A TTM Success… from Space.
May 21st, 2010 by slangon

2010 SlangKo Award Winners Bill “The Spaceman” Lee

You remember when I used to get TTM autographs all the time? Yeah, me neither. I did get this Bill Lee card back signed, however. It only took 3 months. I say that in a snarky, condescending way, but in reality 3 months is probably nothing in terms of TTM. I guess it just seems like a long time to me since I haven’t sent out any requests since spring training, and therefore haven’t really been getting any back recently.

Regardless, Mr. Lee was kind enough to take a second to sign the custom card that I sent him and return it to me. I like that aside from just signing his name he drew in that “73” and the star, along with pointing out that he did not play in the All-Star Game. By the way, it took me forever to realize what “D.N.P.” stood for. At first I was figuring that Bill Lee is kind of a weird dude so maybe it was some sort strange code or something. It wasn’t. Just “Did Not Pitch”.

Bill Lee was a pretty good pitcher during his career. He played for 14 seasons with the Red Sox and the Expos, as both a starter and reliever. He ended up with a 119-90 record, 3.62 ERA and 713 strikeouts. He relied more on off-speed pitches than his fastball. He was especially known for his version of the eephus pitch, which was referred to as either the “Spaceball” or the “Leephus Pitch”.

I more like Lee though for being a character in baseball. I like that he wanted to change his uniform number to 337, because it spells “Lee” up-side down. I like that he gave Don Zimmer the nickname “The Gerbil”. In fact, Zimmer hated Lee so much during his time managing him in Boston that Zimmer refused to start Bill in late season series against the Yankees in 1978. That’s despite the fact that Lee owned the Yankees. That’s despite the fact that Carl Yastrzemski pleaded with Zim to start him. Of course the Yankees went on to sweep the Sox that 4 game series, then won a one game playoff for first at the end of the season for the division title. Would Bill Lee have won the game if he started against the Yankees during that 4 game series? Who knows, but I’m sure he would’ve had a better shot than this guy.

By the way, I caught a bit of Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey on the MLB network a few weeks ago. It’s a documentary about a barnstorming trip that Bill Lee took through Cuba in 2006. I only caught maybe 15 minutes of it but it was pretty interesting. Aside from being entertained by the wackiness of Lee, it was cool to see Cuba, especially how they respond to baseball, which is huge over there. It was also interesting to see them interact with a former Major Leaguer like Lee, especially when he would start talking about playing with Luis Tiant. I want to see the whole thing, but I guess now that the season is underway, the MLB network isn’t showing much programming outside of games. I’ll have to keep my eye out for it.

One Response to “A TTM Success… from Space.”

  1. I need one of those cards! I started a Bill Lee collection last year. You must make me one. You just must! The only way that card could be cooler is if you used a shot of him from the Expos with the full Grizzly Adams beard. I’ll gather together some sweet vintage if you would be interested in a trade. Let me know.

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