Lee Viau

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Leon A. Viau

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Biographical Information[edit]

Lee Viau was a successful pitcher although he stood only 5' 4" tall. In his major league career he had a record of 83-77.

Viau was born in Corinth, VT and attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. He was the first major leaguer out of Dartmouth, although in his last year there (1888), Fred Woodcock was in his first year there.

He played for St. Paul in 1887 while still in college.

Viau made his major league debut in April 1888, and went 27-14 for the American Association's Cincinnati Red Stockings. It was his best season in the majors. Cincinnati, while it went 80-54, finished in fourth place.

Lee went 22-20 in 1889 as the team again finished above .500 and again ended up in fourth place. In 1890 the Cincinnati team became a National League franchise and once more ended up in fourth place, but Lee, after going 7-5 for part of the season, moved over to the Cleveland Spiders, for whom he went 4-9, albeit with a much better ERA than he had posted for Cincinnati that year. Lee was the same age as teammate Cy Young on the Spiders.

Viau had a good season in 1891, going 18-17 on a below-.500 Spiders team, and then after just one game in 1892, moved over to the Louisville Colonels for whom he was 4-11. He also pitched one game for the Boston Beaneaters that year.

He holds the record for most at-bats in a season in which the player hit .100 or worse. In 1888, he collected only 13 hits in 149 at-bats for a .087 batting average. In spite of that, he played 5 games in the outfield during his career. It was a time when teams carried few substitutes and thus had to press whoever was around when the need arose.

After his major league days, Lee played minor league ball through age 41 in 1908. He also managed in the minors in 1900. He was a fill-in umpire for a couple of games, one in the American Association in 1888 and one in the National League in 1891.

The SABR biography of Viau says that his father was the janitor at Dartmouth, and that Viau was a notorious drinker.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 20 Wins Seasons: 2 (1888 & 1889)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 3 (1888, 1889 & 1891)
  • 300 Innings Pitched Seasons: 3 (1888, 1889 & 1891)

Related Sites[edit]