Shortstop Dick Groat was in the right place at the right time with the Pirates. As the team was building up toward something special, he put together a great year in 1960 and helped the team win a championship. The season was strong enough to earn him the National League MVP award and a batting title with an average of .325.
A military man like pitcher Vern Law, who as you know won the Cy Young in 1960 with the Pirates, Groat began his career in 1952 and stayed with the Pirates through 1962. He was a three-time All-Star with Pittsburgh and a lifetime .290/.329/.370 hitter.
One thing Groat never did accomplish in his MLB career was a Gold Glove victory. He had a positive WAR each year of his career while in Pittsburgh. However, without these advanced metrics back in the 1950s and 1960s, voters likely looked at the high error totals and passed on him.
Groat’s 1,435 hits are 15th all-time in Pirates history. He was the second MVP winner in franchise history following a drought which lasted over 30 years.
The light-hitting shortstop didn’t have a particularly strong World Series in 1960, as he hit just .214/.214/.286 in the seven games. Still, anyone who can win the league’s MVP for the eventual World Series winner definitely had an impact even with his presence alone.
Groat never had any monster years for the Pirates. He was more of a consistent hitter and fielder of the era. A true throwback to an earlier era, he’s worthy of a spot on this list.