SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) — Bill “Spaceman” Lee, the 65-year-old former Boston Red Sox great, pitched a complete game for the San Rafael Pacifics on Thursday night, breaking his own record for the oldest pitcher to win a professional baseball game, according to the team.
“I’ve just solidified myself as the best old guy on the planet,” Lee said with a broad grin as autograph-seeking fans mobbed him after the game.
The Pacifics beat the Maui Na Koa Ikaika 9-4 at Albert Park, with Lee pitching the full game even as he appeared to limp through the last few innings. He gave up eight hits, with no walks and no strikeouts, and even batted in a run on a base hit in the bottom of the fifth.
Lee, a left-handed pitcher, was playing for the Pacifics on a one-game contract. The independent team is heading into the playoffs with the Maui team this weekend to determine the North American League’s North Division champion.
Pacifics manager and former Los Angeles Dodgers player Mike Marshall nearly took Lee out in the top of the eighth inning. The Pacifics were up 7-4, but the lead-off batter hit a single on the first pitch.
Going into the inning, Lee had told Marshall, “If I get in any trouble, come get me,” Marshall later said.
Lee was tiring, and his record-breaking win was on the line. However, as Marshall jogged to the mound, Lee held up his index finger, looked up from under his mop of white hair, and mouthed “one more.”
Marshall turned around, and Lee retired the next six batters to win the game.
As he walked off the field afterward, Lee, a graduate of Terra Linda High School, dropped to his knees and kissed the ground, to loud cheers from the sellout crowd.
Marshall called Lee’s outing “one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen on the baseball field.”
The Pacifics will play the Maui Na Koa Ikaika again in a three-game playoff series starting Thursday night. More information about the games is available on the Pacifics’ website at www.pacificsbaseball.com.
(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)