Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Dandy Dozen: Jerrod Lawrence

The second to last player WCM's initial Hall of Fame class is a blast from the past.

Jerrod Lawrence
Age: 38B/T: S/R
Born: Fairdale, KY
Position(s): RF
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The Resume: Jerrod Lawrence played in the first seven seasons of 2nd City, making him the oldest member of the original Hall of Fame class. Lawrence would win the AL MVP in each of the world's first 3 seasons, making him the first, and one of only 3 players ever to win the MVP 3 times. In fact, only Lawrence and Banjo White won three consecutive MVPs.

Season 1, Lawrence's best, included a .372 batting average, 53 HR's, 198 RBIs, 172 runs scored and 43 stolen bases. Lawrence posted 30+ HR's in each of the league's first 4 seasons and be named an All-Star each year. He also won the first three AL RF Silver Slugger awards.

His career marks of a .322 BA, .405 OBP, .621 SLG, 869 RBI, and 778 Runs are still franchise (Chicago Bartmans) records. His 39 game hitting streak in season 1, remains the world record. No other player has ever exceeded 33 games. His .380 batting average in season 2 is the 5th best mark of all time.

The Rest of the Story:
To this day, Second City old-timers marvel at Lawrence's athleticism. While pre-season 1 records don't exist, there is little doubt that the whole of Lawrence's career would have challenged some of the biggest all-time marks. Perhaps the most amazing of his physical gifts was his speed. While he was never a great base stealer (129 SB, 55 CS), Lawrence had PURE SPEED.

In fact, while growing up in Fairdale, KY, which is now a part of Louisville, local coaches pressed him to take up track. Rick Pitino, then the coach at Kentucky, actually recruited the 6'5 Lawrence to play for the Wildcats. But it was legendary University of Tennessee track coach Chuck Rohe that recruited Lawrence the hardest. "He had as much pure speed as ANYONE I ever saw. The day he was supposed to come to Knoxville, I had Ben Johnson willing to race him for 60 meters. I think Jerrod stood a chance, despite a lack of coaching, but he never showed."

Lawrence skipped the visit to sign his first professional contract with the Detroit Diesels and he never would get that coaching.

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