Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

1976 Topps #487 - Leron Lee

  • The 1976 season was Leron Lee's last season in the major leagues. Lee was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1966 (sixth player taken overall). Leron had received football scholarship offers from 36 major colleges but opted to sign with the Cardinals. Leron played in the minors from 1967-1967 and put up some good offensive stats. In 1969 he batted .303 with 17 HR and 96 RBI for AAA Tulsa. He was brought up at the end of the 1969 season and batted .217 in 23 at bats.
  • Lee was a pinch hitter and backup outfielder for the Cardinals in 1970. He batted .227 with six HR and 23 RBI in 264 AB in 1971. Leron started the 1971 season with the Cardinals (.179 in 28 AB) and was traded with Fred Norman to the San Diego Padres for Al Santorini on June 11. Lee batted .273 in  256 at bats for the Padres in '71.
  • Leron had his best year in 1972. He batted .300 with 12 HR and 47 RBI in 370 at bats. Lee dropped to .237 in 369 AB in 1973 and was waived by the Padres during spring training in 1974. The Cleveland Indians claimed Lee and he batted .233 in 232 AB as a backup outfielder, pinch hitter, and DH. 
  • Lee started poorly in 1975 (.130 in 25 AB) and was released on May 15. Leron signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 11 and he batted .256 in 43 AB (mostly as a pinch hitter).
  • Lee didn't get a whole lot of playing time with the Dodgers in 1976 -- he didn't make his first appearance until August 6. He batted .133 in 45 AB and was released after the season.
  • Lee signed with the Lotte Orions in Japan and played there from 1977-1987. Leron led the league in home runs and RBI in  his first season in Japan and won the batting title in 1980. He still holds the Japanese career batting average record. Leron got his younger brother Leon (father of Cubs 1B Derrek Lee) to come to Japan to play in 1978 and they were a strong duo in the middle of the lineup.
  • Lee talks about his experiences playing in Japan in the book Remembering Japanese Baseball: An Oral History of the Game by Robert K. Fitts.
  • After he retired from Japanese baseball Lee was the batting coach for the Oakland A's in 1989. He is currently a coach in the Cincinnati Reds organization. 
  • Liked to face: Doyle Alexander (.600 in 10 AB); Paul Splittorff (.500 in 10 AB); Carl Morton (.400 in 20 AB)
  • Hated to face: Don Carrithers/Ed Sprague (.000 in 10 AB); Dock Ellis (.071 in 14 AB); Clay Carroll (.083 in 12 AB)

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