Richardson earned national attention when he hit a grand slam in Game Six of the 1960 World Series, in which he set a Series record of twelve runs batted in and was voted the Series MVP. Richardson again gained national acclaim during the final play of Game Seven of the 1962 World Series.
Baseball player. “Bobby” Richardson has been a major league baseball star, a college baseball coach, and a leader for youth and evangelism. Born in Sumter on August 19, 1935, Richardson played sandlot, high school, and American Legion baseball in his hometown before signing with the New York Yankees in 1953. After playing on several minor league teams, Richardson made his debut with the Yankees in 1955. Richardson went on to be New York’s regular second baseman from 1957 to 1966, an era in which the Yankees dominated major league baseball.
Richardson earned national attention when he hit a grand slam in Game Six of the 1960 World Series, in which he set a Series record of twelve runs batted in and was voted the Series MVP. Richardson again gained national acclaim during the final play of Game Seven of the 1962 World Series. With the Yankees leading 1–0 in the ninth inning, and with two San Francisco Giants in scoring position, Richardson was perfectly positioned to catch Willie McCovey’s line drive to end the game and the World Series. The Sporting News ranked the dramatic catch as the thirteenth-greatest moment in baseball history. The 1962 World Series capped Richardson’s best season, in which he hit .302 and finished second in American League MVP voting to his Yankee teammate Mickey Mantle. Still in his prime as a player, Richardson retired in 1966 to enter youth and evangelical work. In his major league career he hit .266 with 34 home runs and 390 runs batted in. A seven-time All-Star (1957, 1959, 1962–1966), Richardson also won the American League Gold Glove Award for the best fielding second baseman five consecutive years (1961–1965).
In 1970 Richardson became the first full-time head baseball coach at the University of South Carolina. Attracting many quality recruits, Richardson increased the popularity and prestige of the Gamecock baseball program as record crowds attended games to watch his often stellar teams. His 51–6 team of 1975 was his best, which lost 2–0 to Texas in the championship game of the College World Series in Omaha. Richardson left the USC baseball team after the 1976 season with a 220–90–2 overall record and a .702 winning percentage.
In 1976 Richardson ran for Congress as a Republican, losing to incumbent Ken Holland but earning forty-nine percent of the vote. After his political venture, he continued in youth and evangelical work and later returned to college coaching at Coastal Carolina University and Liberty University in Virginia, where he retired as athletic director in 1990. Returning to his hometown of Sumter, Richardson remained active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and served for ten years as president of Baseball Chapel, an organization providing church services for baseball players before Sunday games.
Golenbock, Peter. Dynasty, the New York Yankees, 1949–1964. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1975.
Price, Tom. A Century of Gamecocks: Memorable Baseball Moments. Columbia, S.C.: Summerhouse, 1996.
Richardson, Bobby. The Bobby Richardson Story. Westwood, N.J.: Revell, 1965.