By Deborah Carl
Vern Law on Vern Law
BURLEY, IDAHO -- One of the three best Mormons to ever play baseball
spoke to this year's American Legion A State Tournament contestants
at the pre-tournament banquet at the West Burley Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints Stake Center on August 8. Idaho baseball
legend and 1960 Cy Young Award winner Vern Law spoke to the players
about the importance of good decision-making regarding alcohol,
tobacco and drugs. He also stressed the importance of getting an
education and having integrity.
Law started his career playing Legion baseball. "I could throw pretty
hard back then and had some kids who were scared to swing the bat,"
After high school he had nine professional teams interested in
recruiting him, but he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates because
they were the only team representatives who did not enter the house
with cigars. "I guess they didn't understand LDS people," Law said.
Later, he learned that the Pirates bought the cigars for the other
teams in order to have a better shot at signing Law. Law pitched for
the Pirates from 1950 to 1967 with a couple of years off to serve his
country. He had his best year in 1960 when the right-hander led the
Pirates to the World Series with a 20-9 record and a 3.08 ERA with 18
complete games. He won the Cy Young Award that year at a time when
there was only one given out in all of the majors instead of one from
While his career record is only 162-147, Law said he played for some
miserable Pirates teams. "In order to win, I felt like I had to hit a
home run and pitch a shutout," he said. "We had guys who couldn't
play catch without dropping the ball." Law is in both the Idaho and
Utah Baseball Halls of Fame.
Law currently resides in Provo with his wife, VaNita. They are the
parents of six children, including former major league infielder
Vance Law, who was also an All-Star in 1988 for the Chicago Cubs.
Vance is now the head coach at Brigham Young University, where Vern
still throws batting practice occasionally. "I can still throw hard
enough to make it challenging for kids," he said.
Laying down the Law
Twin Falls ID Times-News 9Aug01 S2
By Scott Thompson: Times-News writer