Lester Lockett (Buck)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 185 lb.
Lockett debuted in 1938 with the Birmingham Black Barons then spent 1940 with the Cincinnati Buckeyes. Returning to Birmingham at age 29 in 1941, he became a starter at third base and hit .375, second in the Negro American League after Lyman Bostock Sr. Lester split 1942 between Birmingham (.342, playing 3B) and the Chicago American Giants (.327, playing short). His four doubles tied Willard Brown for fourth in the NAL after Neil Robinson, Barney Serrell and Joe Greene.
The Indiana native moved to the outfield with Birmingham in 1943, with Leroy Morney now manning third base. Lockett hit .408, leading the NAL by 22 points over Piper Davis. In the 1943 East-West Game, he replaced Neil Robinson in left field in the 9th inning of a 2-1 win. He did not bat. After his great regular season, he flopped in the postseason, going 3 for 24 in the 1943 Negro World Series as Birmingham lost to the Homestead Grays.
Lockett fell to .249 in a utility role in 1944 but was 5 for 19 in the 1944 Negro World Series as Birmingham again fell to Homestead. Back in the outfield in 1945, he hit .306. In the 1945 East-West Game, he started in left field for the West, hitting 6th. He was 0 for 4 with a RBI. He remained a starting outfielder for the Black Barons in 1946. Returning to third base after joining the Baltimore Elite Giants in 1947, he batted .313.
Lester hit .386 as an outfielder for Baltimore in 1948. The 36-year-old veteran was second in the Negro National League in average, 9 points behind Buck Leonard. In the first 1948 East-West Game, he replaced Luke Easter in left field for the East. He went 0 for 2 with a walk in a 3-0 loss. In the second East-West Game that year, Lockett started in left and hit third. He went 1 for 4 with a RBI in a 6-1 victory. Overall, he had gone 1 for 10 with a walk in his four East-West Games.
Lockett played for Spur Cola in the 1949 Caribbean Series, going 9 for 22 with two doubles and six runs. He led the Panamanian entry in both runs and average. Overall in the Series, he was two hits shy of leader Hector Rodriguez, two runs shy of co-leaders Al Gionfriddo and Wilmer Fields and one double shy of leaders Chuck Connors, Sam Bankhead and Gionfriddo. He returned for Baltimore for a third year in 1949, then hit .301 for Chicago in 1950.
At age 39, Lockett got his one chance in Organized Baseball. The faded star hit only .217/?/.279 for the Farnham Pirates. He played in the Manitoba-Dakota League in 1952-1953, also spending part of '53 with the Mexican League's Torreon Cotton Dealers. He was 13 for 37 with three doubles, a triple and 13 RBI in eight impressive games for Torreon.
Lockett was known as a ladies' man.
- The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues by John Holway
- The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues by James Riley
- Black Baseball's National Showcase by Larry Lester
- The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics by Pedro Treto Cisneros
- Cuban Baseball: A Statistical History by Jorge Figueredo