Vern Law

Vernon Sanders "Vern" Law (born March 12, 1930) is an American former baseball pitcher who played sixteen seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played in 1950–51 and 1954–67. He batted and threw right-handed and was listed at 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) and 195 pounds (88 kg).[1]

Law signed for the Pirates as an amateur free agent in 1948 and played for three of their minor league affiliates until 1950, when he was promoted to the major leagues.[1]

Vern Law
Vern Law (5405222334) (cropped)
Law at PNC Park in 2010
Born: March 12, 1930 (age 89)
Meridian, Idaho
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 11, 1950, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
August 20, 1967, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
MLB statistics
Win–loss record162–147
Earned run average3.77
Career highlights and awards

Playing career

Law was born on March 12, 1930 in Meridian, Idaho. He was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates before the 1948 season and spent 1948 and 1949 in the minor leagues.[1][2]

Vern Law 1965
Law in 1965

Law made his major league debut for the Pirates in 1950. He played one season and then served in the military from 1951 to 1954. Upon returning the major leagues, eventually earned a spot in the Pirates' starting rotation, steadily demonstrating solid pitching abilities. He shared the NL Player of the Month award in August 1959 (4-0, 1.94 ERA, 25 SO) with Willie McCovey.

In 1960, he had a win–loss record of 20-9 with a 3.08 earned run average. He led the National League in complete games, made the all-star team, and won the Cy Young Award that season. In the 1960 World Series, he won two games to help the Pirates defeat the New York Yankees.[1]

His career was derailed by an injury to his ankle sustained on the bus trip on which the team was celebrating clinching the 1960 pennant. Law was forced to change his pitching style and pitched in pain for the rest of the season and the World Series. Because of his weak ankle, he tore some muscles in the back of his pitching shoulder during the Series. He thought the injury would heal over the winter, but he was not the same for several seasons.[3]

He did manage to win the NL Comeback Player of the Year award in 1965, with a 17-9 record, and a 2.15 ERA in 29 games. He shared the NL Player of the Month award in June of that year (with Willie Stargell), with a 6-1 record, 0.87 ERA, and 32 SO. After two more seasons, he retired in 1967.

Law finished his career with a record of 162-147. He won the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 1965 for his contributions both on and off the field.[1]

Coaching career

Following his retirement, Law served as the Pirates’ pitching coach for two seasons before becoming an assistant baseball coach at Brigham Young University,[4][5] in which capacity he served for 9 years, mentoring Jack Morris, among others.[6][7] In December 1978, he accepted a position as pitching coach for the Seibu Lions in Japan’s Pacific League.[8] Three years later, Law returned to the US as a coach for the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League,[9] moving in 1983 to the Denver Bears of the American Association, where he would remain for one season before being handed the team's managerial reins in 1984. Law's promotion, however, proved short-lived when an extended midseason slump led to his dismissal on July 3, replaced by coach Adrian Garrett.[10]

Personal life

Law was made a deacon in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the age of 12, became a teacher two years later and was ordained a priest at 17.[11] During his playing career, Law was tagged with the nickname "Deacon" by Pirate broadcaster Bob Prince. According to Law, it was given to him by former Pirate teammate Wally Westlake because he is a member of the ordained priesthood of the LDS Church.

Law was the pitching coach for the Provo High School (PHS) varsity baseball team and is an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He currently lives in Provo, Utah.

