Friday, August 3, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #269 - Joe Lis

  • Joe Lis was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1964. Lis was in the minors from 1964-1970. He had a good year for AAA Eugene in 1970 (.324, 36 HR, 107 RBI) and was called up to the Phillies in September. Joe batted .189 (7 for 37) in 13 games.
  • Lis spent the 1971 season with the Phillies as a backup outfielder. Joe batted .211 with 6 HR and 10 RBI in 59 games.
  • Joe started the 1972 season back in Eugene. He tore up Pacific Coast League pitching, batting .338 with 26 HR and 58 RBI in 65 games. Lis was brought back up to the Phillies in late June and batted .243 with 6 HR and 18 RBI in 62 games.
  • After the 1972 season Lis was traded (with Ken Reynolds and Ken Sanders) to the Minnesota Twins for Cesar Tovar. Joe was in the majors for the entire 1973 season, often being used as a defensive replacement for Harmon Killebrew. In 1973 he batted .245 with 9 HR and 25 RBI in 103 games. Joe had some regular playing time in 1973 as the DH when Killebrew had a knee injury.
  •  In 1974 Lis started the season with the Twins. On April 3 Joe got in a fight with Willie Montanez during a spring training game. Montanez knocked him down with one punch. Lis was featured on a 1971 Topps rookie card with Montanez. After the fight Lis would only sign the card if Montanez was cut off of the card or if someone doodled a mustache on him. He wasn't used very much (.195 in 24 games) and on June 5 Joe was sold to the Cleveland Indians. Lis batted .202 with 6 HR and 16 RBI in 57 games for the Indians in '74.
  • Lis played for AAA Oklahoma City for most of the 1975 season (.274, 18 HR, 69 RBI). Joe was called up in September and batted .308 (4 for 13) in 9 games.
  • Joe was in AAA again for most of 1976. He batted .306 with 30 HR and 103 RBI for the Toledo Mud Hens and was the International League MVP. Lis was called up in September again and batted .314 (16 for 51) in 20 games.
  • After the 1976 season Lis was drafted by the Seattle  Mariners in the expansion draft. Joe spent most of the season in AAA. He played in nine games for the Mariners and went 3 for 13 (.231). Lis was sent down on May 10 to make room for Enrique Romo, who was coming off of the disabled list.
  • Joe had a quote about trying to catch pop-ups against the grey ceiling background of the Seattle Kingdome: "There's no more saying, 'I got it.' When somebody pops one up it's gonna be 'I think I got it.'"
  • Lis spent the 1978 season playing in Japan. He didn't fare well there and came back to the United States after the season. Joe had a solid year in 1979 for Detroit's AAA Evansville club (.292, 16 HR, 80 RBI), but he didn't get called up to the majors. Lis ended up with 236 lifetime minor league home runs.
  • After his departure from professional baseball Joe started showing neighborhood kids how to hit using a batting tee in his garage. This humble start eventually grew into the Joe Lis Batting School.
  • Joe Lis died of cancer on October 17, 2010.
  • Joe's SABR biography
  • 1977 Stats:
    • Seattle Mariners - .231, 0 HR, 1 RBI in 9 games
    • AAA (2 teams) - .267, 11 HR, 38 RBI in 79 games
  • 1977 Highlights: not really in 1977
  • Other card blogs: 1970, 1971, 1974, 1975

1 comment:

  1. I'm surprised that Joe Lis was still playing as late as 1977. (And equally surprised to learn that he was with the Phillies for the entire 1971 season. He must have been the last guy on the bench.)