Terry could have been remembered only as the man who gave up Bill Mazeroski‘s legendary Series-winning homer in 1960, but he redeemed himself with an All-Star season in 1962 that was capped by an outstanding World Series.
Terry came up with the Yankees in 1956, but was traded to Kansas City in June 1957 in the eight-player deal that exiled Billy Martin and brought Ryne Duren to New York. He went 4-11 the rest of the season for the seventh-place Athletics, but was reacquired by the Yankees in May 1959 after going 11-13 in 1958, impressive considering the lack of offensive and defensive support the A’s offered. He went 10-8 in 1960 as the Yankees’ fourth starter. He started and lost Game Four of the World Series to the Pirates, 3-2. After warming up five times while Bobby Shantz, who had a sore arm, pitched five valiant innings in relief, Terry finally relieved in the eighth inning of Game Seven with the Pirates in the midst of a go-ahead rally. He got the last out with no further damage, and the Yankees came back in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game at 9-9. But Terry surrendered a home run to Bill Mazeroski, the Pirates’ first batter, on a 1-0 pitch: it might be the most famous homer in World Series history. It was Terry’s second loss of the Series, and deprived manager Casey Stengel of one last World Championship.
Terry emerged as New York’s second-best pitcher in 1961 with an excellent 16-3 mark and a 3.15 ERA. He lost Game Two of the World Series 6-2, the Reds’ only victory, but only two of the Reds’ four runs off him were earned. Terry was hit hard in Game Five and departed after allowing three runs in 2.1 innings, but the Yankees had already scored six runs by that point and won 13-5.
In 1962 Terry had the best season of his career and finally achieved World Series redemption. He went 23-12 with a 3.19 ERA and led the AL in wins, starts (39), and innings (298.2). He lost Game Two of the WS 2-0 as the Yankees managed only three hits, but finally garnered his first WS win in Game Five, a complete-game 5-3 victory. A three-day rain delay before Game Six allowed him to come back for Game Seven. Pitching a superb four-hit shutout, he won 1-0 after getting Willie McCovey to line right at second baseman Bobby Richardson with two out and two on.
Terry went 17-15 in 1963 with a 3.22 ERA and led the AL with 37 starts and 18 complete games. He also showed the best control of his career, walking just 39 batters in 268 innings. He was only needed in relief in that year’s World Series as the Yankees were swept by the Dodgers. Dropping to 7-11 in 1964, he was moved to the bullpen and then traded to Cleveland during the September pennant drive with Buddy Daley and $75,000 for Pedro Ramos, whose relief brilliance down the stretch was crucial to the Yankees’ pennant. Terry rebounded to 11-6, 3.59 in 1965 but was out of the majors within two years. He went on to become a golf pro.