Bill “Spaceman” Lee is coming out of retirement after signing a contract with the San Rafael Pacifics (independent; North American League) in an attempt to set a record for the oldest pitcher to win a pro baseball game.
The 65-year-old lefty will take the mound Thursday, Aug. 23, for the Pacifics. The former Red Sox and Expos pitcher is attempting to break his own record, set in 2010 when he threw 5.1 inning for the Brockton Rox (independent; Can-Am League) for the win. The southpaw threw 63 pitches — 41 of them for strikes — on his way to striking out one and walking none.
He gets the start tomorrow night for the Pacifics against visiting Maui Na Koa Ikaika as part of a six-game, season-ending series.
Pacifics team president and general manager Mike Shapiro approached Lee with an offer to sign on for a start during the season, but had no idea it would be in the heat of a pennant race.
“Because of Bill’s connection to this community and his great pitching career I thought it would be a treat for our fans to get to see a local legend pitch,” Shapiro said. “It’s even more special that he has a chance to help us win the division.”
Believed to be the oldest pitcher to earn a victory in a professional game, Lee is among other golden greats like Satchel Paige, who was 59 when he pitched three innings for the Kansas City Athletics in 1965. Another longtime Negro Leagues player, the legendary Buck O’Neil, batted twice in the Northern League All-Star Game in 2006 at age 94. He swung at one pitch and walked in both at-bats. Earlier that year, Jim Eriotes, 83, led off the game for the Sioux Falls Canaries and struck out. He did foul off a pitch.
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