Pirates Great Bob Friend Dies At 88

Friend holds the franchise record for innings pitched, games started and strikeouts

Shelby Cassesse
February 04, 2019 - 10:15 am

© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Related: Pirates Broadcaster Steve Blass Reflects On The Passing Of Bob Friend

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - Bob Friend, a Pirates pitcher whose career spanned 15 seasons in Pittsburgh and included a World Series Title, died Sunday morning at age 88.

Friend pitched in 568 games with the Pirates and still holds the franchise record for career innings pitched (3,481), games started (477) and strikeouts (1,682). He was a four-time All-Star and won 197 games in his 16-year career. 

Pirates broadcaster and former pitcher Steve Blass was Friend's roommate and told KDKA Radio Friend was never on the disabled list. 

"He didn't miss a turn," he said. "He was a workhorse and he just took the ball everyday, everyday that they wanted him to."

Friend also played an integral role in the Pirates 1960 World Series Championship season in 1960, winning 18 games that year with a 3.00 ERA and 183 strikeouts. That year, he led the team in games started and innings pitched.

As a young pitcher, Blass said Friend helped him transition to the Major Leagues.

"He couldn't have been a better mentor and a better friend when I was just getting my feet on the ground in Pittsburgh. Just sad news, but what a strong, good life."

In a statement, the Pirates called Friend one of the best to ever wear a Pirates uniform.

"It is with heavy hearts and great sadness we confirm the passing of a beloved member of the Pirates family, Bob Friend, earlier [Sunday> at the age of 88. Bob was an outstanding baseball man, and an even better person."

Friend split his final season with the New York Yankees and New York Mets, but retired in Pittsburgh, eventually becoming a founding member of the Pirates Alumni Association. He was an active board member until his passing. 

He is survived by his wife, Pat and his two children, Bob and Missy.