Joe Lewis Sr.

From BR Bullpen

Joseph William Lewis, Sr. (Joe)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 7", Weight 145 lb.

Biographical Information[edit]

Joe Lewis grew up in Fall River, Massachusetts where, according to him "we were smoking corn silk and tossing the ball around."

He pitched and played second base for Durfee High School in 1921 and 1922 until leaving school to work in helping support the family.

Lewis began his scouting career in 1953 when his son Joe Lewis Jr. signed to play with the Detroit Tigers. A stipulation in the contract awarded Joe Sr. a small scouting job that grew over the years.

Joe scouted for many teams throughout the years including the Washington Senators, Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers, retiring from the California Angels in 2000 at the age of ninety-four. In retrospect, he went wherever his friend baseball executive Joe Klein went.

Joe had a good eye for the game, signing players such as Ron Darling, Tom Grieve, Walt Terrell, Charles Nagy, Tony Fossas, Stan Thomas, Ruben Sierra, Joe Coleman and Ken Hill.

In 1988, Joe and his son Joe, Jr., both chose and signed first-round draft picks. Joe Sr. signed Charles Nagy for the Indians in the 17th pick and Joe Jr. signed Rico Brogna in the 26th. They are believed to be the only father/son baseball scouts to achieve this.

Joe lived his winters in Lakeland, FL at the local Holiday Inn and spent his summers in Somerset, MA. He drove every year until his 100th birthday when he decided to ship his car by freight to meet him there. Joe was known and seen at just about every Lakeland Tigers home game, throwing out many of the first pitches over the years.

On January 21, 2008, Joe and others in the business were honored for their contribution to the game by the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation annual auction and benefit. Joe was interviewed and the interview can be seen on YouTube.

After coming home from Florida in March, Joe became ill and it was found he was suffering from congestive heart failure. Spending a couple of weeks in the hospital, he was transferred to a local care facility in his home town of Somerset on May 30th.

On the evening of May 31st, he lay in bed watching the Boston Red Sox having a glass of wine with his grandson. After finishing the wine he asked his grandson to leave. Several minutes after Manny Ramirez hit his 500th home run, Joe quietly passed. He was 102 years old.