Vern Law

Law was largely responsible for the Pirates’ World Championship in 1960, when he captured the Cy Young Award with a 20-9 record and a league-high 18 complete games. Despite nursing a late-season sprained ankle, he won the first and fourth games of the Series and had a no-decision in the famed seventh game, won by the Pirates on Bill Mazeroski‘s ninth-inning homer.

Idaho Senator Herman Welker recommended favorite son Law to former classmate Bing Crosby, part owner of the Pirates. Signed by the Pirates in 1948, Law, a control pitcher with a classic, straight-up motion, reached Pittsburgh in 1950 but spent 1952 and 1953 in the military. He and Bob Friend anchored a young pitching staff on last-place teams in 1954, 1955, and 1957. But both blossomed in 1958 and the Pirates rose to second place. Though Friend slumped in 1959, Law went 18-9.

After reaching the top in 1960, Law missed most of 1961 with a torn rotator muscle. Pitching in pain throughout 1962, he rebounded to go 10-7, but more physical problems in 1963 forced him onto the voluntary retired list. He made a surprising comeback in 1964 (12-13, 3.61) and in 1965, at age thirty-five, led the Pirates with 17 wins and a 2.15 ERA. He was honored with the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award as comeback player of the year. After more injuries his last two years, he retired among Pittsburgh’s all-time pitching leaders. Vern and his wife, VaNita, had six children: Veldon, Veryl, Vaughn, Varlin, VaLynda, and major league infielder Vance.