||This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2008)|
Lyons in 1930.
|Pitcher / Manager|
December 28, 1900|
Lake Charles, Louisiana
|Died: July 25, 1986
|Batted: Switch||Threw: Right|
|July 2, 1923 for the Chicago White Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 19, 1946 for the Chicago White Sox|
|Earned run average||3.67|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Vote||86.5% (eighth ballot)|
Theodore Amar Lyons (December 28, 1900 – July 25, 1986) was an American professional baseball starting pitcher, manager and coach. He played 21 big-league seasons, all with the Chicago White Sox, and is the franchise leader in wins.1 He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955. He owns the distinction of having the second highest career ERA of any Hall of Fame pitcher.2 He is also the only Hall of Fame pitcher who gave up more walks than he had strikeouts.
Lyons broke into the major leagues in 1923 after playing his collegiate baseball at Baylor University. He joined the White Sox on a road trip and never pitched a day in the minors. He recorded his first 2 wins as a relief pitcher in a doubleheader on October 6, 1923, making him one of the first pitchers to perform the feat. He worked his way into the starting rotation the following year, when he posted a 12–11 record and 4.87 ERA. Over the following 18 seasons, he won 20 or more games three times (in 1925, 1927, and 1930) and became a fan favorite in Chicago.
As Lyons aged, his career benefited from the White Sox's decision to never let him pitch more than 30 games per season from 1934 on. He was such a draw among the fans that, as his career began to wind down in 1939, manager Jimmy Dykes began using him only in Sunday afternoon games,3 which earned him the nickname "Sunday Teddy". Lyons made the most of his unusual scheduling, winning 52 of 82 decisions from 1939 until 1942.
During 1942, Lyons' 20th and last full season, he led the league with a 2.10 ERA and completed every one of his 20 starts. Although exempt from the military draft due to age, after the season he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and fought in the Pacific War. It is possible that Lyons would have finished his career with more than 300 wins without military service. He also made a brief return to the mound in 1946, with a 2.32 ERA3 in five games, all complete.
Lyons was at his crafty best in 1930, when he posted a 22–15 record and A.L.-leading totals of 29 complete games and 297⅔ innings for a team that finished 62–92.
Lyons succeeded Dykes as the White Sox' manager in May 1946 but in 2¾ years had less success as a manager than he had as a player, guiding them to a meager 185–245 record. He stopped pitching for good after 1946, having compiled a 260–230 record, 356 complete games, 1073 strikeouts and a 3.67 ERA. After severing his association with the White Sox in 1948, he coached the pitchers for the Detroit Tigers (1949–52) and Brooklyn Dodgers (1954).
Prior to a 1931 arm injury, his pitches included a "sailer" (now known as a cut fastball), knuckleball, curveball, and changeup. After the 1931 injury, his pitches included a fastball, slow curve, knuckleball and an even slower curveball used as a changeup.4
He never appeared in a postseason game, as the generally mediocre-to-poor White Sox were usually far behind the American League leaders during his career. In Lyons' 21 seasons with the Sox, they finished fifth or lower (in an eight-team league) 16 times, and never finished higher than third. New York Yankees manager Joe McCarthy said, "If he'd pitched for the Yankees, he would have won over 400 games."
In 1987, the Chicago White Sox retired his uniform number, #16.
- List of knuckleball pitchers
- List of Major League Baseball leaders in career wins
- List of Major League Baseball ERA champions
- List of Major League Baseball wins champions
- List of Major League Baseball no-hitters
- List of Major League Baseball player–managers
- "Chicago White Sox Top 10 Pitching Leaders". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- Hall of Fame Pitchers list
- Bullock, Steven R. (2004). Playing for Their Nation: Baseball and the American Military during World War II. University of Nebraska Press. pp. 110–111,135–136. ISBN 0-8032-1337-9.
- The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers: An Historical Compendium of Pitching, Pitchers, and Pitches. Bill James and Rob Neyer. 2004.
- Ted Lyons at the Baseball Hall of Fame
- Ted Lyons at Find a Grave
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube