Thornton Starr Lee
(September 13, 1906 - June 9, 1997), also 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
, a former big leaguer.
Lee was born in Sonoma, California
. He attended Arroyo Grande High School
in San Luis Obispo County
from 1923-25 then went on to play football, basketball, baseball and track at California Polytechnic
(Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo
. 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.
From the beginning, Lee showed a fine sinking fastball
, a good control, was effective holding runners and fielding, and produced with the bat as well. 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.
In his first four years with the Sox, Lee won 12 or more games, with a high 15 victories in 1939, despite little offensive support. 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......