New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Sparky Lyle

Sparky Lyle (Baseball. Born, DeBois, Penna., July 22, 1944.) Albert Walter Lyle was a modestly successful reliever in Boston (1967-71) who became a Cy Young Award winner for the Yankees as the American League’s premier closer. Lyle joined the Yankees during spring training in 1972 in a March 22 deal that sent infielder Danny Cater to the Red Sox. With a luxurious mustache, confident swagger, and explosive slider, Lyle became a star in New York, entering games as “Pomp and Circumstance” blared over the sound system. He saved 141 games in seven seasons (1972-78) with the Yankees, leading the A.L. in 1972 (35, his career high) and 1976 (23). Lyle also had 26 saves in a league-leading 72 appearances for the 1977 world champions. He had a 57-40 record (including 13-5 in 1977 when he won the Cy Young, the first A.L. reliever to do so). Lyle had a 3-0 postseason record for the Yankees: the final two games of the 1977 A.L.C.S. at Kansas City and the first game of the World Series against the Dodgers. Made expendable by the Yankees’ free-agent signing of Goose Gossage in the 1977-78 offseason, he was traded to Texas (for, among other, Dave Righetti following the 1978 season, prompting teammate Graig Nettles to famously quip, “From Cy Young to Sayonara” to describe the last two years of his Yankees career. In Lyle’s seven Yankees seasons, he was 57-40 with 141 saves. Lyle later became a coach and, in 1999, manager of Somerset (N.J.) in the independent Atlantic League.  Lyle is credited with teaching his slider to fellow southpaw Ron Guidry when they were teammates, and Guidry later taught it to another lefty, Al Leiter.

Post to Twitter

Please leave comments, edits or additions here.

*

About This Dictionary

The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

Sort by Last Name

A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Support n-yhs

Help us support our sports database and other collections.

About Bill Shannon

A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

Submission Form

* (denotes required field)

Disclaimer & Privacy Policy