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).
Law at PNC Park in 2010
|Born: March 12, 1930|
|June 11, 1950, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 20, 1967, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Earned run average||3.77|
|Career highlights and awards|
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.
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.
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.
Following his retirement, Law served as the Pirates’ pitching coach for two seasons before becoming an assistant baseball coach at Brigham Young University, in which capacity he served for 9 years, mentoring Jack Morris, among others. In December 1978, he accepted a position as pitching coach for the Seibu Lions of the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). Three years later, Law returned to the US as a coach for the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League, 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.
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. 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.
- "Vern Law Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
- "Vern Law Minor League Statistics & History". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- Moody, John, Kiss It Good-bye. Shadow Mountain: 2010, p. 313
- Feeney, Charley. "Vernon Law to coach Buc Pitchers; Joins Shepard". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. November 1, 1967. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
- Cohen, Robert W. "Ex-Buc Law Joins BYU". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 30, 1969. Retrieved May 23, 2019..
- Marazzi, Rich; Fiorito, Len. Baseball Players of the 1950s. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co., Inc., 2004. p. 210.
- Cohen, Robert. The 50 Greatest Players in Detroit Tigers History. Lanham : Taylor Trade Publishing. 2016. p. 79. ISBN 9781630760991.
- Associated Press. "BYU coach takes position in Japan". The Desert Sun. December 5, 1978. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
- "Scoreboard: Transactions". The Santa Cruz Sentinel. February 2, 1982. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
- “Law Fired – Denver Skipper Axed at Mid-Season" Baseball America. August 1, 1984. p. 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.
|Awards and achievements|
| Major League Player of the Month
August 1959 (with Willie McCovey)
June 1965 (with Willie Stargell)
| Pittsburgh Pirates pitching coach