‘Spaceman’ coming to play ball in the region
A former Major League Baseball player known for his unique off-field antics as well as his on-field performance, Bill “Spaceman” Lee, will be one of the former Red Sox and Yankee players who will play in a charity game in Bridgeport.
The Bridgeport Bluefish are organizing the Heroes for Heroes Legends Game on Thursday, July 9 at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard to raise money for PABRI/Homes for the Brave, a Bridgeport-based nonprofit that works to improve the lives of homeless individuals, especially military veterans..
Other former Boston Red Sox players coming are Dennis Ray “Oil Can” Boyd and Ellis Burks.
Former New York Yankees participating are Jesse Barfield, Charlie Hayes and Jim Leyritz.
The names of more players will be announced in the coming weeks.
'Rivalry is electric'
The game will last seven innings and is being played as part of Atlantic League All-Star Week festivities in Bridgeport. The All-Star game will be played Wednesday, July 8 at Harbor Yard.
Game time for the Legends game on July 9 will be 7 p.m. General Admission tickets are $15 in advance, or $20 at the gate on game day. To purchase tickets, go to www.bridgeportbluefish.com or call 203-210-BLUE.
Sponsorship packages are available and include the opportunity to play on one of the Legends teams. For more information on sponsorships, contact Bluefish General Manager Jamie Toole at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-345-4800.
‘Spaceman’ was an All-Star
Lee had 321 appearances with the Red Sox, having been drafted by the team in 1968. His Red Sox career stats were 94 wins, a 3.64 ERA and 578 strikeouts.
He played in the 1973 All-Star Game and started two games in the 1975 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds.
Lee then played with the Montreal Expos from 1979 to 1982, where he was named the Sporting News National League Left Hander of the Year.
In 2008, Lee was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame for holding the team’s record for most games pitched by a left-hander and the third-highest win total by a lefty.
Won a semi-pro game at age 65
Since the end of his Major League career, he has played for semi-professional teams in the United States, Venezuela, and Canada. He recorded a win for a semi-pro team at age 65 in 2012, and still is playing organized baseball today in his hometown of Burlington, Vt.
Lee is well known for his off-field activities, including what Wikipedia describes as “his counterculture behavior.” He is outspoken, has admitted to smoking marijuana, once talked of running for president of the United States, and is the author of four books. Lee was the subject of a 2006 documentary film, “Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey.”
The other players
Here are short biographies of the other players:
Dennis Ray “Oil Can” Boyd (Red Sox)
Boyd played in the major leagues from 1982 to 1991. He played eight seasons with the Red Sox, and also was a Montreal Expo and Texas Ranger. Boyd’s best year as a major leaguer was in 1986, when he won a career high 16 games with the Red Sox.
Ellis Burks (Red Sox)
Burks played in the majors from 1987 to 2005, starting and ending his career with the Red Sox. He also played with the Chicago White Sox, Colorado Rockies, San Francisco Giants and Cleveland Indians. In his rookie season at age 22, he became the third player in Red Sox history to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in one season. He was an All-Star in 1990 and 1996. He won two Silver Slugger Awards and one Gold Glove Award. He finished his career with 352 home runs.
Jesse Barfield (Yankees)
Barfield was a major leaguer from 1981 to 1992, playing with the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays. During the 1986 season with the Blue Jays, he hit .289, had a league-high 40 home runs and 108 RBIs, made the All-Star team, and won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards. He won a second Gold Glove in 1987. He finished his career with 241 home runs.
Charlie Hayes (Yankees)
Charlie Hayes was in the majors from 1988 to 2001, twice playing with the Yankees. He also played with the San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, Colorado Rockies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros. He was a Yankee in 1996, when the team won the World Series. His best season came with the Rockies in 1993, where he hit .305 with 98 RBIs and 25 home runs.
Jim Leyritz (Yankees)
Leyritz played in the majors from 1990 to 2000, including two stints with the Yankees. He also played for the Anaheim Angels, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers. As a Yankee, he was a member of both the 1996 and 1999 World Series championship teams.