Few things in life adhere to tradition as much as sports and the game of baseball is no exception. So when a young left-handed pitcher from California broke into the big leagues few were prepared for the witty, irreverent Bill Lee who talked about Greenpeace, school busing and Chairman Mao in post-game scrums, earning the nickname ‘Spaceman’ in the process. Bill Lee spent 13 years in the majors with the Boston Red Sox and the Montreal Expos winning 119 games and losing only 90. Long after his major league career ended in 1892, Lee continues to play the game, at the age of 65 he became the oldest pitcher to win a professional baseball game. Lee has authored several books and been the focus of several films and recently released his own wine label. Lee was also the Rhinoceros Party nominee for President of the United States in 1988. Bill Lee’s name will never be enshrined at the Hall of Fame but his legacy will undoubtedly be that he brought people who never cared about baseball to the ballpark and was successful in getting baseball fans to think about things they normally wouldn’t care about.
Ken Rockburn spoke to Bill Lee at his home in rural Vermont.
A veteran journalist and broadcaster widely recognized for his irreverent and entertaining interview and presentation style, Ken is an award-winning journalist with almost 40 years of experience on radio and television. He first joined CPAC in 2001 as host of Talk Politics which ran for eight seasons. He returned to CPAC in 2010 to host Rockburn Presents. Prior to joining CPAC, Ken hosted CBC Radio’s All In a Day, CBC TV Ottawa’s Rockburn and Company and was news director at CHEZ-FM in Ottawa.