I loved the 1975 Topps MVP subset when I was a kid, and spent a lot of time poring over the images of vintage Topps cards. I’ve decided if getting all of the featured cards isn’t a realistic goal for me, that doesn’t mean I can’t get *some* of the cards.
Here’s my card from the 1975 subset, one that I’ve had for 47 years…
And here’s the card I got earlier this year:
Before I get into why Dick Groat was the NL MVP, I should mention that all 22 of the first place votes for NL MVP were divided among three Pittsburgh Pirates: 16 for Groat, 5 for 3B Don Hoak (who finished 2nd overall) and 1 for Roberto Clemente (who finished 8th).
The Pirates were not heavily favored going in to the 1960 season, having gone 78-76 (4th place, 9 GB) in 1959. They won the National League pennant with 95 wins (7.0 games ahead of the Milwaukee Braves) and would beat the Yankees in the World Series in 7 games, with Game 7 being one of the greatest games in history (which I mention even though the World Series does not factor into MVP voting).
Why was Dick Groat the 1960 NL MVP?
- Lead the NL with a .325 batting average, beating Dodger Norm Larker on the last day of the season. A National League shortstop would not lead the league in batting again until Hanley Ramirez in 2009
- Lead the Majors with 154 singles and was third in the NL with 186 hits
- Went 6-for-6 in a May 13 game against Milwaukee; he had 3 singles, 3 doubles, 2 runs and also had two hits in the Pirates’ 8-run 7th inning
Overall I presume that this was a matter of “You have to see him play every day”, because everything I found on Groat’s 1960 MVP season boiled down to “He was a flashy shortstop who got a lot of hits”, and while that’s impressive it doesn’t in and of itself say “MVP!”
Before I go, I’ll mention that Groat was a basketball All-American at Duke University and went from Duke to the Pirates without ever playing in the minor leagues.