Hall of Fame: Ted Lyons (1955)

I think it’s impressive how he had to switch his pitching strategy and stayed effective.

 Year Ag Tm  Lg  W   L   G   GS  CG SHO  GF SV   IP     H    R   ER   HR  BB   SO  HBP  ERA *lgERA *ERA+ WHIP
+--------------+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--+------+----+----+----+---+----+----+---+-----+-----+----+-----+
1923 22 CHW AL 2 1 9 1 0 0 5 0 22.7 30 21 16 2 15 6 1 6.35 3.94 62 1.985
1924 23 CHW AL 12 11 41 22 12 0 15 3 216.3 279 143 117 10 72 52 2 4.87 4.10 84 1.622
1925 24 CHW AL 21 11 43 32 19 5 8 3 262.7 274 111 95 7 83 45 2 3.26 4.17 128 1.359
1926 25 CHW AL 18 16 39 31 24 3 8 2 283.7 268 108 95 6 106 51 1 3.01 3.86 128 1.318
1927 26 CHW AL 22 14 39 34 30 2 4 2 307.7 291 125 97 7 67 71 0 2.84 4.05 143 1.164
1928 27 CHW AL 15 14 39 27 21 0 12 6 240.0 276 133 106 11 68 60 2 3.98 4.04 102 1.433
1929 28 CHW AL 14 20 37 31 21 1 6 2 259.3 276 136 118 11 76 57 2 4.10 4.28 105 1.357
1930 29 CHW AL 22 15 42 36 29 1 6 1 297.7 331 160 125 12 57 69 2 3.78 4.60 122 1.303
1931 30 CHW AL 4 6 22 12 7 0 8 0 101.0 117 50 45 6 33 16 0 4.01 4.25 106 1.485
1932 31 CHW AL 10 15 33 26 19 1 4 2 230.7 243 104 84 10 71 58 3 3.28 4.34 133 1.361
1933 32 CHW AL 10 21 36 27 14 2 9 1 228.0 260 142 111 10 74 74 0 4.38 4.24 97 1.465
1934 33 CHW AL 11 13 30 24 21 0 4 1 205.3 249 138 111 15 66 53 2 4.87 4.72 97 1.534
1935 34 CHW AL 15 8 23 22 19 3 1 0 190.7 194 79 64 15 56 54 3 3.02 4.63 153 1.311
1936 35 CHW AL 10 13 26 24 15 1 2 0 182.0 227 115 104 21 45 48 3 5.14 5.19 101 1.495
1937 36 CHW AL 12 7 22 22 11 0 0 0 169.3 182 86 78 21 45 45 1 4.15 4.62 112 1.341
1938 37 CHW AL 9 11 23 23 17 1 0 0 194.7 238 93 80 13 52 54 0 3.70 4.89 132 1.490
1939 38 CHW AL 14 6 21 21 16 0 0 0 172.7 162 71 53 7 26 65 1 2.76 4.71 171 1.089
1940 39 CHW AL 12 8 22 22 17 4 0 0 186.3 188 85 67 17 37 72 0 3.24 4.42 137 1.208
1941 40 CHW AL 12 10 22 22 19 2 0 0 187.3 199 87 77 9 37 63 4 3.70 4.11 111 1.260
1942 41 CHW AL 14 6 20 20 20 1 0 0 180.3 167 52 42 11 26 50 2 2.10 3.62 173 1.070
1946 45 CHW AL 1 4 5 5 5 0 0 0 42.7 38 17 11 2 9 10 0 2.32 3.40 146 1.102
+--------------+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--+------+----+----+----+---+----+----+---+-----+-----+----+-----+
21 Yr WL% .531 260 230 594 484 356 27 92 23 4161.0 4489 2056 1696 223 1121 1073 31 3.67 4.32 118 1.348

1 All-Star Game (1939)

Theodore Amar Lyons was born on December 28, 1900 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Originally, Lyons wanted to be a lawyer, but his pitching would give him another career. As he pitched more, more scouts came to see him, and as more scouts came, they began to drool over the righty. After his graduation in 1923, the Oakland A’s gave him the biggest offer, but he decided to take the White Sox offer of $1,000. Lyons would never pitch in the minors, and he would make his debut on July 2nd as a reliever.

At the start of 1924, Lyons would become a full-time starter. His first season was just a decent one, but he picked it up in 1925 by leading the AL in victories with 21 even though he played on the fifth-place White Sox. Joe McCarthy once said that if Lyons had pitched for the Yankees he would have won 400 games, but because he played for such a bad team, he only won 260. His record of 260-230 really doesn’t reflect his 118 ERA+. From 1925 to 1930, he would average nearly 19 victories each season, which was pretty good considering his team never won a pennant. Things would change for Lyons, however, in 1931 when he blew his elbow out.

Lyons had lost his fastball, but determined to still pitch, he developed a knuckleball. Without his fastball, Lyons wasn’t as effective, but he could still contribute. In 1935, he found some luck going 15-8 with a 3.02 ERA, but the next season, he dramatically declined. Unable to sustainably pitch as he had before, manager Jimmy Dykes turned Lyons into a Sunday pitcher because Lyons was still a popular player. Nicknamed “Sunday Teddy” because of this strategy, Lyons was extremely effective over the next four seasons. In 1942, he even completed all 20 of his starts. Later in 1942, he joined the Marines and served for three years. He tried a comeback in 1946, but it was short-lived.

Over his career, he never played in a postseason game, but he would still find his way to Cooperstown. The writers elected Lyons to Cooperstown in 1955 with 86.5% (217 of 252) of the vote.

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