Bob Lemon began his career with the Cleveland Indians in 1941 as a part-time utility player, but after his service time in World War 2 he took up pitching and within a matter of a few years became one of the American League’s best hurlers. His pitching arsenal included a devastating curve and a terrific slider to complement his great fastball, and during the 11 seasons from 1947 through 1957 the right-handed workhorse won 20+ games 7 times, and was named to 7 consecutive All-Star squads. He was among the AL leaders in nearly every pitching category while leading the junior circuit in wins 3 times, innings pitched 4 times, and complete games 5 times. During his 13 seasons on the mound he totaled 1,277 strikeouts, compiled a 207-128 record for a .618 pct., and a lifetime 3.23 ERA. He was an important member of an extremely formidable Indians pitching staff, and in 1948 he tossed a no-hitter while helping the Tribe win the World Championship, and in 1954 the AL pennant. He was a terrific fielder, and one of greatest hitting pitchers in the game’s history, slugging 37 homeruns, totaling 274 career hits, and was often used as a pinch-hitter.
After his playing career he managed the K.C. Royals, Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees, was twice named AL Manager of the Year, and skippered the Bombers to a World Series Championship in 1978.
He was elected to Cooperstown via BBWAA in 1976, and in 1998 his #21 was retired by the Tribe.
April 23, 2015
Long Beach, CA