The New York Yankees lost a significant and underrated piece of their history this week — as well as one hell of a protagonist in a redemption story — when 1962 World Series MVP Ralph Terry passed away at the age of 86.
Terry, an extremely underrated ’60s hurler and another standout the Yankees once saved from purgatory with their “farm team” the Kansas City A’s, finished his 12-year career with above-average counting numbers, posting a 107-99 record, 3.62 ERA, 3.68 FIP and 106 ERA+ for his era.
His story transcends the numerical, though, harkening back to when baseball was America’s pastime and everyone knew the character arcs involved in the game’s century-old tale.
For Terry was on the mound during both the nadir of the 1950s-60s Yankees and for perhaps their ultimate triumph, when fans and players alike joined hands on the furthest possible edge of their respective seats. And the proceeding moment might not have carried the weight it did without the original struggle.
Terry, who went from the Yankees to the A’s and back to New York, had his coming-out party in pinstripes in 1960, taking his Yanks back to the World Series where they belonged.
Unfortunately, that left him on the mound in Forbes Field, staring down Bill Mazeroski’s bat and eventually watching a World Series-losing home run fly into the left-field greenery.
Pandemonium — but that which did not define him.
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Yankees World Series MVP Ralph Terry dies
As the Yankees often seemed to during that era, they recovered quickly, giving Terry his first ring in ’61 by topping the Cincinnati Reds behind the M&M Boys, Maris and Mantle. He wasn’t a major contributor to the festivities, going 0-1 with a 4.82 ERA after a 16-3 regular season … but then came ’62.
That fall, facing off against the San Francisco Giants in a no-holds-barred, Hall of Famer-laden cage match, Terry went 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three outings and finished with a flourish, winning a 1-0 Game 7 battle, going all nine innings, and stranding the winning runs on base when the game-ending liner nestled in Bobby Richardson’s glove off the bat of Willie McCovey.
To this day, it’s the Yankees’ most dramatic World Series win, and Terry was the man responsible and earned the requisite hardware. Richardson, pictured above seated with Terry, shall not be forgotten either.
Rest in peace to a never-should’ve-been-forgotten man who made a massive mark on Yankees history during their golden era.