brewers baseball and things

spaceman

9 Comments

Bill Lee was left handed and born in California;a decent formula. The “spaceman” didn’t disappoint. He coulda been a mountain rebel, a story teller, big league southpaw, baseball bat manufacturer, weaver of eeuphus pitches, and oh that’s right, he was all of that and a damn good writer too. He still is.

200px-BillLee (2)I met Mr. Lee a few years ago. He was on a book tour and supposedly promoting his new book; “Have glove Will Travel: Adventures of a Baseball Vagabond.” I say supposedly because the gathering of about 20 of us quickly exited for the nearest “watering hole.” Lee was the first out the door.

I was carrying a basketball under my arm.  Lee caught a side glance of the ball from another sport and dropped the question he was answering. He reached out his arms so I threw him the basketball and he started spinning it on his finger and talking about pick up games at USC.

The book itself is about his baseball life after being unofficially banned from the Montreal Expos and major leagues in 1982. Lee hit the road to extend his career. It didn’t matter if it was softball, hardball, or wall ball. He just wanted to keep playing.  He joined leagues in New Brunswick, British Columbia, New Hampshire, the Alaskan midnight sun game and in 2012 he signed a contract at 65 years young with the San Rafael Pacifics. On August 23, 2012 he became the oldest pitcher to ever start a professional match. He tossed a complete game shutout.

The book is in many ways a continuation of “The Wrong Stuff”- his first book chronicling his days as a pitcher with the Boston  Red Sox and Montreal Expos. Both books are written exactly as he speaks with few fancy licks and a lot of honesty.  It’s easy to imagine him sitting down and cranking out both in five hours.

There’s also “The Little Red (Sox) Book; The Curse Reversed Edition.” Lee might have been born in Burbank, California, but his loyalties rest with the Red Sox. He pitched in Boston for 10 years, earned an all star appearance in 1973 and pitched  well in the 1975 World Series.spaceman

I dare say best story, idea, or quote in the Red Sox book because that’s for deodorant advertisers. I’ll just say that the spaceman reveals a logical explanation regarding the IQ of Yankee fans. I don’t want to spoil it for you. Reading Bill Lee is a seance we all deserve in the original.

Lee knocks you off your center and literally realigns lives. That may sound a tad dramatic, but his integrity is so fine tuned that it’s virtually impossible to not walk away from him feeling a bit more determined to dig deeper into who you are.

Advertisements

Author: Steve Myers

I grew up in Milwaukee and have been a Milwaukee Brewers baseball fan for as long as I can remember.

9 thoughts on “spaceman

  1. I never thought to ask this before, and it may sound like a silly question. Are baseball bats symmetrical? By that I mean can the same bat be picked up and used just as well by a left-hander as a right-hander?

    • Symmetrical gets kind of complicated as a definition. I don’t really know or don’t understand your question. But players have custom made bats and carry lots of them around all season long.

      There are specifications the league enforces in terms of length and width of the barrel, but players exercise their freedom of choice based on feel, type of wood and superstition and other factors. They could just pick up any bat, but most don’t.

    • THAT’S EXACTLY the kind of question that Bill Lee would have a field day with! I would have loved to have heard his answer!

      Glen

      • Glen, that’s a great insight on your part. I think you’re right. Bill Lee would have a field day with Marie’s question. That would make a great future post; an imaginary conversation with Bill Lee or better yet, maybe we can forward Marie’s question and any other ones we may have to Bill Lee himself.

  2. I’ve been a big fan of Bill Lee going back to when I was a kid, and I’d read his “Ask Bill Lee” column in Sport Magazine. He always had funny responses to the questions people would send in to him. I always rooted for him, and loved his stories, which always come across best when told out loud. You’ve probably seen this one before:

    • If you’re gonna tell a story, then tell it like it’s the last story you’re gonna tell. Thanks Bill and thanks Bill Lee. I’m always ready to hear him again. From the pigeon shit on Kaline’s shoulder to heading over to the Elliot Lounge after game 7. Nothing short of wonderful. In the the Red Sox Reverse the curse book, he expands on his plans for digging up and reburying Babe Ruth. By the way, he’s still chopping wood in upstate Vermont for his bat factory or he was as recently as 2010. His email at the time was spaceman@vtlink.net. He or his wife were good about responding. Might be a good trip to take the kids, see how bats are made and to hear Bil Lee. Or maybe as part of the Cooperstown trip. Right about now I could go for a 40 foot Winnebago and a reservoir of Lebanese oil.

  3. I enjoyed your post. I liked Bill Lee, but not until I was about fourteen when he came into the national limelight in the 1975 World Series. NBC did a lot of interviews with him, as did the New York Times.

    Glen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s