Cleveland Indians legend Bob Lemon passes away in California after a heart attack and stroke. He was 79 years old.
The Hall of Fame pitcher debuted with the Indians in 1941 – as a third baseman. He played five games for the club in each of his first two seasons before missing the 1943-1945 seasons due to military commitments in the United States Navy. He returned to Cleveland for the 1946 season and began to work as a pitcher, going 4-5 with a 2.49 ERA in his first 32 games pitched, while still playing the outfield on occasion.
He improved to 11-5 the next season and, in 1948, began the first of seven straight American League All-Star seasons. He won 20 games or more in six of the seven years while leading the Indians to the 1948 and 1954 World Series. He led the league in wins with 23 in 1950, 23 again in 1954, and 18 in 1955. He also led the league in starts three times, innings pitched four times, complete games five times, and strikeouts and shutouts once.
After his 15-year career ended in 1958, he became a scout, a coach, and a manager at the minor and Major League levels, working with the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, and New York Yankees (winning a title there in 1978).
He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976 by the members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. His number 21 was retired by the Indians in 1998. He was named to the Top 100 Greatest Indians roster as part of the team’s 100th anniversary celebration in 2001.
Also on this date in Tribe history:
1876 – Hall of Fame outfielder Elmer Flick is born in Bedford, Ohio. After spending the first four-plus seasons of his Major League career playing in Philadelphia with the Phillies and Athletics, he returned home to northeast Ohio in 1902 and spent nine seasons with the Bronchos and Naps to conclude his Cooperstown efforts. He was elected to the Hall in 1963 by the Veterans Committee.
1990 – Right-handed pitcher Danny Salazar is born in Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional, Dominican Republic. After signing with Cleveland in 2006, he made his debut on July 11, 2013, and was the starting pitcher in the one-game American League Wild Card play-in game that October. He remained with the Indians through the conclusion of the 2019 season in limited action due to a series of injuries.