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vic lombardi, 1951 bowman #204, pirates

Player: Lombardi, Vic

Card: 1951 Bowman #204

Position: LHP

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Reedly, CA-born Victor Alvin Lombardi (b. September 20, 1922 in Reedly, CA – d. December 3, 1997 in Fresno, CA) was a pitcher in Major League Baseball. He pitched from 1945 to 1950 with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates. He was the starting pitcher in two games of the 1947 World Series for the Dodgers.

Vic served for a short time in the United States Armed Forces (Navy) during World War II (1944), but was released due to faulty vision.

Because of his diminutive size (5'7", 158 lbs) he was initially overlooked. During his pro career he was called “the mite southpaw,” "the pint-sized southpaw,” “pint-sized portsider,” “pony pitcher,” “the welterweight pitcher,” and “the midget southpaw.” And, because he wore glasses at times during his career, he was also the “bespectacled little left-hander." Despite his size, however, he managed to impress those who saw him - Dodgers president Branch Rickey said “If Lombardi does not make it, I will be the most surprised man in baseball.

He was 22 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 18, 1945 with the Dodgers. In his rookie season, Lombardi beat the Giants four times, twice in relief, without a loss, earning the additional nickname “Giant Killer.” In 1946, his second year with the Dodgers, Lombardi had one of his two most productive seasons. Pitching against restored postwar lineups, he had a career-high thirteen wins (against ten losses) and a career-best ERA of 2.89.

Lombardi pitched well in 1947, going 12-11 with a 2.99 ERA. Only Ralph Branca, with twenty-one, and Joe Hatten, with seventeen, had more victories for the pennant-winning Dodgers. Among National League pitchers, he was fourth in fewest hits allowed per nine innings, fifth in lowest opponents’ batting average, and tied for sixth in shutouts.

He played for the Dodgers from 1945 to 1947. In the 1947 World Series, Vic started two games, losing one, striking out five and walking one, giving up 14 hits in 6 2/3 innings. Game Six of the 1947 World Series proved to be Lombardi’s last with the Dodgers. On December 8, he and pitcher Hal Gregg were traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for pitcher Preacher Roe, third baseman Billy Cox, and infielder Gene Mauch.

In his six-year major league career, Lombardi compiled a 3.68 ERA in 223 games. Of his 100 starts, forty-two were complete games. In 1993 Lombardi was inducted into the Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Fame along with Al Gionfriddo. At the time Lombardi was quoted in the Fresno Bee as saying: “Brooklyn fans were a different breed. It was a family thing. You walked down the street, and everyone knew you. The team was different too, even for then. We went to the ballpark together, we left together, we ate together; it was just one big family. No one got out of line. There were no bad actors."

(excerpted from SABR, BR Bullpen & Wikipedia)


Photo from Flickr


Lombardi is also part of the Military Service during Wartime Tour – go to the Next Stop

Vic is also part of the LA/Brooklyn Dodgers Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop

Vic is also part of the Pittsburgh Pirates Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop

See all Vic’s baseball cards at TCDB

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