Series, Mr. Haddix pitched the last of his 14 seasons with the Orioles in 1965, then was the pitching coach when the Pirates last won a World Series in 1979. He also coached for the Mets, Reds, Red Sox and Indians. In 1991, the Committee for Statistical Accuracy in Baseball downgraded his 1959 game from a no-hitter, but his 12 perfect innings against the Braves before he lost in the 13th is considered by many to be the greatest game ever pitched. A retired farmer, he died in 1994.
DON HOAK, INF
A U.S. Marine and a former prize fighter, he finished second in the NL MVP voting in 1960. His 11-year career ended in 1964 with the Phillies. A Pirates broadcaster for two years, he coached for the Phillies in 1967 and managed in the Pirates farm system for two years. Married to singer/actress Jill Corey, he died of a heart attack Oct. 9, 1969, the day the Pirates brought back Danny Murtaugh as manager.
CLEM LABINE, RHP
A World War II veteran, he pitched briefly for the original Mets at the end of his 13-season career. A designer of men's athletic wear, he was general manager for the sporting goods division of Jacob Finklestein & Sons. He died in 2007.
VERNON LAW, RHP
The 1960 Cy Young Award winner who won two Series games, he played the last of his 16 seasons, all with the Pirates, in 1967. In a career plagued by arm troubles, he was the comeback player of the year in 1965. He was the pitching coach at Provo High School and pitched batting practice there until 2008, when he was 78. His son, Vance, played two of his 11 big league seasons with the Pirates and became baseball coach at Brigham Young University. Known as The Deacon, Mr. Law is an ordained high priest of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon). He has more than 30 grandchildren and lives in Provo, Utah.
BILL MAZEROSKI, INF
Considered to be the best defensive second baseman ever, he hit the first and last Pirates home run of the 1960 season. When his 17-year career ended in 1972, he held the major league records for most double plays in a season and most double plays in a career. A coal miner's son who grew up in Ohio, he saw his No. 9 retired in 1987, but he wears the uniform as a special instructor with the Pirates in spring training, 55 years after his first camp. He was elected to Hall of Fame in 2001. A street outside PNC Park is named Mazeroski Way, and a statue will be unveiled in his honor on Sept. 5, his 74th birthday. A coach with the Pirates in 1973, he owns the Bill Mazeroski Golf Club in Rayland, Ohio; the baseball field at his high school is named after him. He lives in Greensburg.
WILMER (VINEGAR BEND) MIZELL, LHP
Nicknamed for his hometown in Alabama, he had a career year in 1960 and was set to enter Game 7 if the game had gone to extra innings. He ended his nine-season career in 1962 with the Pirates and Mets. After working for Pepsi-Cola Co. in North Carolina, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and served from 1968 to 1974. He also served in the departments of commerce, agriculture and veterans affairs under Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. In the Bush administration, he was executive director of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Died in 1999.
ROCKY NELSON, INF
He played the last of his nine major league seasons in 1961 while with the Pirates. He was known for a unique batting stance in which his right foot was at a 90-degree angle to his left, and his body was coiled like a bent coat hanger. A three-time MVP of the International League, he was elected to the Ohio Baseball and Canadian Halls of Fame. A painter and contractor in Portsmouth, Ohio, after he left baseball, he died in 2006.
BOB OLDIS, C
He played the last of his seven major league seasons in 1963 with the Phillies. He also coached with the Phillies, Twins and Expos before becoming a scout. Mr. Oldis, 82, has scouted for the Marlins since 2002. Lives in Preston, Iowa.
DICK SCHOFIELD, INF
In 1964, he became the first player to bat at Shea Stadium and finished his 19-year career with the Cardinals and Brewers in 1971. His son, Dick, played 14 years in the majors, mostly with the Angels. His daughter, Kim, competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in the long jump and 100 meter dash. His grandson is Jayson Werth, who won a World Series with the Phillies in 2008 and was an All-Star in 2009. Mr. Schofield, 75, serves on the Metropolitan Exposition and Auditorium Authority in his hometown of Springfield, Ill.
