Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Williams touched father-son for homers --Update

1960 Fleer
I gave a lot of space late last month to Ted Williams, but I recently learned of a bit of TW trivia that seems worthy of passing along.

On Sept. 2, 1960, his last season playingh in the majors, Williams hit the 517th home run of his career (his 25th of the season) off Washington Senators pitcher Don Lee. Williams took Lee's pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning into deep center field at Fenway Park. It was the only run the Red Sox scored in a 5-1 loss.

Later, it was widely speculated that this might have been the first time that a major league player had ever recorded a home run off father-son pitchers. Williams said he recalled hitting "one or two" home runs off "Thorny," Don Lee's father, Thornton Lee.

According to the game logs on, it was one home run, in Williams' rookie season.

1960 Topps

That home run was the 28th for Williams in 1939, so naturally it was also the 28th of his major league career. The blast came in the bottom of the fourth at Fenway, and as was the case 21 years later, it was the Red Sox' only run in a 6-1 loss to Thornton Lee's Chicago White Sox.

1936 National Chicle Fine Pen

There've been more than a dozen father-son pitchers in the major leagues, but a quick review didn't turn up any instances where they both yielded home runs to the same batter. I'm not saying it didn't happen before Ted Williams, or after, but I didn't find it. If you know of another, post a comment.

Feb. 22, 2012 update . . . 
I just learned that Thornton and Don Lee also gave up home run balls to another player, though Don's gopher ball came while he was not yet pitching professionally.

1953 Topps
Pitching for the N.Y. Giants in 1948, his last year in the majors, Thornton Lee came on in relief after starter Sheldon Jones had been tagged for four runs in the first inning against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Lee gave up a home run to Dodgers first baseman Preston Ward on the way to taking the loss in a 17-7 rout. 

In 1952, while 18-year-old Don Lee was pitching for the Casa Grande (Ariz.) Cotton Kings in the American Baseball Congress amateur tournament in Wichita, he gave up a home run and a double to Ward, who was playing with the U.S. Army's Ft. Leonard Wood team that eventually came in second in the tourney. Don took the loss in the 5-2 game. 

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