A native of Jackson, Mississippi, he grew up in Los Angeles. He was drafted in the first round of the 1972 Major League Baseball draft and played 16 seasons in Major League Baseball for the Chicago White Sox from 1975 to 1981 and for the Detroit Tigers from 1982 to 1990. He was selected as an American League All-Star in 1978, 1979, and 1984 and was the starting center fielder for the 1984 Detroit Tigers team that won the 1984 World Series.
Lemon was known as one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball from 1977 to 1987. In 1977, he led the American League with 512 outfield putouts, the fourth highest single-season tally in major league history and the highest tally since 1951. He also totaled over 400 outfield putouts in four other years (1979 and 1983-1985). He also led the American League with 44 doubles in 1979 and led the league in times hit by pitch (HBP) four times, including a career-high 20 HBP in 1983. Lemon was sometimes criticized for not standing for "The Star-Spangled Banner" due to his religious beliefs as a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses.
Lemon in 2012
|Center fielder / Right fielder|
|Born: February 12, 1955|
|September 9, 1975, for the Chicago White Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 3, 1990, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Runs batted in||884|
|Career highlights and awards|
Lemon was born in 1955 in Jackson, Mississippi, and moved to Los Angeles when he was six months old. His family moved to Los Angeles where he grew up. He attended John C. Fremont High School, where he played in the backfield with Ricky Bell on the football team and also starred on the baseball team.
Lemon was drafted in the first round (22nd overall) of the 1972 Major League Baseball draft by the Oakland Athletics. He began his professional baseball career in 1972 playing for the Athletics' minor league team in Coos Bay-North Bend, Oregon. After 38 games in Oregon, he moved up to the Burlington Bees in the Midwest League. He remained with Burlington through the 1973 and 1974 seasons.
In June 1975, Lemon was traded to the Chicago White Sox. During the 1975 season, he batted .307 with eight home runs and 49 runs batted in for the Triple A Denver Bears to earn a call up to the White Sox that September.
An infielder in the minor leagues, Lemon played third base during his brief stint with the Chicago White Sox in 1975. He entered Spring training 1976 as the leading candidate for the third base job, but after failing to impress manager Paul Richards with his glove, was moved to the outfield. He made the transition seamlessly, as he made only three errors all season while logging a .992 fielding percentage in centerfield. He batted .246 with four home runs, 38 RBIs and 46 runs scored to earn Topps All-Star Rookie Teams honors.
He came into his own as both a hitter and centerfielder in 1977. He scored a career high 99 runs, while showing a dramatic increase in power, hitting fifteen more home runs than he had his rookie season. He also set an American League record with 524 total chances and 512 putouts in the outfield, a record that still stands.
With the White Sox in sixth place in the American League West, ahead only of the expansion Seattle Mariners, Lemon was selected as his team's lone representative at the 1978 All-Star Game. Though he did not receive an at-bat, he entered the game in left field in the eighth inning, and committed an error in the National League's four-run eighth. The White Sox finished the season in fifth, eventually passing the Oakland A's in the standings. Lemon went 2-for-5 on the second-to-last day of the season to bring his season batting average to .300. He sat out his team's final game.
In 1979, Lemon was again the sole White Sox player on the American League All-Star team. He entered the game in the second inning, and scored in the third after being hit by a Joaquín Andújar pitch. He ended the season with a .318 batting average and 86 RBIs, both career highs. He also hit 44 doubles, tying the Milwaukee Brewers' Cecil Cooper for the American League season best total.
The White Sox finished near the bottom of the division standings during most of Lemon's tenure with the club. With the addition of free agent catcher Carlton Fisk and designated hitter Greg Luzinski, the team improved to 31-22 and finished in third in the first half of the strike shortened 1981 season. For his part, Lemon batted .299 with three home runs and 22 RBIs in the first half. Though his team finished in sixth place in the second half, his stats improved, as he batted .305 with six home runs and drove in 28. Following the season, Lemon was traded to the Detroit Tigers for outfielder Steve Kemp.
