Bill Lefebvre

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Wilfred Henry Lefebvre

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Biographical Information[edit]

Bill LeFebvre pitched eleven seasons from 1936 to 1947, three in college (1936-1938), four in the Major Leagues (1938-1939 and 1943-1944) and eight in the minors (1938-1943 and 1946-1947), losing one year to the Military. Coming off the campus of the College of the Holy Cross in 1938, he was signed as a free agent for the Boston Red Sox by Eddie Collins. He served in the United States Armed Forces for one year during World War II (1945) (N&C).

On September 10, 1938 Lefebvre homered in his first major league at bat in his only plate appearance of the season, off Monty Stratton of the Chicago White Sox. This gave him a perfect single season slugging percentage of 4.000 and OPS of 5.000. But he was hammered by Chicago in a 15–2 loss. He was the first American League player to homer in his only at bat in a season, and it was to be his only big league homer, though he finished with a .276 career batting average and led the AL in pinch-hits in 1944. The home run Lefty hit in his first at-bat was on the first major league pitch he ever had thrown to him. And it was the only major league pitch thrown to him all year. One pitch all year and it was a home run in his first year. That is true about no other player.

In 1944, Lefebvre, a knuckleballer, joined the Senators pitching staff, which already had four knuckleballers in Dutch Leonard, Roger Wolff, Mickey Haefner and Johnny Niggeling. Pity C Rick Ferrell, who had to deal with this (before somebody thought up the idea of an extra large mitt). While pitching for the Senators in 1944, Lefebvre also beat out Early Wynn to become the team's primary pinch hitter.

Bill joined the Army in 1945 and went on to teach in Pawtucket, RI, schools for 15 years and coached baseball at Brown University from 1949 to 1964. He scouted for the Washington Senators from 1949 to 1958 and the Houston Astros in 1963. Working as a scout for the Boston Red Sox from 1966 to 1992, Lefebvre signed such players as John LaRose, Mark Bomback and Allen Ripley. He enjoyed his 91st and last birthday in November of 2006.

His son, also named Bill Lefebvre, pitched in the St. Louis Cardinals chain from 1960 to 1964.

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