Bill “Spaceman” Lee was known as much for his off-field antics as he was a pitching ability that earned the southpaw 119 career wins. The counterculture sports icon clashed with management, openly advocated athletes smoke marijuana, and claimed world peace could be achieved if we brought baseball to the Soviet Union.
Now 64 years old, Lee is back in the public eye, pitching in an independent league (where last year he became the oldest pitcher ever to record a professional win) and promoting investment in a movie about his life:
He sat down for an online chat Wednesday and, predictably, dropped his usual knowledge on Boston Globe readers. A sampling…
In response to a question asking why fans are asked to pay such high prices at the ballpark when owners are making so much money:
Because fans are dumb. Buy a six-pack, watch it at home. Hell, do it with me. Then you get good color commentary and you don’t have to listen to Remy. What does a middle infielder know about pitching? One thing: it’s hard to hit.
About the increased fraternization in the game and its effect on the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry:
Yes, they are too friendly. I saw Jeter and Garciaparra sharing spit behind the batting cage. Maybe it was A-Rod, he had the sunglasses and pancake makeup.
On being ambidextrous, but never trying to pitch righthanded:
Because I could still get people out lefthanded. Plus, I eat with my right hand. Don’t want to wear that out. A man’s gotta know his priorities.
What did Lee think of rivals Thurman Munson and Billy Martin?
Munson was an arrogant pain in the —, but he was a great hitter and a great catcher. Quickest release I ever saw. Martin sent me a couple of mackerels and told me where I could shove them.
Bill “Spaceman” Lee can still be seen this summer playing for the Burlington Cardinals of the Vermont Men’s Senior Baseball League.