Bob Friend, Pitcher JULY 9, 1956 A three-time All-Star with the Pirates, Friend became a county comptroller and sold insurance, but golf is his passion.

August 08, 2004

While former Pittsburgh Pirates righthander Bob Friend has become
a "golfaholic," as he puts it, give him credit for this: At least
he's getting ripped on the good stuff. The list of elite courses
he's played rivals that of a Tour pro, with rounds at such major
championship sites as Augusta National, Baltusrol, Olympia
Fields, Pebble Beach and Shinnecock Hills, plus Carnoustie,
Muirfield, Royal Troon and St. Andrews in Scotland. His home
course for the last 30 years, Oakmont Country Club in suburban
Pittsburgh, has hosted seven U.S. Opens and three PGA
Championships. "I used to be pretty good," says Friend, 73, who
was once a six handicap and is now a 12. His best score at
Oakmont, where he still plays three times a week, is a
one-over-par 72.

Spending 15 of his 16 major league seasons with the Pirates,
Friend had one 20-win season (22-14 in 1958), went to three
All-Star Games (appearing on SI's cover, bottom left corner) and
pitched in three games for the 1960 World Series champions. After
he retired in '66 with a 197-230 record and a career 3.58 ERA,
Friend, a native of Indiana, remained in the Pittsburgh area.

The following year, at the urging of Pirates co-owner Tom
Johnson, Friend entered the election for Allegheny County
comptroller. He was a Republican running in a heavily Democratic
region, but he was a popular figure in the Steeltown area and
won. He served two four-year terms, but the highlight of his
political career was being selected as a delegate to the
Republican conventions in 1968 (as an alternate), '72 and '80. He
briefly met Ronald Reagan during the latter convention and over
the years had several encounters with Richard Nixon, who was
always ready to talk sports. "He kept up on different players and
what they were hitting," Friend says. "I was really impressed
with that."

After deciding not to seek a third term as comptroller, Friend
sold insurance for 25 years before retiring in 2002.

Friend passed on his passion for golf to son, Bob Jr., who played
on the PGA and Nationwide tours from 1990 through 2003. Bob Jr.
won more than $1.5 million in career prize money, his best
showing a second-place finish to Billy Andrade at the 1998 Bell
Canadian Open. Father and son have golfed together regularly
since Bob Jr. quit the Nationwide tour a year ago. "I think I've
golfed with my son more lately than I did the last 15 or 20
years," Friend says. For a golfaholic, that makes for a very good
year. --Bill Syken

COLOR PHOTO: COVER, LEFT TO RIGHT, FROM TOP: NO CREDIT (BANKS);HY PESKIN (KUENN, MANTLE); LIFE (MUSIAL); INP (SNIDER); UPI(BERRA); HY PESKIN (FRIEND); NO CREDIT (BOYER); AP (BREWER, LONG) COLOR PHOTO: FRED VUICH (FRIEND) TEE TIME Friend plays three times a week at Oakmont.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)