Lemon spent his entire playing career in Cleveland with the Indians from 1941 to 1958. He spent five games on the roster as a third baseman in each of his first two years before missing three years due to military service during World War II.
When he returned, he was converted into a pitcher and he became a seven-time All-Star while winning 20 games or more seven different times. In all, he posted a 207-128 record in 460 games with 188 complete games and 31 shutouts. He led the league in strikeouts and shutouts once, games started and wins three times, innings pitched four times, and complete games five times.
After his playing career, he stayed in the game and worked as a scout, a coach, and a manager at both the minor and Major League levels. He led the Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox briefly before taking over the New York Yankees club and leading them to a World Series title in 1978. He passed away on January 11, 2000, at the age of 79.