We’re not sure what this says about the level of play, but 65-year-old Bill “Spaceman” Lee threw a complete-game victory and went 1-for-3 in his debut with the San Rafael Pacifics (independent; North American League).
Lee took the mound in front of 1,265 fans at Albert Park and pitched a complete game in a 9-4 Pacifics victory. Lee broke his own record, becoming the oldest player to pitch (and win) a professional baseball game. Adding to the stats: Lee batted ninth in the lineup and went 1-for-3, with an RBI. His batterymate, D.J. Dixon, was born the same year Lee retired from Major League Baseball after stints with the Montreal Expos and Boston Red Sox.
“One of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen on a baseball field,” said Pacifics manager Mike Marshall. “I don’t think he believed what he was doing. He threw 100 pitches in batting practice yesterday, but he had his game face on, he was into it. I feel like Jack Buck, ‘I can’t believe what I just saw.'”
Lee had two bad innings — when Maui Na Koa Ikaika scored all four runs — and gave up eight hits, with neither a strikeout nor a walk. The last bad inning, the seventh, saw Marshall come to the mound and discuss a call to the bullpen.
“I was pushing for him to keep going,” Dixon said. “I told the coaches ‘let him go,’ I had a feeling he could [go nine]. The hitters weren’t centering the ball off him well, and I felt that if he just threw strikes we had a chance to get outs.”
“The main thing is cut your head off and let your body do the work, you don’t think out there and you play really well,” Lee said. “I’m still able to do this, because I never quit.”
Image by BrandonDavis/Pacificsbaseball.com
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