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View Full Version : Just wondering about Chet Lemon


mccombe_35
03-01-2006, 12:20 AM
Another long off season - can't complain this year though!!

Reading through some threads about Rowand & "all time sox team" stuff here I see Chet Lemon's name come up. He was a few years before my time, so I was wondering if any of you could fill me in on his White Sox days. Looking at baseball-ref I see he had a great range factor (I'm sure some of you don't like the stat) but I was just looking for a Sox fan's opinion on the guy. Especially his fielding.

Thanks in advance.


Also - He's not in the top 100 all time for anything - except - # 17 all time in hit by pitches?

TDog
03-01-2006, 02:33 AM
When Chester played for the Sox -- pretty much from the time they traded for him from Oakland -- he was my favorite player. He came up as a third baseman, but I'll always remember him as the centerfielder. He ran down a lot of fly balls, but there were a lot of fly balls to run down in those days. At the bat and in the field. Lemon was just an exciting ballplayer.

BarbG
03-01-2006, 02:49 AM
Chet Lemon was one of my first Sox heroes. He was so much fun to watch; he always gave his all and looked like he loved the game and was having fun.

There is a great interview with him on this site.

michned
03-01-2006, 05:48 AM
Like Barb said, his love of the game was evident in the way he played. He finally got his due when he was an integral part of the Tigers World Series team.

Baby Fisk
03-01-2006, 08:27 AM
I see Chet Lemon's name come up. He was a few years before my time, so I was wondering if any of you could fill me in on his White Sox days.

Check this (http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/rwas/index.php?category=11&id=2719) out.

EastCoastSoxFan
03-01-2006, 08:34 AM
He was my brother's favorite player when we were kids.
He had great range and a great arm in center field, and he usually hit around .300 with decent power.
About the only thing he couldn't (or didn't) do was steal bases, which was odd considering his excellent footspeed...

D. TODD
03-01-2006, 08:37 AM
Chet was defiantly one of my all time favorite players. He always played hard, and with the huge 445 ft. center field he ran down many a long drive. I hated when he was traded for Steve Kemp (bust), but he did get a world series ring with Detroit, so I guess it worked out for him.

Chez
03-01-2006, 08:52 AM
Chet was defiantly one of my all time favorite players. He always played hard, and with the huge 445 ft. center field he ran down many a long drive. I hated when he was traded for Steve Kemp (bust), but he did get a world series ring with Detroit, so I guess it worked out for him.

Steve Kemp had one terrific season for us then went straight into the crapper. Like everyone else who has posted, I loved Chet. He was an exciting player on some mediocre Sox teams.

mike squires
03-01-2006, 08:58 AM
Kinda wish Chester could have experienced that 83 season. I sent him a few cards to sign the address Lip gave us, but haven't heard back from him.

robiwho
03-01-2006, 09:13 AM
Chet Lemon was my first favorite Sox player. Just hearing his name brings back the excitement of the South Side Hitmen for me. I was 9, so it was really the first season of Sox baseball that I remember well.

soxfan13
03-01-2006, 09:49 AM
I was a huge chet lemon fan:smile:

SOXPHILE
03-01-2006, 09:53 AM
I remember him when I was a kid, and he always seemed to be getting on base. Another thing I remember is not using both hands when he caught fly balls, and my dad and grandpa calling him a hot dog for that. Then, whenever we were outside playing catch, they would tell me "Use both hands ! Don't hot dog it like Chet Lemon". Still, one of my favorite players from those '70's teams. (I also remember asking if former manager Bob Lemon was his dad or his uncle or something. :redface: )

Law11
03-01-2006, 09:58 AM
Chet was my first Sox hero.. I learned to play CF as a kid because of him.
had my #44 on my little league jersey. I loved how hard the guy played and dove for everything, sometimes good sometimes real bad.

Then my love of CF turned my attanetion to Mr. Rudy Law.
I would study that guy in CF and turned myself into a hell of a Cf through High School.

My speed back in the day sure helped a lot.
Not much would get past me. (having an AL Bundy moment)
back then I went all defensive team in our conference 3 years straight.

Couldnt hit for crap but man did I love CF... Still play it in softball today all because of Chet.

