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Eddie Lake

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Edward Erving Lake (Sparky)

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Eddie Lake

Infielder Eddie Lake was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent before the 1937 season and would spend his first year in pro baseball with the Grand Island Red Birds of the class D Nebraska State League. Eddie would be the second baseman for the Islanders, hitting .297 in 111 games with nine home runs. This performance got him bumped up to the Decatur Commodores of the class B Three-I League for the '38 season where he hit .279 and fielded 124 games at the shortstop spot.

Eddie would spend 1939 with the Houston Buffaloes of the Texas League fielding 164 games at the shortstop slot, hitting at a .261 clip with 14 round trippers and would get a September 26 call to be at Sportsman's Park. He appeared in two games for the Cardinals and went one-for-four in his first trip to the major leagues. The lithe infielder would split the 1940 year between the Sacramento Solons and the St. Louis Cardinals, he hit only .212 in 32 games for the Cardinals, but had a fine year with Sacramento, with a .295 average and 15 home runs in 69 outings.

Eddie spent the entire 1941 season with the Cardinals, appeared in just 45 games and hit .105 and in late September of 1942 the Boston Red Sox purchased him from the Cardinals. In those next three war torn years (1943-1945) Eddie's hitting was poor in the '43 and '44 years but he had his career year in 1945 when he hit at a .279 clip with 11 home runs and led the league with a .412 on base percentage and fielded at over a .950 percentage at the short-fielders spot, grabbing just about everything that was hammered his way. To top it off, Eddie, in 1944, filled in on the mound, pitching 19 innings in six games with no decisions and an ERA of 4.19.

On January 3, 1946 Eddie was traded by the Red Sox to the Detroit Tigers for Rudy York. Lake would spend the next five seasons (1946-1950), the rest of his major league career, with the Briggs Stadium Club. He would be the league leader in games played and plate appearances in both 1946 and '47 and also hit at a .254 clip in 1946 but fell to a .211 average in '47. His batting average for 1947 was the lowest ever for 600+ at-bats, but it must be mentioned here that for three straight years (1945-1947), Eddie had more then 100 base-on-balls in each of those years.

His last three years would be carbon copies of his career and he finished out his major league career in 1950 at the age of 34 with eleven seasons in the big leagues with a .231 hitting average and 39 home runs in 835 big league games. He handled almost 3,000 chances at his three spots in a big league infield and mishandled only 155 chances for close to a .960 fielding percentage....thats a career in itself.

After eleven seasons in the majors and being 35 years old one would think it was time to call it a day, but not Eddie, he hooked up with the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League in 1951 and hit .261 with 27 home runs while playing 158 games. Lake would spend the next two years (1952-1953) with the Oakland Oaks also of the PCL, hitting .210 in '52 and .225 in '53 but his fielding was still great, right around the .960 mark, still covering the three hot spots in the infield. In 1954 he played 89 games with the Victoria Tyees of the Western International League where he got it in his head he wanted to become a manager, and thats exactly what he did. Eddie became the player-manager for the Spokane Indians of the class B Northwest League in 1955 and had the same job for the Salinas Packers of the class C California League in 1956. This gave him eleven seasons in the minors, matching his time in the majors, and equaled out to playing in three decades of baseball from 1937 to 1956.

Eddie concluded his playing days after his managing career. He later became an automobile salesman and coached the St. Mary's University baseball team. He was often quoted as saying that his greatest thrill in baseball came when he hit a home run off Bob Feller to beat the Cleveland Indians 2-1 in ten innings. Lake died on June 7, 1995, at age 79 in Castro Valley, CA.

Managerial Record
Year Team League PL W-L Pct GB Manager
1955 Spokane Indians Northwest League 8 47-80 .370 33.5 Eddie Lake
1956 Salinas Packers California League 7 53-87 .379 38 Eddie Lake

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Baseball Players of the 1950s

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