In his first season with Detroit, Lemon shifted from his regular position in center field, starting 92 games in right field and 25 in center field. The 1982 Tigers compiled an 83-79 record and finished fourth in American League East (AL East). Lemon 's batting average dropped to .266, 38 points lower than he had averaged in the preceding four years. Newspaper columnist Mike Downey opined that uprooting Lemon and his young family, along with a torn rib cage, damaged ligaments in his left wrist, and several pulled muscles, had resulted in the worst season in his major league career. Lemon later noted that moving to right field also affected him: "Playing right field wasn't real difficult. I didn't want to play it, that was my problem. It affected me so much mentally. I wasn't happy."
Despite Lemon's 1982 performance, the Tigers signed Lemon to a five-year contract in November 1982. The contract paid Lemon an estimated $450,000 a year.
In 1983, Lemon became the Tigers' regular center fielder, starting 133 games at the position. With only three errors in 417 chances, he provided the club with solid defense in the middle of the outfield. Manager Sparky Anderson in July 1983 called Lemon "the best defensive center fielder I've been around." On July 24, 1983, he gained national attention for a leaping catch that deprived Rod Carew of a game-winning home run in the 12th inning. Lemon also developed power with a career-high 24 home runs in 1983, and he led the American League with a career-high 20 time being hit by pitch. However, his batting average fell to .255. His overall contributions helped the 1983 Tigers improve to 92-70, good for second in AL East.
In 1984, the Tigers opened with a 35–5 record, won the American League East by 15 games, and defeated the San Diego Padres in the 1984 World Series. Lemon played a key role on the 1984 championship team. Defensively, he started 135 games in center field and compiled a career-high .995 fielding percentage with only two errors in 438 chances. Offensively, his batting average jumped more than 30 points to .287, and his 60 extra-base hits tied Kirk Gibson for the most on the team. His 20 home runs and 76 RBIs ranked third on the 1984 Tigers team. Lemon was also the starting center fielder for the American League at the 1984 All-Star game.
Reaching the post-season for the first time in his career, Lemon went hitless in thirteen at-bats in the Tigers' three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals in the 1984 American League Championship Series. He improved in the World Series, batting .294 with a run scored and a run batted in. He also had "a Willie Mays-style back-to-the-plate catch" on a Terry Kennedy drive to preserve the Tigers' lead in the seventh inning of Game 3.
In March 1985, the Tigers signed Lemon to a contract extension running through the 1991 season with a club option to extend through 1992. The extension was reported to be worth $4.5 million.
He remained the Tigers' starting center fielder for three more seasons, playing 144 games at the position in 1985, 124 games in 1986, and 145 games in 1987. In 1987, he hit at least 20 home runs and 30 doubles for the third time in his career. He also ranked among the league's leading center fielders with a .992 fielding percentage (second), 348 putouts (third), and a 2.70 range factor (fourth), and helped the 1987 Tigers win the AL East with a record of 98-64.
In the spring of 1990, Lemon was diagnosed with polycythemia vera, a rare blood disorder. During the 1990 season, he missed 47 games with multiple injuries and went through a divorce that affected his concentration. He failed to hit a home run between early May and late September and concluded the 1990 season with a career-low 378 at bats and only 32 RBIs.
Lemon returned to spring training in 1991, but he was injured for much of the training camp. He was waived by the Tigers on April 5, three days before opening day.
In August 1991, Lemon was hospitalized in the intensive care unit at the University of Florida Shands Hospital with a blood clot in his abdomen. He was discharged after almost four weeks of treatment.
Lemon recorded 400 or more outfield putouts in five different seasons, an American League record. He also had a unique ability to be hit by a pitch; in the 1980s, he was second only to Don Baylor by getting plunked 108 times. He also had a penchant for diving headfirst into first base.
Lemon was married to Valerie Jones. They had four children, Geneva (born c. 1972), Chester Jr. (born c. 1977), David (born 1981), and Marcus (born 1988). David and Marcus both followed their father into baseball. Marcus played minor league baseball from 2006 to 2017.
