Despite never playing for a championship team, Dave Lemanczyk was a truly talented performer who demonstrated all the attributes of a champion, including dedication, patience and, most of all, heart.
Lemanczyk began his career at Westhill High School where he was a solid performer behind the plate. He also did a little pitching and was an outstanding basketball player. Lemanczyk went to Hartwick College where he enjoyed a successful collegiate career on the diamond as well as on the hardwood. Lemanczyk and Hartwick went to the NCAA regional basketball tournament in 1970 and to the nationals in 1971. Despite his success in basketball, baseball is where Lemanczyk really shined. He captained the baseball team in 1971 and 1972. When he graduated, he owned school records for career wins, innings pitched, strikeouts, and strikeouts in a season (70) in 1972.
In 1972, Lemanczyk was drafted by Detroit in the 16th round and began working up the Tigers farm ladder. Highlighting the upward climb was an 88 pitch no-hitter against Ashville. On May 2, 1974, Lemanczyk was called up and started his major league career with a win over Milwaukee. In 1977, Toronto took Lemanczyk as an early expansion draftee. He instantly became the team’s ace as he led the pitching staff with 13 wins. He stayed with the Blue Jays through the 1979 season when he made the American League All-Star team and had a career-best 3.71 ERA
Lemanczyk was a workhorse starter for the Blue Jays in their expansion years. His 13 wins in 1977 tied a record for a first-year expansion team, a record that stood for two decades. On April 24, 1979 against the Rangers, Lemanczyk threw the Blue Jays' first one-hitter. After his playing career, Lemanczyk became a player agent, and became engaged in acrimonious litigation with Dave Stieb.
1972: Drafted by Detroit in the 16th round
1973-1976: Played for Detroit Tigers
1977-1980: Played for Toronto Blue Jays
1979: Made AL All-Star team
1980: Played for California Angels
2001: Inducted into the Syracuse Chiefs Wall of Fame