|Although it has been over five decades since Buddy Lewis played for the Washington Senators, he remains a fans favorite among our veteran baseball fans. A decorated war hero, he was a solid hitter and a leading defensive stalwart of his time.
Born in Gastonia, North Carolina, he broke into profession ball with Chattanooga of the Southern Association in 1934. For that team in 1935, Buddy Lewis batted .303, hit 32 doubles and had 85 RBIs. And still just 18-years old, was called up by Washington for the final games of the season.
Lewis batted .291 and scored an even 100 runs in his first full year in the majors, 1936. He set a modern day record by lining 15 hits in four straight games - July 25-28, 1937, and was picked for his first of two All-Star games in 1938. Defensively he paced all American League third basemen in assists, fielding range, double plays and errors in 1939, while hitting .319 and led the league with 16 triples.
The 6-ft, 1-inch, 175-pounder scored over 100 runs four times - 1936-1938 and 1940 - including a career-best 122 in '38. From 1936 thru 1940, he batted .291, .314, .296, .319, .317, lined over 20 doubles seven times, including a career-high 35 in 1937... and the speedy Lewis scampered for 10 or more triples in 5 different seasons. He collected more career walks, 573, than strike outs 303.
After ringing up a .297 batting mark, with 29 doubles, 11 triples, 9 home runs in 1941, Lewis joined the United States Army in November. For flying dangerous missions in the Burmese Theater, John Kelly Lewis, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Discharged on July 23, 1945, he was in a Senators' uniform just 4 days later. Now playing an outfield position, he hit .333 in 69 games.
He led all outfielders in assists in 1946 and was chosen for his second All-Star game in '47.
Buddy Lewis career stats: .297 BA, 1563 hits in 5261 at bats, 249Ds, 93Ts, 71Hrs, 830 Runs, 607 RBIs, 83 stolen bases in 1349 games... attended Wake Forest University.