Chester Earl Lemon (born February 12, 1955 in Jackson, Mississippi) is a former center fielder in Major League Baseball. He attended Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, California, and was drafted in the first round of the 1972 draft (22nd pick) by the Oakland A's.
Known throughout baseball for his work ethic and hustle, Lemon made his major league debut in Template:By with Chicago, before becoming a full time player the next season. He began his career as a third baseman before quickly switching to center field. In Template:By, he set an American League record with 524 total chances and 512 putouts; in all, he recorded 400 or more outfield putouts in five different seasons, which is also an American League record. His first All-Star Game appearance came in Template:By. In 1979, Lemon hit 44 doubles, tying for the American League season best total.
After the 1981 season, Lemon was traded to the Detroit Tigers for popular outfielder Steve Kemp. Kemp played regularly for Chicago for only one season after the trade, while Lemon stayed with the Tigers through Template:By. Lemon joined a Tiger team stocked with young talent: Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Jack Morris, Kirk Gibson and Lance Parrish were to form the core of a successful team through the early- to mid-1980s.
Lemon arguably had his best season in 1984, as he hit .287 with 20 home runs and 76 RBI, and collected a .990 fielding percentage while handling 421 total chances. The Tigers won the 1984 World Series, and Lemon's numbers were comparable with teammate and eventual Series MVP Trammell. He was also the starting center fielder for the American League at the 1984 All-Star game.
In Template:By, Lemon hit his 200th career home run off Cleveland's Scott Bailes. In the same game, Darrell Evans hit his 400th career home run. Also that season, Lemon moved from center field to right field to make room for speedy new acquisition Gary Pettis. Lemon also had a unique ability to be hit by a pitch; in the 1980s, he was second only to Don Baylor by getting plunked 108 times. He also had a penchant for diving headfirst into first base.
Lemon retired from baseball after the 1990 season. For his career, Lemon hit 215 home runs, had 884 RBI, 396 doubles, a .273 batting average, and a career fielding percentage of .984. Soon after retiring, he became ill with a serious spleen disease, polycythemia vera. In December 1990, Lemon successfully underwent surgery at the University of Michigan, and has had two subsequent surgeries, the last of which removed his spleen. He now coaches two successful AAU teams, Chet Lemon's Juice,(18 and under) and Chet Lemon's Juice II,(12 and under) in Eustis, Florida. Lemon's son Marcus was selected in the 4th round of the 2006 ML Draft by the Texas Rangers.
Lemon was also the head coach for Eustis High School in Eustis, Fla. where he led the Panthers to the 2003 State Championship. The Texas Rangers drafted Chet's son, Marcus Lemon, and he currently plays for their AA affiliate the Frisco Roughriders.