To learn about our efforts to improve the accessibility and usability of our website, please visit our Accessibility Information page. Skip to section navigation or Skip to main content
Below is an advertisement.
Skip to main content

History

Bob Lemon

Inducted 1960
Pitcher 1941-1942, 1946-1958

"The word "great" has been so overworked in baseball that it has lost its real meaning, but in Lemon's case it is aptly applied. He was truly one of the game's great performers." -Harry Jones Cleveland Plain Dealer 9-11-1960

Bob Lemon spent his entire 15-year major league career with the Cleveland Indians. Lemon had spent the 1941 and '42 seasons as a backup third baseman before being converted to a pitcher after he returned from his service in the Navy during World War II. After switching to pitcher, Lemon became a member of Tribe's "Big Four" pitching staff and became one of the dominant AL starters over his 13year pitching career during the late 1940s and 1950s.

Lemon's pitching prowess left him as one of the best pitchers in the history of the franchise. His seven 20-win seasons are the most by any pitcher in the history of the franchise. He currently ranks third in Indians history in wins (207), innings (2,850.0IP), strikeouts (1,277), starts (350) and shutouts (31). He is fourth in club history in appearances (460) and complete games (188) and is fifth in winning percentage (.618)

During the Tribe's last World Championship campaign of 1948, "Lem" went 20-14 with a 2.82 ERA and led the American League in complete games (20), shutouts (10) and innings pitched (293.2). The sinkerballer followed his regular season performance up with a 2-0 record in the World Series with a 1.65 ERA in two starts. Overall, Lemon led the American League in wins three times, complete games five times, innings pitched four times and shutouts and strikeouts one time each. A seven-time AL All-Star, Lemon was named The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year in 1948, 1950 and 1954. An outstanding hitting pitcher, Lemon compiled a career average of .232 with 37 home runs, which is one short of the All-Time record by an Indians pitcher (Wes Ferrell-38). He owned a .284 mark as a pinch-hitter.

After his playing career was over in 1958, Lemon managed for eight seasons in the majors with the Royals, White Sox and Yankees, compiling a mark of 430-403 (.516). He managed the Yankees to the World Series title in 1978 and the AL Crown in 1981.

He was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976 and his No. 21 was retired by the Indians on June 20, 1998. Lemon passed away in Long Beach, Calif. on January 11, 2000 after a lengthy illness.

  • POSITION: Pitcher
  • BATS: Left
  • THROWS: Right
  • HEIGHT: 6'0"
  • WEIGHT: 185
  • BORN: September 22, 1920 in San Bernardino, CA
  • DEBUT: September 9, 1941
  • FINAL GAME: July 1, 1958
Indians Career Statistics
W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER BB SO WHIP
207 128 3.23 460 350 188 31 22 2850 2559 1185 1024 1251 1277 1.337