Thornton Lee

Thornton Starr Lee (September 13, 1906 – June 9, 1997), nicknamed "Lefty", was a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Cleveland Indians (1933–36), Chicago White Sox (1937–47) and New York Giants (1948). Lee batted and threw left-handed. He is the father of pitcher Don Lee, a former big leaguer.

Thornton Lee
Pitcher
Born: September 13, 1906
Sonoma, California
Died: June 9, 1997 (aged 90)
Tucson, Arizona
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
September 19, 1933, for the Cleveland Indians
Last MLB appearance
June 18, 1948, for the New York Giants
MLB statistics
Win–loss record117–124
Earned run average3.56
Strikeouts937
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Career

Lee was born in Sonoma, California. He attended Arroyo Grande High School in San Luis Obispo County from 1923 to 1925 then went on to play football, basketball, baseball and track at California Polytechnic (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo. [1] Lee first pitched professionally at the age of 24, reaching the major leagues on September 19, 1933, six days after his 28th birthday, with the Cleveland Indians.

From the beginning, Lee showed a fine sinking fastball, a good control, was effective holding runners and fielding, and produced with the bat as well. Before the 1937 season, he was part of a three-team trade among the Indians, Chicago White Sox and Washington Senators. Jack Salveson went to the Senators, while Earl Whitehill went to the Indians. Lee landed in Chicago and went on to pitch for the White Sox for the next eleven years.

In his first four years with the Sox, Lee won 12 or more games, with a high 15 victories in 1939, despite little offensive support. His most productive season came in 1941, when he paced all American League pitchers in ERA (2.34) and complete games (30). He also posted a career-high 22 victories (second only to Bob Feller's 25), 125 strikeouts (also a career-high), was named to the AL All-Star team, and collected a $2,500 bonus for winning more than 20 games.

From 1942 to 1945, Lee suffered a string of injuries and lost his pace. After fracturing his arm and undergoing two bone chip removals and a neck operation, he recovered his old form in 1945, going 15–12 with a 2.44 ERA and 108 strikeouts, and pitching in the All-Star game for second time.

At the age of 42, Lee divided his time in 1948 between the National League, with the Giants, and the Pacific Coast League, where he contributed to the Oakland Oaks pennant championship. He retired at the end of the season.

Thornton Lee died in June 1997 in Tucson, Arizona, at 90 years of age. He is survived by his son, Don, who pitched for five teams in the major leagues from 1957 to 1966. Thornton Lee was inducted into the Cal Poly Hall of Fame in 1988.[2]

Fact

  • On September 17, 1939, Ted Williams hit a home run off Thornton Lee, one of 31 homers he hit in his rookie season. Williams homered off Thornton's son, Don Lee, of the Senators, on September 2, 1960, thus becoming the only player in major league history to hit a home run off a father and son.

See also

References

  1. ^ Images of America Arroyo Grande by Jean Hubbard and Gary Hoving; 2009 Arcadia Publishing.
  2. ^ "Thorton S. Lee". Archived from the original on September 24, 2010. Retrieved October 21, 2008.

External links

1933 Cleveland Indians season

The 1933 Cleveland Indians season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fourth in the American League with a record of 75–76, 23½ games behind the Washington Senators.

1933 Philadelphia Eagles season

The 1933 Philadelphia Eagles season was the franchise's inaugural season in the National Football League (NFL). The team went 3–5–1, failing to qualify for the playoffs under head coach Lud Wray.

1934 Cleveland Indians season

The 1934 Cleveland Indians season was a season in American baseball. The team finished third in the American League with a record of 85–69, 16 games behind the Detroit Tigers.

1935 Cleveland Indians season

The 1935 Cleveland Indians season was a season in American baseball. The team finished in 3rd place, 12 games behind league champion Detroit.

1936 Cleveland Indians season

The 1936 Cleveland Indians season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fifth in the American League with a record of 80–74, 22½ games behind the New York Yankees.

