09/15/08 11:57 AM ET
Lost in Space: Lee still one zany guy
Spaceman continues to live up to nickname after all these years
By Mark Remme / MLB.com
So just like he did in 1988, when he ran on the Canadian Rhinoceros Party ticket, Lee says he's gearing up for another run at the Presidency of the United States. And this is a man with results on his mind.
He's talking about tackling everything, from changing the climate in Africa to opening up the borders of the North American continent to letting everyone out of prison to build cross country ski trails.
"I'll do that in my first week," Lee said. "Then I'll do like George [W.] Bush and I'm gonna go golfing."
Typical Spaceman. The former Red Sox lefty has always been one with a keen sense of current events, and he's never been one to shy away from taking them on.
Similar to his approach of opposing hitters, if you will.
Lee spent 10 seasons with the Sox from 1969 to 1978, becoming one of the most effective southpaws in team history. His 321 games pitched by a lefty is a franchise record, and he's third all-time with 94 wins as a left-hander.
In his first year as a starting pitcher, Lee found his stride in 1973 and earned a spot on the American League All-Star team. He made good on the transition by going 17-11 with a 2.75 ERA.
He'll go into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in November amidst a distinguished former Sox crew -- including Mo Vaughn and Mike Greenwell, among others.
But Lee also always had a flair for dazzling quotes, and he hasn't changed much in that category since he left the team 30 years ago.
He's a published author, having written four books in the past decade. He still resides in the New England area, and he even appears on a WROR radio show on Monday mornings.
But that's only half of the Spaceman's schedule. He's clearly enjoying every endeavor that comes his way.
"People see me on the Freedom Trail, they call. People see me in Detroit, they call. People see me at Fenway Park, they call," Lee said. "People see me too much."
ARI: Travis Lee | ATL: Mark Lemke
BAL: Chris Hoiles | BOS: Bill Lee
CHC: Randy Hundley | CIN: Eric Davis
CWS: Dan Pasqua | CLE: Dave Burba
COL: Curtis Leskanic | DET: Steve Sparks
FLA: Charlie Hough | HOU: Doug Drabek
KC: Mike Macfarlane | LAA: Rick Reichardt
LAD: Jim Gott | MIL: Don Sutton
MIN: Kevin Tapani | NYM: Ed Kranepool
NYY: Jim Abbott | OAK: Ben Grieve
PHI: Tommy Greene | PIT: Barry Jones
STL: B. Tewksbury | SD: C. Hernandez
SF: Brian Johnson | SEA: Henry Cotto
TB: Doug Creek | TEX: Dave Hostetler
TOR: Alex Gonzalez | WAS: W. Fryman
Lee seems to be the spark the Red Sox are looking for this season. He's gone to three games -- two of which the Sox scored in double-digits, including the wild 19-17 win over Texas on Aug. 12.
"I've been there three times this year, and in the last two they've scored 19 and 15 [runs]," Lee said. "When I come there, they're a hitting machine. They should have me there more often, because I'm offensive."
He'll go into detail about everything, from why the team shouldn't have traded Manny Ramirez to the secret of curing the Sox's ailing success on the road -- packing nothing more than a backpack so they don't strain their backs.
Yes, these days, the Spaceman is the same Spaceman who took the hill so many years ago at Fenway Park. And if you get a chance to catch him, you'll figure that out.
But be wary. He's elusive, and he's got an agenda to take care of.
"You should have enough for now," Lee said. "I've got to go mow my lawn."
Mark Remme is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.