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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Pat Lennon, Raised Him - 153

Originally published Nov. 4, 2014
Pat Lennon was as first-round pick for the Mariners in 1986. He was supposed to be in Seattle within three years, if not soon after.

But, three years after he signed, Lennon wasn't in the majors. He was in jail, serving 57 days for an incident where he fired a gun into the air during a dispute in Williamsport, Pa., where he played for the Mariners' AA affiliate.

Lennon, though, soon abandoned the road that had led to that bar in Williamsport, he told reporters later. He turned to religion. He also made the majors.

"I realized I didn't have control of my life," Lennon told The Los Angeles Times in 1998. "You think you're this big, bad guy who can take on anything, and you're not. I made a vow to myself and to God to make a change."

Lennon lost the second half of that 1989 season, but he returned in 1990. He played well enough that year and the next to get a brief appearance in Seattle in September 1991.

Lennon went on to play professionally for two decades. He also went on to play six of those seasons in the majors, getting into 91 total games. He played 56 of those games in 1997 with the Athletics.

Lennon's career began in 1986, taken by the Mariners eighth overall out of Whiteville High School in North Carolina.

Lennon started with the Mariners at short-season Bellingham. He hit .243 in 51 games there. He moved to single-A Wausau in 1987, then AA Vermont in 1988.

He stayed at AA in 1989, at Williamsport. In 66 games there, he hit .262. Then came the incident with the gun. He fired a shot in the air during a dispute in the parking lot of an apartment complex. He was originally charged with attempted murder, but later pleaded guilty to misdemeanors.

In the months after his incarceration, Lennon's father fell ill. His father had terminal cancer, passing away on Easter 1990, according to The Seattle Times.

"When I saw what he went through, his courage handling his fate, it made me stop and think what I was doing," Patrick told The Seattle Times in spring 1991. "It started my maturing."

Lennon returned to the field in 1990, splitting time between San Bernardino and Williamsport. He hit .291. In 1991, he made AAA Calgary. He also hit .329.

That September, Lennon got his call up to Seattle. In nine games, he got eight at bats and picked up one hit. He returned to the Mariners in 1992, but he got into a single game.

He then returned to the minors for the next three seasons. In the meantime, he played in the Indians, Red Sox and Twins systems. He also played in Mexico.

For 1996, he signed with the Royals. He also returned to the majors for another 14 games, making the team out of spring training. After he made the team, Lennon told The Star-News he got to thinking.

"I was thinking how my father would be proud of me," Lennon told The Star-News. "I'm not that out of control person anymore. I'm living the way he raised me."

Lennon moved to the Athletics in 1997 and had his best season. In 56 games there, he hit .293. He also hit his first major league home run.

He returned for time in two more major league seasons, two games with the Blue Jays in 1998 and nine with the same club in 1999.

Lennon went on to play in the minors, independent ball and Mexico for six more seasons. He played in his final game in 2005 with independent Long Island.

Lennon has since stayed on Long Island, serving as an instructor since 2004 and continuing in 2014 for Matt Guiliano's Play Like A Pro in North Hauppauge.

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