Don’t forget Billy Pierce’s Giants deeds
ARLINGTON, Texas — Some obituaries of Billy Pierce, whose death at age 88 was announced Friday, mentioned as an afterthought that he pitched for the Giants from 1962-64.
That would be akin to citing Cody Ross or Pat Burrell as afterthoughts when recalling San Francisco’s 2010 World Series champions. Or downplaying Marco Scutaro’s achievements in 2012 down the stretch and in the postseason.
Pierce properly will be remembered as a star for the Chicago White Sox. He spent 13 of his 18 Major League seasons with that club and accumulated 186 of his 211 career victories with the South Siders. But he had some magic remaining in his left arm when he joined the Giants in a six-player trade before the 1962 season.
Pierce finished 16-6 for the Giants in ’62, including a remarkable 12-0 in 12 starts at Candlestick Park. “He had a sneaky fastball and a great slider,” said right-hander Bob Bolin, Pierce’s roommate during his San Francisco tenure. “He could pump up and throw them by the big hitters.”
Pierce excelled when it counted most that year. He pitched a three-hit shutout against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opener of a best-of-three playoff series, then saved the Game 3 clincher for the Giants with a perfect ninth inning of relief. He won another three-hitter in Game 6 of the World Series against the Yankees, forcing the dramatic seventh game that New York captured, 1-0.
Bolin recalled that as a show of gratitude, the Giants dug up the pitching rubber used at Candlestick throughout 1962 and presented it to Pierce before the following season.
— Chris Haft