Randle in 1974
|Second baseman / Third baseman|
|Born: February 12, 1949|
Long Beach, California
|June 16, 1971, for the Washington Senators|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 20, 1982, for the Seattle Mariners|
|Runs batted in||322|
Leonard Shenoff Randle (born February 12, 1949) is a former Major League Baseball player. He was the first-round pick of the Washington Senators in the secondary phase of the June 1970 Major League Baseball draft, tenth overall.
Born in Long Beach, California, Randle was captain of both the baseball and football teams at Centennial High School in Los Angeles. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1967 Major League Baseball draft, but chose instead to attend Arizona State University. Along with playing football and second base for the 1969 NCAA championship Arizona State University Sun Devils baseball team, Randle graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree.
Washington Senators and Texas Rangers
After a little more than one season in the minors, Randle debuted as a second baseman with the Washington Senators in 1971. He split time between the minors and with the newly renamed and relocated Texas Rangers his first three season, spending most of 1973 in triple A with the Spokane Indians.
He had a breakthrough 1974 season, when he batted .302 with 26 stolen bases and 65 runs scored splitting time at second base, third base and in the outfield. He split time in all three positions in 1975 as well before being returned to second base in 1976.
1977 punching incident
On March 28, the Rangers were in Florida for an exhibition game with the Minnesota Twins. An hour before the first pitch, Randle walked up to Rangers manager Frank Lucchesi during batting practice and said he wanted to talk to him. Words were exchanged, and Randle punched Lucchesi, who was still in street clothes, in the face three times. It was reported that Frank Lucchesi took a left, right, and another left to the face before the altercation was stopped by bystanders.
Lucchesi was hospitalized for a week, needing plastic surgery to repair his fractured cheekbone which Randle had broken in three places. He also received bruises to his kidney and back. The Rangers suspended Randle for 30 days without pay and fined him $10,000. On April 26, before the suspension was complete, Texas traded him to the New York Mets for cash and a player to be named later who was to be Rick Auerbach.
Randle was charged with assault, and would plead no contest to battery charges in a Florida court, getting slapped with a $1,050 fine. The Texas Rangers fired Lucchesi on June 21. Lucchesi blamed Randle for the firing, and sued him for $200,000.
New York Mets
Randle began his tenure with the Mets playing second base. With opening day third baseman Roy Staiger batting only .236 with one home run and eight runs batted in, Randle was shifted to third base by Joe Torre when he replaced Joe Frazier as manager of the team.
Randle ended an extra innings marathon with the Montreal Expos on July 9 at Shea Stadium in the seventeenth inning with a walk off home run off Will McEnaney. Four days later, he was at bat for the Mets when the power went out at Shea Stadium during the New York City blackout of 1977.
The Mets released Randle during Spring training 1979. Shortly afterwards, he signed with the San Francisco Giants and was assigned to their triple A Pacific Coast League affiliate in Phoenix. On June 28, he was traded with Bill Madlock and Dave Roberts to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Fred Breining, Al Holland and Ed Whitson, but again was assigned to their triple A affiliate. After 24 games with the Portland Beavers, he saw his first major league experience of the season when his contract was purchased by the New York Yankees. He batted .179 in twenty games as an outfielder with the Yankees.
Randle signed with the Seattle Mariners during Spring training 1980. By the end of Spring training, he was dealt to the Chicago Cubs. He enjoyed something of a renaissance with the Cubs, batting .276 and tying his career high five home runs as the Cubs' regular third baseman. Following the season, he returned to the M's as a free agent. In two seasons with the Mariners, he batted .223 with four home runs backing up second and third base.
With the Kansas City Royals visiting the Seattle Kingdome on May 27, 1981, Royals centerfielder Amos Otis hit a slow roller down the third base line in the sixth inning. Randle got on his hands and knees and successfully blew the ball foul. The Royals protested the game. Afterwards, Randle said that there was a "no-blow rule" implemented. He jokingly said, "They won the game, we won the protest."
In 1983, he became the first American major league player to play baseball in Italy. He holds the record for the longest home run in the Italian Serie-A1 league, most home runs and singles hit in a three-game series and the most hits in a three-game series. He won a batting title in Italy with a .477 batting average.
Following his stint in Italy, he played with the St. Petersburg Pelicans in the Senior Professional Baseball Association. He signed a minor league contract with the California Angels during Spring training 1995, but was unsuccessful in his comeback bid.
- "Lenny Randle Sports Tours".
- Jamey Newberg (2007-04-26). "Swapping stories: The '77 Randle trade". MLB.com.
- "Manager hospitalized by player's punches". New York Times. March 29, 1977.
- Suspension, fine for Randle
- Texas trades Randle to Mets
- Lucchesi is ousted from Texas corral
- Manager filing suit against shortstop
- "New York Mets 7, Montreal Expos 5". Baseball-Reference.com. 1977-07-09.
- Phil Rippa. "Forgotten Player of the Moment: Lenny Randle".
- "Former Met of the Day: Lenny Randle ...& the Saga that Got Him to Shea & Italy (1977–1978)". Centerfield Maz. 2010-02-11. Archived from the original on December 28, 2010.
- Dave Lance (2006-03-29). "Lenny Randle Chooses the Good Fight". Dallas Morning News.