All Mike Lum ever did for the Atlanta Braves was bust his butt down the line and deliver in the clutch.
What more can you ask of an outfielder? Not much.
For 11 seasons in his 15year Major League baseball career, Lum called Atlanta and Fulton County Stadium home. Lum, who played the outfield and first base, never played a lazy game in his life for the Braves.
Lum played all out, all the time. He played the game in overdrive. The 6-foot, 180-pound Lum played a relentless brand of baseball. He played the fundamentals and the percentages.
The Hawaiian-born Lum played the first eight years of his professional baseball career in Atlanta from 1967-75. He also played for the Braves – mostly in the outfield – from 1979-80.
Lum was one of a kind, for sure. He was “Old School,” with pleasure. He once pinch-hit for future home run king Henry Aaron in a game against the New York Mets on May 22, 1969. Lum delivered with a two-run double against Mets pitcher Al Jackson.
The multi-dimensional Lum also whacked three home runs against the San Diego Padres on July 3, 1970. The ever-popular Lum also smacked a single in his first Major League at-bat as a Brave in 1967 against Mets pitcher Jack Fisher.
Throughout his years in Atlanta, Lum, who wore jersey No. 28, tomahawked the ball for 114 doubles, 365 RBI’s and more than 70 home runs. He also scored 355 runs for the Braves in just over a decade of baseball.
Lum had his best season in Atlanta in 1973 with 151 hits, a .294 batting average and 26 doubles. He also clubbed the ball for six triples and 16 home runs.
He also hit the ball on the sweet spot in the 1971 season for Atlanta. Lum played in 145 games with 122 hits, and 14 doubles, 13 home runs and a batting average of .269.
In his 11 seasons with the Braves, Lum did a little bit of everything as a pinch hitter, a platoon player and an occasional starter. He even played some first base for the Braves.
Lum was a teammate of Phil Niekro, Dusty Baker, Joe Torre, Rico Carty, Felipe Alou, Ralph Garr and Aaron. Lum went on to play three more years with the Cincinnati Reds. He also played one season with the Chicago Cubs.
The former first baseman and outfielder also won a World Series championship with the Reds in 1976. Lum was a teammate of Pete Rose and Johnny Bench.
Before he retired from baseball as a player, Lum collected 431 RBI’s, 877 hits and 404 runs. Mike Lum has a career batting average of .247.
And he still has his hand in baseball. Lum, now 74 years old, is still a minor league coach with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lum will forever be a member of the Braves baseball fraternity as well.
The author of this article can be reached via email at info@troupcountynews. net
Chris Fernsler Sports Editor