Albert Walter Lyle
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 1", Weight 192 lb.
- High School Reynoldsville-Sykesville High School
- Debut July 4, 1967
- Final Game September 27, 1982
- Born July 22, 1944 in DuBois, PA USA
"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 New York Yankees players and management were well-publicized.
Lyle came up originally at age 22 with the Boston Red Sox in 1967. 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 same team.
Sparky spent the heart of his career, 1972 to 1978, with the 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 Series. After Sparky won the Cy Young Award in 1977 however, the Yankees signed Rich Gossage as a free agent. Both relievers pitched well over 100 innings as the Yankees repeated as World Champions in 1978, but Gossage got most of the save opportunities. After the season, the Yankees sent Lyle to the Texas Rangers in a multi-player trade that brought over Dave Righetti among others.
Although he was on the Red Sox in 1967 and the Philadelphia Phillies in 1980, 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.
His lifetime Adjusted ERA+ of 127 is # 46 on the all-time list, one point higher than former teammate Goose Gossage at 126.
Two of the sources: Baseball Digest, February 2003 and The Bronx Zoo, 30 years later.
- 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
- 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