Obituary: George 'Red' Witt / Relief pitcher was part of Pirates' '60 title run
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"There's a drive into deep left field, look out now ... that ball is going, going, gone! And the World Series is over!" announcer Mel Allen shouted on NBC TV, calling the final game of the 1960 World Series. "Mazeroski hits it over the left field fence, and the Pirates win it 10--9 and win the World Series!"
But it took a team to put Maz in position to swing at that 1-0 pitch, and George "Red" Witt was a part of it, tossing 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief in three of those World Series games. A longtime resident of Laguna Beach, Calif., Mr. Witt died of cancer Jan. 30. He was 79.
After graduating from high school in California, Mr. Witt was signed as an amateur free agent by the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Korean War threw his baseball career a curve, and he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Following his service, Mr. Witt was picked up by the Pirates in 1954. His major league debut as a late-year call-up was Sept. 21, 1957.
Mr. Witt pitched for the team from 1957 to 1961, said Dan Hart, manager of media relations for the Pirates. He won a career-high nine games in 1958 with the Pirates.
During the 1960 regular season, Mr. Witt posted a 1-2 record with a 4.20 ERA in 10 games, including six starts. He appeared in three World Series games against the Yankees without allowing a run.
Throughout his career, Mr. Witt went 11-16 with a 4.32 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 66 games, including 38 starts playing for Pittsburgh, Houston and the American League Los Angeles Angels.
"We are saddened to hear of the passing of George Witt," said Pirates spokesman Brian Warecki. "As [a] member of the 1960 Pirates World Series Championship team, George was a great baseball man and teammate. He will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers of comfort go out to his family and loved ones."
After baseball, Mr. Witt earned a master's degree at California State University, Long Beach, and taught at Tustin High School, Tustin, Calif. On retirement he explored his love of singing, performing with South Coast Singers, the InSpirit Church Gratitude Choir and the San Clemente Choral Society.
Mr. Witt is survived by his wife of 42 years, Ellen, and children, Linda Webb and Mike Witt, as well as grandchildren and great grandchildren. Donations in Mr. Witt's memory may be made to The Humane Society of the United States.
First Published February 7, 2013 12:00 am