- OF, 3B, P
- April 18, 1888
- 5' 10"
- 165 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 4-16-1910 with BOS
After growing up in the tough sections of San Francisco, Duffy Lewis played baseball up and down the coast of California, finally gaining the attention of big league scouts. He covered the outfield with strong, quick strides, and packed punch in his short right-handed swing. In 1910, he joined Tris Speaker and Harry Hooper in Boston's starting outfield, and the celebrated trio helped the Red Sox to a pair of World Series titles. In all, Lewis played for three Red Sox title teams, but after missing the entire 1918 season while he served in the U.S. Army, his career was essentially over.
"His crooked smile couldn't hide a nasty Irish temper." author Tim Gay, in Tris Speaker: The Rough and Tumble Life of a Baseball Legend
"At the crack of the bat you'd turn and run up it. Then you had to pick up the ball and decide whether to jump, go right or left, or rush down again. It took plenty of practice. They made a mountin goat out of me." Lewis on playing "Duffy's Cliff" at Fenway Park
While Lewis was away in the Army in 1918, Red Sox skipper Ed Barrow platooned George Whiteman and George "Babe" Ruth. In December, Lewis was dealt to the Yankees, and Ruth played in left one more season before he too was swapped to New York. Lewis had a fine season for the Yankees in 1919, solidifying a shaky outfield, and leading the team with 89 RBI. After playing out in left again in 1920, he was dealt to washington, where he never cracked the starting lineup.
Duffy Lewis became so adept at playing left field in Fenway Park, that the short incline that led to the wall was dubbed "Duffy's Cliff."
December 18, 1918: Traded by the Boston Red Sox with Ernie Shore to the New York Yankees for Frank Gilhooley, Slim Love, Ray Caldwell, Roxy Walters, and $15000 cash. December 31, 1920: Traded by the New York Yankees with George Mogridge to the Washington Senators for Braggo Roth.
Lewis was reknowned as a clutch hitter. His performance in the World Series (with the exception of 1912) supports that theory. Though he was considered a great defensive left fielder, his stats are average. It's possible that his range was hindered by the exceptional coverage Speaker provided from his center field post.
In the only four seasons in which we have caught stealing data during his career, Lewis swiped 39 bases but was thrown out stealing 47 times. That's not good, even for that era.
Of the three members of Boston's "Golden Outfield," Lewis had the weakest throwing arm. Nevertheless, he took pride in his accuracy and told the story of how he pegged Ty Cobb at home plate for years.
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