Dick Groat, Pirates Legend and Duke College Basketball Star, Dies at 92
Former MLB star Dick Groat, whose baseball career spanned 14 seasons and saw two World Series titles with the Pirates and Cardinals and featured eight All-Star appearances, died on Thursday, the Pirates announced. He was 92.
Groat, a Pennsylvania native, spent his first nine big-league seasons with Pittsburgh, debuting in 1952 before a two-year absence while serving in the military. His Pirates career peaked in 1960 with a National League MVP win and World Series championship.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of such a beloved member of the Pirates family and Pittsburgh community,” Pirates chairman Bob Nutting wrote in a statement. “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, 11 grandchildren and the entire Groat family. His was a life well lived. He will be missed.”
In addition to baseball stardom, Groat also excelled in basketball. He was an All-American in both sports during his college days at Duke, and was the No. 3 pick in the 1952 NBA draft by the Fort Wayne Pistons. He played just 26 games for the Pistons, ultimately choosing to stick to baseball after receiving an ultimatum from Pirates general manager Branch Rickey.
Groat remained productive after being traded to the Cardinals in 1963, finishing second in NL MVP voting that season and leading the majors with 43 doubles. He was an All-Star the following season, helping guide St. Louis to a World Series win over the Yankees.
Groat was the first player to ever be inducted in both the college basketball and college baseball halls of fame. He is survived by daughters Tracey, Carol Ann and Allison, along with 11 grandchildren.