It is Dave Lemanczyk’s 69th birthday today. We don’t have a picture of him that we can use, but I found a baseball card.
Dave was a starting pitcher for the Blue Jays back in their first season, he started the second game in club history, taking the L in our very first loss.
He was a pretty decent pitcher. We took him from the Detroit Tigers in the Expansion Draft. The Expansion Draft was really a suckers bet, the expansion teams paid a fortune to join the league and they get to pick from players that the established teams don’t want. We did get Jim Clancy, Ernie Whitt, Rico Carty and Pete Vuckovich (who would later go on to win a Cy Young, but not as a Jay) among others, but mostly we got cast offs.
Lemanczyk had a pretty good year, setting career highs in wins, starts, and innings pitched, among over things. He threw 252 innings, with 11 complete games and 13 wins, 16 losses and a 4.25 ERA. He led the team in wins.
Dave only made 20 starts the next season, and had a 4-14 record with a 6.26 ERA, maybe the 252 innings from the season before were too much for his arm.
He bounced back in 1979, throwing a 1 hitter against the Rangers in April. At the break he was 8-5 with a 3.15 ERA and made the All-Star team. After the break things didn’t go as well, he had some injury problems and he finished with an 8-10 record with a 3.71 ERA in 20 starts.
The Jays traded him to the Angels in the middle of the 1980 season and he was released after the season, and he was finished as a major leaguer at age 30, with a 37-63 record (with some terrible teams), 4.62 ERA in 185 games, 103 starts.
Dave became a scout for the Yankees, after his career ended, but quit after a couple of years, to spend more time with his family. he also worked as an agent for a short while, then he opened a baseball academy and gave private lessons.
Happy Birthday Dave, I hope it is a good one.