Sunday’s Obituary – Baseball Hall of Famer Ted Lyons

Baseball Hall of Famer Ted Amar Lyons and his sister Miss Pearl Lyons lived in the next block on the same street as my grandparents in Vinton, Louisiana. My mom tells a great story of how a teacher in town once tried to get this lifelong bachelor to take interest in her.

The Teacher Tries to Catch the Pitcher

Ted Lyons in dugout

Ted Lyons, White Sox, sitting in a dugout in a ballpark during spring training. SDN-067969, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum.

When my mother was young, my grandparents had several female  boarders living with them at one time or another. Many of them were teachers in Vinton.

One of the teachers had a friend, also a teacher, who decided that Ted Lyons was a “good catch.” Since Lyons lived with his older unmarried sister, the teacher decided that the best way to get to him was by becoming best friends with Miss Pearl. And that’s exactly what she did. The teacher would invite Miss Pearl to go to dinner with her every week, suggesting that she bring her brother Ted along. This went on for quite awhile, until one day Miss Pearl arrived alone. Ted Lyons never joined them again.

Discouraged, the teacher decided that she would not be able to “catch” Ted Lyons, so she quit going to dinner with Miss Pearl.

Obituary

VINTON — Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Ted Lyons, 85, died Friday after a lengthy illness.

Funeral services for the former manager of the Chicago White Sox of the American League will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 27, in the Vinton First Baptist Church.

The Revs. Lee Perkins and James Rivers will officiate and burial will be in Big Woods Cemetery under direction of Hixson Funeral Home.

Visitation at the funeral home here will be from 5-9 p.m. today, July 26.

Lyons died at 12:35 p.m. in a Sulphur nursing home.

Obituary - Ted Lyons

Obituary – Ted Lyons

Elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Coopertown, N.Y. in 1955, Lyons was the first player to ever go straight from the college campus to the major leagues as he was signed by the White Sox in 1923 after receiving a B.A. degree from Baylor University.

He pitched for Chicago from 1923 to 1946, except for three years during World War II when he served as a Marine Corps major.

About one month into the 1946 season, Lyons ended his active pitching career as he was named to succeed Jimmy Dykes as Chicago’s manager. He served as manager through 1948. He served as a coach of the Detroit Tigers from 1949 to 1953.

Lyons was named to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 1960. After leaving baseball, Lyons returned to his Vinton home and spent much of his time in his favorite hobbies, golfing and hunting.

The Baseball Writers of America elected him to the hall of fame in 1955. He compiled a pitching record of 260 wins against 230 losses while toiling for a club that was in the second division most of his carer. He pitched a no-hit game against the Boston Red Sox on Aug. 21, 1926. He was the winningest pitcher in the American League in 1925 with 21 victories and in 1927 with 22.

He also won 22 games in 1930. In 1929, Lyons pitched a 21-inning game against the Detroit Tigers. In his last full year as a pitcher in 1942 at the age of 39, Lyons compiled the best earned run average among American League pitchers and completed all f his 20 starting assignments.

A better than average hitter for a pitcher, Lyons tied a major league record by hitting two doubles in one inning in a July 28, 1935, game.

Lyons was a member of the American Legion Post 208 in Vinton, and an active member of the First Baptist Church.

He is survived by nieces and nephews.

Lake Charles American Press, Saturday, July 26, 1986.

Headstone - Ted Amar Lyons

Headstone – Ted Amar Lyons

Ted Lyons’ House in 2010

Ted Lyons house in 2010

Ted Lyons house in 2010

Sadly, the home of Ted and Miss Pearl Lyons today sits empty and abandoned. The roof is covered with the blue tarps left over from Hurricane Rita in 2005. The furniture and household items were sold in a 1993 estate sale.

Garage Sale at Ted Lyons house

Estate Sale at Ted Lyons house, 1993

More Information about Ted Lyons

Sunday’s Obituary

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Comments

  1. Hmmm…One of my secret dreams is to buy an old house in Vinton and fix it up.

  2. Blue Eyes and Bluebonnets says:

    Hi Jennifer – It needs a lot of work, but it would be a great house. It sits on a big corner lot one block from downtown Vinton. :)

