Lefthanded Hitting, Lefthanded Throwing Outfielder/1B
Seasons with Braves: 1967-75, 1979-81
Career Stats with Braves: 250/.321/.371, 74 HR, 365 RBI, 355 RS
Michael Ken-Wai Lum simply HAS to be on the 44, if only as a nod to his longevity. I must mention that Mike is from Honolulu, Hawaii, since that fact has been mentioned in only every single media reference I ever saw about him for 15 years or more. Ah, the exotic tropics. Blue Hawaii. Luau at Mike’s, y’all!
Anyway, Mike was the Braves fourth outfielder/backup first baseman forEVER. He was basically tattooed “Property of the Atlanta Braves” on his behind. Back then, pre-free agency, you sort of knew what your core team was going to be like next year, and it was very comforting to know you would have Mike on the bench.
Mike was a very solid player who had the misfortune to spend most of his prime years watching Rico Carty, Felipe Alou, and some guy in right play the outfield. Thus, he spent most of his youth watching, pinch-hitting or giving somebody a day off. In only two years in his career did he log more than 370 ABs, and he produced in both. In ’71, he had 454 ABs and produced a .269 line with 14 HR and 55 RBI; in ‘73, he finally cracked 500 ABs, and responded with his best ever: .294 with 26 doubles, 16 HRs and 82 RBI. I think it’s pretty evident that he could play the game, and just needed a fulltime gig to really blossom. He mostly just wasn’t better than the guys in front of him, who had names like Aaron and Cepeda and Carty and Alou and, later, Murphy and Evans.
Mike’s loyal years with the Braves made him 17th among Atlanta Braves in RBI, 20th in hits, and tied for 22d in HRs. According to the Baseball Encyclopedia, he had 103 pinch hits, good enough for 15th all-time: that’s not for the Braves, but for all of major league baseball. Given that he spent 12 seasons of his 15 with us, I can’t imagine that he’s not the all-time leader in pinch-hits for the Braves, though I don’t have a real capability to check that particular stat. Mac? For example, in 1979, he had 17 pinch-hits, first in the league.
Slow and steady wins the race, and it’s unthinkable to exclude this faithful Brave. He made real contributions for many, many years.
He wasn’t included because he was an outfielder who hit like a second baseman. Career slugging percentage of .371 in the Launching Pad?