1960 miracle team ... Why couldn't they keep winning?
Not a Pirates fan here, but I was just looking at standings from the 60s. Why was it that the Pirates were not able to keep winning after that stunning year? No team in the National League seemed that dominant in those years... All kind of trading places were the Reds, Dodgers, Phillies, Cardinals, Giants ...
Thanks for any ideas you have
The 1960 Pirates were a good team that caught lightning in a bottle. I listened to or saw almost every game they played in 60, and attended several games. They had one of those miraculous seasons that seem to come along once a decade or so. They won many games in the 9th inning after trailing earlier. I don't remember the number, but they had an amazing number of comeback wins- well over 20, I believe. None of this is meant to demean that team- it was good. They played good defense- except for Stuart. They had extremely timely hitting. And they pitched well.
The timing was also good for the 60 Bucs. The Dodgers, 59 champs, were in transition, moving away from the great core of players from the 50s and had not yet become the pitching powerhouse of the 60s. The Braves were still outstanding, but they were beginning to age at key positions. And the Giants were a couple of years away from realizing their potential.
As to why the Pirates didn't continue to win:
1. They weren't exceptional to begin with, just a good team that did everything right in 1960, so it was unreasonable to assume similar performance in the years to come.
2. Some of their key players were aging, and didn't repeat 1960 levels. Hal Smith, Rocky Nelson, Wilmer Mizell come immediately to mind.
3. Some of their young pitching talent didn't develop as hoped- Joe Gibbon, Fred Green, Earl Francis come to mind.
4. Very critically, Vernon Law injured his arm in the 60 World Series and was ineffective for the next 3 seasons. This put a huge dent in the Pirates' rotation.
5. A next generation of Pirates stars wasn't ready to contribute until a number of years later- Stargell, Veale, Blass, Alley- so the teams of the early 60s had too many holes.