Obit of the Day: In a Pinch
If you visit the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame you will see some of the greatest players in major league baseball history - Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tom Seaver, Barry Larkin…and Jerry Lynch. Even some die-hard Reds fans might have trouble remembering Lynch, but when a manager needed a late-inning hit, especially a home run, Lynch was the man to call on.
Jerry Lynch, who died at the age of 82, was one of the greatest pinch-hitters in baseball history. Lynch debuted for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1954 and was traded to the Reds before the 1957 season. In six full seasons with the Reds, Lynch played the outfield and, of course, came off the bench to hit on occasion. He played his final three seasons back in Pittsburgh calling it quits in 1966.
When Jerry Lynch retired he held the record for most home runs in a career by a pinch-hitter, 18. (He was eventually passed by Cliff Johnson and Matt Stairs.) He was tied for second all-time for pinch hit home runs in one season, 5, which hit in 1961. (He’s now tied with 12 other players for third. The most recent is again, Matt Stairs in 2009.) In ‘61, he also set the National League record for most pinch-hit RBI, with 25. (In 1983 he was tied by Rusty Staub. The AL record is also 25, set by Joe Cronin in 1943.)
Random note: Lynch’s 1961 was so impressive that he even received one MVP vote. The award went to his teammate, future Hall of Famer, Frank Robinson.
For Lynch’s full career stats, click here. Pinch-hitting records courtesy of baseballalmanac.com.
(Jerry’s Lynch’s 1959 baseball card is copyright of Topps, Inc. and courtesy of dawgbonesaphilliesfan.blogspot.com)