Pittsburgh Pirates Legend Dick Groat Retiring From Sports

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

There once was a Pittsburgh Pirates player who was a two-sport athlete that played both baseball and basketball.  He is officially retiring from sports.

Many years ago, the Pittsburgh Pirates had a player by the name of Dick Groat.  Groat was born in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania in 1930.  He went on to star as a two-sport athlete who went on to be one of Pittsburgh most beloved sports icons.  Groat first went to Duke University from the years 1949-1952.

At Duke, Groat starred on both their basketball team and their baseball team.  While he will always be known better for his baseball career, Groat also had a really nice college basketball career.  For Duke basketball, Groat became a two-time All-American coming in the 1951 and 1952 seasons.  His best season came in 1952 when he set the NCAA record for points scored and took home the National Player of the Year award.  After his time was up on the hardwood, Duke retired Dick Groat’s number 10.

Groat went on to be the third overall pick in the 1952 NBA Draft by the Fort Wayne Pistons.  He ended up playing just three seasons of basketball, averaging about 12 points per game.  However, he eventually stepped away from basketball because his professional baseball career was taking off.

The Pittsburgh native got the opportunity to also play baseball.  He signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1952 and went on to play 14 seasons in the MLB.  He was primarily a shortstop, but also played some third base in his career.  Groat’s first nine years in Major League Baseball were spent with his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates, and he made quite the career with them. He spent his last three years with the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies before retiring.,

All in all, Groat had a strong career slash line of .286/.330/.366 with 2138 hits.  Groat’s numbers could have been even more impressive, but he missed the 1953 and 1954 season due to military service.  His best year with the Pittsburgh Pirates was one of the best years for the franchise.

During the 1960 season, Groat was paired with Hall of Fame second baseman Bill Mazeroski, creating one of the best double-play tandems of all time.  Of course, 1960 is most noted for the Pittsburgh Pirates beating the New York Yankees in the World Series.  However, Groat also brought home the National League Most Valuable Player.  Groat hit .325/.371/.394 with 32 extra base hits, including 26 doubles, four triples, and two home runs.  The shortstop was a three-time all-star with the Bucs and a five-time one in his career.

The reason that Dick Groat is being talked about right now is that the former Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop and Pittsburgh native is stepping away from sports for the first time since he served in the military.  Groat has become a Pittsburgh icon not only for his time spent on the field, but also his career off of it.  For the last 40 years, Groat has called the University of Pittsburgh’s college basketball games.  He announced a few days ago that he would not be returning for year 41 next year.

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Dick Groat is considered to be one of the greatest athletes of all time.  He was a two-sport star who was a top NBA draft pick, a baseball MVP, and a World Series champion.  He spent a good chunk of his life dedicating his time to Pittsburgh, being a role model in the community and becoming one of the great basketball commentators.  Dick Groat has spent nearly 70 of his 88 years of living in sports, his retirement is well deserved.