Friday, September 11, 2009

GREENSBURG, Pa.(AP) After 35 years, Steve Blass got his control back. Trouble is, it was the wrong game.

The former Pittsburgh Pirates World Series star pitcher, whose career ended in 1974 when he inexplicably lost his ability to throw the ball over the plate, made two holes-in-one in a span of 11 holes during the team's annual alumni golf outing.

Blass's first hole-in-one on Thursday came with an 8-iron at the 154-yard, par-3 15th hole at Greensburg Country Club - because of the format used for the former players' tournament, his fivesome started on the back nine.

The second ace came when on the 175-yard, par-3 seventh hole, with Blass using a 7-iron.

Blass was so excited after his second hole-in-one, he took off his glasses and rolled down a hillside leading to the green.

Maybe Arnold Palmer brought him good luck. The Pirates honored Palmer at PNC Park on Tuesday, and Blass chipped a few balls with him on the field. Two days later, on Palmer's 80th birthday, Blass made his two aces.

Golf Digest estimates the odds against a golfer having two holes-in-one in the same round at 67 million to 1.

Blass, 67, who said his most recently established handicap was 10, won the senior club championship at South Hills Country Club in suburban Pittsburgh in 2005. His only previous hole-in-one was in 1996 on a Florida course that no longer exists.

Blass was the winning pitcher in Game 7 of the 1971 World Series, throwing a 4-hitter as the Pirates beat the Orioles 2-1. He went 19-8 the following season and pitched in the All-Star game, but his career ended two years later when he lost his control and could not regain it.

Blass has been a Pirates broadcaster since 1986, although he no longer makes road trips.

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