Leon Lee

From BR Bullpen


Leon Lee

BR minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

The brother of Leron Lee and father of Derrek Lee, Leon Lee played several seasons in the minors and ten years in Japan, hitting 268 homers and batting .308/.372/.530. His best season was 1980, when he hit .340/.401/.638 with 41 homers and 116 RBI with the Lotte Orions and led the Pacific League in total bases. He finished second to his brother in the league's batting race. He was named to the Best Nine team that year and again made the Best Nine in 1986 for the Yakult Swallows. He had the all-time Japanese record for most homers by a foreign-born player until Karl Rhodes broke it. He ranks 10th all-time in Nippon Pro Baseball in batting average among players with 4,000+ AB (his brother Leron is the all-time leader at .320).

He served as a minor league manager for the New York Mets and an international scout for the Chicago Cubs from 1998 to 2002 (signing Jae-kuk Ryu) before returning to Japan in 2003 to manage, becoming the first black manager in NPB history. His team failed miserably, going 41-76 with 3 ties and he did not last a full year as his Orix Blue Wave squad finished last. He was offered a job as the team's batting coach after his demotion as manager but instead returned to the US to manage. In 2004, he was managing the class A Brooklyn Cyclones when he was charged with exposing himself to four women in a hotel in Port St. Lucie, FLA, during spring training. The team forced him to resign. He was offered a deal to perform community service and pay $500 to clear his name, but refused as he wanted to clear his name. To pay legal fees, he liquidated many of his assets.

Lee is now a pillar of the Sacramento baseball community. He provides instruction and guidance for young ball players who share his passion for the Game.