From BR Bullpen
Albert Walter Lyle
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 1", Weight 192 lb.
 Biographical Information
"Ted Williams told me that I'd never make the big leagues unless I came up with a slider. . . after I perfected the slider . . . I threw the pitch so it would come straight at the batter until it got to within three feet of the plate. Then it would break down." - Sparky Lyle, saying that "when Ted Williams told you something, you tried it"
"The best soap opera was the [Yankees] team we had here in the 70s. . . [People] couldn't wait to pick up the papers the next morning to see what was going on." - Ron Guidry, about the Yankees during the era of Sparky Lyle's book "The Bronx Zoo"
Sparky Lyle, who pitched sixteen years in the majors solely in relief and who won the 1977 American League Cy Young Award (the first reliever to do so in the American League), was one of the best-known relievers of his era. He consistently was among the league leaders in saves and his interactions with other Yankee players and management were well-publicized.
Lyle came up originally at age 22 with the 1967 Boston Red Sox. Reggie Smith, in his first full season with the Red Sox, was also 22 that year, and Ken Brett, at age 18, made his major league debut with the 1967 Red Sox.
Sparky spent the heart of his career, 1972-78, with the New York Yankees. He appeared in the 1976 and 1977 World Series, with an overall ERA of 1.23. He was credited with the win in Game 1 of the 1977 World Series.
Although he was on the 1967 Red Sox and 1980 Phillies teams that went to the World Series, Lyle did not appear in those Series. (The Phillies acquired him too late to qualify for the postseason roster in 1980.)
As pitchers go, he was a good hitter, with a .192 lifetime average. He even stole a base at age 36.
He led the league in saves in both 1972 and 1976. He was named one of the ten best relievers according to The Relief Pitcher for being the most dominant reliever of his era.
His lifetime Adjusted ERA+ of 127 is # 46 on the all-time list, one point higher than Goose Gossage at 126.
After he retired from baseball in the 1980's, he did some Miller Lite beer commercials and worked as a casino greeter with Mickey Mantle.
Two of the sources: Baseball Digest, February 2003 and The Bronx Zoo, 30 years later.
 Notable Achievements
- 3-time AL All-Star (1973, 1976 & 1977)
- AL Cy Young Award Winner (1977)
- AL Reliever of the Year Award Winner (1972)
- AL Games Pitched Leader (1977)
- 2-time AL Saves Leader (1972 & 1976)
- 30 Saves Seasons: 1 (1972)
- Won three World Series with the New York Yankees (1977 & 1978) and the Philadelphia Phillies (1980) (he did not play in the 1978 and 1980 World Series)
|AL Cy Young Award|
|Jim Palmer||Sparky Lyle||Ron Guidry|
 Year-By-Year Minor League Managerial Record
 Further Reading
- Sparky Lyle and Peter Golenbock: The Bronx Zoo:: The Astonishing Inside Story of the 1978 World Champion New York Yankees, Crown Publishers, New York, NY, 1979. ISBN 1572437154
- Sparky Lyle (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, February 1983, pp. 68-70. 
- Sparky Lyle and David Fisher: The Year I Owned the Yankees: A Baseball Fantasy, Bantam Books, New York, NY, 1990. ISBN 0553057502