Former longtime Pirates pitcher Friend dies at 88

PITTSBURGH — Bob Friend, who pitched more innings than anyone else in Pittsburgh Pirates history, died Sunday. He was 88.

The Pirates said Friend died at his home in Pittsburgh.

Friend holds Pirates record for innings (3,480 1/3), starts (477) and strikeouts (1,682). The right-hander was an NL All-Star in three seasons.

Friend made his major debut in 1951 with Pittsburgh, stayed with the Pirates through 1965 and played one more season, splitting his last year with the New York Yankees and Mets. He was 197-230 with a 3.58 ERA in his career. He won 18 games with a 3.00 ERA in the 1960 season, when the Pirates won the World Series, defeating the Yankees in seven games with Bill Mazeroski’s game-ending home run in Game 7.

“Our thoughts, prayers and support go out to Bob’s wife, Pat, son, Bob, and daughter, Missy, as well as the rest of the Friend family members and loved ones,” Pirates president Frank Coonelly said in a statement.

In 1955, Friend became the first Pirates pitcher to lead his league in ERA, winning the NL title with a 2.83 mark. He topped the majors in innings in 1956-57 and tied Warren Spahn for the big league lead with 22 wins in 1958.

That season came during a string of 11 straight years in which he pitched more than 200 innings, topping 260 in six of them.

After his playing career ended, Friend was among the founding officers of the Pirates Alumni Association, and he stayed active as a board member.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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