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Friday, September 24, 2010

1960 World Series game 7: why didn't Stengel use Duren?

Despite my Yankees losing, I have long thought that this is the greatest game of all time given its importance, the high score, dramatic ending, constant shifting of fortunes, quickness of play (2 hours 36 minutes) for so much action AND ... there were NO strike outs! Pure action!

I am not one of those baseball fans who pathologically looks for some little event to blame my team's loss on a managerial decision. You know, like Confederate States of America supporters and post World War I Germans who blame their defeats on their generals.

However, I am curious about something. 1960 World Series game 7: why didn't Yankee manager Casey Stengel use relief specialist Ryne Duren?

Who was Ryne Duren?

Duren led the Yankees in relief appearances in 1958 and 1959 and was second by one in 1960. His innings were 75, 76, 49. His SO%: 38.3, 41.7, 45.6. For reasons that remain unknown Duren did not even warm up in the famous game seven of the 1960 WS. By spring 1961 Duren was gone and so was Stengel. After pitching in four games Duren was traded by the Yankees at age 32 May 8, 1961 with Johnny James and Lee Thomas to the Los Angeles Angels for Bob Cerv and Tex Clevenger. Only one Yankee relief pitcher ever exceeded Duren's 1960 SO%: Edwar Ramirez in 2007 - 49.2 SO%. Mariano Rivera's best: 1996 when he pitched his most innings (107) ... as a setup man - 40.2 SO%. In SO% Duren has three of the nine best all time for Yankee relief pitchers.

Duren also had a drinking problem.


In 1983, Duren was presented with the Yankee Family Award for his conquering alcoholism, and for service as an alcohol abuse educator.

So why ask this question now?


Published: September 23, 2010

a near pristine black-and-white reel of the entire television broadcast of the deciding game of the 1960 World Series — long believed to be lost forever — came to rest in the dry and cool wine cellar of Bing Crosby’s home ... unseen on TV since its original broadcast

he hired a company to record Game 7 by kinescope, an early relative of the DVR, filming off a television monitor. The five-reel set, found in December in Crosby’s home, is the only known complete copy of the game

Great games like Game 7 in 1960 are often recalled with just a few newsreel clips ... Game 7, called by the Yankees’ Mel Allen and the Pirates’ Bob Prince — the complete NBC broadcast.

an agreement allowing the MLB Network to televise the game in December, and to wrap interviews and other programming around it, with Bob Costas as the host. M.L.B. also plans to sell DVDs of the game.


I would much prefer that the game be shown as is but I'll take what I can get. I can only hope that Bob Costas reads this and does more than his usual sloppy job of repeating myths and mistakes. For instance, I expect Costas to mention that the Yanks could have won the WS if Stengel had started Whitey Ford in games 1, 4, 7. WRONG. I debunked that years ago. Bob, read the 1960 part of this: World Series.

But what of Duren? Was he fit to pitch? If not, why not? As far as I know Duren has never been asked that question. Nor have his teammates who drone on about the Ford myth. Duren was born February 22, 1929. He'll be almost 82 when this game is shown for the second time. Given his age and alcohol abuse, Costas should get to him ASAP.

In the 1960 WS Duren pitched in two games: 4 innings, 2 hits, one run (earned), 2.25 ERA, 1 BB, 5 SO. Duren had thrown only 49 innings (67 SO) in the regular season.

Wednesday, October 5, 1960 at Forbes Field game one Duren pitched the 7th and 8th innings in a 6-4 Pirate win. One HBP, one BB (Hoak caught stealing), one SO, no runs. The score was 6-2 Pirates when he entered. Yanks scored two in the top of the ninth. Duren faced seven batters:

Skinner HBP
Stuart SO
Clemente Foul Flyball: 2B
Burgess Groundout: 2B-1B

Hoak BB
Mazeroski Foul Flyball: 1B
Face (pitcher) Hoak Caught Stealing 2B (C-SS); Groundout: P-1B

Not bad. Got a little help. Faced only lefty: Burgess.

Monday, October 10, 1960 at Yankee Stadium game five Duren pitched the 8th and 9th innings in a 5-2 Pirate win. Two hits, one run (earned), 4 SO. The score was 4-2 Pirates when he entered. Duren faced eight batters:

Clemente SO
Stuart Flyball: LF
Cimoli SO looking

Burgess Single to LF; Burgess to 2B/Adv on E7; Christopher pinch runs for Smoky Burgess
Hoak Wild Pitch; Christopher to 3B; Single to CF; Christopher Scores
Mazeroski SO
Face (pitcher) SO
Virdon Groundout: P-1B

Somewhat of an adventure but not terrible.

