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Rare MLB-NBA standout Groat dead at 92

Dick Groat dead stroke
Source: Nicepng

Dick Groat, a two-time World Series champion and one of only 13 men to play in Major League Baseball and the NBA, died Thursday in Pittsburgh. Groat was 92.

Groat was the National League Most Valuable Player and NL batting champion with a .325 average in 1960 when he helped the Pittsburgh Pirates win the World Series. He also helped St. Louis capture the crown in 1964.

The Pirates announced his passing, which took place at Presbyterian Hospital. Only a week ago, the Pirates announced Groat had been elected to the team’s Hall of Fame.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of such a beloved member of the Pirates family and Pittsburgh community,” Pirates chairman Bob Nutting said.

“Dick remained a very active and cherished member of our alumni association… He was a great player and an even better person. His was a life well lived. He will be missed.”

Groat was a skillful shortstop who combined with second baseman Bill Mazeroski to led the NL in double plays in a record five seasons.

Less than two months after completing his MLB rookie season for the Pirates in 1952, Groat made his NBA debut for the then-Fort Wayne Pistons, who had selected him third in the 1952 NBA Draft.

Groat scored a career-high 25 points against the New York Knicks in his second game. But his NBA career came to an end in February 1953 when he enlisted in the US Army, leaving the Pistons at 24-24 after averaging 11.9 points and 2.7 assists a game.

When his military service was complete two years later, the Pirates insisted he not return to the NBA.

Groat, the great-uncle of four time major golf champion Brooks Koepka, retired from baseball in 1967 and then spent 40 years as a broadcaster for the University of Pittsburgh basketball team.

Among the others to play in both the NBA and MLB are Utah Jazz chief executive of basketball operations Danny Ainge and noted US television and film actor Chuck Connors. The most recent was Mark Hendrickson, who played 10 seasons as an MLB pitcher from 2002-2011 after playing as a forward in 114 NBA games from 1996-2000.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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