Wednesday, December 21, 2011

#69 Lee Lacy

Card: Leondaus "Lee" Lacy is shown here on his 11th Topps card.  Although it lists him as Outfield-2nd Base, Lacy hadn't played 2nd Base since 1979 and would only play 12 more inning there the rest of his career.

Pic:  Lacy is stretching those polyester pants to the limit.  He looks mildly uncomfortable in the inset shot.

Player:  Lee Lacy spent parts of four seasons in the minor leagues before making his debut with the Dodgers in June of '72.  The former 2nd round pick was given the shot to play everyday in July and August and put up a .259/.312/.313 line in 60 games.  Lacy opened the 1973 season as the Dodgers starting second sacker but was soon supplanted by Davey Lopes.  Lacy would play sparingly and batted .207 in '73 and .282 in '74.  In '75 Lacy began playing outfield more than second base and he hit .314 in 306 at bats.  In December he was traded with Tom Paciorek, Jerry Royster and Jim Wynn to Atlanta for Dusty Baker and Ed Goodson.

Lacy spent half a year with the Braves before the Dodgers reacquired him by trading Mike Marshall to Atlanta.  Lacy batted a combined .266 in '76, and played 103 games.  He got into only 75 games in '77 and again batted .266.  Lacy went three for seven in the World Series loss against the Yankees.
The 30 year-old veteran was productive in '78, hitting a career best 13 home runs with a .261/.338/.518 line in 245 at bats.  Lacy was hitless in two NLCS at bats, but started four games of the World Series rematch against the Yanks, getting only two hits in fourteen at bats. 

Lacy was a free agent and signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates before the '79 season.  Used as a pinch hitter and platoon leftfielder Lacy batted only .247 and did not play in the NLCS.  He had one hit in four pinch hitting chances in the World Series as the Pirates defeated the Orioles.  Over the next four years Lacy continued in his reserve role and batted over .300 three of the years including a .335 mark in 1980.  He began stealing bases at a steady clip, swiping 188 bases between '80 and '83.  As the Pirates prepared for the '84 season they planned to platoon Lacy and young Doug Frobel in rightfield.  As Frobel floundered at the plate (.203/.271/.388) Lacy picked up the slack.  Playing a career high 138 games he batted .321 in 474 at bats. 

In 1985 Lacy signed with the Orioles in the off-season and was their starting leftfielder over the next two years performing consistently, batting .293 and .287.  The 39 year-old was slowed by injuries and declining abilities and batted .244 as a reserve.  Lacy retired from MLB and played in the Senior Professional Baseball Association for two years. His daughter Jennifer Lacy plays in the WNBA.


Flipside:  As listed Lacy was a 2nd round pick in '69 by the Dodgers.  They had selected Lopes the year prior.  Lopes had started his career in the minors as an outfielder but was converted to second base which in turn forced Lacy into a the sub role he maintained for so long.

Oddball:  I believe Lacy is the only Major Leaguer with the given name of Leondaus.

History:  Lacy for most of his career wore several hats: pinch hitter, platoon outfielder, and back-up second basemen.  Like many reserves his playing fluctuated bases on his teammates success and health.  Lacy never showed much patience at the plate having walked no more than 39 times in a season.  Lacy had productive stretch from '80-'86 batting .303 over that time.  Lacy finished his career with a .286 average, 1,303 hits, and 185 steals.   

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