Cecil Lee Upshaw Jr. (October 22, 1942 – February 7, 1995) was an American right-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who had a nine-year career (1966–1969, 1971–1975). Born in Spearsville, Louisiana, he played with the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros, both of the National League, and the Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox, all of the American League.
Upshaw played college baseball at Centenary College of Louisiana, in Shreveport; he is a member of the Centenary Athletics Hall of Fame. While at Centenary, he was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
Upshaw was among the top ten in saves four times in the National League between 1968 and 1972. He was primarily a side-arm pitcher.
Upshaw finished his career with 86 saves. He had a career earned run average of 3.13. He pitched 563 innings in 348 games.
His career was actually cut short due to an unfortunate incident in 1970. He and two other Braves players were walking down an Atlanta sidewalk and one of the other players bet him he couldn't jump up and touch an overhead awning. He did reach the awning, but a ring on his pitching hand ring finger got caught on a projection off of the awning and tore ligaments in his hand. He never fully recovered, but was considered one of the better pitchers in major league baseball up to that time.
He died at age 52 of a heart attack in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
He is survived by his children: Carole Upshaw Romero, Cecil Lee Upshaw III, Amelia Upshaw Manchester, and four grandchildren,(Ross, MacKenzie, Hamilton and Savannah).
By Dean Hanley
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