Don Leshnock

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Don Leshnock
Pitcher
Born: (1946-11-25)November 25, 1946
Youngstown, Ohio
Died: May 5, 2012(2012-05-05) (aged 65)
Raleigh, North Carolina
Batted: Right Threw: Left
MLB debut
June 7, 1972 for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
June 7, 1972 for the Detroit Tigers
Career statistics
Win–loss record 0–0
Earned run average 0.00
Strikeouts 2
Teams
Career highlights and awards
  • Inducted into the Youngstown State Athletic Hall of Fame (1986)

Donald Lee Leshnock (November 25, 1946 – May 5, 2012) was a pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Detroit Tigers during the 1972 season.

Leshnock appeared in one inning of relief for Detroit and did not allow an earned run, giving up two hits and no walks while striking out two of the five batters he faced.

He previously played college baseball for the Youngstown State Penguins from 1965 to 1967 and was later inducted into the Youngstown State Athletic Hall of Fame.

Besides his brief stint in the majors he pitched eight seasons of Minor league baseball spanning 1968-1975.

Early years[edit]

A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Leshnock played high school baseball for Ursuline High School.[1] He subsequently played college baseball for Youngstown State University from 1966 to 1968. He ranks second in Youngstown State history with a career earned run average of 1.61. He gave up his senior of eligibility to sign a contract to play professional baseball in the Detroit Tigers organization.[2][3] Leshnock was signed by Detroit scout Cy Williams.[4]

Minor leagues (1968–1972)[edit]

Before being called up to the Tigers in 1972, Leshnock played in Detroit's minor league system for the Lakeland Tigers (1968–69), Rocky Mount Leafs (1969–70), Montgomery Rebels (1971), and Toledo Mudhens (1972).[5] He pitched a no-hitter for Rocky Mount in 1970.[6] In 1971, he compiled a 7–3 record with 110 strikeouts in 101 innings for Montgomery.[5] After the 1971 season, the Tigers sent Leshnock to the Winter Instructional League in Dunedin, Florida, where he opened the winter season with a one-hitter against the Twins.[4]

Detroit Tigers[edit]

The Tigers purchased Leshnock from the Mud Hens at the end of May 1972.[1][7] On June 7, 1972, Leshnock appeared in his only MLB game for the Tigers, a 5-1 loss to the California Angels at Tiger Stadium. Leshnock pitched the ninth inning for the Tigers, giving up two hits while also striking out two batters and allowing no earned runs.[8] One of the batters he struck out was Nolan Ryan,[9] who got the win in the game while allowing only three hits.[8]

Leshnock's stay in the major leagues proved to be a cup of coffee, as he was returned to the Mud Hens in July 1972 and finished the year pitching for them.[10][11]

Minor leagues (1973–1975)[edit]

In October 1972, Leshnock was sold by the Tigers along with catcher Tom Haller to the Philadelphia Phillies,[6] though he never appeared in a game for the Phillies.[12] Leshnock played three more years of minor league baseball for the Eugene Emeralds (1973), Charleston Charlies (1974–75), Jacksonville Suns (1975), and Shreveport Captains (1975).[5][13]

Later years[edit]

In 1986, Leshnock was inducted into the Youngstown State Athletic Hall of Fame. At the time, he was called "one of the greatest ever to don a Penguin baseball uniform."[2]

His son, Donnie Leshnock, was drafted by the New York Yankees in the fifth round of the 1992 Major League Baseball June Amateur Draft and played four years in the Yankees' minor league organization from 1993 to 1996.[14][15]

Leshnock was a longtime resident of Raleigh, North Carolina, where he died in 2012 at the age of 65.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Don Leshnock Joins Tigers in Cleveland". Youngstown Vindicator. May 30, 1972. 
  2. ^ a b "Don Leshnock: YSU Athletics Hall of Fame". Youngstown State University. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Tigers Elevate Don Leshnock". Youngstown Vindicator. August 21, 1968. 
  4. ^ a b "Tiger Ace". Youngstown Vindicator. p. 35. 
  5. ^ a b c "Don Leshnock Minor League Statistics". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Tigers Announce Leshnock Deal; Phils Get Haller". Youngstown Vindicator. October 26, 1972. 
  7. ^ "Tigers Deal Infielder To Texas". The Palm Beach Post. May 31, 1972. 
  8. ^ a b "Wednesday, June 7, 1972, Tiger Stadium". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  9. ^ Gene Collier (September 1993). "Players Who Spent One, Brief 'Moment' in the Big Leagues". Baseball Digest. 
  10. ^ "Plays At Plate Help Send Hens To Third Straight 1-Run Defeat". Toledo Blade. August 10, 1972. 
  11. ^ "Deals of the Week". The Sporting News. July 15, 1972. p. 16. ("Tigers - Acquired pitcher Bill Slayton from Toledo (International) and returned pitcher Don Leshnock to same club)
  12. ^ "Don Leshnock". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Leshnock Adis Charlies". The Sporting News. August 17, 1974. p. 36. (noting that Leshnock had a 1.19 ERA after 11 relief appearances for Charleston)
  14. ^ "Donnie Leshnock Minor League Statistics". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Pack Break: 1996 Topps Series 1". 25 Years of Baseball. 
  16. ^ The Columbus Dispatch – Don Leshnock obituary