Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wilfred Lefebvre, 1938 Boston Red Sox

Believe it or not [note: you’ve already decided not to believe it, haven’t you? HAVEN’T YOU!?] there has only been one instance in all of MLB history in which a player received one at-bat in a season and, in that at-bat, hit a home run. It’s despicable, disgraceful, and distended, but true nonetheless. Furthermore, this player was a pitcher! And not only was he a pitcher, but he was the pitcher, the one and only Bill “Lefty” LeFebvre. A product of College of the Holy Cross (motto: “Don’t Cross Us, We’re a Holy College”), Lefebvre broke in with the ’32 BoSox as a 22 year-old. Manager Joe Cronin, likely wary of Lefebvre’s inexperience and lack of pitching acumen, only gave the ball to Lefebvre once that year, on June 10. Facing a lousy ChiSox team, and trailing 9-1, Cronin brought the southpaw in and Lefty delivered…a crappy performance. The Pale Hose went on to win 15-2, as mop-up man Lefebvre went four innings, giving up six earned-runs and two home runs. He also got one at-bat, delivering one of the Red Sox’ two runs with a solo blast, over the Green Monster no less, off ChiSox starter Monty Stratton in the eighth inning. Lefebvre’s performance (37 ERA+) wasn’t enough to get him another shot that year. On the plus side, this left Wilfred with a perfect 1.000/1.000/4.000 slash line for the year. Lefebvre, surprisingly enough, failed to maintain his 1071 OPS+. Following a marginally less-horrible (pitching-wise) 1939 season, Lefebvre enrolled in the army, serving from 1940 through 1942, before returning to the war-depleted majors in 1943. After some serious ’43 and ’44 stankonia (72 ERA+), Lefty retired, later becoming the pitching coach of the Brown University Bears. Maybe he should have stuck to hitting, having accumulated a .382 on-base percentage and 127 OPS+ over 102 plate appearances. Oh, and he hit that home run. Did I mention that already?

1 PA, 1 HR

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