SBSoxFan
03-01-2006, 10:10 AM
Another thing I remember is not using both hands when he caught fly balls,
Unfortunately, that's the part I remember most!

TDog
03-01-2006, 01:05 PM
Steve Kemp had one terrific season for us then went straight into the crapper. Like everyone else who has posted, I loved Chet. He was an exciting player on some mediocre Sox teams.

Steve Kemp had a strong season for the Sox and signed with the Yankees as a free agent, and flopped in New York, as sometimes happens to free agents. Essentially, the Sox traded away Chet Lemon for one year of Steve Kemp.

At the end of the 1982 season, with the Sox six games out of first, Jimmy Piersall said they were not even close to fielding a contender in 1983. Fortunately, they would had a base stealing lead-off man in center, a phenomenal young hitter in right and the AL Rookie of the Year in left to go along with a very good pitching staff.

In retrospect it looks like the Sox gave away Chet Lemon, but they languished with him (only putting on a wild show for much of 1977) and had one very good year without him.

Dick Allen
03-01-2006, 01:12 PM
One thing I always remember about him was his frequent head-first sliding into FIRST base.

A. Cavatica
03-01-2006, 05:28 PM
He was the best player on some truly awful Sox teams.

He was a very good defensive CF who hit pretty well, too. He'd have to be in any conversation about best Sox CF ever (though he wouldn't win.) The knock against him, fair or not, is summarized by a media opinion that just stuck in my mind: "he hits like Dean Chance with runners in scoring position."

Well, Dean Chance was before my time too, but suffice it to say that Chance was a pitcher.

chisoxfan64
03-01-2006, 05:48 PM
Chet`s no lemon.:D:

Brian26
03-01-2006, 08:41 PM
At the end of the 1982 season, with the Sox six games out of first, Jimmy Piersall said they were not even close to fielding a contender in 1983.

I remember listening to Piersall around that same time period. He hated Kemp and would always call him a "butcher" in the outfield. Piersall was hung on the Sox trying to obtain Rick Manning to play centerfield or leftfield.

Brian26
03-01-2006, 08:43 PM
One thing I always remember about him was his frequent head-first sliding into FIRST base.

Yep, you beat me to it. My first memories of White Sox baseball were seeing highlights of Chet Lemon belly-flopping into first on the news.

billcissell
03-02-2006, 03:54 PM
Chet was a very solid performer on some pretty shoddy Sox teams. We stole him from Oakland in exchange for Stan Bahnsen. He was a very good centerfielder, hit well for power and average, had good speed on the bases. We ended up dealing him to "rent" Kemp for one year. Sox were looking for a left-handed bat at the time. Lemon was always a popular player and ended up a key contributor to the '84 Detroit team that went all the way.

cws05champ
03-02-2006, 03:59 PM
Chet was my first favorit Sox player when I was a kid....then for some reason Julio Cruz! Bring back any memories for anyone?

veeter
03-02-2006, 06:13 PM
Chet was definitely a Sox great. To me anyway.

LongLiveFisk
03-02-2006, 06:59 PM
Chet Lemon was my first favorite Sox player.

Mine too! (Well, him and Eric Soderholm actually). :D:

I always remember Harry Caray saying, "Chet's no lemon!" :wink:

soxinem1
03-02-2006, 10:01 PM
Chet Lemon was really a fun guy to watch play. He was a very solid player. He was not a good base runner as far as speed was concerned, but had a knack for playing the toughest OF's, like Comiskey, Tiger Stadium, and Yankee Stadium very well. He made a lot of good snags but mainly tracked everything down because he knew the hitters and how to read the ball.

Even when he went to Detroit, I always waited for him to have that one year he would just cream the ball, but he never did. He rarely overswung at a pitch, and even when he struggled, he would foul off a lot of pitches. He was a tough KO too. He never walked a lot, but his career OBP was not that bad.

I remember Lemon getting traded, but a lot of us liked Steve Kemp too, as he was real solid with the Tigers. But the story back then was that the Sox wanted Ron LeFlore to add speed to the team and give some Minor league slugger named Ron Kittle LF eventually, so Kemp was just keeping the spot warm for Kitty. Kemp played his heart out for the Sox, in fact if he would have stayed, he might have had a better end to his career.

