Some of the greatest people have been known by a single name: Prince, Cher, Fabio, Jedward, the list goes on. But for Lewis (which was his surname), that couldn’t be further from the truth, at least from a professional sports perspective.
Lewis was an American professional baseball player who played only one game with the Buffalo Bisons in the Player’s League (PL), a short-lived professional American baseball league. He pitched three innings, and got an earned run average (ERA) of 60.00 and walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP) rate of 6.667, both of which became the highest in the history of the PL.
From his Wikipedia page:
A contemporary writer for The Pittsburgh Press described Lewis’s tryout as a “disastrous experiment” and called the game “one of the greatest slugging matches ever seen since curve pitching came into vogue”, while Sporting Life reported that “[t]he Buffalos tried a new pitcher named Lewis in the box, but after three innings he retired to left field, a much disgusted ball tosser.” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle said that “the way [Ward’s Wonders] pounded Lewis’ delivery must have convinced that aspirant for fame that the [P]layers’ [L]eague [was] above his class”, and described him as “unfortunate”. Other contemporary papers covered the game: the Buffalo Courier said Lewis was “slaughtered”; the New-York Tribune called him a “failure”; and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said the game was “full of accidents”, though “Lewis was used worse than all the rest, as he was knocked completely out of the box”. A 1963 article in Baseball Digest described Lewis as a “neophyte” whose “first name has been lost to posterity”, and as of 2007, Lewis’s first name remained “mercifully unknown”, according to Macht.
Fortunately for Lewis, his records don’t count towards anything MLB holds in their books.
Lewis’s first name, date of birth, and date of death also remain unknown. There are no records of his batting or pitching stance either.
You can find out more about Lewis on his Wikipedia page which is regularly updated and good enough to earn a featured article star. That might be his greatest achievement, albeit posthumously.
(h/t Marijn van Hoorn)