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Thornton Lee
Born: (1906-09-13)September 13, 1906
Sonoma, California
Died: June 9, 1997(1997-06-09) (aged 90)
Tucson, Arizona
Batted: Left
Threw: Left
MLB debut
September 19, 1933, for the Cleveland Indians
Last MLB appearance
June 18, 1948, for the New York Giants
MLB statistics
Win–loss record117–124
Earned run average3.56
Career highlights and awards

Thornton Starr Lee (September 13, 1906 – June 9, 1997), nicknamed "Lefty", was a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Cleveland Indians (1933–36), Chicago White Sox (1937–47) and New York Giants (1948). Lee batted and threw left-handed. He is the father of pitcher Don Lee.


Lee was born in Sonoma, California. He attended Arroyo Grande High School in San Luis Obispo County from 1923 to 1925 then went on to play football, basketball, baseball and track at California Polytechnic (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo. [1] Lee first pitched professionally at the age of 24, reaching the major leagues on September 19, 1933, six days after his 28th birthday, with the Cleveland Indians.

Before the 1937 season, he was part of a three-team trade among the Indians, Chicago White Sox and Washington Senators. Jack Salveson went to the Senators, while Earl Whitehill went to the Indians. Lee landed in Chicago and went on to pitch for the White Sox for the next eleven years.[citation needed]

In his first four years with the Sox, Lee won 12 or more games, with a high 15 victories in 1939. His most productive season came in 1941, when he paced all American League pitchers in ERA (2.34) and complete games (30). He also posted a career-high 22 victories (second only to Bob Feller's 25), 125 strikeouts (also a career-high), was named to the AL All-Star team, and collected a $2,500 bonus for winning more than 20 games.[citation needed]

From 1942 to 1945, Lee suffered a string of injuries and lost his pace. After fracturing his arm and undergoing two bone chip removals and a neck operation, he recovered his old form in 1945, going 15–12 with a 2.44 ERA and 108 strikeouts, and pitching in the All-Star game for the second time.

At the age of 42, Lee divided his time in 1948 between the National League, with the Giants, and the Pacific Coast League, where he contributed to the Oakland Oaks pennant championship. He retired at the end of the season.

Lee had a .200 batting average (167-for-835) with 63 runs, 4 home runs and 66 RBI in 375 games. All four of his career home runs came as a member of the 1938 Chicago White Sox.

Lee died was inducted into the Cal Poly Hall of Fame in 1988 and died in June 1997 in Tucson, Arizona, at 90 years of age. [2]


See also


  1. ^ Images of America Arroyo Grande by Jean Hubbard and Gary Hoving; 2009 Arcadia Publishing.
  2. ^ "Thorton S. Lee". Archived from the original on September 24, 2010. Retrieved October 21, 2008.