But after watching LeFlore in the OF, who was without question the worst OF I ever saw (sorry Claudell Washington fans, LeFlore was ten times worse), we longed for Chet to come back for almost all of the 1982 first half until they let Rudy Law play more after LeFlore got busted by the cops and was gone for good.

And as others have noted, he was definitely overshadowed because he played on some real crappy teams.

Timmy D's
03-03-2006, 12:00 AM
I replied in another thread, actually think it was my 1st post, about seein' Chet catch an amazing diving catch for a 3rd out, and flipped the ball into the crowd, and I got it. Innining or 2 later he signed the ball for me before takin his warm up tosses as he ran out to position waitin for his catch partner to get out there. I still have the ball, and still remember that one,. and other ones Chet made as just great ALL out diving, no regard for your own body catches!! Loved him!!!

mccombe_35
03-03-2006, 12:12 AM
Thanks for your thoughts on Lemon everybody. Especially Baby Fisk for that link.

ClaudelSleptHere
03-03-2006, 04:10 AM
[quote=soxinem1]

But after watching LeFlore in the OF, who was without question the worst OF I ever saw (sorry Claudell Washington fans, LeFlore was ten times worse)

I don't know if he could be ten times worse than Claudell, but did you ever have the honor of watching Ralph Garr patrol the outfield?

soxfanatlanta
03-03-2006, 09:04 AM
I remember Lemon getting traded, but a lot of us liked Steve Kemp too, as he was real solid with the Tigers. But the story back then was that the Sox wanted Ron LeFlore to add speed to the team and give some Minor league slugger named Ron Kittle LF eventually, so Kemp was just keeping the spot warm for Kitty. Kemp played his heart out for the Sox, in fact if he would have stayed, he might have had a better end to his career.

One of my oldest memories of the Sox was watching Lemon stretch a hard single into a double; he was the most exciting player on the team to watch. The only real memory of Kemp is watching him hustle down the first base line, and I liked that about him.

PaulDrake
03-03-2006, 09:07 AM
But after watching LeFlore in the OF, who was without question the worst OF I ever saw (sorry Claudell Washington fans, LeFlore was ten times worse)

And as others have noted, he was definitely overshadowed because he played on some real crappy teams. Ralph Garr anyone? I agree with the rest of your post. Chet Lemon was my favorite White Sox player in the Veeck Part II years.

Edit: Sorry, I didn't notice ClaudelSleptHere beat me to that.

soxinem1
03-03-2006, 10:18 AM
[quote=soxinem1]

But after watching LeFlore in the OF, who was without question the worst OF I ever saw (sorry Claudell Washington fans, LeFlore was ten times worse)

I don't know if he could be ten times worse than Claudell, but did you ever have the honor of watching Ralph Garr patrol the outfield?

Not to hijack the thread, but LeFlore was just brutal, he looked like he was playing in the parking lot. If anyone has any stories that recall how rough Ron was, especially in 1982, his last year, enlighten our younger posters.

Roadrunner Ralph was 'interesting' too, but he had a better arm, and was really a likeable player too, always signed, threw balls to kids. While that does not make him a better ball player, I felt Ralph was probably in line with guys like Kemp, Kittle, and CLee, not great, often bumbling, but passable.

And unlike LeFlore, he didn't drive around with an arsenal of weapons in his car either!

D. TODD
03-03-2006, 10:25 AM
Chet was my first favorit Sox player when I was a kid....then for some reason Julio Cruz! Bring back any memories for anyone? WOW! Two of my favorites also. Juice Cruz fell of pretty quick, but I loved the energy he brought.

ode to veeck
03-03-2006, 10:57 AM
Chet was like the heart of the team kinda player, sorta like Manos was in his prime. The outfield before they moved the bullpen back out there was HUGE, 440 to dead center and the high cinderblack wall and wayyyy deep in the power alleys. Chet was great at reading hitters and well struck balls and caught many a shot high off the wall that most fielders had no chance of getting to. At the plate he hit for power, average, and in the clutch, and hustled his ass off on the base baths. His famous head first slide into first on a close play was a characture of the rest of his game.