Game 4: Confidence Brought Us Big Victory Over Yankees
OCT. 9, 1960 - YANKEE STADIUM
October 13, 2010 4:00 AM
By Don Hoak Pirate Third Baseman
NEW YORK, Oct. 9 -- Believe it or don't, we had confidence when we walked out on that field today -- we had confidence because we knew we had one helluva pitcher going for us.
Vern Law is a real pro. Yessir, the Deacon put religion in the Yanks today.
I talked so much on that mound today it's a wonder the Deacon didn't chase me.
In the first inning, when Bob Cerv led off with a single off the Deacon and Tony Kubek moved him to third with a double, I imagine everybody watching TV was saying, "Here we go again. Another romp for the Yanks." But I wasn't worried and that's the honest truth.
I've often seen the Deacon in trouble early. After all, that's when the other team has its best hitters up -- in the first or second inning. But the secret of the Deacon's success is that he knows how to get tough in trouble.
I walked over to him after Kubek, the No. 2 hitter, belted that first inning double and I said: "Deacon, we've been pitching that Kubek wrong. The reports on him are wrong. Let's pitch him up and away instead of down and away."
The Deacon agreed.
Kubek, who had gone into today's game with seven hits in 14 trips, didn't get another hit all day.
When the Deacon was warming up for the second inning, I said to him:
"You got out of a bad inning without giving up a run. You got your stuff today, Deacon. Don't let any of these guys get on. Pitch a shutout."
The Deacon just nodded. He's a quiet guy but tough.
In the fifth inning, after we'd gone ahead, 3-1, that little squirt Bobby Richardson led with another hit -- a single -- and Ralph Terry, their pitcher, came up. He tried to bunt but got two strikes on him, so I walked over and told the Deacon:
"I don't know whether this guy's still buntin' but make him hit something into the dirt. Pitch him low."
The Deacon probably needs my advice like a hole in the head, but he sure does cooperate with me. He threw Terry a low slider. Terry did try to bunt it but struck out.
As you know, the Deacon tired and we had to bring in Elroy in the seventh inning with the score 3-2 and Yankee runners on first and second. Only one out. "Pitch like you pitched all year and we'll win it, 3-2," I told Elroy.
He didn't bat an eye. I was just talking to hear the sound of my own voice. That Elroy has no blood in him. He's all marble.
For myself, I'm happy I was able to turn in two satisfying plays in the field. In the ninth inning, when I backhanded Moose Skowron's hard shot and threw him out, it was just one of those instinctive plays -- nothing you can really say about it.
The play that was tricky was that double play ball that got us out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning. If you recall, Yogi Berra hit a little rubber that took its time rolling down to me at third.
The ball was twisting toward the bag. It had English on it.
I said to myself, "if I charge it, I'll have to make the double play second-to-first but I won't have a chance in the world because that runner's almost into second already."
So I had to wait, and it seemed like a year till the ball came to me. I stepped on third and threw to first for the double play. The whole play seemed like it took an hour.
Well, now that we've won a game here, we know the series will be going back to Pittsburgh. That puts a new light on the series, wouldn't you say? We're in great shape now.
Personally, I'm in great shape. My inflamed prostate is all cleared up and I feel fine. I'll feel still better when they hand me that winning check.
-- Story reprinted from the Post-Gazette, Mon., Oct. 10, 1960.