Chet Lemon (born February 12, 1955 in Jackson, Mississippi) is a former center fielder in Major League Baseball. He attended Cerritos Junior College in Norwalk, California, and was drafted in the first round of the 1972 draft (22nd pick) by the Chicago White Sox.
Lemon made his major league debut in 1975 with Chicago, before becoming a full time player the next season. He began his career as a third baseman before quickly switching to centerfield. In 1977, 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 1978.
After the 1981 season, Lemon was traded to the Detroit Tigers for popular outfielder Steve Kemp. Kemp played regularly for Chicago for only two seasons after the trade, while Lemon stayed with the Tigers through 1990. 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.
In 1988, 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 centerfield 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, he 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 of 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 Chet Lemon's Juice, a successful 18-and-under baseball team in Sanford, Florida. Lemon's son Marcus is a highly-regarded amateur player.
Lemon is also the head coach for Eustis High School in Eustis, Fla. His son, who has committed with the University of Texas at Austin, was the team's lead-off hitter in 2006 and is expected to be drafted in the early rounds of the 2006 amateur draft.