Lemon became a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses while playing in the minor leagues in the 1970s. He was introduced to the religion by Jerry Hairston Sr. while they were teammates in the Chicago White Sox organization. Due to his religious faith, Lemon declined to stand for "The Star-Spangled Banner", a point for which he was sometimes criticized. In a 1987 interview, Lemon explained:
I believe in God's kingdom. I acknowledge God's kingdom over earth. I give my allegiance to him and not to the flag. I am grateful to be in the United States, grateful to be able to live in the U.S. and have the opportunity to have my beliefs and go door to door to share them. But the national anthem is a ritual. You have to think about what's being said -- rockets' red glare, bombs bursting in air? We do not believe in nor do we salute war.
In 1993, Lemon established the Chet Lemon Baseball School in Lake Mary, Florida. He coached two successful AAU teams, Chet Lemon's Juice (18 and under) and Chet Lemon's Juice II (14 and under) in Eustis, Florida. He was also the head coach for Eustis High School, where he led the Panthers to the 2003 state championship.
The 1976 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 76th season in Major League Baseball, and its 77th season overall. They finished at 64–97 (.398), the worst record in the twelve-team American League. They were 25½ games behind the Kansas City Royals, champions of the American League West.1977 Chicago White Sox season
The 1977 Chicago White Sox season was a season in American baseball. The team finished third in the American League West, 12 games behind the Kansas City Royals.1978 Chicago White Sox season
The 1978 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 78th season in Major League Baseball, and its 79th overall. They finished with a record 71-90, good enough for fifth place in the American League West, 20.5 games behind the first-place Kansas City Royals.1978 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1978 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 49th midseason exhibition between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and the National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was played on July 11, 1978, at San Diego Stadium in San Diego, home of the San Diego Padres of the National League. The game resulted in a 7-3 victory for the NL.
This was the first All-Star Game to be played in San Diego. It would return in 1992 to be played in the same stadium, though it was renamed Jack Murphy Stadium by that time.
The honorary captains were Brooks Robinson (for the AL) and Eddie Mathews (for the NL).1979 Chicago White Sox season
The 1979 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 80th season overall, and their 79th in Major League Baseball. They finished with a record 73-87, good enough for fifth place in the American League West, 15 games behind the first-place California Angels.1980 Chicago White Sox season
The 1980 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 80th season in Major League Baseball, and its 81st season overall. They finished with a record of 70-90, good enough for 5th place in the American League West, 26 games behind the first-place Kansas City Royals.
In 1979 and 1980, Bill Veeck made overtures to Denver interests. An agreement was reached to sell to Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr., who pledged to keep the club in Chicago. His offer was turned down by the owners. Veeck was forced to sell to a different investment group.1981 Chicago White Sox season
The 1981 Chicago White Sox season was the White Sox's 81st season in the major leagues, and their 82nd season overall. They finished with a record 54-52, good enough for 3rd place in the American League West, 8.5 games behind the 1st place Oakland Athletics. However, due to a player's strike, the Athletics would play the 50-53 Kansas City Royals, who had finished behind the White Sox.
Owner Bill Veeck attempted to sell the club to Ed DeBartolo, but the offer was turned down by the other owners. Veeck was then forced to sell to a different investment group headed by Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn.1981 in Michigan
Events from the year 1981 in Michigan.
