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Friday, May 31, 2013

Derek Lee, Up North - 1118

Originally posted June 3, 2010, edited May 2013
In spring training 1992 for the White Sox, Derek Lee knew he wasn't going to make the team. But he wanted to make the best impression he could. He wanted them to remember him later.

"I know who's going to go up north," Lee told The Chicago Tribune, referring to the team's AAA club in Vancouver. "The White Sox in '92 are going to be a good team. They're going to win. I want to be a part of that, one way or another."

Lee wouldn't make the team that year, but he would make the majors briefly the next, after a change in organizations.

Lee was taken by the White Sox in the 42nd round of the 1988 draft, out of the University of South Florida.

Lee started with the White Sox at short-season Utica, hitting .341 over 76 games. He also stole 54 bases.

For 1989, The Tribune pegged him as a sleeper in the White Sox system, calling him a speedy leadoff hitter. That year, at single-A South Bend, he hit 11 home runs, with a .286 average, stealing 45.

With AA Birmingham in 1990, he hit .255, with seven home runs. One of those home runs came as an insurance run in a 2-0 May win. But his stolen base total dropped off to 14.

He split 1991 between Birmingham and AAA Vancouver, hitting .305 between them. He then returned to Vancouver for 1992.

By 1993, Lee was drafted away from the White Sox by the Twins. That spring, Lee homered, doubled and drove in three runs in a Twins victory, according to The Associated Press.

"I've had a lot of at-bats this spring," Lee told The AP after that spring game. "I feel fairly comfortable out there."

Lee was sent back down, but the Twins did remember him. They brought him up in June. In 15 games that June and July, Lee had 33 at bats, scored three runs and batted in four. He also hit just .152.

Lee had a pinch-hit double July 21 to knock in one of those four runs. An earlier single on June 29 knocked in another.

Sent back down, Lee would go on to play with six more organizations through 1998, all at AAA, never getting back to the majors. He is recorded as finishing out his career in Mexico and, in 16 games with independent Schaumburg, ending his career.
1990 CMC-Pro Cards Tally  
Players/Coaches Featured:1,153
Made the Majors: 668 - 57.9%
Never Made Majors: 485-42.1%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 290
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 174

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