If you collected baseball cards in the 1970s and 1980s, in that stack may have been one featuring Chet Lemon, the former Oakland A’s and Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers player who was a Topps Rookie All-Star, a Hall of Fame nominee, and who set a major league record by recording 524 chances and 512 putouts which still stands today.
Since his retirement, what he accomplished on the playing field has been equaled by what he’s done for the athletes in Lake County.
In the small town of Tavares, at 1544 Lane Park Cutoff, Lemon’s created what’s known as The Big House, a massive sports complex that can accommodate thousands of athletes, national volleyball and basketball tournaments.
For a small, off the beaten path town, Tavares has a surprising amount of activity. On Lake Dora is a seaplane base (the town’s called ‘America’s Seaplane City’), a waterfront park, and an historic train depot.
With his wife, Gigi, Lemon’s turned a dream into a reality. The Big House will only become larger and more elaborate. For now, it’s another asset that will draw athletes, fans, and family members to Tavares.
Nearly 25 years after retiring from major league baseball, Chet Lemon’s hit another home run.