There hardly can be a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED reader who does not know that we picked the Pirates to beat the Yankees—against the gamblers' odds and against the best advice of many readers themselves, bless 'em, who don't mind giving it. And hardly a man is now alive who doesn't know that the Pirates did that which we said they'd do.
For Pittsburgh's victory SPORTS ILLUSTRATED can take no credit. That belongs to the Pirates, along with all the cheers. But while the corks were popping last Thursday in a Forbes Field dressing room we raised a toast in our own office to Roy Terrell. In Pittsburgh at the time, he was spared a response, for which he no doubt is grateful, since he is that contradiction in terms, a modest Texan. He well deserved the toast, however. In the front line of our baseball coverage all season long, he drew a close bead on the Pirates in spring training and then kept it on them until Mazeroski drew his own on the last pitch of the season.
Here are some of the things he wrote in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED:
April 11 "The Pirates are an unusually sound defensive team, with adequate speed and sharp, line-drive hitting. They are an extremely tough club to beat in a close game. They seldom scare an opposing pitcher to death but they give hardly anything away; they hang in there and eventually they beat you."
May 30 "To play against them is torture. They protect the plate, they slice doubles into the opposite field, they bounce singles over your head off the hardest-packed infield in all baseball. And then along about the 27th inning they score a run somehow, and the ball game is over. So you go home and sleep a couple of hours and get up and have to face it all over again. It is very frustrating."
October 3 "No one should count on seeing a seventh game; the Pirates will win in six, maybe even five—no matter what the bookmakers said. The Pirates have been ignoring the odds all year."
So Terrell, one might say, was wrong. It took the Pirates seven.
Of course we reserve the right to be wrong. We only hope that most of the time we're about as wrong as Roy Terrell.
SPRING TRAINING: TERRELL WITH KUBEK