His son Vance Law also played in the major leagues.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Vern Law Statistics and History". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  2. ^ "Vern Law Minor League Statistics & History". Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  3. ^ Moody, John, Kiss It Good-bye. Shadow Mountain: 2010, p. 313
  4. ^ Feeney, Charley. "Vernon Law to coach Buc Pitchers; Joins Shepard". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. November 1, 1967. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  5. ^ Cohen, Robert W. "Ex-Buc Law Joins BYU". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 30, 1969. Retrieved May 23, 2019..
  6. ^ Marazzi, Rich; Fiorito, Len. Baseball Players of the 1950s. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co., Inc., 2004. p. 210.
  7. ^ Cohen, Robert. The 50 Greatest Players in Detroit Tigers History. Lanham : Taylor Trade Publishing. 2016. p. 79. ISBN 9781630760991.
  8. ^ Associated Press. "BYU coach takes position in Japan". The Desert Sun. December 5, 1978. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  9. ^ "Scoreboard: Transactions". The Santa Cruz Sentinel. February 2, 1982. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  10. ^ “Law Fired – Denver Skipper Axed at Mid-Season" Baseball America. August 1, 1984. p. 11.
  11. ^ Biederman, Lester J. (April 6, 1958). "Vern Law Pitches Both For Pirates And Mormon Church". The Pittsburgh Press. p. 4. Retrieved February 7, 2013.

External links

1951 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1951 Philadelphia Phillies finished in fifth place. The team had won the 1950 National League pennant but in the United Press' annual preseason poll of sportswriters, only 18 out of 168 writers picked the team to repeat as pennant winners; the Giants received 81 votes and the Dodgers 55. Those two teams wound up tied, with the Phillies 23 games behind.

1954 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1954 Philadelphia Phillies season was a season in Major League Baseball. The Phillies finished fourth in the National League with a record of 75 wins and 79 losses.

1958 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1958 Philadelphia Phillies season was the 76th in franchise history. The Phillies finished the season in last place in the National League. It was the Phillies third losing season in five seasons, and their fourth losing season during the 1950s.

1960 Major League Baseball All-Star Game (second game)

The second 1960 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 29th playing of Major League Baseball's annual midsummer exhibition game. The game took place at Yankee Stadium in New York City, home of the American League's New York Yankees. The National League won the game by a score of 6–0. The National League hit four home runs, tying an All-Star Game record.

1960 Major League Baseball season

The 1960 Major League Baseball season was played from April 12 to October 13, 1960. It was the final season contested by 16 clubs and the final season that a 154-game schedule was played in both the American League and the National League. The AL began using the 162-game schedule the following season, with the NL following suit in 1962.

The season ended with the Pittsburgh Pirates, led by second baseman Bill Mazeroski, defeating the New York Yankees, led by outfield sluggers Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in the World Series. The series ending, with Mazeroski hitting a walk-off home run in Game 7, is among the most memorable in baseball history.

1960 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1960 Philadelphia Phillies season was the 78th in franchise history. The team finished in eighth place in the National League with a record of 59–95, 36 games behind the NL and World Series Champion Pittsburgh Pirates.

1960 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the team's 79th season. The team finished with a record of 95–59–1, seven games in front of the second-place Milwaukee Braves to win their first National League championship in 33 seasons. The team went on to play the heavily favored New York Yankees, whom they defeated 4 games to 3 in one of the most storied World Series ever.

1960 World Series

The 1960 World Series was played between the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League (NL) and the New York Yankees of the American League (AL) from October 5 to 13, 1960. It is most notable for the Game 7, ninth-inning home run hit by Bill Mazeroski, the only time a winner-take-all World Series game has ended with a walk-off home run.

Despite losing the series, the Yankees scored 55 runs, the most runs scored by any one team in World Series history, a unique record, and more than twice as many as the Pirates, who scored 27 runs. The Yankees won three blowout games (16–3, 10–0, and 12–0), while the Pirates won four close games (6–4, 3–2, 5–2, and 10–9) to win the series. The Series MVP was Bobby Richardson of the Yankees, the only time in history that the award has been given to a member of the losing team.

This World Series featured seven past, present, or future league Most Valuable Players. The Pirates had two – Dick Groat (1960) and Roberto Clemente (1966) – while the Yankees had five: Yogi Berra (1951, 1954, 1955), Bobby Shantz (1952), Mickey Mantle (1956, 1957, 1962), Roger Maris (1960, 1961), and Elston Howard (1963).

