Thornton Lee

Lee reached the major leagues in 1933 at age twenty-seven and struggled for four years with Cleveland. His fortunes changed when White Sox manager Jimmy Dykes saw something in the lefthander and obtained him in a three-way deal. Relying on fine control and a sinking fastball, he blossomed under the tutelage of coach Muddy Ruel and became one of baseball’s top lefthanders from 1937 to 1941. But little offensive support left him on the losing end of many close decisions. In 1941 he had a great year, leading the league with 30 complete games and a 2.37 ERA, and collecting a $2,500 bonus for winning more than 20. Three years of misery followed; he broke his arm and underwent two bone chip removals and a neck operation. He bounced back in 1945, going 15-12, and was still pitching at age forty-two, nine years before his son, pitcher Don Lee, broke in with the Tigers. Ted Williams homered off both of them, the only man to hit a HR off a father and son.