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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

John Thorn finally agrees with me: 1960 World Series game 7 is greatest game of all time.

It took him 35 years.

The Greatest Game Ever Played? Nov. ?, 2016
by John Thorn, official historian for Major League Baseball mlblogs.com

No, not Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, though in the heat of battle and the immediate glow of victory, some were quick to call it that. When I wrote Baseball’s Ten Greatest Games thirty-five years ago... I presented my picks in chronological order ... Only in an afterword did I venture to rank them in order, with the Bobby Thomson game at the top...

Today I think the third game of the 1951 National League playoff may have been toppled from its long-held perch as the Greatest Game Ever Played—not by last week’s game, despite its climax 108 years in the making, but by Game Seven of the 1960 World Series, the “Mazeroski game,” which was my second-ranked contest when I wrote the book. I offer it below, as published in 1981 and not presented to readers in any form since.


OK, it takes multiple readings to decipher that ponderous rhetoric. But apparently at long last Thorn has finally come around (maybe) to my position about the greatest game of all time.

However, Thorn does not mention the elements that distinguish the 1960 game: strike outs and time. That game is addressed in multiple posts on this blog over the years.

Mantle Myth Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New York Post writer Phil Mushnick slandered Yankee great Mickey Mantle on April 12, 2009 by describing Mickey's legendary base running play in game seven of the 1960 World Series...

Here is my comment to Mushnick:

... The rule is don't get doubled off. Make sure the line drives go through. Every coach tells that to the runner on first. Mantle made a great play. You embarrassed yourself.

1960 World Series game 7: why didn't Stengel use Duren? Friday, September 24, 2010

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! ...

... 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...

In SO% Duren has three of the nine best all time for Yankee relief pitchers.

Duren also had a drinking problem...

... 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 ...

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)...

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?

Yankee starting lineups 1960 World Series Sunday, June 17, 2012

Only game 2 was longer than three hours: 3:14. The other six games ranged from 2:29 to 2:41.

Damn Pirates: 1960 World Series Game 7 was the work of the Devil. Tuesday, June 19, 2012

... Bill Mazeroski (Has another number 8 batter ever had a WS winning hit?) homered in game one off Coates in the fourth inning of a 6-4 Pirate win. Pittsburgh did not hit another home run until game seven when three were hit. Mazeroski, of course, hit the final Pittsburgh home run in the bottom of the ninth to ostentatiously win the World Series and if you look closely at the grainy video you can see a distinct resemblance between Mazeroski and Tab Hunter who played Joe Hardy in the movie version of that Communist play "Damn Yankees", which even included actual footage of Mickey Mantle.

I rest my case.

Two hours, 36 minutes for the greatest game of all time: Pirates 10, Yankees 9. Tuesday, July 23, 2013

156 minutes divided by 9 innings = 17 minutes per inning ...

For more context, that 1960 WS game had only five walks and no strike outs.  NO STRIKE OUTS!  That's one of the reasons I consider it the greatest game of all time.  Walks and strike outs increase the number of pitches, which, of course, increases the time.

Another time factor is that Bill Mazeroski homered off Ralph Terry on the second pitch in the ninth to win the game, so the inning is abbreviated.  If we add another ten minutes we have about 18 minutes per inning.

So what happened in the last 50 years or so to increase the length of games and reduce their entertainment value?  Does it matter?  It happened.  I could excoriate the inept commissioner yet another time but all the owners are at fault.  They have let their product, entertainment, call it what you will become less interesting.  What kind of people do that?

Pitching duel or slugfest? Sunday, July 28, 2013

In order to show their baseball knowledge many baseball fans will say: pitching duel, pretending that a game with little action is preferable to a game with lots of action.  Let's consider game seven of two World Series each of which was decided by one run in the bottom of the ninth: 1960 and 2001...

Right off the slugfest has an edge: time.  Forty-four fewer minutes to score four times as many runs:
1960 8.2 minutes per run
2001 40 minutes per run

Number of pitchers, pitches, batters faced:
1960 9, 254, 77
2001 6, 267, 71

Yikes.  More pitches in the pitching duel and almost as many batters faced.

Strike outs and walks:
1960 0, 5
2001 23, 1 ...

... a bit unfair to compare a game played by Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra and one played by ...

The 1960 game ended when Ralph Terry, who had gotten the last out in the 8th inning, gave up a home run to Bill Mazeroski leading off the bottom of the 9th breaking a 9-9 tie...

The 2001 game ended when Mariano Rivera was asked to pitch a second inning, having already pitched the 8th.  Rivera retired only one batter in the 9th and that was on an unsuccessful attempt at a sacrifice bunt... The winning hit was a bloop single by Luis Gonzalez (57 homers in 609 at bats that season) over the drawn in infield...

Rivera blew both the save and the game in the same inning.  That may be the only time that ever happened in a World Series game seven.  It's certainly the biggest blown save in baseball history.  You live by the 9th inning, you die by the 9th inning.

So which game would you have preferred attending?  That should be a rhetorical question.

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