BOB SKINNER, OF
He won a second championship ring with the Cardinals in 1964, when he was primarily a pinch-hitter. He played the last of his 12 seasons with the Cardinals in 1966. His son, Joel, was a major league catcher and coach. He was manager of the year in 1967 in the Pacific Coast League, and he replaced Gene Mauch as manager of the Phillies in 1968. He coached for the Padres, Pirates, Angels and Braves and also managed the Tucson Toros in the Pacific Coast League before becoming a scout for the Astros. A career baseball man, he was inducted in 1976 to the San Diego Hall of Champions. Mr. Skinner, 78, lives in San Diego.
HAL SMITH, C
An unsung World Series star, he played the last of his 10 seasons with the Reds in 1964. He was the starting catcher in the first game played by the expansion Houston Colt .45s in 1962. Mr. Smith, 78, lives in Columbus, Texas.
DICK STUART, INF
He was on deck when Bill Mazeroski homered in Game 7 and played the last of his 10 big league seasons in 1969 with the Angels. Nicknamed "Dr. Strangeglove" for his defensive lapses, he once got a standing ovation for catching a hot dog wrapper floating on the breeze. With the Red Sox in 1963, he set a major league record for first basemen with 29 errors. The first player to hit 30 home runs and drive in 100 runs in both leagues, he died in 2002.
BILL VIRDON, OF
A career baseball man, he still wears a uniform as a special outfield instructor with the Pirates and just completed his 61st camp. After he ended his 12-year career with the Pirates in 1968, he managed the Pirates, Yankees, Astros and Expos, compiling a 995-921 mark. His 1972 Pirates won the NL East, he was AL manager of the year with the Yankees in 1974 and his 1980 Astros won the NL West. Mr. Virdon, 78, lives in Springfield, Mo.
GEORGE (RED) WITT, RHP
He played parts of six seasons in the majors, last appearing in 1962 with the Houston Colt .45s. He taught biology and coached baseball and tennis at Tustin High School in California. He also ran in competitive track after turning 50. Mr. Witt, 76, lives in Laguna Beach, Calif.
DANNY MURTAUGH, MANAGER
A former major league infielder, he also piloted the Pirates to a World Series title in 1971. In four different stints with the Pirates, he compiled a 1,115-950 mark. His trademark as a manager was holding court with the media from his rocking chair. In the off-season, he worked at McGovern's Men's Store in his hometown of Chester, Pa. He retired for good in 1976 and died later that year. His No. 40 was retired by the Pirates in 1977, and he is one of only 36 big league managers to win more than 1,000 games.
LENNY LEVY, COACH
A Pittsburgh native, he was a ticket taker at Forbes Field and later a bat boy before coaching in the big leagues for six seasons, the last one in 1963. He operated a car dealership and was later inducted into the Western Pennsylvania Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Died in 1993.
SAM NARRON, COACH
A former major leaguer and protégé of Branch Rickey, he served as the Pirates bullpen coach through 1964. He was the uncle of major league catcher, coach and manager Jerry Narron, and the grandfather of pitcher Sam Narron. He died in 1996.
FRANK OCEAK, COACH
He was also the third base coach when the Pirates won the 1971 World Series, and he coached for a total of 11 seasons in the big leagues. A former minor league manager, he died in Johnstown in 1983.
MICKEY VERNON, COACH
A former major leaguer who owns the record for career double plays at first base, he was the original manager of the expansion Washington Senators in 1961. He also coached for the Cardinals and Yankees and was a hitting coach in the Yankees farm system. Died in 2008.
VIRGIL (FIRE) TRUCKS, COACH
A former big league pitcher who threw two no-hitters in 1952, he also coached for the Braves and Tigers through 1974. Now 90, he resides in Calera, Ala.
JOE L. BROWN, GENERAL MANAGER
The son of actor/comedian Joe E. Brown, he was also the architect of the world champion 1971 Pirates. A shrewd trader who had a deft eye as a talent scout, he served as general manager from 1956 to 1976, then came back on an interim basis in 1985. At 92, he lives in Newport Beach, Calif.