In 1991 with Bobby Cox back in dugout, Lemke platooned most of the season with Jeff Treadway but it was apparent the Braves were moving more towards Lemke. In the postseason in ’91, it was Lemke that led the way, hitting a team-high .417 in the seven-game World Series against the Twins. Lemke remained the team’s fulltime second baseman through the ’97 season, coming to the plate 257 times in 62 postseason games. He was the first National League player to get hits in all seven games of a league championship series in 1996 against St. Louis.
He was granted free agency after the ’97 season and played an injured-plagued year in Boston. Red Sox manager Jimy Williams, who had coached Lemke with the Braves, said at the time, “I’ve just seen him make so many plays and be in the middle of so many rallies a key times, in big games … he brings his own little sack lunch to the table, while all the other guys are eating filet.’’
After Boston, Lemke retired but came back as an Independent League knuckleball pitcher and coach with the New Jersey Jackals of the Northern League for two seasons.
Where he lives: When he retired, Lemke, 49, lived in Alpharetta but has lived for the last nine years in Sandy Springs.
What he does now: Lemke has been working on the Braves's pregame show going on nine years and fills in for analyst Don Sutton on radio broadcasts.
On being a second cousin twice removed of 1936 Union Party Presidential candidate William Lemke: "I have been asked about that a lot and haven't disputed it because it sounds pretty good.''
On doing announcing work for the Braves: "I love it, though it is something I didn't anticipate doing. I do quite a bit of prep work but I will tell you Twitter really helps me get ready for games.''
On making it in the majors despite his size: "It's kind of hard to explain. I look at guys going into the Hall of Fame and think about the fact that I played for many years with them … pretty amazing. I guess the best way to describe why I made it is I just grinded it. I was very determined.''
On where that grind came from: "That's easy. I have a sister and brother who are pharmacists and another sister who is a doctor. I was the youngest so I had a lot to look up to. I also had parents who taught me the right things.''
On being drafted by the Braves: "It was the third day of the draft and I remember the Phillies had called the day before, trying to get a feel from what I was going to do as far as my scholarship at Purdue. That might have been tampering but I remember my sister running in the house with a telegram that the Braves had drafted me. I went down to Atlanta with my parents and Paul Snyder was the big scouting guy and we really liked him. Plus my dad told me if I was just going to Purdue to play three years and get drafted, then I should just go ahead and sign with the Braves.''
On his time in rookie ball: "You think they are drafting you as the second baseman of the future and you go to rookie ball and all of a sudden, there are 15 other second basemen. The first guy I met was Ron Gant and I remember the second year I was in rookie ball, someone knocked on my door and it was Tom Glavine.''
On when he felt like he would get to the majors: "It was in '88 at Double-A. I knew then I had the talent and it now was going to become the mental side of the game if I was going to make it.''
On the '91 worst-to first-team: "It was the most incredible ride any of us could imagine. … That September with the Dodgers was like a playoff scenario every night.''
On his three triples in the World Series: "A triple for a guy like myself is hard and there was one other hit I had in the Series that I thought could have been a triple but I stopped at second.''
On his 1993 photo with teammate Jeff Blauser with the Atlanta Fulton-County press box on fire behind him: "It's the only photo I have up in my house. We kept turning around saying, 'When are they are going to get up there and get that fire?'''
On Cox: "I think to a man, we would all say he was the best. He gave us confidence that we could compete and win at that level and that is a hard thing with young kids.''
On the current Braves: "They may be in a rebuilding mode but not like the one we went through. I think they will have a competitive team this year and I don't think this will be a long process.''