ANALYSIS OF THE PIRATES
Over-all defense, first-line pitching, balanced hitting—all these the Pirates have. The infield of Don Hoak on third, Dick Groat at short. Bill Mazeroski at second (with either Dick Stuart or Rocky Nelson at first) is most effective defensive and offensive unit. Most Valuable Player Groat makes up for a lack of range by an inordinate ability to be in the right place; Mazeroski is the best in the business at second. The first-line outfield, with Skinner, Virdon and Clemente, is a first-rate defensive unit, too. And both the Pirate catchers—Smoky Burgess and Hal Smith—are adequate behind the plate. The Pirate pitching punch is contained primarily in Bob Friend and Vernon Law, who won 38 games last season. Vinegar Bend Mizell, obtained from St. Louis in midseason, won 14 games, may win more this year. The Pittsburgh relief pitchers—ElRoy Face, Clem Labine and the newly acquired Bobby Shantz—are probably the best trio in the league. The Pirate attack has been based on the line drive, an effective weapon in Forbes Field, and the Pirates are well equipped in line-drive hitters, with Groat, Clemente, Burgess, Hoak, et al.
Power hitting, second-line pitching. Only Stuart (23 homers, 83 RBIs) shows consistent power. Behind Friend, Law and Mizell, the pitching is not dependable—as witness the World Series—although Manager Danny Murtaugh says it will suffice: "Only change I'd make on this club would be to add a power-hitting outfielder."
THE BIG IFS
There are very few ifs on the Pirates. This is a sound club, rightfully confident of its ability to retain its championship. Only considerable questions are whether Groat, who hit 39 points above his lifetime average last year, can maintain pace, and whether pitchers like Harvey Haddix, Joe Gibbon, Fred Green will contribute a fair number of victories.
ROOKIES AND NEW FACES
Bobby Shantz, acquired as left-handed relief pitcher to supplement Face and Labine, is the only new face that will appear often in the Pirate lineup. Shantz was obtained in a trade with the new Washington entry in the American League after the Yankees had placed him on their available list. A short-haul relief pitcher, he had an irritating sore arm in training but appeared in 42 games for the Yanks last year, and had an ERA of 2.78.
Buoyed by a champion's esprit de corps and confidence, Pirates will be one-two.
'I WATCH MY DIET. NO FRIES.'
"This is where it hurts. I had a very bad winter." The speaker was Pirate Right Fielder Roberto Clemente, and he was pointing to his stomach, rubbing it gently.
"Something off with my diet. I eat the wrong food or too much food or not enough food. I don't know. Doctors don't know," he said.
"I feel very bad at the World Series. That's why I did not do so well." When reminded he hit .310 in the World Series, Clemente said: "Yes, but I not hit with power."
After an agonizing winter the stomach pains went away as mysteriously as they came.
"Now I feel good, real good. I still watch my diet. No fries. I am healthy. This year I play much better."
There is much of Christmas at the batting cage of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Great expectations and happy faces, the rapport of children with the latest in mechanical toys.
Before a game the hitters are at play. There are cutting remarks and biting comment. Third Baseman Don Hoak, voted the second most valuable player in the National League last year and a ballplayer who lives the cliché, "Once a marine, always a marine," leads his gang of playmates in the assault.
He shouts: "Pitchers aren't athletes. That's why they can't hit." And Pitcher Bob Friend lines a practice hit. Hoak smiles
"C'mon, fat boy, get out of there and let a man hit," Hoak yells. So Bill Mazeroski tries a little harder.
"Let's go, meathead," Hoak says. Dick Groat slugs a line drive into the right-field corner. In an aside, Hoak says to Pitcher Clem Labine, "He's ready."
He bellows again. Bob Skinner smiles and pops to third. "Home run in Yankee Stadium," Hoak says.
There are small scuffles at the cage, and hitters cheat when they count swings. Dick Stuart says he lost four home runs when Labine joined the club, and Hal Smith tells Stuart to shut up and hit.
For players, baseball is a business in which they make money, feed families, build homes, gain fame. The Pittsburgh Pirates do that. They also play at baseball. The batting cage is their toy. The fun didn't stop last year until Bill Mazeroski hit a home run. It's started up all over again.
"The big difference between our club and the others." Dick Groat said, "is that we go over plays a thousand times so that we get instinctive reactions. Once you stop and think out there, you're dead. When the ball comes off the bat, you have to make your move all at once. You can't go through a reasoning process. You can't say to yourself, 'The guy on first has a hell of a lot of speed, so maybe I can't get the throw over to second in time for the double play, I better get one out at first.' By the time you get through figuring all of that out, they're safe all around.
"I read stories about how lucky we were last year. You make your luck. You don't blow a play in the first few innings, and then get a run handed to you late in the game. My bet is that we made fewer mistakes than other clubs in the league did. We didn't have unnecessary runs to get back in the late innings that we gave away in the early ones."
THE FRONT OFFICE
Dynamic John W. Galbreath, 63, realtor, horse owner and Pirates' president, was smacked in the face last year with a cup of beer during the clubhouse frolic after Bill Mazeroski's winning homer. Said millionaire Galbreath: "Except for Maz, I'm the wettest and happiest man in here." Buc boss since 1946, Galbreath is a rabid fan, sits in private rooftop box, suffers visibly at losses and leaves running of club to able, affable General Manager Joe Leroy Brown, son of Comedian Joe E. Named for a juggling partner of his father, Joe started under Branch Rickey, moved up, took over in 1955, made good trades, brought Pittsburgh first pennant in 33 years. The efficient farm system has been reduced in recent years from 14 to seven clubs as Pirates focused attention on high-quality prospects only.
THE BALL PARK
For the first time since 1926, world championship banner will decorate flagpole at Forbes Field (35,169 capacity) in city's Oakland district, three miles east of downtown. Nestled among trees of Schenley Park and buildings of U. of Pittsburgh, field is best reached by trolley (15 minutes from downtown) or bus. Parking is limited, inconvenient and costly ($1 to $2 and sometimes as high as $3 to $5). Refreshment stands adequate for small crowds, jammed at sellouts. Pittsburgh specialty: soft drink called lemon blend. Also available: pizza (75¢ and $1.25) and fish sandwiches. No beer sold, but fans bring their own with bag lunches from home. Posts obstruct view from some seats, especially along right-field line. Ushers are capable, expect tips. No ads on outfield walls. Special problem: pigeons that park on girders under the roof.
1960 TEAM PERFORMANCE
1960 INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES
RUNS BATTED IN