Wednesday, April 16, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Magical 1960 Pirates’ season chronicled by Davis man’s new book

Local author Clifton Blue Parker talks about his book "Sweet '60" which chronicles the Pittsburgh Pirates' magical 1960 season. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

If you’ve been around awhile, you know exactly were you were when Kennedy was shot in 1963 or the moment man landed on the moon in the summer of 1969.

But if you’re a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, 3:38 p.m. on Oct. 13, 1960 is every bit as significant as any historical date one might encounter.

With apologies to Neil Armstrong, when Bill Mazeroski smacked Ralph Terry’s slider high over the left-field wall at Forbes Field, the Pirates had won Game 7 in David-and-Goliath fashion — capturing a World Series in which the losing New York Yankees had outscored the champs, 55-27.

Now, thanks to Davis author Clifton Blue Parker (and a cadre of Society for American Baseball Research fanatics), that colorful Bucs season has been chronicled in an easy-read, profile- and statistics-packed book “Sweet ’60.”

“I came up with the idea about a year and a half ago,” Parker told The Enterprise. “My grandfather, George F. Reynolds, nurtured my childhood love of the Pirates growing up in Pittsburgh.”

In the 1960s and ’70s, Parker played pick-up baseball, worked at batting cages and cut lawns before wrestling in high school and playing rugby in college (Penn State). He earned a political science degree at Pitt before studying journalism at the University of Florida.

Parker, who writes and edits for various UC Davis publications, has written several critically received baseball books: “Big and Little Poison: Paul and Lloyd Waner, Baseball Brothers,” “Bucketfoot Al: the Baseball Life of Al Simmons” and “Fouled Away: the Baseball Tragedy of Hack Wilson.”

But “Sweet ‘60” is different. It’s less a narrative, more a series of vignettes that taken collectively ties together a story that sees the Pirates rise from the ashes of a woeful run in the early 1950s to stun the prideful Yankees in one of the strangest Fall Classics on record.

Colorful owner John Galbreath is profiled, showing how his partnership with Bing Crosby, Branch Rickey and others navigated the Pirates through choppy water after World War II through the big series win.

Parker collaborated with 44 SABR writers and editors to provide short stories on each of the players, coaches and key personnel — including Hall of Fame announcer Bob Prince — that added to the drama that culminated in Mazeroski’s big fly.

The 10-9 Pirates win remains the only Game 7 to feature a walk-off homer in World Series history.

It also is the only game in series history in which not a single batter struck out.

Names of Pirates on the field that year — save Roberto Clemente — don’t roll off the tongue: Hoak, Mejias, Francis, Daniels, King.

But the saga leading up to the Fall Classic and the series itself is traced in a day-by-day account from Parker, and in those reports you’ll find the superstars … Berra, Musial, Ford, Mantle, Aaron and the like.

Parker lives in Davis. He has daughters Rhiannon, 11, and Caitlin, 8. Parker moved west in 1993 after stints as a newspaper reporter in Florida, a Congressional press secretary in Washington, D.C. and a copywriter.

His love for the Pirates never diminished, but his allegiances have evolved:

“I’m a National League fan — no DHs, please — so over time I started following the Giants,” the now-Northern Californian explains. “My baseball heart is big enough for a few favorite teams, but the Pirates are the deepest existentially, going all the way back to childhood, so if ever the two should meet in the playoffs, I’d root for the Pirates, of course.”

On “Sweet ’60,” Parker wrote parts and was charged with editing a lion’s share. The unique part about the book is that work sessions between contributors were handled via email or on the phone. Few of the contributors actually met.

When family and work responsibilities required more and more of Parker’s time, the end of the project was handled by Bill Nowlin.

“In the middle of 2011, Clifton had to relinquish his position as chief editor.” Nowlin says in a published introduction for “Sweet ’60.” “But he got it underway and I was glad to come on in long relief and close out the book.”

Notes: Available at Amazon.com, hard copies of the work are also available through the SABR online bookstore (www.SABR.org). … Meanwhile, Parker is on to the next project featuring Pirates and Brooklyn shortstop and Hall of Famer Arky Vaughn (who died in 1952 at age 40 in a boating accident). … In that 1960 World Series, the Yankees were a prohibitive favorite and — in 16-3, 12-0 and 10-0 victories — displayed their wherewithal. But Pittsburgh scrambled and won 6-4, 5-2 and 3-2 decisions before Mazeroski’s lightning won the finale, 10-9. … For baseball table-game purists who might be looking for opponents, Parker is a die-hard Strat-O-Matic fan.

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at bgallaudet@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8047.

Bruce Gallaudet

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Frank, Peterman, Davis Bicycles! get us from here to there

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Local professor subdues unruly man on flight

    By Adrian Glass-Moore | From Page: A3

     
    Family fiction in miniature showcased at bookstore event

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Meditation, Buddhism classes offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Seniors can get tips for getting around town

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    School has garden plots for rent

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Sugar overload, on ‘Davisville’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Rotarians, students, teachers, parents collaborate on planter boxes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Yolo Crisis Nursery is in crisis; please help

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Check out the night sky

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Hop to it: Easter Bunny meets Davis history tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Garden doctor: Veggie gardening available year-round

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Animal expert explains dogs’ thinking

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Are we there yet?: Self-reflections of a would-be stage mom

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A8Comments are off for this post

    .

    Forum

    Still supporting this guy

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Urban forest under siege

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Drought care for our trees

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    UCD staff allows 19 hits in Causeway rout

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS softball struggles in nonleague outing

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils open Boras Classic by splitting games

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
     
    JV/frosh roundup: DHS sweeps a trio of baseball games

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Baseball roundup: River Cats get by Grizzlies at Raley

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    Giants beat L.A. in 12

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Sports briefs: Stanford sends Aggies home with a lacrosse loss

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

     
    .

    Arts

    Craft Center exhibit explores ‘Possibilities’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    RootStock to host wine themed plein aire exhibit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    The California Honeydrops to bring danceable groove to The Palms

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    See Flower Power exhibit at Gallery 625

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Red Union Blue inks record deal

    By Landon Christensen | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6