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Ex-Pirate, golf course owner Lynch dies

Jerry Lynch, who played two stints with the Pirates and once held the record for most career pinch-hit home runs, died today at his home in Atlanta. He was 81.

No cause of death was revealed, but his business partner, former Pirates great Dick Groat, said Lynch had been ailing since October.

At the time of his retirement from Major League Baseball in 1966, Lynch's 18 career pinch-hit home runs were a record. He currently ranks third all-time.

Lynch, who was an ownership partner with Groat at Champion Lakes Golf Course in Bolivar in Westmoreland County, had been in and out of the hospital lately with various ailments. He previously had undergone heart bypass surgery.

"He was the best. We were partners in business for over 60 years," said Groat, who also managed an apartment complex with Lynch in Wilkinsburg before the two began their golf course venture.

Lynch played for the Pirates from 1954-56 and from 1963-66. Former Pirates general manager Joe Brown placed him on the unrestricted list in 1956 and he was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds, where he remained until he was traded to the Pirates for outfielder Bob Skinner in 1963.

Lynch, an outfielder whose 116 career pinch hits is 10th-highest most in MLB history, was a member of the Reds' 1961 National League pennant-winning team.

He played 13 seasons with the Pirates and Reds and batted .277 with 115 home runs and 470 RBI.

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