The Obit For Bill Stafford

Former Yankee pitcher Stafford dies at 63

CANTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Former New York Yankee Bill Stafford, who was the winning pitcher when Roger Maris hit his 61st home run, died of a heart attack last week. He was 63.

Stafford, who died at his home Sept. 19, played eight seasons in the major leagues, compiling a 43-40 record with a 3.52 ERA in 104 starts and 82 relief appearances

He spent his first six seasons with the New York Yankees and pitched a four-hitter to beat San Francisco 3-2 in Game 3 of the 1962 World Series, won by the Yankees in seven games. Stafford was traded to the Kansas City Athletics in June 1966. He finished his career with a 43-40 record, with a 3.52 ERA in 786 innings pitched and 9 saves.

On the last day of the '61 season, Stafford gave up only three hits and one walk in six ininngs to get the win. Of course his pitching was obscured by the fact that his teammate Maris broke Babe Ruth's all-time homerun record.

During the 1961 season, Stafford compiled a 14-9 record with a 2.68 ERA in 195 innings pitched.

Oringinally Stafford was courted by the Dodgers, but decided in the end to sign with the Yankees. Stafford recollected on an interview several years ago. "The Yankees threw in a pair of spikes as part of the signing bonus, the Dodgers wound not go along with that, so I went with New York. It just seemed logical to me at the time."

Services are to be announced.