Vic Lombardi

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Victor Alvin Lombardi

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Biographical Information[edit]

Vic Lombardi was a pitcher for 17 years (1941-1959) - six in the Majors (1945-1950) and eleven in the minors (1941-1942; 1951-1959) - losing one year to the military and one year to inactivity after he was married. Lombardi was signed by scout Tom Downey of the Brooklyn Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 1941 and he broke into Organized Baseball with the Johnstown Johnnies in the Pennsylvania State Association. Lombardi fanned 19 batters in a game twice in one week in 1941. Scouts who went to check him out were surprised to find he was just 5' 7" and 158 pounds and passed on the diminutive hurler. Overall he was 12-3 with a 1.85 ERA and led the PSA in ERA by over a point ahead of the competition.

He pitched for the Santa Barbara Saints in the California League in 1941-1942 and went 9-4 with a 3.08 ERA the latter year. He also was with the 1942 Durham Bulls, going 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA in the Piedmont League. He married Adrienne Grimaud on December 18, 1942. He was voluntarily retired (readers may make their own conclusion about the reasons for his retirement from baseball after his marriage) and served in the United States Armed Forces during World War II (1944) (GB).

Discharged in the last year of the War, with talent scarce, Lombardi's size was overlooked and he came north with the team from a not-so-south spring training. Lombardi was 22 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 18, 1945 with the Dodgers. He played for the Dodgers from 1945 to 1947. In the 1947 World Series, he started two games, losing one, striking out five and walking one, giving up 14 hits in 6 2/3 innings with an ERA of 12.15.

On December 8, 1947, he was traded by the Dodgers with Hal Gregg and Dixie Walker to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Preacher Roe, Billy Cox, and Gene Mauch. Given a chance, he won between 10 and 13 games a season as a .500 pitcher for the 1945-1947 Dodgers and the 1948 Pirates. (JK) In 1947, his best year in the big leagues, he was 12-11 with 72 strikeouts, 65 walks and 3 shutouts in 174 2/3 Innings Pitched with an ERA of 2.99 and a WHIP of 1.265 in 33 Games. He played for Pittsburgh from 1948-1950 and played his final major league game on September 24, 1950 at age 28. Overall in the majors, he was 50-51 with 340 strikeouts, 418 walks and 5 shutouts in 944 2/3 Innings Pitched with an ERA of 3.68 and a WHIP of 1.415 in 223 Games.

He returned to the minors with the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and played with Hollywood in 1951 (10-11, 3.94), the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League (1952-1954) (30-23 with ERAs between 3.19 and 4.29) and the Seattle Rainiers of the PCL (1955-1956). He then pitched for the San Diego Padres of the PCL (1956-1958) and Portland (1958-1959), ending his baseball career at age 37. While pitching for San Diego in 1956, Lombardi nearly hurled a perfect game. On July 22nd, facing the Portland Beavers in the second game of a twinbill, Lombardi had two outs in the 7th inning before he surrendered the first hit of the game, a single off the bat of Luis Marquez. The hit extended Marquez's hitting streak to 16 games and represented Portland's only baserunner that day. In Vic's five years in the PCL to finish his career he went 38-37 and his ERA was between 3.32 and 3.87 except for a 5.67 mark his final year. Overall in the minors, he was 102-80.

He had black hair and brown eyes, his ancestry was Italian and his principal hobbies were hunting and golf. After baseball he became a golf pro and for 35 years he was a professional golfer. He died at age 75 at Fresno Community Hospital in Fresno, CA from heart failure four days after undergoing heart bypass surgery on December 3, 1997 and is buried at Cemetery Tulare in Tulare, CA.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (1945)


Clyde Sukeforth on the 1947 Dodgers: "We had some good boys. [Joe] Hatten and little Lombardi were two lefthanders and both of them were better than fair pitchers. [Hal] Gregg, of course, he was an outstanding young pitcher. [Hank] Behrman, [Chris] Van Cuyk, ......"


Principal sources for Vic Lombardi include newspaper obituaries (OB), government Veteran records (VA,CM,CW), Stars & Stripes (S&S), Sporting Life (SL), The Sporting News (TSN), The Sports Encyclopedia:Baseball 2006 by David Neft & Richard Cohen (N&C), old Who's Who in Baseballs {{{WW}}} (WW), old Baseball Registers {{{BR}}} (BR) , old Daguerreotypes by TSN {{{DAG}}} (DAG), Stars&Stripes (S&S), The Baseball Necrology by Bill Lee (BN), Pat Doyle's Professional Ballplayer DataBase (PD), The Baseball Library (BL), Baseball in World War II Europe by Gary Bedingfield (GB) {{{MORE}}} and independent research by Walter Kephart (WK) and Frank Russo (FR) and others. including The Pacific Coast League: A Statistical History, 1903-1957 by Dennis Snelling.

Related Sites[edit]