Jim Lemon, 78, Outfielder, Is Dead; Earned Visit With Eisenhower 

Jim Lemon, 78, Outfielder, Is Dead; Earned Visit With Eisenhower

Jim Lemon, who hit 164 home runs and earned a visit with a box-seat fan named Dwight D. Eisenhower after slugging three consecutive homers in a game for the Washington Senators in 1956, died Sunday at his home in Brandon, Miss. He was 78.

The cause was cancer, his son Patrick said.

During the original Senators' final years in Washington before they became the Minnesota Twins, Lemon, an outfielder who hit right-handed, teamed with Harmon Killebrew, Roy Sievers and Bob Allison in a power-hitting lineup. In 1959, Lemon hit 33 home runs with 100 runs batted in. He was an All-Star the next season, when he had 38 homers and 100 R.B.I.

On the night of Aug. 31, 1956, in his first full major league season, Lemon became the first Senators player to hit three home runs in a game at Griffith Stadium in Washington, connecting against the Yankees' Whitey Ford. The Yankees' Joe DiMaggio was the only player with a three-homer game at Griffith Stadium before Lemon's feat.

President Eisenhower, in a rare appearance at the park aside from opening day ceremonies, called Lemon to his seat to shake hands after he sent three drives into the left-field bleachers.

"At least a dozen guys have claimed they caught two of the homers," Lemon once told The Washington Post. The Senators nonetheless lost, 6-4.

Lemon, a native of Covington, Va., made his major league debut with the Cleveland Indians in 1950. He played for the Senators and the Twins from 1954 to early 1963 and finished his career in '63 with the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago White Sox. He had a .262 career batting average for 12 major league seasons.

He managed the second Washington Senators franchise to a 65-96 record in 1968 and was a coach and instructor for the Twins.

In addition to his son Patrick, of Brandon, he is survived by his wife, Ella; his son Joseph, of Lynchburg, Va., a daughter, Le Lemon, of Darnestown, Md.; a brother, William, of Roanoke, Va.; and seven grandchildren.

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