Gerald Thomas Lynch (July 17, 1930 – March 31, 2012) was a professional baseball player who was an outfielder and pinch hitter in the Major Leagues for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1954–56 and 1963–66) and Cincinnati Reds (1957–63).
He was born in Bay City, Michigan. After two years of military service, he made his Major League debut at age 23 on April 15, 1954 in a 7-4 Pirates' loss to the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. Starting in right field and batting third, he had one hit in four at bats. In his first three at-bats he flied out twice and struck out once against Dodgers pitcher Russ Meyer. His first career hit came in the ninth inning off Meyer, as he singled and also drove in his first two runs.
Lynch helped the Reds win the 1961 National League pennant. On September 26, 1961, he propelled the Reds into the World Series with his two-run home run off Cubs pitcher Bob Anderson, scoring Vada Pinson. He finished 22nd in voting for the 1961 NL MVP. He was hitless in three official at bats and four plate appearances during the 1961 World Series, which the Reds lost in five games to the New York Yankees.
Lynch is considered one of baseball's all-time best pinch hitters. He had 116 pinch hits during his career, which ranks him 10th on the all-time list. Lynch is third on the all-time pinch hit home run list (he was first when he retired) with 18, with five of those coming during the 1961 season while driving in 25 runs.
Lynch was once quoted as saying, "The good pinch-hitter is the guy who can relax enough to get the pitch he can hit. You almost always do get one pitch to hit every time you bat. So you have to have the patience to wait. And then you've got to be able to handle the pitch when you get it."
In 13 seasons, he played in 1,184 games with 2,879 at bats, 364 runs, 798 hits, 123 doubles, 34 triples, 115 home runs, 470 RBI, 224 walks, .277 batting average, .329 on-base percentage, .463 slugging percentage and 1,334 total bases.
After his baseball career ended, Lynch partnered with former Pirates teammate Dick Groat to operate the Champion Lakes Golf Course in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. He retired to the Atlanta, Georgia area in the late 1980s. Lynch died on March 31, 2012 at age 81 in Atlanta. He was survived by his wife Alice, sons Mark, Keith and Gerald, and daughter Kimberly.
By Dean Hanley
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