Dick Groat Passes Away


Former National League MVP and eight-time All-Star Dick Groat has passed away at the age of 92, the Pirates announced this morning.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of such a beloved member of the Pirates family and Pittsburgh community,” Pirates owner Bob Nutting said in a statement announcing the news. “The National League MVP and World Series Champion in 1960, Dick remained a very active and cherished member of our Alumni Association. We were honored to have just recently informed Dick and his family that he had been selected to the Pirates Hall of Fame. He was a great player and an even better person. Our thoughts go out to his three daughters, eleven grandchildren and the entire Groat family. His was a life well lived. He will be missed.”

A Pittsburgh-area native and one of the best two-sport athletes ever, Groat not only played in MLB but also had a brief stint in the NBA on the heels of a historic basketball career at Duke University, where his number is retired. Groat was the third overall pick in the 1952 NBA draft but wound up playing in just one season after enlisting in the Army and focusing on his baseball career following his discharge.

Groat jumped right from his career at Duke into Major League Baseball, bypassing the minor leagues entirely. He batted .284/.319/.313 and finished third in 1952 NL Rookie of the Year voting before the previously mentioned two years of military service. Upon returning in 1955, he posted similar numbers for his next two seasons and took a step forward in 1957, the first of four seasons in which Groat would receive MVP votes.

From 1957-64, Groat batted a combined .299/.340/.393, regularly making the All-Star team along the way and four times garnering some level of MVP consideration. That includes a 1960 season in which he won a batting title and batted .325/.371/.394 on his way to being named the National League MVP. He also finished as the MVP runner-up to Sandy Koufax in 1963 — Groat’s first season with the Cardinals after being sent to St. Louis in a trade that brought pitcher Don Cardwell and infielder Julio Gotay back to Pittsburgh.

In all, Groat played in parts of 14 Major League seasons: nine with the Pirates, three with the Cardinals, two with the Phillies and one partial season with the Giants. He retired as a lifetime .286/.330/.366 batter with 2138 hits, 39 home runs, 352 doubles, 67 triples, 829 runs scored and 707 runs batted in. He won World Series rings with the Pirates in 1960 and with the Cardinals in 1964, helping both clubs topple the Yankees in the Fall Classic.

Following his playing days, Groat spent 40 years as a broadcaster for the University of Pittsburgh’s men’s basketball team, further endearing himself to hometown fans and further establishing his legacy in his native city’s sporting lore.

Groat will be remembered as one of the greatest two-sport talents we’ve ever seen, a World Series champion in both Pittsburgh and St. Louis, and a beloved broadcaster in his hometown. We at MLBTR extend our condolences to his family, friends, loved ones and the countless fans he accumulated over the course of a remarkable career.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login