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Ted Lyons

Ted Lyons

Position(s):
P, OF
Nicknames:
Sunday Teddy
Born:
December 28, 1900
Bats:
Left
Throws:
Right
Height:
5' 11"
Weight:
200 lbs
Major League Debut:
7-02-1923 with CHA
Hall of Fame:
1955


Ted Lyons was a hard-luck pitcher who won 260 games despite pitching for the Chicago White Sox, who posted a .447 winning percentage when he didn't get the decision. After skipping the minor leagues to go directly to the bigs, he won at least 10 games 17 times, and reached 20 victories on three occasions. Lyons began his career as a teammate of Eddie Collins, who started his career in 1906, and ended it as a teammate of Dave Philley, who retired in 1962. Lyons threw a no-hitter against the Red Sox on August 21, 1926.

All Time Teammates:

 

Best Season: 1925
Faber had a lot of very good seasons for bad White Sox teams. Like any pitcher, his win/loss record is not a good way to measure his effectiveness. For example, in 1932 he was 10-15 but had an ERA a run below the league average. The next year he lost 21 games with an ERA a fraction above league normal. We'll take either 1925 or 1927 when he was among league leaders in most pitching categories. In '25 the right-hander hurled five shutouts and won 20 games.

 

September 19, 1925
In the nightcap of a doubleheader between the White Sox and Senators that prompted the Washington Post to write, "...the less said about the game the better," Ted Lyons came within an out of recording a no-hit game. Chicago won the game easily, 17-0, banging out 25 hits overall, while scoring seven runs in the second inning and eight in the fifth. Lyons, the Post recorded, "had the home hitters breaking their backs in unavailing efforts to solve his delivery." With two outs in the ninth, Washington outfielder Bobby Veach delivered a "clean liner-single to right field" to break up Lyons no-no. In a wild contest, Washington manager Bucky Harris used 21 players, including seven pinch-hitters, in an effort to stem the tide. After the game, an apologetic Veach visited Lyons in the visitors clubhouse. "I knew Ted would want to earn a no-hit game if he did it at all, so I did my best, but believe me," Veach said, "I'm mighty sorry things turned out that way."

Description
Lyons used a "double-pump" windup which proved frustrating to some enemy batters, notably Babe Ruth.

Nicknames

Sunday Teddy

In 1939, White Sox manager Jimmy Dykes started to use Lyons, who was 38 years old, only on Sunday afternoons. This pattern was maintained through the '42 season, with the veteran starting 21, 22, 22 and 20 games each year. The veteran right-hander posted a fine 52-30 record for that span, with a 2.96 ERA (he led the AL in ERA at the age of 41 in 1942, with a 2.10 mark). Fans took to calling him "Sunday Teddy," and belying his age, Lyons completed 72 of his 85 starts over those years.

Uniform Numbers
#14 (1931), #16 (1932-1942, 1946)

Similar Players
Burleigh Grimes, Red Faber... Frank Tanana, who also lost his fastball in the middle of his career and adjusted to become a breaking-ball pitcher with much success.

Related Players
Red Faber teamed with Lyons in the White Sox rotation for eight seasons (1924-1931).

 

Hall of Fame Voting
Year Election Votes Pct
1945 BBWAA 4 1.6%
1946 Nominating Vote 3 1.5%
1948 BBWAA 15 12.4%
1949 BBWAA 29 19.0%
1949 Run Off 14 7.5%
1950 BBWAA 42 25.0%
1951 BBWAA 71 31.4%
1952 BBWAA 101 43.2%
1953 BBWAA 139 52.7%
1954 BBWAA 170 67.5%
1955 BBWAA 217 86.5%

No-Hitter
8/21/1926: For CHI (A) vs. BOS (A), 6-0 at BOS. 9 innings pitched.

Milestones
Had Lyons been fortunate enough to pitch for the Yankees, Tigers, or even the Senators, he would have won 300 games in his career. As it was, he accumulated 260 for a club that played at a .459 clip in his 20 full seasons. Over his long career, Lyons won at a .531 pace, while the White Sox were .447 when someone else got the decision. That makes him 19% better than his team, which is a better rate than Hall of Fame pitchers Red Faber, Carl Hubbell, Herb Pennock, Burleigh Grimes, Waite Hoyt, Red Ruffing, Warren Spahn, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, and Steve Carlton.

Milestones

  • May 22, 1938: 200th Win...

Injuries and Explanation for Missed Playing Time
Lyons injured his arm in 1931 but returned the following spring with a knuckler which extended his career for more than a decade. Always a great control artist, Lyons was able to flutter his knuckler and other junk pitches over the plate, once going 42 innings without issuing a walk in 1939.

Transactions
Lyons signed with the White Sox due to geographical convenience. In 1923, Chicago held spring training in Seiguin, Texas, near the campus of Baylor University. One day, the Sox asked the Baylor coach to send out anyone who could pitch. Lyons showed up and impressed the Chicago brass. He was signed for $1,000 and agreed to report to the Sox after his studies were over at Baylor.

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Tagged:
Baseball History, Baylor University, Chicago White Sox, Hall of Fame, No-hitter, Ted Lyons

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