Lee Ford Tannehill
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 170 lb.
- Debut April 22, 1903
- Final Game May 8, 1912
- Born October 26, 1880 in Dayton, KY USA
- Died February 16, 1938 in Live Oak, FL USA
The brother of hurler Jesse Tannehill, Lee Tannehill played for the Chicago White Sox for a decade and was one of the best fielding players (and one of the worst hitters) in the early American League.
Originally a pitcher, Tannehill began his baseball career in the Virginia League. After being moved to the infield while playing in the Western League, he played for the American Association's Louisville Colonels in 1902. On June 3rd, during a 12-inning, 6-5 Colonel win at Columbus's Neil Park, he established the record for most chances accepted by an American Association shortstop with 16 errorless plays in support of Perry Coons and Ed "Davey" Dunkle. As if to solidify his reputation for a sturdy defenseman, Tannehill accepted 14 chances without an error during the June 12th game, versus the Columbus Senators, this time a nine-inning 11-4 win at Louisville's Eclipse Park behind Patsy Flaherty.
Tannehill's contract was purchased by the White Sox in 1903, and he was installed at shortstop to replace George Davis, who had a contract dispute with the team. When Davis returned to the club in 1904, Tannehill was moved to third base. At both positions, he gained a reputation for excellent defense. As a third baseman, he led the American League in assists four times.
Despite his impressive fielding, Tannehill struggled greatly at the plate. As the "Hitless Wonders" White Sox won the AL pennant in 1906, he batted just .183 in 116 games. After going just 1 for 9 in the first three games of that year's World Series, skipper Fielder Jones removed him from the team's lineup.
After seeing limited playing time in 1907, Tannehill spent several more seasons as a White Sox regular. Despite hitting just three home runs in his big league career, he did hit the first homer ever at Comiskey Park on July 31, 1910, a ground-rule shot that bounced through the slats of an iron fence in left field.
As the Sox shortstop in 1911, Tannehill became the only big league player ever to make two unassisted double plays in a season, recording them both in an August 4th contest against the Washington Senators. However, the next season he was let go by Chicago. He played several more years in the minors and retired after the 1918 season, managing in 1916 and 1917.
Sources include www.americanassociationalmanac.com