Lemon first signed with the A’s but was acquired by the White Sox in a June 1975 trade for Stan Bahnsen. A third baseman in the minors, he became Chicago’s center fielder in 1976. He made a hustling, aggressive style of play his trademark, with headfirst slides into first base and his willingness to be hit by a pitch. Getting great jumps on the ball, he broke two AL records in 1977: most chances for an outfielder (524) and most putouts (512). From 1978 through 1981, he batted .304, with a high of .318 in 1979, when he tied for the AL lead with 44 doubles.
After the ’81 season, Lemon was traded to Detroit for Steve Kemp. Leaving spacious Comiskey Park for smaller Tiger Stadium, his home run production went up, but his average dipped. He matured as a player, becoming a smarter baserunner and a key contributor to Detroit’s perennially strong teams.