- 2B, 3B, CF, LF, OF, RF, SS, DH
- April 10, 1948
- 6' 1"
- 175 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 6-30-1972 with LAN
Lee Lacy was one of the many talented players who were drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the late 1960's. Lacy went on to have a 16-year career, mostly as a role player but becoming a regular after the age of 35.
Although Lacy was originally a second baseman in 1972-76, he gradually moved to the outfield while Davey Lopes, originally an outfielder, became the Dodger second baseman. It wasn't until 1978 when Lacy played more games in the outfield than in the infield. When he became a regular player late in his career, he racked up the outfield games, so that when he retired he had 1006 lifetime games in the outfield, 275 at second base, and 32 at third base.
He always seemed to be in the World Series during the first half of his career, playing in four different Series during the 1970's. He was part of the "We are Family" Pirates team in 1979.
One of the best free agent signings the Pirates ever made was buried in the local sports pages when it happened. Although the team had given former Dodger Lee Lacy, a strong offensive player, a multi-year deal, their timing was bad. The transaction was consummated just before the Steeler’s appearance in Super Bowl XIII and got no front-page coverage.
Lacy was hardly a household name, but had established himself as a good hitter for the Dodgers and Braves, for whom he had appeared in 50 games in 1976. As a part-timer in 1978, Lacy hit 13 homeruns and 16 doubles. Defensive shortcomings, despite an arm which Pirate scout Howie Haak stated was stronger, though not as accurate as Dave Parker’s had kept Lacy from playing regularly, although it should also be noted that the Dodgers of the late 1970’s boasted a lineup of stars. It was thought Lacy would give the Pirates versatility and power off the bench. Actually, Lacy played relatively little in 1979 as the Pirates were mostly healthy and got excellent production from their regulars during their World Series run. His stats were somewhat disappointing, five homeruns and a .247 average in 182 at bats.
Lacy forced the Pirates to give him more playing time when injuries struck the defending World Champions in 1980. He became the team’s platoon leftfielder and the right-handed batter hit a career high .335 in 278 at bats. He also stole 18 bases. Lacy continued to play semi-regularly from 1981-1983. Although his offense slipped in ’81, his 24 stolen bases ranked eighth in the NL. Lee rebounded to hit .312 in 1982, collecting 112 hits and finishing seventh in steals with a career high 40. He played somewhat less in 1983 as he slumped to .258 early in the season, but helped the Pirates make a run at the Phillies for the Eastern Division Title by hitting .345 after June 28. In the field, Lacy showed great improvement as he did not commit an error. Steady play as an outfielder certainly seemed to help him as earlier in his career, Lacy had been moved between the pastures and the infield.
It took some time into the 1984 season, but Lacy finally got a chance to be an everyday player. Mike Easler had been traded the previous off-season and Dave Parker had signed with the Reds. When their replacements, Amos Otis and Doug Frobel struggled, Lacy responded with his finest season, finishing second in the league with a .321 average and hitting 12 homeruns while driving in 70. His fielding continued to surpass previous standards and he ranked among the league leaders in outfield assists.
Lacy was on the final year of his contract in 1984 and as he would be turning 37 the following April and the Pirates needing to rebuild, the team allowed him to leave via free agency. He signed with Baltimore, hitting .293 and .287 the next two seasons before finishing his career with a .244 average in his final season.
Pittsburgh Pirates Encyclopedia
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