1937 Chicago White Sox season

The 1937 Chicago White Sox season was the White Sox's 37th season in the major leagues, and their 38th season overall . They finished with a record 86–68, good enough for 3rd place in the American League, 16 games behind the first place New York Yankees.

1938 Chicago White Sox season

The 1938 Chicago White Sox season was the White Sox's 38th season in the major leagues and their 39th season overall. They finished with a record 65–83, good enough for 5th place in the American League, 32 games behind the first place New York Yankees.

1939 Chicago White Sox season

The 1939 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 39th season in major league baseball, and its 40th season overall. They finished with a record 85–69, good enough for 4th place in the American League, 22.5 games behind the first place New York Yankees.

1940 Chicago White Sox season

The 1940 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 40th season in the major leagues, and its 41st season overall. They finished with a record 82–72, good enough for 4th place in the American League, 8 games behind the first place Detroit Tigers.

1941 Chicago White Sox season

The 1941 Chicago White Sox season was the White Sox's 41st season in the major leagues, and their 42nd season overall. They finished with a record 77–77, good enough for 3rd place in the American League, 24 games behind the first place New York Yankees.

1941 Major League Baseball season

The 1941 Major League Baseball season included the New York Yankees defeating the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series, Ted Williams batting .406, and Joe DiMaggio having a 56-game hitting streak; it has been called the "best baseball season ever".

1942 Chicago White Sox season

The 1942 Chicago White Sox season was the White Sox's 43rd season. They finished with a record 66–82, good enough for 6th place in the American League, 34 games behind the 1st place New York Yankees.

1943 Chicago White Sox season

The 1943 Chicago White Sox season was the White Sox's 43rd season in the major leagues, and their 44th season overall. They finished with a record 82–72, good enough for 4th place in the American League, 16 games behind the first place New York Yankees.

1944 Chicago White Sox season

The 1944 Chicago White Sox season was the White Sox's 44th season in the major leagues, and their 45th season overall. They finished with a record 71–83, good enough for 7th place in the American League, 18 games behind the first place St. Louis Browns.

1945 Chicago White Sox season

The 1945 Chicago White Sox season was the White Sox's 45th season in the major leagues, and their 46th season overall. They finished with a record 71–78, good enough for 6th place in the American League, 15 games behind the 1st place Detroit Tigers.

1946 Chicago White Sox season

The 1946 Chicago White Sox season was the White Sox's 46th season in the major leagues, and their 47th season overall. They finished with a record 74–80, good enough for 5th place in the American League, 30 games behind the first place Boston Red Sox.

1947 Chicago White Sox season

The 1947 Chicago White Sox season was the White Sox's 47th season in the major leagues, and their 48th season overall. They finished with a record 70–84, good enough for 6th place in the American League, 27 games behind the first place New York Yankees.

Don Lee (baseball)

Donald Edward Lee (born February 26, 1934 in Globe, Arizona) is a former pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Detroit Tigers (1957–58), Washington Senators (1959–60), Minnesota Twins (1961–62), Los Angeles Angels (1962–65), Houston Astros (1965–66) and Chicago Cubs (1966). Lee batted and threw right-handed. He is the son of former major league pitcher Thornton Lee.

Lee attended University of Arizona. Signed by the Tigers as an amateur free agent in 1956, he debuted in the 1957 season. After two years with the Tigers, he was sent to the Senators. In 1965 Lee went to the Angels. He finished his career with the Cubs in 1966. Lee was a journeyman pitcher who divided his playing time jumping between the rotation and the bullpen. His most productive season came in 1962 with Minnesota and the Angels, when he compiled career-highs in victories (11), strikeouts (102), shutouts (2) and innings pitched (​205 1⁄3).

On September 2, 1960, Lee surrendered a home run to Ted Williams in the first game of a doubleheader between the Senators and Boston Red Sox. 21 years before, in his rookie season, Williams hit a home run off Don's father Thornton Lee, then with the Chicago White Sox, on September 17, 1939. With this feat, Williams became the only player in major league history to hit home runs against a father and son.In a nine-season career, Lee posted a 40–44 record with 467 strikeouts, a 3.61 ERA, 11 saves, and ​828 1⁄3 innings in 244 games played (97 as a starter).

