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.
man what a name, dick groat
rest in peace legend
I still have his baseball card. I think he’s wearing a Cardinals uniform. It’s so great when a player finishes his career with a world series ring (s). That’s the ultimate.
Forever Giant! R.I.P. MVP.
He played exactly 34 of his 1,929 MLB games for the Giants. Not notable and barely noticeable.
Sarcasm is sarcastic.
That dude always misses the joke. And he wants to be a know it all.
A swing and a miss (which you did) is still a whiff.
Just having fun with the Forever Giant group. Too bad you didn’t get it. Looks like I hit a home run!
In your world, maybe.
Get help. Soon.
We should be watching/listening to baseball instead of this. #ForeverGiantJim. FTW.
We should avoid telling others what to do. Feel free to go do something though. Bye.
Maybe for you, but apparently not to Giant Jim.¯\_(ツ)_/¯
A legend .Also referenced in a great Curb Your Enthusiasm episode.
I don’t recall that one-but can imagine where Larry and Jeff would go with it.
Should be in the mlb HOF. He was a great player
For Love of the Game
No. Dick Groat with a career 0.696 OPS and OPS+ of 89 or Rocky Colavito at 0.848 and 132? Same era, Colavito hands down. Lou Whitaker? 0.789 and 117. Sure Groat was a shortstop, and a fine one, but modest offense especially when compared to great players who are also not in the Hall.
Groat was only a number of players to be inducted into both College Basketball and Baseball HOF and played in both MLB and NBA
He might not have been the player of Lou Whitaker but his credentials speak for themselves
He got recognition for those things. MLB HoF is just that…for his MLB success. Not what he did in the NBA/College. By modern standards he wasn’t great but he hit for average in a time when that was much more appreciated than the modern era. But he simply is a hall of very good. We can appreciate his success without over exaggerating his accomplishments. RIP few can say they have an MVP.
Considering some of the players the media has voted into the Hof, Groat is just about as good as them. I wish the media would understand that it’s OK not to vote anyone into the hall.
Buuba ho tep
He will always be remembered for the 1960 world series, his batting title and MVP award
RIP MR GROAT
Nah. He wasn’t great. But he was a winner. He had a good career, won a World Series, was a great Cardinal and Pirate. He isn’t a HOF player, but he doesn’t need to be.
He is remembered.
I ran into Dick Groat a few years ago after a Pitt basketball game, and asked him about John Feinstein’s statement that Groat asked Red Auerbach (who had coached him at Duke) what the Celtics were doing to shut him down. Groat growled that it never happened and he played well against the Celtics. I looked it up. In 1952, Groat’s team played the Celtics twice. The first time, Groat scored only 7 points, below his season average of almost 12 ppg, and his team lost badly. The second time, Groat scored 16 and his team won handily. Whatever the Celtics did, Groat figured it out. Groat was a terrific competitor and will be missed.
“His team” was the Fort Wayne Pistons.
A rare natural athlete.
The Celtics were pretty good.
Nobody got to them that often.
Fantastic smart heady ballplayer. As solid as they come. RIP.
PIRATES HOF LEGEND YOU WILL BE MISSED
Really only by those who knew him.
Border line HOF.
Pirates HOF not MLB HOF
Not even close.
Pirates screwed up by not putting him in the inaugural HOF. RIP!
He is. Won’t be inducted until August I believe. I watched on a pre game show as Steve Blass personally visited him to let him know.
The pirates inaugural HOF was last year….not this year when Blass presented each member with the award.
The Pirates are stupid for not creating a Pirates Hall of Fame 50 years ago. So many greats could have been honored while they were alive. I agree Buccrazy that Groat should have been part of the inaugural class. Shame on the Pirates. RIP Mr. Groat.
The Pirates have had some great SS play: Not only was there Honus Wagner, Arky Vaughan and Dick Groat. Walter Maranville played the first half of the 1920s for Pittsburgh. Glenn Wright, Joe Cronin and Dick Bartell were on the same team at once. Freddie Patek was traded for pitching, Frank Taveras stole bases, Dale Berra was one of my favorites, Jay Bell was an underrated all star and Jack Wilson had a few good years, and one great year, too.
YOur post prompted me to discover again that SS, Tim Foli was a terrible hitter.
Ah, but he was traded for both Frank Taveras and Rusty Staub!
Tim Foli offered something that all teams need. He was a never beaten “firecracker” on the field.
Would that be “Rabbit” Maranville?
Honus Wagner is one of the first five in the actual HOF. Those plaques are separate from all the others.
You can’t do much better than that!
RIP Dick Groat
My main question is why the heck was he just named to the Pirates HOF?!! They hate Cardinals so much, but he was a big piece to the 1960 WS title – like there were a lot of WS teams to choose from in the 3 Rivers city. A Pittsburgh boy, he should have been inducted a dozen years ago. Shame on the selectors IMO
Because the Pirates HOF is newly formed. The initial inductees included Groat.
