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Lefty O'Doul

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Francis Joseph O'Doul

  • Bats Left, Throws Left
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 180 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

O'Doul in 1921.

Lefty O'Doul was a .349 career hitter in the majors who won two batting titles. His career batting average puts him at # 4 on the all-time list, although his big-league career was short with only a bit more than 3,000 at-bats. For many years after he retired, he had stout proponents who said he belonged in the Hall of Fame. In 2007 voting by the Veterans Committee, he received 18% of the vote.

He started his career as a pitcher, playing four years in the American League with the New York Yankees (he was a teammate of Babe Ruth) and Boston Red Sox in his early 20's before hurting his arm. He became an outfielder and returned to the major leagues after some outstanding seasons in the minors.

He was a longtime manager in the Pacific Coast League, with the San Francisco Seals (1935-1951), the San Diego Padres (1952-1954), the Oakland Oaks (1955), the Vancouver Mounties (1956), and the Seattle Rainiers (1957). He compiled a record of 2,094-1,970 over 23 seasons in the minor leagues. He is a member of the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame.

He also helped bring baseball to Japan, travelling there often.

He is remembered for working with a couple of young players on their hitting - Joe DiMaggio and Willie McCovey. He was modest about his work, though, saying:

"I refuse to take any credit for (DiMaggio). I was just smart enough to leave him alone." - Lefty O'Doul

The other two DiMaggios also played for O'Doul when he managed in San Francisco.

In later life O'Doul ran a restaurant in San Francisco, and was a well-known celebrity in town.

The bridge across McCovey Cove at AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA is named the Lefty O'Doul Bridge.

The character of Roy Hobbs, from the novel and film "The Natural", is partly based on O'Doul.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 1927 MVP Pacific Coast League, San Francisco Seals
  • NL All-Star (1933)
  • 2-time NL Batting Average Leader (1929 & 1932)
  • NL On-Base Percentage Leader (1929)
  • NL Hits Leader (1929)
  • 2-time NL Singles Leader (1929 & 1932)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 3 (1929, 1930 & 1932)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1929)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1929)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 3 (1929, 1930 & 1932)
  • 200 Hits Seasons: 3 (1929, 1930 & 1932)
  • Won a World Series with the New York Giants in 1933

[edit] Year-by-Year Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs
1935 San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast League 103-70 1st none League Champs
1936 San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast League 83-93 7th New York Giants
1937 San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast League 98-80 2nd none Lost in 1st round
1938 San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast League 93-85 4th none Lost League Finals
1939 San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast League 97-78 2nd none Lost in 1st round
1940 San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast League 81-97 7th none
1941 San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast League 81-95 5th (t) none
1942 San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast League 88-90 5th Brooklyn Dodgers
1943 San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast League 89-66 2nd none League Champs
1944 San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast League 86-83 3rd none League Champs
1945 San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast League 96-87 4th none League Champs
1946 San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast League 115-68 1st none League Champs
1947 San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast League 105-82 2nd none Lost in 1st round
1948 San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast League 112-76 2nd none Lost in 1st round
1949 San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast League 84-103 7th none
1950 San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast League 100-100 5th none
1951 San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast League 74-93 8th New York Yankees
1952 San Diego Padres (PCL) Pacific Coast League 88-92 5th none none
1953 San Diego Padres (PCL) Pacific Coast League 88-92 6th none none
1954 San Diego Padres (PCL) Pacific Coast League 102-67 1st none Lost in 1st round
1955 Oakland Oaks Pacific Coast League 77-95 7th none none
1956 Vancouver Mounties Pacific Coast League 67-98 8th Baltimore Orioles none
1957 Seattle Rainiers Pacific Coast League 87-80 5th Cincinnati Reds none

[edit] Further Reading

Richard Leutzinger: "Lefty O'Doul, The Legend that Baseball Nearly Forgot," Carmel Bay Publishing Group, 1997.

[edit] Related Sites

Find-A-Grave Memorial for Lefty O'Doul

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