Lyons was a vital cog on Rube Foster‘s Negro League Chicago American Giants of the early 1920s. Winners of pennants in each of the first three years of the Negro National League (1920-22), the Chicago American Giants relied on the swift, lefthanded outfielder for his defensive skill, speed on the bases, hitting, and expert drag bunting. Teammate Willie Powell noted that Lyons “didn’t know what it was to get up to bat and take his full swing, ’cause Rube always had him put it here, lay it down there.” According to Powell, the 5’6″ Lyons was faster than Hall of Famer Cool Papa Bell – a statement naturally disputed by Bell. Lyons was a feared baserunner known to sharpen his spikes. He led the NNL with 22 steals and a .394 batting average in 1920. He finished his career as manager of the Louisville Black Caps in 1932.