As noted in the superstition called the "Ex-Cub Factor", this was the only Series after 1945 and until 2001 in which a team with three or more former members of the Chicago Cubs (Don Hoak, Smoky Burgess, and Gene Baker) was able to win a World Series.

The World Championship for the Pirates was their third overall and first since 1925.

1964 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1964 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 83rd in franchise history. The team finished tied for sixth in the National League with a record of 80–82, 13 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

1965 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1965 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 84th season of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise; their 79th in the National League. The Pirates finished third in the league standings with a record of 90–72.

1966 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1966 Pittsburgh Pirates season involved the team's third-place finish in the National League at 92–70, three games behind the NL Champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

1967 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1967 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 86th season in franchise history. The sixth-place Pirates finished at 81–81, 20½ games behind the National League and World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals.

Bill Burwell

William Edwin Burwell (March 27, 1895 – June 11, 1973) was an American professional baseball player, manager and coach. During his active career, he was right-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball for the St. Louis Browns and Pittsburgh Pirates. In 70 MLB games, six as a starting pitcher, he won nine games and lost eight, with a 4.37 earned run average. He posted six saves and one complete game, allowing 253 hits and 79 bases on balls, with 49 strikeouts, in 218​1⁄3 innings pitched. He was born in Jarbalo, Kansas.

Burwell was listed as 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) tall and 175 pounds (79 kg). He won 239 minor league games during a 22-year playing career. He pitched for all or parts of 12 straight seasons (1923–34) for the Indianapolis Indians of the American Association. He also fashioned a lengthy post-pitching career as a minor league manager (including two seasons, 1945–46, as skipper of the Indianapolis franchise) and Major League coach. He worked in the latter role for the Boston Red Sox (1944) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1947–48; 1958–62). While serving as pitching coach on Danny Murtaugh's staff, Burwell was a member of the Pirates' 1960 world championship team.

Burwell was acting manager of the Pirates for the final game of the 1947 season, after player-manager Billy Herman resigned with one game remaining. Under Burwell, the Pirates defeated the Cincinnati Reds, 7-0. He also was a longtime scout and roving minor-league coach for the Pirates.

While working as pitching instructor in the Pirate organization in 1949, Burwell was instrumental to the development of pitcher Vern Law, then toiling for the Class B Davenport Pirates of the Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League. Burwell taught the 19-year-old Law how to change speeds and throw the change-up. Law later cited Burwell as the coach who most helped him during his time in the minor leagues.Burwell died at age 78 in Ormond Beach, Florida and is buried in nearby Daytona Beach.

John Purdin

John Nolan Purdin (July 16, 1942 – March 28, 2010) was a Major League Baseball pitcher.Purdin was born in Lynx, Ohio. He was signed as an amateur free agent by the Los Angeles Dodgers before the start of the 1964 season. He made his debut on September 16, 1964, throwing two innings of no-hit ball in relief against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He struck out Vern Law and Donn Clendenon. Two weeks later on September 30, he threw a two-hit shutout against the Chicago Cubs, giving up his only hits, both singles, to Dick Bertell in the 3rd and 5th inning.In the minors, Purdin threw a perfect game against Lexington in 1964. The game went seven innings, on the backend of a doubleheader. During warmups, he pegged his usual starting catcher, Butch Johnson, in the eye. Jim Connor came in from third base to replace him for the night, and Ed Knipple moved to third. Purdin struck out 11 batters in the perfect outing, with Knipple driving in the only run of the game.At Salisbury, Purdin posted a 14–3 record with a 1.91 ERA and 182 strikeouts in 137 innings pitched, while only giving up 27 walks. For the Spokane Indians in 1967 he led the Pacific Coast League in games started (31) and shutouts (6).Purdin died in Charleston, South Carolina, at the age of 67.

Pittsburgh Pirates award winners and league leaders

This is a list of all awards won by players and personnel of the Pittsburgh Pirates professional baseball team.

