PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Thomas Phillips Johnson, the Pirates' co-owner during a 38-year span in which Pittsburgh won three World Series titles, died at age 85.

Johnson, who also co-founded Pittsburgh's largest law firm, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, died Tuesday in Shadyside Hospital of respiratory failure stemming from cancer.

``He was very proud of his three World Series rings,'' said his son, Thomas Johnson Jr. of Poultney, Vt. ``He got a real kick out of sports writers and baseball players. He was at 55 consecutive Pirates openers, and he always took off to go to the World Series.''

Johnson and friend Frank McKinney bought the controlling interest of the team in 1946 from the Barney Dreyfuss family. John Galbreath and Bing Crosby later joined the ownership group.

By the time Johnson sold his share to the Galbreath family in 1984, Johnson's Pirates had won World Series titles in 1960, 1971 and 1979.

Johnson graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1937. After World War II, Johnson returned to Pittsburgh to practice law with Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay.

But in 1946, he joined six other lawyers to form Kirkpatrick, Pomeroy, Lockhart & Johnson, now known as Kirkpatrick & Lockhart.

Through the law firm, Johnson came to serve as chairman, president, vice president, secretary, treasurer or director of more than 50 corporations, notably Cyclops Corp. and Rockwell International.