The Associated Press (AP) selected the state's top sports stories as follows:
The first championship boxing match between Thomas Hearns boxing match with Sugar Ray Leonard on September 16 and billed as "The Showdown";
Eric Hipple's taking over as the Detroit Lions' quarterback after an injury to Gary Danielson;
Michigan's victory over Washington in the 1981 Rose Bowl;
The Detroit Pistons' selection of Isiah Thomas and Kelly Tripucka with the second and twelfth picks in the first round of the 1981 NBA draft;
The Detroit Tigers' November 27 trade of Steve Kemp to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Chet Lemon;
The development of Kirk Gibson as a Major League Baseball player, compiling a .328 batting average for the Detroit Tigers;
The death of University of Michigan football broadcaster Bob Ufer;
The inaugural Michigan 500 automobile race at the Michigan International Speedway;
The Detroit Red Wings' December 2 trade of Dale McCourt, Mike Foligno, and Brent Peterson to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Danny Gare, Jim Schoenfeld, and Derek Smith; and
The induction of Ernie Harwell into the Baseball Hall of Fame.1982 Detroit Tigers season
The 1982 Detroit Tigers finished in fourth place in the American League East with a record of 83-79 (.512), 12 games behind the Brewers. The Tigers outscored their opponents 729 to 685. The Tigers drew 1,636,058 fans to Tiger Stadium in 1982, ranking 7th of the 14 teams in the American League.1984 Detroit Tigers season
The 1984 Detroit Tigers won the 1984 World Series, defeating the San Diego Padres, 4 games to 1. The season was their 84th since they entered the American League in 1901 and their fourth World Series championship. Detroit relief pitcher Willie Hernández won the Cy Young Award and was chosen as the American League Most Valuable Player. The 1984 season is also notable for the Tigers leading the AL East division wire-to-wire. They opened with a 9–0 start, were 35–5 after 40 games, and never relinquished the lead during the entire season.1984 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1984 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 55th midseason exhibition between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and the National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was played on July 10, 1984, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, home of the San Francisco Giants of the National League. The game resulted in a 3-1 victory for the NL.
Of the three All-Star Games played in San Francisco to date, it is the only one to have been held in an even-numbered year. Candlestick Park's only other All-Star Game, played in 1961, and the next Midsummer Classic to be played in San Francisco, in 2007 at AT&T Park, the Giants' current home, took place in odd-numbered years.1985 Detroit Tigers season
The 1985 Detroit Tigers finished in third place in the American League Eastern Division with a record of 84-77 (.522), 15 games behind the Blue Jays. The Tigers outscored their opponents 729 to 688. The Tigers drew 2,286,609 fans to Tiger Stadium in 1983, ranking 3rd of the 14 teams in the American League.1987 American League Championship Series
The 1987 American League Championship Series pitted the Minnesota Twins, the American League West champions, against the Detroit Tigers, the American League East champions. Minnesota won the Series four games to one, en route to winning the 1987 World Series four games to three over the St. Louis Cardinals.1989 Detroit Tigers season
The Detroit Tigers' 1989 season was a season in American baseball. The Tigers finished 59–103 and in last place in the AL East. It was the worst record in the major leagues as well as (at the time) the franchise's second-worst season ever in terms of both losses and win percentage (.364). It was also (at the time) the franchise's worst full 162-game season.1990 Detroit Tigers season
The 1990 Detroit Tigers season was the 90th season in franchise history. The Tigers finished in third place in the American League East, with a record of 79-83. They scored 750 runs and allowed 754. Notably, Cecil Fielder reached the 50 Home Run plateau, the first and last Detroit Tiger to hit at least 50 home runs since Hank Greenberg in 1938.Chet
Chet is a masculine given name, often a nickname for Chester, which means fortress or camp. It is an uncommon name of English origin, and originated as a surname to identify people from the city of Chester, England. Chet was ranked 1,027th in popularity for males of all ages in a sample of the 1990 US Census.People named Chet include:
Chet (murza) (fl. 14th century), murza of the Golden Horde and legendary progenitor of several Russian families
Chet Allen (actor, 1939-1984) (1939–1984), child opera and choir performer
Chet Allen (actor, 1928-2011) (1929–2011), American actor
Chester Chet Atkins (1924–2001), American country guitarist and record producer
