Player: Lembo, Steve
Card: 1953 Canadian Exhibits #36
“Baseball is a game. Take it that way. If you have fun with it, that’s all that matters. Don’t take it to serious. Odds are you are not going to be a Major League ball player, so have fun.” – Steve Lembo
Stephen Neal Lembo (b. November 13, 1926 in Brooklyn, NY – d. December 4, 1989 Flushing, Queens, NY) was an American catcher in Major League Baseball. His father was Joseph Lembo, who worked in a ladies’ shoe factory. His mother, Lucia (née Lareno), stayed home with her three children. Steve’s younger brother Anthony played in the low minors for the Dodgers from 1956 through 1959.
The Lembos were of Italian origin. Joseph’s family came from the Naples area; his father was born in New York but lived in Italy for a couple of years as a boy before moving back. Lucia was born in Avellino, Italy (also near Naples). The family lived in Borough Park, a neighborhood in southwestern Brooklyn. Their home was a couple of miles away from the Parade Ground, the center of the borough’s thriving sandlot scene. Another mile or so farther north was Ebbets Field. While young Steve was growing up, he saw the Dodgers there as often as he could
Lembo had a powerful arm and was well regarded as a receiver. However, in trying to break into the big leagues, he was stuck behind the great Roy Campanella, then in the prime of his Hall of Fame career, and backups Bruce Edwards and Rube Walker. He also faced intense competition in the minors.
Steve played seven games for the Brooklyn Dodgers during the 1950 and 1952 baseball seasons. He was also with the Dodgers late in the 1951 season, and though he did not appear in any games, he was a bullpen catcher warming up Carl Erskine and Ralph Branca in the deciding National League playoff game against the New York Giants that was ended by Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” (as revealed by author Joshua Prager in his book The Echoing Green).
His time as a pro player, which began at age 17 in 1944, ended ahead of the 1953 season because of back problems. After retiring as a ballplayer in 1954, Lembo became a scout for the Dodgers, serving in that role until his death. He died at age 63 in Flushing, Queens. In recognition of his support for amateur baseball, the New York Professional Baseball Hot Stove League presents the “Steve Lembo Memorial Award.”
Steve is part of the New York City Born Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Steve is also part of the LA/Brooklyn Dodgers Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
See all Steve’s baseball cards at TCDB
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