by The Last Hollywood Star
On Thursday, I went to PNC Park to watch the Pirate-Los Angeles Dodger game but also to get Vern Law’s autograph.
Yesterday was one of the regularly scheduled Alumni Autograph Days at PNC. Law, Rich Reuschel and Manny Sanguillen were all there chatting with a long line of fans and signing away.
Law is the last Major Leaguer to pitch 18 innings in a game. One evening way back in 1955 Law, on two days rest, not only pitched the equivalent of two full games against the Milwaukee Braves, he allowed only nine hits while striking out 12. Bob Friend picked up the win in the 19th.
Four days later, Law pitched 13 more innings against the Cincinnati Reds, this time picking up the win. The Reds game brought Law’s four day total to 31 innings or three and a half full games.
When I approached Law, I reminded him of his famous game against the Braves and suggested that 18 innings is more than most pitchers today register in any three consecutive starts. Or, for that matter, any three straight starts by three different pitchers from the same team.
And by the end of the afternoon that was the case with the Pirates.
During the Bucs three game series with the Dodgers, Zach Duke threw five innings; Ross Olendorf, five and Paul Maholm, six.
Combined line for the three days: 16IP, 17H-8ER, 6SO, 5BB, ERA 4.50
Even in this era of watered down standards, that’s sub-par. And if it’s representative of what Pirate pitching will be for the season, it will be a long year.