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INSIDE:

CLUBHOUSE
CRONICLES

Jimmy Palermo, during a historic 7-day span in May, 1939, saw the meteoric rise of Williams and tragic decline of Gehrig.

THE GAME'S
GOLDEN ERA

An exclusive WIWAG ongoing feature.


MEMORIES
The field seemed vast to a 7-year old who had looked forward to this day for two months.

BREAKING THE COLOR LINE
The year marks the 60th anniversary of the first major league tryout for black players.

SPECIAL COLOR
LINE TIMELINE

Bud Fowler is the first know black players on an integrated team.

BOOMING BATS
of the '50s

Qualify as Grade A10.


AMERICA'S ORIGINAL
SPORTS BAR
First sports bar featured 12-inch Farnsworth TV.

BASEBALL
HISTORIANS

Two unsuspecting vintage baseball fans rediscover a "National Treasure."
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VIRDON'S bat is a Louisville Slugger (model M110) with a signature stamp on the barrel.













CARDINAL ROOKIE Bill Virdon used this bat in a July 1955 series at Busch Stadium against the first-place Dodgers. He hit his 12th homer of the season in a 5-4 loss to the "Bums" in the first game of the three-game series that was swept by Brooklyn. Virdon's .281 average, 17 homers, 68 RBIs, 150 hits and spectacular centerfield play for the Redbirds earned him top rookie honors in 1955 — and he was named The Sporting News National League Rookie of the Year. WHERE DID THIS BAT COME FROM?

BILL VIRDON

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: 1955

Virdon won ROY with Cardinals, World Series with Pirates

Excelled defensively and finished his career with a .982 fielding percentage

BILL VIRDON

BILL VIRDON'S playing career ended with a .267 career batting average and 502 RBI in 1,583 games.
BILL VIRDON WEB LINKS

Bill Virdon began his Major League career on April 12, 1955 with the St. Louis Cardinals at age 24. He played for 12 seasons for the Cards and Pirates, and ended his big league playing career in 1968.

Virdon was a graceful centerfielder and, later, a manager who stressed defense and fundamentals.

The slender, bespectacled, left handed hitter was first signed by the Yankees, but it was as a Cardinal that he was named 1955 Rookie of the Year, hitting .281 with career highs of 17 home runs and 68 RBIs.

In 1956, he hit just .211 in the first 24 games and was traded to the Pirates for Bobby Del Greco and Dick Littlefield. Del Greco hit just .215 with the Cardinals, while Virdon hit .344 over the rest of the season for the Pirates.

Virdon excelled defensively and finished his career with a .982 fielding percentage. He made only 73 errors in his entire career, and in 1962, won a Gold Glove.


A GRACEFUL centerfielder, Virdon is credited with two amazing catches that robbed Yogi Berra of a hit in Game 1, and Bob Cerv of one in Game 4 in the 1960 World Series.

In the 1960 World Series, Virdon is credited with two amazing catches that robbed Yogi Berra of a hit in Game 1, and Bob Cerv of one in Game 4. Over a respectable 12 year Major League career he hit .267 with 91 home runs and 502 RBI in 1,583 games.

After his playing career, Virdon was a coach for the Pirates under manager Danny Murtaugh in 1972 when the Pirates won the division championship — but lost to the Reds in the NLCS.

Over the next 15 years, Virdon went on to manage the Pirates, Yankees, Astros and Expos, posting 995 wins in 1,918 games. He won The Sporting News Manager of the Year award in 1974 with the Yankees, and in 1980 with the Astros.

BILL VIRDON: Did you know...

...Virdon was signed before the 1950 season by the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent.

...Virdon was traded in April 1954 by the New York Yankees with Emil Tellinger (minors) and Mel Wright to the St. Louis Cardinals for Enos Slaughter.

...Virdon was traded in May of 1956 by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Dick Littlefield and Bobby Del Greco.

...Virdon was released by the Pittsburgh Pirates in Nov. 1965.

...Virdon was signed as a Free Agent in July 1968 with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

...Virdon was released by the Pittsburgh Pirates in Aug. 1968.

...Virdon was The Sporting News Manager of the Year in 1974 and 1980.

...Virdon compiled a lifetime 955 - 921 record (.519) as a manager.

...Virdon was born June 9, 1931 in Hazel Park, Michigan.

BILL VIRDON began his Major League career in 1955 with St. Louis and played in the Major Leagues for 12 seasons for the Cards and Pirates. He went on to manage the Pirates, Yankees, Astros and Expos — posting 995 wins.


THE MARCH 5, 1956 cover of Sports Illustrated featured Virdon, far left, with his Cardinal teammates including Stan Musial, far right.