One of Baseball’s Greats

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Kara and the Law familyOne of the
highlights of the last homestand was a special visit from Vern Law, a pitcher
for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1950-1967. Law lives in Utah but was in the Bay
Area for special church events and outings, including the ballgame on Thursday
night. During the third inning, I had the lucky opportunity to chat with him,
his son Vance, also a Major League ballplayer who played for the A’s for a
season, and his grandson, Andrew.


Vern Law's baseball card

During Law’s
career, he was twice named to All-Star teams, a Cy Young Award winner and a
1960 World Series champion. Any baseball historian will tell you that the 1960
series between the Pirates and the Yankees is one of the most famous in the
sport’s history. It’s the only time a World Series has been won on a walk-off
home run in the bottom of the 9th inning in game seven. Imagine the
drama, the thrill!

As a
starting pitcher, Law pitched in games one, four and seven of the series. When
I chatted with him on Diamond Vision, he told me that he liked to rib the
series’ hero, Bill Mazeroski, the walk-off run hitter, that if he hadn’t been
pulled as the pitcher earlier in the game, there would have been no need for
his heroics. Of course, he’s only kidding. In my brief interaction with him,
Law came across as kind, humble and a true gentleman. Someone who represents the game with dignity.

 

Richard with Vern Law's autograph

My story
could end there. After all, it’s not every day that the Coliseum hosts one of
baseball’s greats. However, what made that Thursday night truly memorable in my
mind was connecting a lifelong admirer of Vern Law’s and the man himself. After
I finished my interview with him, Richard, a longtime season ticket holder and
serious baseball historian, stopped me and asked if he was dreaming. Was that really THE Vern Law sitting in the Oakland Coliseum?!?


Vern Law's autographVern Law signing autographs













You see,
Richard grew up in Pittsburgh, rooting for the Pirates. Vern Law was one of his
favorite players, and he was lucky enough to watch him throw in game seven of
that 1960 World Series.
In fact, on Richard’s drive to the Oakland Coliseum
last Thursday, he was listening to the old play-by-play radio recording of that
famous game. It was such an eerie coincidence that Law happened to be sharing
air space in the stadium that very same night. When I interviewed Richard on
Diamond Vision in the eighth inning, he was still trembling from meeting one of
his childhood heroes and marveling at his good fortune to connect with a
baseball legend. In Richard’s words, “magic really does happen here in Oakland.”

1 Comment

The names may change, but the game stays the same.

Not only are the players etched in history, but the fans are too. There’s nothing like sitting next to another fan and reminiscing about games that we saw 5, 10 or 20 years ago. It’s all about the memories. Fans will always be willing to pay for the memories as long as players like Vern Law can make them for us.

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