Hello everyone, and happy early Thanksgiving. I didn't want to take "family time" away from the holiday, so here's your number 96 a little early.
Lee Lacy, born April 10th, 1948, was a 6'1" right handed second baseman from Longview, Texas. He was drafted in the second round of the 1969 amateur draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers, with the 29th overall pick.
After spending parts of four seasons in the Dodgers minor league system (413 games, .315 average, 189 RBIs, 62 stolen bases), Lacy earned his first major league callup in June 1972. In 60 games, he hit .259 with 12 RBIs batting first in the lineup. With the exception of half of the 1976 season (spent with the Atlanta Braves), Lacy played parts of seven seasons with Los Angeles. He totalled 26 home runs and 143 RBI while hitting .270 through 497 games.
Lacy was granted free agency after the 1978 season, and soon thereafter signed a six-year/$1,020,000 contract to play with the Pirates. By this point in his career, he had become adept in filling in at several positions, including all three outfield positions and third base. On September 1st, in the second game of a double header, he scored two runs, going three-for-five with one home run and three RBI. He hit .247 over 82 games, with five home runs and 15 RBI hitting mostly fifth in the order.
In 1980, Lacy split his time hitting third and sixth in the batting order, mostly from the left field position. His best game of the season was on July 20th in the second game of a doubleheader. He scored three runs while going 5-for-5 with a double, a triple, a stolen base and three RBI as the Pirates topped the Los Angeles Dodgers, 8-7. He hit a career high .335 with 20 doubles and seven round trippers with 33 RBI and 18 stolen bases through the season. Pittsburgh finished behind the Philadelphia Phillies and the Montreal Expos with an 83-79 record.
1981 would see Lacy hit out of every spot in the lineup at least four times. He appeared in left field and right field, finishing up the season with a .268 average in 78 games. He also stole an NL eighth best 24 bases in 27 attempts. The Pirates finished the strike-split season with a combined 46-56 record, good for no better than fourth in the NL East in either half.
In 1982, Lacy stole a career high and NL third-best 40 bases at the age of 34. He batted mostly second and fifth in the lineup at any of the three outfield positions, compiling a .312 average with 66 runs and 31 RBI in 121 games. The Pirates finished behind the St. Louis Cardinals, the Phillies and the Expos in fourth with an 84-78 record.
The Pirates finished the 1983 season with an identical 84-78 record from the previous season, finishing second only to the eventual National League Champion Phillies. Lacy hit .302 in 108 games, stealing 31 bases while scoring 41 runs. On April 8th, he went 3-for-5 with a stolen base, a double, a triple, and two runs scored in a 5-3 Pirates victory over the Houston Astros.
1984 would mark Lacy's last season with the Pirates. He made it a good one, getting career highs in most categories at the plate and finishing second in the NL with a .321 batting average. He had 26 doubles and 12 homers, knocking in 70 RBI in 138 games. He also continued to be a threat on the basepaths, stealing 21 times. The Pirates finished last in the NL East with a 75-87 record.
Lacy was granted free agency following the 1984 season, and soon afterward signed the most lucrative contract of his career, a three-year, $1,650,000 contract with the Baltimore Orioles. In three seasons with the Birds, Lacy hit .280 in 338 games with 27 home runs, 123 RBI, and 17 stolen bases.
Through most of his major league career, Lacy was a utility player extraordinaire. Only in 1984 did he truly get a chance to see significant starter innings. He showed what he may have been able to accomplish in all those seasons he filled in off the bench.
All-Time Statline: Six seasons, 638 games, .304/.357/.438, 546-for-1794, 265 runs, 94 doubles, 20 triples, 35 home runs, 172 RBI, 140 stolen bases, 147 walks, 252 strikeouts, 11.3 wins above replacement.
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