Earl Whitehill

Earl Oliver Whitehill (February 7, 1899 – October 22, 1954) was a Major League Baseball pitcher. He played for the Detroit Tigers for the most significant portion of his career (1923–1932), and later with the Washington Senators (1933–1936), Cleveland Indians (1937–1938), and the Chicago Cubs (1939). Consistently winning in double digits for thirteen years (1924–1936), left-handed Whitehill went on to become one of the top winning pitchers of all time. He was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

"The Earl", as many called him, was a handsome and often temperamental pitcher who often showed up in the top 10 in hit batsmen, leading the league in his first full year, 1924, when he hit 13 (tied with George Uhle).

Whitehill averaged 14 wins each season and he never dipped below 11 wins in a full season (30 starts or more). Whitehill made his debut on September 15, 1923. He was a small left-handed pitcher, who weighed around 175 pounds. With Detroit, he came to be known as one of the most consistent pitchers in the league. From 1928 through 1932, he never had an ERA higher than 4.62 and never had one lower than 4.08; a difference of only .54 in those years.

In his rookie season, Whitehill was 17–8, with a 3.86 ERA, and two shutouts. The Tigers' offensive support helped, as the Tigers finished 1st in most major offensive categories in 1923. Reduced run support became a factor later in his stint with Detroit, which lead some to believe his overall record could have been better. In his early years with Detroit, Whitehill was part of a starting rotation that included Hooks Dauss, Dutch Leonard, and Lil Stoner.

Whitehill, one of the top pitchers of the Roaring Twenties, had a celebrity marriage to Violet Geissinger. Geissinger was a model for Sun-Maid Raisins during the 1920s. She was known as The Sun-Maid Raisin Girl.After he was traded to Washington, for Firpo Marberry and Carl Fischer, Whitehill fit right in there, going a career-best 22–8 in his first year, with a 3.33 ERA (also a career-best, excluding his first year when he pitched in 8 games and had a 2.73 ERA). With Washington that year, he saw his first (and last) postseason action, when the Senators were defeated by the New York Giants in 5 games. However, Whitehill did his part, getting the only win of the series for Washington. In that game, he pitched a complete game shutout allowing 5 hits and 2 walks. Because he didn't start until Game 3, it became his only start of the Series, and his only start of the postseason. Thus, his final postseason ERA was 0.00, tied with many others for a record.

He one-hit the St. Louis Browns on July 4, 1932, Goose Goslin recording the only hit for the Browns. Whitehill also one-hit the New York Yankees on May 30, 1934. The Yanks' Ben Chapman broke up the no-hitter in the ninth inning.

He was traded as part of a three team deal on December 10, 1936. The Senators received Jack Salveson from the Chicago White Sox, who received Thornton Lee from the Indians, which is where Whitehill was headed. In Cleveland, Whitehill had two average years and made a number of relief appearances (mostly in 1937). His final record with the Indians was 17–16.

Whitehill signed with the Cubs in 1939, went 4–7 with a 5.14 ERA there, and was released in October 1939. In 17 seasons, he was 218–185 with a career ERA of 4.36, having given up 1726 earned runs in 3564 and 2/3 innings pitched. He recorded 1350 career strikeouts. He pitched in 541 games, 473 of them starts. His lifetime ERA of 4.36 is higher than any other 200-game winner.

A competent hitting pitcher in his 17 years in the majors, Whitehill compiled a .204 batting average (264-for-1291) with 107 runs, 4 home runs and 98 RBI.

After serving as a coach for the Indians, the Philadelphia Phillies, and in the International League in the early 1940s, he became a sales representative for the A. G. Spalding sporting goods firm. Whitehill died in an automobile accident in Omaha, Nebraska at the age of 54.

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