Bill "Spaceman" Lee - Classic or Dud?

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I know Morbs is a big fan, and I recently enjoyed his contributions to Ken Burns' Baseball, so I thought I'd share some gems from Bill 'Spaceman' Lee I got off the Baseball Almanac site:

"I think about the cosmic snowball theory. A few million years from now the sun will burn out and lose its gravitational pull. The earth will turn into a giant snowball and be hurled through space. When that happens it won't matter if I get this guy out."

"I would change policy, bring back natural grass and nickel beer. Baseball is the belly-button of our society. Straighten out baseball, and you straighten out the rest of the world."

"Most of the managers are lifetime .220 hitters. For years pitchers have been getting these managers out 75% of the time and that's why they don't like us."

"People are too hung up on winning. I can get off on a really good helmet throw."

"The other day they asked me about mandatory drug testing. I said I believed in drug testing a long time ago. All through the sixties I tested everything."

"There's nothing in the world like the fatalism of the Red Sox fans, which has been bred into them for generations by that little green ballpark, and the wall, and by a team that keeps trying to win by hitting everything out of sight and just out-bombarding everyone else in the league. All this makes Boston fans a little crazy and I'm sorry for them."

"You take a team with twenty-five assholes and I'll show you a pennant. I'll show you the New York Yankees."

gygax! (gygax!), Tuesday, 18 October 2005 19:11 (seventeen years ago) link

pretty classic. on the other hand, i read an article a few years ago on his current life (i forget where) in which he sounded like a bizarre 60-year old child.

mookieproof (mookieproof), Tuesday, 18 October 2005 19:34 (seventeen years ago) link

Was it Lee who once booted a grounder and said "I lost it in the sun"?

Another anecdote (from Okrent and Wulf's "Baseball Anecdotes"):

Lee was always retiring from baseball, usually when the Red Sox, or later the Expos, would trade one of his pals. When Bernie Carbo, a kindred spirit who would buy an extra plane ticket so he could take his stuffed gorilla with him on road trips, was sold to the Indians, Lee walked out for a day and was fined $533. He asked management to make it $1500 "so I could take another couple of days off."

MindInRewind (Barry Bruner), Tuesday, 18 October 2005 20:02 (seventeen years ago) link

Which of his books are recommended?

gygax! (gygax!), Tuesday, 18 October 2005 20:05 (seventeen years ago) link

S: pot pancake story

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 18 October 2005 20:14 (seventeen years ago) link

four months pass...
When he was going to start Game 6 of the 76 series he said:

"I'm the stopper. I'm the Kaopectate Kid."

Pretty classic, that.

Darrell Johnson pitched Tiant in game 6 instead (there was a rainout) and Lee lost game 7. He was really bugged that he and Luis got flipped.

steve ketchup (steve ketchup), Tuesday, 21 February 2006 00:36 (seventeen years ago) link

last i heard he was living in the north kingdom of vermont. it's a really beautiful, mostly untouched, part of the country near the canadian border. i think i'd read he was a hay farmer but i really don't recall.

otto midnight (otto midnight), Tuesday, 21 February 2006 16:08 (seventeen years ago) link

I've read "The Wrong Stuff" twice, it's fantastic!

Steve Shasta (Steve Shasta), Tuesday, 21 February 2006 17:13 (seventeen years ago) link

three months pass...
Lee on the best Road cuisine:

It sure wasn't Cleveland — they had the Triangle Diner and the Theatrical. We were there one Fourth of July and the streets were so deserted I thought the world had ended and I was the last survivor, like a scene out of Neville Shute's "On the Beach."

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 20 June 2006 18:48 (sixteen years ago) link

I believe Jim Bouton had more than a few pages in Ball Four talking about the best road cuisine/culture.

Steve Shasta (Steve Shasta), Tuesday, 20 June 2006 19:20 (sixteen years ago) link

five years pass...

"Bill James ruined this game. And then 'Moneyball'."

incredibly middlebrow (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 10 September 2011 13:36 (eleven years ago) link

I love Bill Lee, but when he complains that "ballplayers carry Halliburtons with money nowadays and we carried a lunch bucket," that's a pretty funny example of old-ballplayers-never-die, and from I guy I would have expected to see the irony of his statement. Lee belonged to the generation of players who were (thankfully) first granted free agency--older players said exactly the same thing about Reggie, Messersmith, and all the rest at the time. (What is a Halliburton?)

clemenza, Saturday, 10 September 2011 16:39 (eleven years ago) link

eleven months pass...

Pitched a CG victory in the North American League last night.

Game Report

65 years old.

clemenza, Saturday, 25 August 2012 14:25 (ten years ago) link

nine years pass...

collapsed while warming up for the Savannah Bananas but he’s okay!

did not know he was on the Savannah Bananas but that makes me really happy. bill lee and Eric Byrnes together oh boy

brimstead, Saturday, 20 August 2022 15:44 (seven months ago) link

I'm impressed that that boxscore I linked to 10 years ago is still online.

clemenza, Saturday, 20 August 2022 21:06 (seven months ago) link

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