MLB fans of Pirates, Giants, Phillies and Cardinals mourn death of former MVP SS Dick Groat

Dick Groat, Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop in a 1960 issue of Baseball Digest. By Unknown author – Baseball Digest, front cover, October 1960 issue, Public Domain, https


tball player who was an eight-time All-Star shortstop and two-time World Series champion in Major League Baseball. He rates as one of the most accomplished two-sport athletes in American sports history, a college All-America in baseball and basketball as well as one of only 13 to play both at the professional level.

Groat was the National League Most Valuable Player with the world champion Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960, when he won the batting title with a .325 average. He finished his career with a .286 batting average and 2,138 hits with four National League teams in 14 seasons.

Groat was more naturally gifted in basketball, which was his real passion. The 5-foot-11 guard attended Duke University as a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, where he was a two-time All-America, two-time McKelvin Award winner as the Southern Conference athlete of the year and the first basketball player to have his number (10) retired in school history. Groat was selected for the 1950–51 Helms National Player of the Year Award, when he became the first player to lead the nation in points (26.0) and assists (7.6) per game in one season.

In 1952, the Fort Wayne Pistons selected Groat at the No. 3 pick of the National Basketball Association draft, but his early success was interrupted by a two-year stint in the armed forces. When Pirates management forced him to make a career decision upon his return, he chose his hometown team and Major League Baseball largely because of financial considerations.

For seven seasons from 1956 to 1962, Groat teamed with future Hall of Fame second baseman Bill Mazeroski to give the Pirates one of the most efficient keystone combinations in baseball history. He led the NL in double plays a record five times, putouts four times and assists twice. He ranked ninth in major league history in games played at shortstop (1,877) and fourth in double plays (1,237). He also was among the NL career leaders in putouts (10th, 3,505), assists (8th, 5,811), and total chances (9th, 9,690).

In 2011, Groat was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. In doing so, he became the first person to be admitted to the college basketball and baseball halls of fame.

Groat died at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh on April 27, 2023, at the age of 92, following a stroke.

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