Players From the Past: Bill "Spaceman" Lee Born: December 28, 1946 in Burbank, California Major League Debut: June 5, 1969 Final Game: May 7, 1982
Bill Lee pitched 10 years for the Red Sox and 4 years for the Expos but he is better known for his outlandish statements than he is for his pitching which wasn't that bad since he had a 119-90 record with a 3.62 ERA. It was a different era before pitch counts became the barometer as to how long a pitcher pitched in a game but even back then it was an accomplishment to have pitched 72 complete games in his career.
He pitched for USC in college baseball from 1966-1968 following Tom Seaver who had left after the 1965 season.
One time he wanted to change his uniform number to 337 since it spelled Lee upside down. Below are some quotes attributed to Lee through this link to baseball-almanac.com
Lee will be inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame on November 7, 2008. He pitched in more games than any Red Sox lefthander with 321 appearances as a Red Sox pitcher his 94 wins is the third most for a Red Sox pitcher in their history.
In 1988 Lee ran for president on the Canadian Political Rhinoceros Party ticket on the "No Guns, No Butter" slogan saying that both can kill. However since he was not on the ballot he received no votes.
He was once fined $250 by commissioner Bowie Kuhn for sprinkling marijuana on his pancakes.
The following article describes even more of Lee's quotes including his disdain for the DH which is not surprising considering he had to pitch to an extra hitter who sometimes was one of the best if not the best hitter on the team:
There are so many great quotes by Lee that it would take forever to retype them so am supplying this link to baseball-libary.com where one of the better quotes is about his opinion of the way Carl Yastrzemski dressed off the field:
The following video sort of gives a glance into the psyche of Lee and the interviewer tries to get him to expound on what he puts on his pancakes and he doesn't mention marijuana but syrup so evidently this was after his fine by Kuhn for using marijuana on his pancakes and Lee didn't want to lose another $250 so let that question slide by.
Bill Lee in the following 2008 video which is of low quality but the Spaceman is in top form as he espounds his political views:
In 1978 Lee was traded to the Expos for the immortal Stan Papi who batted 523 times in his 6 year career which is close to an average season. In that career he hit 7 home runs and drove in 51 runs. Lee was 16-10 the next season after the trade while Papi hit .188 for the Red Sox.
I believe there is still a place in baseball for players like Bill Lee who may be off the wall but still bring attention to the game with their antics. Lee may never make the Hall of Fame but he still was a solid major league pitcher who won 29 more games than he lost. He had to be good to last 14 years in the major leagues.