  3. Jack Hornburg says:

    Looking for data about Theodore Amar Lyons. He was a relative of mine but I never found out how his lineage and mine intertwined. My dad, Carol Milam Hornburg was born in 1900 and went to Baylor University (same as Ted Lyons). He was killed in an auto accident in 1931 close to Amillaro, Texas (Spelling awful). I was born in Kingsville Texas on Jaly 19 1930. My Mother was Frances Beaver who married Carol Hornburg. Everybody in my family born prior to me have already died. Ted Lyons sent us an autographed baseball in the 1940ties with a l;etter saying “this is for my two relatives in Dallas along with a nice letter. My Dad is buriewd in the Kingsville Cementary, along with his Mother Kati B. Hornburg. Anything I could find out would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks, Jack Hornburg
    2419 Cambridge Dr.
    Irving, Texas Phone 972-790-4901

  4. Blue Eyes and Bluebonnets says:

    Hi Jack – Thanks for leaving a message. What a wonderful story about the letter from Ted Lyons. I will see if I can find anything out about your family. Best regards, Annette

  5. Jack Hornburg says:

    Dear Annette Berksan.
    Thanks to your responce to my wanting to find out more on Ted Lyons. When you are almost 82 years old (7-19-1930) you give up hope on finding much out about your relatives. Hearing from you is a “God Send” to me as my previous family is already with Jesus in Heaven. You Cagens are always kind to us Texans and it is appreciated. I realized that I don’t spell very good after midnight.
    Jack Hornburg, Irving, Texas

  6. Jack Hornburg says:

    Dearest Annette,
    Is it possible for you to send me (by E mail) a better copy of Teds obituary.Beggers cant be choosers but I try. Hear it is July 4th and not having a vacation since 1992 . Have a happy Independence Day and pray our country can survive the terrible mess we have in Washington, D.C., For my grand kids sake. Thanks again. Very Sincerly,
    Jack Hornburg. A DEacon in our Plymouth Park Baptist Church in Irving. I noticed that Ted Lyons was referred to as “Deacoo Ted Lyons. My occupation was an Aircraft Engineer for Chance Vought Aircraft Company. My wife Virginia Hornburg, of 58 years says “I talk too much”

  7. Richard Holland says:

    Ted and Pearl were cousins of my mom. We grew up a few miles away in Lake Charles and visited Ted and Pearl often in the 1960′s. Their home was their actual childhood house. Pearl told me that when they had to re-roof the house in the ’60′s, they also replaced the gutters. Way up on one of the second story gutters they found a homemade baseball stuck in one of the drains. Ted and Pearl recalled that as a young child, Ted made that baseball for he and the neighborhood kids to play. It got hit up to the roof and rolled into the gutter where it remained for 50+ years. Ted had an amazing man cave, long before anyone used that term, filled with awards, trophies, photos and lots of hunting guns.

  8. Sharon Bruce Merchant says:

    Annette, I am wondering who your grandparents were. My family rented rooms and two garage apartments to Vinton school teachers. We lived a block south of the Lyons home but our house faced Horridge Street, only street paved in Vinton, at the time. My Dad hunted with Ted. When I was born, he gave me a beautiful gold bracelet. It is recorded in my baby book and I still have it. The bracelet is a very unique design.

    Sharon Bruce Merchant

    • Annette Berksan says:

      Hi Sharon. Thanks for you comments. What wonderful memories. My grandparents were Bill and Lucy Benoit and they lived on Eddy Street. They owned Benoit’s Variety Store on the main street. I spent a lot of time with them growing up and have wonderful memories of Vinton. My grandfather’s brother was Romey Benoit, and was town marshall (or sheriff) for many years. My grandmother was a Courrege from New Iberia and was related to Gus, who was the town blacksmith.

      • I think you came into my office, one time, with Mrs. Benoit!
        We had to walk by the blacksmith place, to get to school. If Gus had the fires going, we would stop and watch him work. He would nod his head at us, smile and keep working!

  9. Ted Lyons is a relative of mine. My grandfather is Thurston Willard Lyons. He was a cousin of Ted Lyons and they were good friends. My dad Willam Edward Lyons (born in 1933 in Vinton) told me a story of Ted Lyons coming to Baytown, Texas to visit their family. Ted came to my dad’s junior high Hoarce Mann and signed autographs for him and his friends. I have a baseball shaped pen with his name on it that was passed down. We have also gone to Copperstown, NY baseball hall of fame. They have a wonderful display with Ted’s memorabilia. And since we were relatives, we were able to go through archive photographs of him. My son is a pitcher and looks a lot like him. I would love to visit Vinton. I have not visited there since I was a child. Macey Lyons Hart

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