Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Confidential to the York Regional Police

To the constable or staffer at the York Regional Police in Newmarket, Ontario who executed a Google Canada search using the search term "baseball pitcher nick name space captain montreal expo" and browsed the My Two Innings blog entry on Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, which didn't answer your inquiry:

I believe you are referring to Bill "Spaceman" Lee, left-handed pitcher with Boston and Montreal over 14 seasons spanning the entire decade of the 1970's, one of the great personalities of the game and all-around kook. Come to think of it, is there any ballplayer who better personifies the Zeitgeist of the 1970's? Reggie Jackson, maybe? Steve Garvey, for all those clean-cut, polished-brass-buttons types at your district station? Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, for his single, spectacular rookie season? I still think Spaceman Lee takes the prize, especially for his gems like this:

"I think about the cosmic snowball theory. A few million years from now the sun will burn out and lose its gravitational pull. The earth will turn into a giant snowball and be hurled through space. When that happens it won't matter if I get this guy out."

Now that you have Lee's name, Constable, I'm sure you can take it from here. You'll be able to research some admirable statistics, such as his three consecutive 17-win seasons with the Red Sox, and fact that he won a minor league game at age 63. You might investigate a 2006 documentary called Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey. Your Mounties and our FBI might even have a file on him for his reportedly leftist views; but that's your and their business, and his, and I don't mean to pry.

Not remember the name of Bill "Spaceman" Lee? Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Constable, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of baseball fans everywhere. At least the loony ones.

UPDATE: On August 23, 2012, Bill "Spaceman" Lee reportedly signed a contract with the San Rafael Pacifics of the independent North American League and became the oldest pitcher to win a professional game at age 65.  He threw a complete game in a 9-4 win over Maui Na Koa Ikaika of Hawaii.


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