Chesney Chet Baker (1929–1988), American jazz musician and vocalist
Chet Brooks (born 1966), American former National Football League player
Chester Chet Bulger (1917–2009), American National Football League player
Chester Chet Culver (born 1966), former Governor of Iowa
Thomas Chester Chet Edwards (born 1951), American politician
Fulvio Chester Chet Forte (1935–1996), American sports television director and basketball player
Chester Chet Gardner (1898–1939), American race car driver
Chester Chet Gladchuk (1917–1967), National Football League and Canadian Football League player
Donald Chester Chet Grant (1892–1985), American basketball and football player, football and All-American Girls Professional Baseball League coach and sports editor
Chet Hanulak (born 1933), American former National Football League player
Chester E. Holifield (1903–1995), American politician
Chester Chet Huntley (1911–1974), American television newscaster
Chester Chet Jastremski (1941–2014), American swimmer
Chester Chet Jaworski (1916–2003), American college basketball player
Chester Chet Lemon (born 1955), American retired Major League Baseball player
Chet Miksza (1930–1975), Canadian Football League player
Chet Moeller (born 1953), American college football player
Chester Chet Mutryn (1921–1995), All-America Football Conference and the National Football League player
Chester Chet Nichols, Sr. (1897–1982), Major League Baseball pitcher
Chester Chet Nichols, Jr. (1931–1995), Major League Baseball pitcher, son of the above
Chester Chet Ostrowski (1930–2001), American National Football League player
Chet Raymo (born 1936), American writer, educator and naturalist
Chester Chet Walker (born 1940), American National Basketball Association player
Chester Chet A. Wynne (1898–1967), American football player and college head coachLemon (surname)
People surnamed Lemon:
Arthur Lemon, Wales international rugby player
Bob Lemon (1920–2000), American Major League Baseball pitcher
Sir Charles Lemon (1784–1868), 2nd Baronet, British Member of Parliament
Chet Lemon (born 1955), American Major League Baseball Player
Cleo Lemon (born 1979) NFL free agent quarterback
Don Lemon (born 1966), CNN broadcaster
Dot Lemon (1907–1986), American aviator
George William Lemon (1726–1797), English etymologist
James Lemon (1903–1977), co-owner of the Washington Senators
Jim Lemon (1928–2006), American Major League Baseball player
John Lemon (1754–1814), British Member of Parliament, brother of Sir William Lemon
John Lemon (prospector), 19th-century prospector in Alaska
Keith Lemon, a character played by comedian Leigh Francis
Leslie R. Lemon, American meteorologist
Liz Lemon, character on the situation comedy 30 Rock
Margaretta Louisa Lemon (1860-1953, known as "Etta"), ornithologist and founder member of RSPB
Mark Lemon (1809–1870), editor of the British weekly Punch
Mark Lemon (speedway rider) (born 1973), Australian speedway rider
Meadowlark Lemon (1932–2015), American basketball player and actor
Percy Lemon (1898–1932), British polar explorer
Shawn Lemon (born 1988), American football player
Wayne Lemon, American playwright and screenwriter
Sir William Lemon (1748–1824), 1st Baronet Lemon of Carclew, British Member of Parliament.Morris Nettles
Morris Nettles (January 26, 1952 – January 24, 2017) was a Major League Baseball outfielder who played two seasons with the California Angels in the mid-1970s.
Nettles was drafted by the Angels in the second round of the 1970 Major League Baseball Draft out of Venice High School in Los Angeles, California. A speedy runner with good range in the outfield, he batted over .300 in the Angels' farm system to earn a roster spot with the Angels coming out of Spring training 1974. He was demoted back to the triple A Salt Lake City Angels at the end of May with a .222 batting average, three extra base hits, seven runs scored and one stolen base.
Nettles batted .328 with 26 stolen bases and 69 runs scored for Salt Lake City to earn a second chance with the big league club. He made the most of his second chance, batting .292 with nineteen stolen bases and scoring twenty runs at the top of the Angels' batting order.
Nettles was handed the centerfield job heading into the 1975 campaign, but lost it to Mickey Rivers a month into the season. Playing one of the corner outfield positions and occasionally filling in for Rivers in center the rest of the way, Nettles batted .231 with fifty runs scored. He stole 22 bases, but was caught fifteen times. On December 11, 1975, he and Jim Spencer were traded to the Chicago White Sox for Steve Dunning and Bill Melton.Nettles was one of many young outfielders competing for the White Sox's centerfield job in Spring training 1976. With Chet Lemon eventually named the Chisox's centerfielder, Nettles split the season between the Toledo Mud Hens and Iowa Oaks, batting a combined .232 in his final professional season.
Nettles died from complications of pancreatic cancer on January 24, 2017.