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Lonnie Goldstein

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Leslie Elmer Goldstein

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First baseman Lonnie Goldstein played fifteen seasons in professional baseball, signing as an amateur free agent with the Cincinnati Reds after playing with the Enid Champlin Refiners team in 1939. The Refiner club won the Denver Post Semi-pro baseball tournament championship but lost out in the 1939 National Baseball Congress finals.

Lonnie played four years (1940-1943) in the minors before making his major league debut with the Reds on September 11, 1943. His time on the big league stage was short, however, as Lonnie appeared in just five games in 1943 and six in 1946. Goldstein would not get another invite and these two short looks gave him a .100 career batting average in the big leagues. Goldstein also served in the United States Army from 1944 until mid 1946, during World War II, returning in time for his last short run with the Reds.

Lonnie spent the next nine seasons (1947-1955) in the minors, four with the Gainesville Owls of the class B Big State League, where in 85 games in 1947 he hit at a .401 clip with 33 home runs. He didn't appear in enough games for his stats to show him as leader but his average and home run numbers were the best in the league. In 1948 he was the league leader in doubles with 58. In 1949 Goldstein filled in for Ray Taylor as the second of two managers in the Owls 7th place finish.

Lonnie spent the next three years (1951-1953) with the Temple Eagles of the same league and in 1951 his .376 batting average led the league and put him on the All-Star team. In 1953 he took over for Salty Parker as the second of two managers of the team, which was one of his two seasons in the minors that he did not hit over the .300 mark. Lon spent his last two years in baseball with the Corpus Christi Clippers also of the Big State League and bowed out in 1955 with the Yuma Sun Sox of the Arizona-Mexico League.

Goldstein had a minor league career stat sheet that most players would die for. In his 14 seasons he appeared in 1,571 games with 5,963 at-bats, busted 146 home runs and hit for a career average of .330. It must be noted that in 14 years in the minors the big first baseman had only two seasons hitting under .300. In 1942 at Birmingham he just missed with a .291 mark and in 1953 with Temple the 35-year-old came in at .278.

The book Baseball in Columbia has a photo of Goldstein as part of the 1941 Columbia Reds, champions of the South Atlantic League. Goldstein was chosen as the first baseman for the All-Star team.

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