Tuesday, August 26, 2014

NICKNAMES OF THE '70'S #3: "SPACEMAN" BILL LEE

Here's a fun card to design: a 1975 card showing one of my favorite characters from the decade, pitcher Bill Lee, then of the Boston Red Sox.
Check it out:


Lee was "something else". A perfect product of the times a'la Bill Walton from the NBA.
He brought a lot of that "hippie"/counterculture attitude to the game, which made him extremely popular with fans, but NOT with the people running the game.
As a pitcher, Lee was a solid starter for the BoSox during the mid-70's, winning 17 games a season three years in a row from 1973-75.
But his career would be someone derailed because of the very personality that made him popular.
His clashes with managers and management for both the Rex Sox and the other team he played for, the Montreal Expos, would make him expendable, eventually getting dumped by Montreal in 1982 because of a one-game walk-out he staged over the team releasing Rodney Scott.
He'd never play in another Major League game again.
His post-baseball days have been incredibly productive, as Lee has authored books, played semi-professionally, barnstormed, and even released his own wine, "Spaceman Red"!
He's even STILL active PLAYING ball at the ripe old age of 67!
The man is the definition of "character"!
If you're into professional athletes with a lot to say, do yourself a favor and read any of his books! Hilarious and insightful on pro-sports from a free-spirit perspective.
For his Major League career, Lee finished his 14-year run with a 119-90 record, with a 3.62 earned run average over 416 games, 225 of which were starts.

3 comments:

  1. I would love to see a card for one of Bill Lee's opposing players in the '75 World Series. Pedro Borbon earned the nickname "Dracula" because of his ability to chew off the cover of baseballs as well as his tendency to sink his fangs into opposing players during on-field brawls! That dude was pretty bizarre...

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  2. I've met Lee a few times ... He had traveled around playing in charity softball tournaments. Has a ton of cool stories.

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  3. Lee is famous around Cincy for serving up a big HR to Tony Perez in the 1975 World Series off his famous blooper pitch. He fooled TP earlier but paid for it later. I didn't realize he quit so abruptly.

    Pedro was quite the character. I think he was said to have ripped or bitten a hole in the cap of a Mets player during the famous brawl between Pete and Buddy in the 1973 playoffs. He was traded by the Reds to SF in the late 70's and supposedly but a curse on the team. They did not win a championship until 1990, when he reportedly removed the curse. They used to joke that he had a rubber arm. Back in the day, Sparky would trot him out there three or four days in a row if necessary without worry. Sadly he passed away a couple of years ago.
    http://www2.cincinnati.com/blogs/reds/2012/06/04/pedro-bourbon-dead-at-65/

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