If the Yankees did something special for Lyle, it might appease the fans who have long lobbied on his behalf, even asking that his No. 28 jersey be retired. Lenny Kosberg, a tax specialist and Somerset Patriots fan from Edison, N.J., has begun the Twitter campaign #HonorSparkyLyle.
“People say if you retire No. 28, then what about Nettles, Piniella,” Kosberg said. “It’s not about that. It’s about that his great season is now 40 years old.”
Lyle’s credentials certainly would seem to line up favorably with several others who have been awarded plaques in Monument Park. He is good friends with Gossage, and will say nothing negative about him. But Gossage, a Hall of Fame member, was given a special day after playing seven years with the Yankees and posting numbers similar to Lyle’s.
Gossage had 42 career victories with the Yankees, 151 saves, a 2.14 ERA and one title. Lyle earned 57 wins and 141 saves for the Yankees, with a 2.41 earned run average, in a seven-season span that included two championships.
Tino Martinez, another plaque recipient, batted a relatively modest .276 during seven years in the Bronx. There are others, too, if Lyle wanted to go there. He doesn’t.
“I get letters, ‘If so and so has a plaque, you sure as hell should have one,’” Lyle said. “But that’s not what it’s all about. Now if you say, ‘Joe DiMaggio has a plaque out there, you should have one, too,’ how does that sound? Then it doesn’t sound so good.’’
Lyle laughed. His thick white mustache danced, like his slider once did.
An earlier version of this article misstated when Sparky Lyle entered Game 4 of the 1977 American League Championship Series. It was in the fourth inning, not the fifth.
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