I’ll give you a million billion trillion dollars if you can pronounce Joe Lefebvre‘s name without looking it up.
To those of you who just said in your minds, or audibly if you are one of those out-loud readers, Joe Le-FAY, well, you’re not getting any money from me. But you’re right.
This week’s “Cards on the Table” focuses on a player who most Phils fans probably don’t remember, but he played an integral part of my life.
You see, Joe Lefebvre is the first professional ballplayer I ever met.
I believe it was 1984 or ’85 when I met Lefebvre at a little league baseball banquet in Delaware County. I don’t remember much about the encounter, other than I’d never heard of the guy before.
I don’t remember what he said and I don’t remember what he looked like, but I do remember being impressed that I was meeting a real life Major League baseball player.
Of course, had I known that Lefebvre was such an inconsequential member of the team, I probably wouldn’t have been so ga-ga.
Ah, the innocence of youth.
Truth be told, Lefebvre had a tremendous future as a power hitter. He came up with the Yankees in 1980 and hit home runs in his first two major league games for New York. He was traded to the San Diego Padres before the 1981 season and played with San Diego until 1983, when he was then traded to the Phils.
Until joining Philadelphia, Lefebvre had never played more than 102 games in a season. However, once the 27-year-old joined the Phils in mid-season, he helped the team win the pennant by hitting .310/.388/.543 for an OPS of .930 with 8 HRs and 20 2Bs in just 295 plate appearances.
(Yes, I’ll wait until all of Darin Ruf‘s critics insert their Darin Ruf joke here. All done guys? Thanks.)
Unfortunately, Lefebvre’s career went off the rails after that season, done in by back trouble that limited him to just 52 games in ’84, knocked him out of the game entirely in ’85, and forced him to retire after an abortive comeback attempt in 1986 with the Phils.
Lefebvre is proof that becoming a successful Major League baseball player is really, really hard.
Although, the good news is that Lefebvre didn’t put all of his eggs in the baseball basket, as the back of his 1985 Topps card would indicate:
After all, isn’t that the financial engine of this country, our nation’s small businesses? Let it never be said the Joe Lefebvre is not a true American.
It’s unknown how that flower shop is doing today, or if it even still exists. It’s mainly unknown because I haven’t bothered to do any research on it. If you’re that desperate to know, I suggest you do your own research, jack!
But apparently the baseball bug never left ‘ol Jim, as he now works in the front office of the hated World Series champions, the San Francisco Giants, as a senior advisor for scouting. He’s been with the Giants for 16 years, and was on the coaching staff from 2002-07.
So apparently, he never really LOVED the Phillies anyway.
Boo, Joe Lefebvre.