Lefty Leifield

Lefty Leifield

October 5, 1883
6' 1"
165 lbs
Major League Debut:
9-03-1905 with PIT

Albert  “Lefty” Leifield was pivotal member of the starting rotation for the great Pirate team in 1909, but despite his efforts and the fact he won 109 games for the franchise in 7 seasons, was ridiculed by the Pittsburgh fans during the memorable campaign of 1908.
Leifield came up with the club in 1905 and had a remarkable first full season the following year when he won 18 games and had a miniscule 1.87 ERA, good for fifth in the circuit.  It was during that season that Leifield pitched perhaps his greatest game against the Cubs on Independence Day.  He no-hit Chicago through eight innings, but unfortunately the Bucs could muster up no runs in support of him against Three Finger Brown.  Jimmy Slagle of the Cubs would break up his attempt in the 9th and score on an error, a sacrifice and a ground out to give Chicago a heartbreaking 1-0 victory.  Brown would turn the trick once again against Lefty in September beating them 2-0 on a one hitter.   Finally towards the end of the season, Leifield would get his no-hitter in a shortened six-inning game against Philadelphia.  This time his club would more than support him scoring 8 runs in the 8-0 victory.
The Illinois native would win 20 games for the one and only time the following year finishing 5th in the league in wins with a 20-16 record.  He fell a little in 1908 during the classic pennant race that saw Pittsburgh lose the crown on the last day of the season.  Lefty went only 15-14 and became the object of abuse by the fans throughout the campaign that so infuriated and confused manager Fred Clarke that he made the statement the team won for themselves and not the fans.
After the troubling campaign, Leifield came back to fashion his best season ever with a 19-8 record and 2.37 ERA helping the team capture a spot in the World Series where they defeated the Tigers in seven.  Lefty did not pitcher well in his only contest losing game 4 5-0 as he gave up five earned runs in only four innings of work.
The Southpaw would win only 31 of 50 decisions over the next two seasons and would hurt his arm in 1912 leading to a disappointing 1-2 start when he was dealt with Tommy Leach to the Cubs for Solly Hofman and King Cole in an effort to shake up the team.  It was one in a series of poor deals that led to the fall of the once proud franchise.  Leifield pitched with the Cubs until 1913 then reappeared in the majors during the War as he went 8-10 for the St Louis Browns between 1918-1920. 
Regardless of the fact that his career extended five more seasons after the trade, the arm injury ended his effectiveness for all intents and purposes.  He still had a successful run despite the damage, winning 124 games with a 2.47 ERA, the 37th lowest mark all-time.

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