We’re Contacted by Grandson of Former Major Leaguer, Ken Lehman!

We’re Contacted by Grandson of Former Major Leaguer, Ken Lehman!

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 We’re Contacted by Grandson of Former Major Leaguer, Ken Lehman!

As I’ve said many times, we always love it when we’re contacted by relatives of former major leaguers. It doesn’t matter to us if he was a star or a backup. If he made it to the majors, he’s special; and we’re always glad to shine the spotlight on him for a brief moment or two.

Awhile back, one of our readers, Matt Lehman, asked if we could mention his granddad, former major leaguer Ken Lehman, who pitched in the 1952 World Series. You bet, Matt…We’re always glad to oblige!

Some of our older readers may remember Ken Lehman. Primarily a relief pitcher, he played five seasons in the majors (1952-’61) for the Dodgers, Orioles, and Phillies. Over his career, he went 14-10, with a 3.91 ERA, and seven saves. His best season was 1957 with the Orioles, when he posted an 8-3 mark with a 2.78 ERA.

Matt relates that he comes from “a huge baseball fan family, as you would probably expect with my grandpa’s stories of playing in the majors!” Matt is justifiably proud of his granddad. He described Ken Lehman as “…a great man and a true patriarch of our family.”

And of course having a former major leaguer in the family is not without its benefits! Matt shared how granddad Ken got him a baseball signed by Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax from a 1992 Dodger reunion, which was marking 35 years after the team left Brooklyn. Matt also got a Dodgers’ cap signed by Duke Snider. Not a bad haul!

Matt related one interesting memory from Ken’s career when he was playing for the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League in 1951. During the off-season, Seals’ manager Lefty O’Doul put together an All-Star team that traveled to Japan to play exhibition games against Japanese All-Stars. Ken Lehman was asked to join the team. According to Matt: “The American team included Joe DiMaggio, who had also played for the Seals. He had actually just retired from the Yankees and made the trip over to Japan on his farewell tour with this team.” Matt sent me a neat picture of Ken with Joe DiMaggio from the Japan tour, which is the featured photo below.

Here’s a few words about the career of Ken Lehman:

The 6’ 0” 170-lb. lefty signed with the Dodgers out of high school in 1946. He entered their minor league system in 1947, and reached the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League in 1950 before enlisting in the Army during the Korean War. Following his discharge, Lehman made his major league debut with the pennant-winning Dodgers on September 5, 1952. In the 1952 World Series, he pitched two scoreless innings in a losing cause against the New York Yankees.

After three successful years with the Montreal Royals of the International League, Lehman returned to the Dodgers for the 1956 season. He then was purchased by the Baltimore Orioles during the 1957 season and pitched for them through 1958.

From 1959 to 1960 Lehman was a member of the Buffalo Bisons of the International League. He returned to the majors in 1961, appearing in 41 games for the Phillies. Lehman spent one more season in the minors before retiring after the1962 season.

Following his playing days, Lehman was the head coach at the University of Washington from 1964 to 1971. He later worked in the Mount Baker School District for 31 years. Lehman died in 2010 at age 82.

-Gary Livacari

Photo Credits: From personal collection of Matt Lehman; and Public Domain

Information: Edited from the Ken Lehman Wikipedia page; and from information provided by Matt Lehman

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I’m a baseball historian who also loves to write. My forte is identifying ballplayers in old photos, and my specail interest is the Dead Ball Era.

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