Which brings us to game 7 played Thursday, October 13, 1960. Remember, game 6, played the previous afternoon, was Ford's second complete game shutout, so all the other pitchers were well rested. So who did Stengel use in game 7?

pitcher innings runs (all earned)
Turley 1 3
Stafford 1 1
Shantz 5 3
Coates .66 2
Terry .33 1

Bobby Shantz actually pitched well, however, Stengel left him in too long. More grist for the pathological second guessers.

The Yankees scored two runs in the top of the 8th off Face, who was pitching in his third inning, to extend their lead to 7-4. Stengel let Shantz make the final out with runners on second and third following Clete Boyer's double. Boyer was such a light hitter that Stengel had humiliated him by having Dale Long PH for Boyer in what would have been Boyer's first WS PA: second inning, game one. Long made out.

In the bottom of the 7th Shantz was a little rocky: single, line out LF, Ground Ball Double Play: SS-2B-1B.

In the top of the 7th Shantz singled to LF (Ground Ball) off Face.

Did Stengel think that Shantz would get another hit?

Did Stengel think that Shantz was pitching so well that he dare not remove Shantz?

Either way it was a fatal mistake. All hell broke loose in the bottom of the 8th. Shantz allowed singles to Cimoli, Virdon and Groat. Virdon's was the infamous DP grounder that bounced up and hit SS Tony Kubek in the throat causing Kubek to leave the game. Jim Coates (18 starts, 17 relief) replaced Shantz with one run in, two runners on, Yanks leading 7-5.

Skinner sac runners to second and third
Nelson Flyball: RF

Clemente Single to 1B (Coates failed to cover first as he and Skowron both went for the slow roller) (Ground Ball); Virdon Scores; Groat to 3B; 7-6 Yanks

Hal Smith Home Run (Deep LF); Groat Scores; Clemente Scores; 9-7 Pirates

Most people think Ralph Terry entered the game to start the ninth inning. However, Terry replaced Coates and retired Hoak to end the 8th: Flyball: LF. In 1960 Terry had started 23 games and relieved in 12.

Stengel could have used Duren instead of Coates. Duren couldn't have done much worse. Stengel could also have used Arroyo (no starts, 23 relief), Mass (1, 34), both relief specialists. He could have also used starter Ditmar (28, 6).

1960 WS games, ERA:

Arroyo 1 13.50
Ditmar 2 21.60
Duren 2 2.25
Maas 1 4.50
Terry one start: lost game 4 Sunday, October 9, 1960 at Yankee Stadium; 6.33 innings, 3 runs (earned); first four innings - no runs

Coates pitched in two games before game 7.

Game one: relieved Ditmar in first inning, Yanks down 3-1, retired both batters: Burgess, Hoak; 3.33 innings, 2 ER, one HR: B Mazeroski (1, off J Coates; 4th inn, 1 on, 1 out to Deep LF)

Game four: pitched 8th and 9th; one hit, no runs.

Hall Smith had 8 AB in three games. None against Coates before game 7. In 1960 Smith had 11 HR in 286 AB, all against starters (off righties 4 in 128 AB; off lefties 7 in 130 AB); slugged .508, career best. Prior to game 7 Smith played catcher and batted only against Ford:

game 3: 0 for 3; DP
game 6: 2 for 4

Smith against Ford the previous day:

single LF
single CF
Groundout: SS-2B/Forceout at 2B
Ground Ball Double Play: 3B-2B-1B to end the game

When a team gives up 10 runs on 24 outs it's silly to blame one play or one player. Could Duren have helped the Yankees win? Who knows? But I want to know if Duren was an option.

Was Ryne Duren fit to pitch in game seven of the 1960 World Series?

1 comment:

triv said...

I read an article by Bob Turley who talked about leaving Shantz a little too long because he was pitching in pain. In that 8th inning, they had Bob Cerv and Dale Long ready to hit. However, almost hit a 2 run single with a chopper above Hoak's head but it was just foul. I think Yogi's comment is dead on: "We made too many wrong mistakes."