February 27, 2013
Former Montreal Expos star Ron LeFlore down but not out
Went from convict to MLB player to losing his leg
By JIM HAWKINS, Special to QMI Agency

Former Expos star Ron LeFlore lost his leg in 2011 due to illness. (CRISTOBAL HERRERA/QMI Agency)

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. - In 1980, the Montreal Expos, on the brink of what would have been its first trip to baseball’s treasured post-season in franchise history, were sparked by speedy outfielder Ron LeFlore, the most successful base-stealer in the National League that year.

“That was the greatest year of my career,” declared LeFlore, the ex-convict turned big league star who spent nine years in the major leagues with the Detroit Tigers, Expos and Chicago White Sox.

Today, the Expos are long gone, relocated to Washington D.C. and renamed the Nationals, and the 64-year-old LeFlore, who made his name and gained his fame with his legs, running fast and stealing bases, ironically limps from place to place on a prosthetic leg.

LeFlore lost his right leg to arterial vascular disease in the summer of 2011, a result of his having smoked cigarettes since he was a teenager.

“Sometimes I want to jump up and take off — but I can’t do that anymore,” LeFlore admitted over lunch the other day at a restaurant near his St. Petersburg, Fla., home.

“I’ve got to worry about my balance all the time. I’ve got to watch where I walk. I can’t look off because I’ve got no feeling in my leg. I’ve got to be careful where I step.”


Quite a change for a man who once ran around the bases — and through life — with reckless abandon, using heroin when he was 15 and ending up in prison, faced with a sentence of five-to-15 years for armed robbery when he was 21.


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