Former slugger, manager Jim Lemon dies of cancer


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Jim Lemon, a former All-Star outfielder and major league manager who once received personal congratulations from President Eisenhower after a slugging show, has died. He was 78.

Lemon died Sunday at his home in Brandon, Miss. He had been ill with cancer.

Lemon spent 26 seasons with the Washington Senators and Minnesota Twins as a player, manager, coach, scout and instructor. He also played for Cleveland, Philadelphia and the Chicago White Sox.

An All-Star in 1960, Lemon batted .262 with 121 doubles, 35 triples, 164 home runs and 529 RBIs in 1,010 career games. He hit 33 home runs with 100 RBIs for the Senators in 1959 and had 38 homers and 100 RBIs in 1960.

Lemon hit four home runs in the 1955 Southern Association All-Star game. The performance that really got him noticed, though, came the next year.

On Aug. 31, 1956, Lemon hit three straight home runs off Whitey Ford in a game the Senators lost to the New York Yankees. Eisenhower was in attendance that night at Griffith Stadium, and summoned Lemon to his box after it was over to shake his hand.

Originally signed by Cleveland as a free agent in 1948, Lemon was bought by the Senators in 1954 and continued playing with the Twins after the franchise moved west in 1961. He was a regular in the lineup for six years.

Lemon, who batted cleanup and played left field on opening day in 1961 for Minnesota, retired in 1963. He continued to work in the game for the next 20 years, including serving as hitting coach on the 1965 Twins team that went to the World Series.

Lemon took over for Gil Hodges and managed the Senators in 1968. They went 65-96, the worst record in the majors, and Ted Williams became Washington’s manager in 1969.