On October 13, 1960, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Yankees played what is probably the most dramatic game in baseball history. Like one of those retro-ballparks, this game combined, in a World Series Game 7, key elements of past and future classics – the crucial bad hop grounder (1924, Game 7), the walk-off series ending home run (1951, NL playoff; 1993, Game 6), and the wild lead changes (1993, Game 4).
Given the starting pitchers, a back-and-forth slugfest did not seem to be in the offing. The Pirates went with Vern Law, probably the best pitcher in the National League that year, who had already won Games 1 and 4. Law was suffering from an ankle injury, but Danny Murtaugh had a rested Elroy Face to close out the game if necessary. He also had two quality left-handers available – Wilmer Mizell and Harvey Haddix.
Casey Stengel had at his disposal a rested Bob Turley, one of the best pitchers of the late 1950s and the winner of Game 7 in 1958. Using Turley seemed like a no-brainer, but Stengel didn’t commit to him until the right-hander arrived at Forbes Field on game day and found a fresh new ball in his locker. Said Turley: “Sure, I had an idea I would be it, but you never can tell with Casey.”
Behind Turley, Stengel had his entire pitching staff except for the man he could have used the most — Whitey Ford, who had pitched nine innings the day before. Had Stengel not waited until Game 3 to start Ford, the great lefty presumably would have been available for Game 7, had such a Series gone that far.
Stengel would use his bullpen freely. So would Murtaugh. Nine pitchers appeared on the day, in an era when managers did not change pitchers at the drop of a hat. Only once since 1947 had this many pitchers been used in a World Series game. The nine – Turley, Bill Stafford, Bobby Shantz, Jim Coates, Ralph Terry, Law, Face, Bob Friend, and Haddix — combined for 1012 career wins. But not one of them would be truly effective in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series [note: this statement is clearly unfair to Shantz, who pitched brilliantly as we will see].
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