MCC's Lee gets first MLB win
By By Austin Bishop / EMG regional sports director
July 1, 2003
On Monday afternoon, Cliff Lee did something no former Meridian Community College athlete had never done before he picked up a Major League victory on the mound.
The 24-year-old left-hander pitched six-plus strong innings, allowing just six hits and no earned runs as the Cleveland Indians defeated Kansas City in the first game of a doubleheader.
Lee, who got two starts for the Indians last year without getting a win, was called up from Triple-A Buffalo just to start Monday's game and was sent back down immediately following the victory.
I gave them six quality innings,'' Lee told the Associated Press following the game. They told me coming in it would be one start and then go out. So If I leave, that's what I expected.''
Lee, who went on to pitch at the University of Arkansas after graduating from MCC, spent the first two months of this season on the disabled list with a lower abdominal strain. In his third career start he struck out five, walked three and gave up two unearned runs before being replaced by right-hander Jose Santiago.
We want him to keep getting quality starts,'' Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. He's going to be a big part of our future.''
Lee, who was on MCC's 1998 JUCO World Series team, was 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts and 16 innings for Buffalo before being called up for his one-game stint.
Jason Smith of Sumter County, Ala., was the first former MCC Eagle to wear a Major League uniform in an official game. He has seen action for the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The left-handed hitting infielder is currently playing for Tampa Bay's Triple-A club in Durham, N.C.