Their HOF started in 2022
RIP Mr. Groat…..
Why was Groat just recently elected to the Pirates HOF? I’ve never really followed the Pirates closely but would have assumed he had gone in long ago.
First, the official Pirates Hall of Fame was only recently established – I believe the inaugural class was just inducted last year.
Second, the Pirates HoF recognizes players from not only the Pirates, but also the Homestead Grays and the Pittsburgh Crawfords. So, when you’re considering deserving inductees, you’re not just talking MLB stars like Honus Wagner, Pie Traynor, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, etc., but also Negro League legends like Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston and Buck Leonard.
That’s a pretty impressive talent pool to pick from, chock full of HoFers. Being chosen as one of just the second group to be inducted isn’t a snub at all – just a recognition of how long and rich Pittsburgh’s baseball history is and how many outstanding players – including Dick Groat – have played there over the years.
Ahhh…. my mistake. With as many great players as they’ve had over the years I assumed they’d had their own HOF all along.
They just RECENTLY (!!!) added him to the Pirates HOF!!??
Do the Pirates brass take classes on how to suck more?
The Pirates HOF is literally 1 year old.
I spent many years compiling all time lists… I’m boring. I list Dick Groat as the following:
1952: Rookie All Star SS
1958 Best Defensive SS
1963 Best Overall SS
As great a player as he was, he might have been even better as a Pitt basketball color analyst. I grew up listening to him and Bill Hillgrove do stellar work calling Panther games. R.I. p. to a true local legend
I thought he was a good guy and knew of his career as both a basketball and baseball player but Dear God, I thought his color analysis on Pitt broadcasts was simply horrible. I guess if you’re a Pitt basketball fan, you loved him.
Then again, I’ve always thought Hillgrove is one of the worst play by play guys I’ve ever heard, too
A Member of the Fort Wayne Pistons basketball team.
I lived in Fort Wayne for 16 months, but it felt like 160 years. I understand why he left the NBA.
It’s better now. That is down to 55 years instead of 160!!!!
As good a SS as I’ve ever seen. The definition of steady. RIP
You’ve seen a lot of Baseball.
Dick Groat was a 3-Sport Legend if one includes the superb golf course he created with teammate Jerry Lynch.
Sucks to die on the same day as Jerry Springer.
What difference does it make?
do you think he knows that Jerry Springer also died today or cares?
Mendoza Line 215
His Topps baseball card # was 1 in the 1961 cards.MVP of the WS champion.
Maris was #2.
An overall fine player and the Pirates got hosed in the trade to rebuild their team after the 1962 season.
RIP Dick Groat.
I have a 1956 Topps Dick Groat. I would stubbornly rubberband that one on the top of all my other Pirates cards when I was a kid in the 70s. The card was a little bigger than the standard size that Topps began issuing the next year.
Eight years away from the Smuckers jar.
He was the linchpin of that Cardinals ’64 WS- winning infield as wellA classier version of Dick Bartell. Borderline HOF.
Hardly anyone in the modern age would have so much WAR while having a SLG% under 400. Former MVP; granted, the voters of years past were positively unequipped to vote generally. For instance he won the MVP with 6.1 WAR while Willie Mays posted a war over 9 and Aaron finished 11th with 8 WAR. A guy who hit for average and played nice SS with absolutely no pop was somehow deemed better than a guy playing CF, another premium position, well and also hitting for power. I think nowadays race is brought up way too much but I’ve gotta wonder if in 1960 it played a role. Not to mention the obvious voter bias against a Giant player whose team was 4 games over .500, while the Pirates went on to win the World Series. Why people used to factor this in so much in voting eludes me.
I suspect the MVP vote was influenced by the centrality of Groat’s role on the team and their incredible rise during his tenure. Groat’s debut year was on a Pirates team that was easily one of the ten worst teams ever. (yes, even worse than the current Oakland “team”). Only Groat and Bob Friend we’re still with the team in 1960, but even before the Greatest Series Ever I think there was great respect for what Bing Crosby’s favorites had accomplished.
I don’t think anyone thinks the legacy of Mays, Aaron or Clemente is threatened by Dick Groat.
What an incredible life. RIP Mr. Groat.
So sad to hear about the passing of Dick Groat. One of my favorite players from the all Cardinal All Star infield of 1963. My sympathy to all of the Pirate fans. A great player.
all in the suit that you wear
Don Hoak 3B, Dick Groat SS, Bill Mazerowski, 2B, Dick Stuart 1B, 1960 Pirate Infield…
Gentlemen, the late great Bob Gibson was also a Harlem Globetrotter. Other two-sporters… Steve Hamilton, Gene Conley and Dave DeBusschere.
And some Bo guy… And some Deion guy…
Born is Swissvale – we used to play at Dick Groat field at the top of Columbia Ave before they plopped a new high school there.
Fine gentleman and agree he lived a very full life