Vance Law

Vance Aaron Law (born October 1, 1956) is an American former professional baseball third baseman. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1980–81), Chicago White Sox (1982–84), Montreal Expos (1985–87), Chicago Cubs (1988–89), and Oakland Athletics (1991). He also played one season in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) for the Chunichi Dragons in 1990. Law batted and threw right-handed. He is the son of Cy Young Award winner Vern Law. He served as head baseball coach at Brigham Young University from 2000 to 2012.


Vern is a masculine given name, often a short form (hypocorism) of Vernon, Lavern or other names. People named Vern include:

Vernon Vern Bakalich (1929-2015), New Zealand rugby league player

Verdi Vern Barberis (1928–2005), Australian weightlifter

Vernon Vern Buchanan (born 1951), American politician, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida

Vern Bullough (1928–2006), American historian and sexologist

Vernon Vern Burke (born 1941), American former National Football League player

Vernon Vern Clark (born 1944), former US Navy admiral and Chief of Naval Operations

Lavern Vern Corbin, American college basketball player (1926-1929)

Vernon Vern Countryman (1917-1999), American Harvard Law School professor and social critic

Vern Den Herder (born 1948), American retired National Football League player and member of the College Football Hall of Fame

Vern Fleming (born 1962), American former National Basketball Association player

Vern Fonk (1930–2006), American entrepreneur best known for founding Vern Fonk Insurance, a high-risk auto insurance agency

Vern Gardner (1925–1987), American National Basketball Association player

Vernon Vern German (1969-) Sleek prince of fashion.

Vernon Vern Gosdin (1934–2009), American country music singer

Vernon Arnold Haugland (1908-1984), American reporter, war correspondent and writer

Vernon Vern Kaiser (1925-2011), Canadian National Hockey League player

Vern Oliver Knudsen (1893–1974), American acoustical physicist

Vern Krishna, Canadian law professor and accountant

Vernon Vern Law (born 1930), American retired Major League Baseball pitcher

Arild Verner Vern Mikkelsen (1928-2013), American National Basketball Association player

Vern Miller (born 1928), American attorney, former police officer and former Attorney General of Kansas

Vern Moore (footballer) (1895–1955), former Australian rules footballer

Vern Mullen (1900-1980), American National Football League player

Vern Paxson, Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley

Vern Poore (fl. 1975-1996), American Oscar-winning sound engineer

Vern Poythress (born 1946), American Calvinist philosopher, theologian and New Testament scholar

Lavern Vern Pyles, American politician, former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (1975-1980)

Vernal Vern Riffe Jr. (1925–1997), American politician, longest serving speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives

Vernon Vern Roberson (born 1952), American former National Football League and Canadian Football League player

Vern Rutsala (1934–2014), American poet

Vern L. Schramm (born 1941), American biochemist and professor

Vern Smith (journalist) (1892-?), American communist, journalist and editor

Vernon Vern Sneider (1916–1981), American novelist best known for The Teahouse of the August Moon

Vernon Vern Stephens (1920-1968), American Major League Baseball player

Verner E. Suomi (1915-1995), Finnish-American educator, inventor and scientist, considered the father of satellite meteorology

Vern Swanson (born 1941), American politician, member of the Kansas House of Representatives

Vern Taylor, Canadian figure skater (1970s) and coach

Vern Terpstra (1927-2013), Professor Emeritus of international business at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

Vern Tincher (born 1936), American politician, former member of the Indiana House of Representatives

Delbert Lavern Vern Williams (1930-2006), American bluegrass musician

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Don Drysdale
Joe Torre
Major League Player of the Month
August 1959 (with Willie McCovey)
June 1965 (with Willie Stargell)
Succeeded by
Eddie Mathews
Pete Rose
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Clyde King
Pittsburgh Pirates pitching coach
Succeeded by
Don Osborn


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